Friday, April 13, 2007

The war at home only

Just got some advance promo for Ken Burns' new marathon doc, The War, coming to PBS in September ’07. The war in question is WWII, which is described on the package as "the greatest cataclysm in history." I won't argue with that. What really gets up my nose is that The War will portray said cataclysm "through the stories of ordinary people in four American towns."

Hey, Ken, it's not called World War II for nothing!

So does this mean the doc will only cover 1941–45, when America participated, or will it generously go for 1939–45, the dates taught in European schools? Or will it be 1937–45, when Japan attacked China? Hmmm, let's take a closer look at the press materials. The first episode is titled "A Necessary War: December 1941–December 1942." So it wasn't necessary before? It's not like the U.S. wasn't aware of what was going on in Europe and Asia, including things like the ongoing Shoah.

There's more: The series "explores the history and horror of the Second World War from an American perspective." But this doesn't mean America was not concerned by what was going on in 1937–39; the rest of the world was going up in flames and you think the US was oblivious? If Burns was insistent on focusing only on the US, it would have been great if an episode had been dedicated to the war's impact here before Pearl Harbor.

Okay, enough with the apoplectic episode. We'll return to our regular programming in the next installment.

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