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Re: Ken Burns National Parks: critiques

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avatar Ken Burns National Parks: critiques
September 28, 2009 12:27AM
So far so good. Yosemite has been in its proper context as the first national park, yet wasn't. I've read some negative comments about the entire series from reviewers who don't do much more than review stuff they see on their computer, Burns has been accused of guilt about slavery, which has been quite clear in his earlier work, but I see no indication of guilt about slavery yet in this series. Only 10 hrs to go, though.

Like I said, so far, so good. I like it.
avatar Re: Ken Burns National Parks: critiques
September 28, 2009 05:12AM
Quote

guilt about slavery


Slavery hasn't been a big issue in the parks (although summer eastern european housekeepers in Yellowstone may contest that). According to the instructior of a course I took on Historic Buildings in Yellowstone, in the early days of that park, a small zoo was set up on Dot Island by E.C Waters (a boat concessioner) to foster boat rides and provide an opportunity for tourists to see Yellowstone animals conveniently. Supposedly the proposal included a plan to include some Indians in authentic wikiups on location. I don't know if that actually happened (hopefully not).
---------------------------------
from Google search:
Dispossessing the Wilderness: Indian Removal and the Making of the ...
Park officials later supported the efforts of a private concessionaire named E. C. Waters to locate a few Indians on Dot Island in Yellowstone Lake, ...
www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&se=gglsc&d=90351987 - Similar -
by MD Spence - Cited by 131 - Related articles



The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
avatar Re: Ken Burns National Parks: critiques
September 28, 2009 09:45AM
I did notice that the description of the origin of the Yosemite name and the name of the inhabitants in the valley. I'm waiting for some response from Yosemite Indian about how historically accurate that might be.

The program does seem to focus narrowly on what's currently a fully designated "National Park" but I did notice a few scenes at places like Mount Rushmore.
avatar Re: Ken Burns National Parks: critiques
September 28, 2009 10:00AM
I found it interesting but too centered on the Valley. This concentration on the Valley is accurate from a historical point of view (aside from Indian references) but there was very little emphasis on other areas of the park. John Muir covered 25 miles a day but little was said about where he hiked other than brief mention of Toulumne Meadows and a photo of Tenaya Lake. Yosemite may still be a part of this ongoing series and if so I may be speaking prematurely.

Jim
avatar Re: Ken Burns National Parks: critiques
September 28, 2009 10:49AM
Quote
tomdisco
I found it interesting but too centered on the Valley. This concentration on the Valley is accurate from a historical point of view (aside from Indian references) but there was very little emphasis on other areas of the park. John Muir covered 25 miles a day but little was said about where he hiked other than brief mention of Toulumne Meadows and a photo of Tenaya Lake. Yosemite may still be a part of this ongoing series and if so I may be speaking prematurely.

Jim
Well - back then that's what was protected. I think for the most part the federal government was testing what it could do. Yellowstone could be large because Wyoming wasn't a state yet. I saw the maps of what was protected, and Sequoia was actually pretty small initially, and General Grant NP was a relative dot in the total landscape.

I also wonder about those claiming that Hot Springs was the first "National Park". I don't think it really was. I tend to think that the "federal reservation" was designed as a protection of the mineral rights for commercial purposes. The proponents of that idea might not be happy that there was zero mention of Hot Springs in the first segment.
avatar Re: Ken Burns National Parks: critiques
September 28, 2009 11:30AM
On a technical point, I was not pleased with the volume and choice of background music in the first hour. Seemed like too much make-up and was a distraction.

Gerard Baker is the superintendent of Mt Rushmore, I believe.

Overall I learned quite a bit from the narration. The Burns' treatment of Langford and the issue of who suggested the national park idea where well played. He did not even mention the "National Park Mountain" campsite Cornelius Hedges fable (probably perpetrated by Langford and some park superintendents for PR reasons). It is hard to tell the Truman Everts story quickly, though it did seem like it monopolize a lot of the Yellowstone segment. The issue of Niagara Falls exploitation was news to me and helped make the historical context rational. I think I was most impressed with the detail on Muir and his observations about the effect of grazing at high elevation on the lower elevation plant-animal systems ( he may have been the best and first ecologist, a word not even around used much during his time).



The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan




Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/28/2009 11:40AM by Frank Furter.
Re: Ken Burns National Parks: critiques
September 28, 2009 12:30PM
Quote
Frank Furter
On a technical point, I was not pleased with the volume and choice of background music in the first hour. Seemed like too much make-up and was a distraction.

Gerard Baker is the superintendent of Mt Rushmore, I believe.

Overall I learned quite a bit from the narration. The Burns' treatment of Langford and the issue of who suggested the national park idea where well played. He did not even mention the "National Park Mountain" campsite Cornelius Hedges fable (probably perpetrated by Langford and some park superintendents for PR reasons). It is hard to tell the Truman Everts story quickly, though it did seem like it monopolize a lot of the Yellowstone segment. The issue of Niagara Falls exploitation was news to me and helped make the historical context rational. I think I was most impressed with the detail on Muir and his observations about the effect of grazing at high elevation on the lower elevation plant-animal systems ( he may have been the best and first ecologist, a word not even around used much during his time).

I do wish he had included the famous quote from the first expedition of Folsom, Cook and Peterson, upon seeing the eruption of the Great Fountain Geyser, "We could not contain our enthusiasm; with one accord we all took off our hats and yelled with all our might." Unless I missed it, he didn't even mention this earliest foray. My own sole reservation thus far.
Re: Ken Burns National Parks: critiques
September 28, 2009 07:34PM
Watched the first two hour segment also and as someone that has never studied history of the NP system, it was educational. I'm looking forward to the coming segments. One thing I did notice was there were some strangely unnatural colors to landscape and especially skies. These days his expensive video gear has to be digital that can easily color calibrate. Lots of skies were an odd cyan green. Maybe that was his variation on a sepia cast to view long ago history.
avatar Re: Ken Burns National Parks: critiques
September 28, 2009 08:06PM
My only problem so far is a technical problem in the second episode. For some reason I got the wrong audio. The standard English MTS seems to be some strange mix with the music, but didn't have the narration by Shelton Johnson. I've actually seen that clip before on the PBS website.

I'm thinking that it'll be intact if I buy the box set.
avatar Re: Ken Burns National Parks: critiques
September 28, 2009 08:18PM
Quote
y_p_w
My only problem so far is a technical problem in the second episode. For some reason I got the wrong audio. The standard English MTS seems to be some strange mix with the music, but didn't have the narration by Shelton Johnson. I've actually seen that clip before on the PBS website.

I'm thinking that it'll be intact if I buy the box set.

It was ok here. Must have been your local station.
avatar Re: Ken Burns National Parks: critiques
September 28, 2009 08:30PM
Trivia: I think the picture used when the narration of Yellowstone described the stage coach tourists staying at Firehole Hotel and Fountain Hotel did not deplict either hotel.

The methods of control used in Yosemite to separate the herders from their stock were also used in Yellowstone but, in that park, the poachers were separated from their gear (each taken to a different side of the park).

There were "Buffalo Soldiers" who had some historical relation with Yellowstone as a contingent of soldiers was involved in an experiment with bicycles as a mode of military transport. They travelled from Missoula, Montana to St. Louis, Mo, stopping along the way at Yellowstone:

http://www.nrhc.org/history/25thInfantry.html



The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
avatar Re: Ken Burns National Parks: critiques
September 28, 2009 08:56PM
I am enjoying Tom Hanks' narration. Well placed.

I'm 1 hr into tonights 2.5 hrs
Re: Ken Burns National Parks: critiques
September 29, 2009 09:11AM
Quote
Vince
I am enjoying Tom Hanks' narration. Well placed.

I'm 1 hr into tonights 2.5 hrs

Peter Coyote is the narrator, is he not? Tom Hanks does one of the historic character voices (TR?).
avatar Re: Ken Burns National Parks: critiques
September 29, 2009 11:01AM
Burns Vol 2 mentioned Passenger Pigeons and got me interested in their extinction. One reference, I believe, mentioned that at one point they were the most populous bird in the US. Apparently they eventually declined to less than "critical mass" to maintain the species:

http://www.petermaas.nl/extinct/speciesinfo/passengerpigeon.htm



The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
avatar Re: Ken Burns National Parks: critiques
September 29, 2009 07:13PM
From Burns' Vol 3,

The Stephen Mather publication of National Parks Portfolio is available (6th edition) online. Check out General Grant National Park and Yosemite Chapters:

http://www.nps.gov/history/history/online_books/portfolio/portfolio2.htm

http://www.nps.gov/history/history/online_books/portfolio/portfolio3.htm





The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
avatar Re: Ken Burns National Parks: critiques
September 29, 2009 07:16PM
Nice, FF.

About the post above, yes Peter Coyote is the narrator in chief. I said I am enjoying Tom Hanks' narration.
avatar Re: Ken Burns National Parks: critiques
September 29, 2009 08:46PM
I'm curious about this. How many of the voices (Tom Hanks, John Lassiter, etc.) were paid for this, or did they do it gratis?
avatar Re: Ken Burns National Parks: critiques
September 29, 2009 10:38PM
Still so far so good. Dis Hetch Hetchy and love the East Coast stuff, what's left of it.
avatar Re: Ken Burns National Parks: critiques
September 30, 2009 08:08PM
Tonight I am loving the Scott Joplin music smiling smiley
avatar Re: Ken Burns National Parks: critiques
September 30, 2009 08:28PM
"Burnish the image of National Parks"

Anyone know what burnish means?

This show is doing well
avatar Re: Ken Burns National Parks: critiques
October 01, 2009 12:23AM
Quote
Vince
Anyone know what burnish means?

Yes, I learned that one in middle school. I also learned (or "learnt" in Nevada) about this type of book that contains actual words and tells one what those words mean. (What a concept!)
avatar Re: Ken Burns National Parks: critiques
October 01, 2009 01:00AM
Quote
eeek
Quote
Vince
Anyone know what burnish means?

Yes, I learned that one in middle school. I also learned (or "learnt" in Nevada) about this type of book that contains actual words and tells one what those words mean. (What a concept!)

No need for personal attacks. I learnt how to troll on this web site many years ago, much before my move to the real Nevada.
avatar Re: Ken Burns National Parks: critiques
October 01, 2009 06:55AM
Quote
Vince
Quote
eeek
Quote
Vince
Anyone know what burnish means?

Yes, I learned that one in middle school. I also learned (or "learnt" in Nevada) about this type of book that contains actual words and tells one what those words mean. (What a concept!)

No need for personal attacks. I learnt how to troll on this web site many years ago, much before my move to the real Nevada.


Actually, Vince, your question was directly answered. In addition, eeek was kind enough to disseminate some information that has been perhaps forgotten by some people out in ElectronicCommunicationLand.

P.S. I'm certain that you meant to say "gentle reminder" rather than "personal attack" in your post.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/01/2009 07:01AM by szalkowski.
avatar Re: Ken Burns National Parks: critiques
October 01, 2009 11:37AM
Quote
Vince
No need for personal attacks.

You missed my point. It wasn't a personal attack; it was a too subtle way of telling you to look the word up in a dictionary.
avatar Re: Ken Burns National Parks: critiques
October 01, 2009 09:56PM
I might shell out the $18.99 for the soundtrack.

I look forward to the last installment of the show on Friday, with the home movies...I can identify with that.

Was that FDR I saw at the Glacier Point Hotel?
avatar Re: Ken Burns National Parks: critiques
October 02, 2009 05:17AM
Two unsettling aspects to the Burns National Park presentations were epitomized by the events surrounding the acquisition of Grand Teton--
1. Socially beneficial adoption of policy or land is more often driven by alturistic independently wealthy individuals rather than insightful government.
2. Parochial interests are inherently at odds with preservation and a wider public interest. In some ways, the "compromises" that exist in Grand Teton are similar to the compromises that occurred in Hetch Hetchy. Exemption and exclusion of Wyoming from the antiquities act make that area a cultural and archeological "dead zone" . It is as though all public libraries were closed in Wyoming-- it represents a symbolic disregard for a national values inherent in federal lands and undermines any wider cultural preservation to areas of unique cultural, historical or scientific interest.



The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
Re: Ken Burns National Parks: critiques
October 02, 2009 08:19AM
Quote
Frank Furter
Two unsettling aspects to the Burns National Park presentations were epitomized by the events surrounding the acquisition of Grand Teton--
1. Socially beneficial adoption of policy or land is more often driven by alturistic independently wealthy individuals rather than insightful government.
2. Parochial interests are inherently at odds with preservation and a wider public interest. In some ways, the "compromises" that exist in Grand Teton are similar to the compromises that occurred in Hetch Hetchy. Exemption and exclusion of Wyoming from the antiquities act make that area a cultural and archeological "dead zone" . It is as though all public libraries were closed in Wyoming-- it represents a symbolic disregard for a national values inherent in federal lands and undermines any wider cultural preservation to areas of unique cultural, historical or scientific interest.

I really hate to say this, but given what I know of the attitudes of many people in Wyoming who I have come to know, this otherwise very sad revelation did not surprise me. Wyoming (and a couple of other states) seem to me to be among the most backward-looking when it comes to recognition of value beyond that found in currency or stocks. I, too, "Weep for Wyoming," and am thankful that the rest of country has not yet sealed themselves in a time capsule.

Bruce
avatar Re: Ken Burns National Parks: critiques
October 03, 2009 10:55AM
Quote
Frank Furter
Two unsettling aspects to the Burns National Park presentations were epitomized by the events surrounding the acquisition of Grand Teton--
1. Socially beneficial adoption of policy or land is more often driven by alturistic independently wealthy individuals rather than insightful government.
2. Parochial interests are inherently at odds with preservation and a wider public interest. In some ways, the "compromises" that exist in Grand Teton are similar to the compromises that occurred in Hetch Hetchy. Exemption and exclusion of Wyoming from the antiquities act make that area a cultural and archeological "dead zone" . It is as though all public libraries were closed in Wyoming-- it represents a symbolic disregard for a national values inherent in federal lands and undermines any wider cultural preservation to areas of unique cultural, historical or scientific interest.

Point #1 was quite a surprise for me. I had no idea how much impact one man's money contributed to the purchase of land for the purpose of conversion to national parks. The fact that no federal money had ever been spent for national park creation until the FDR administration is a staggering revelation. It is also ironic that it required some of the most miserable and obstinate personalities to be found (like Harold Ickes) to further protect the national park process. What a history!

Jim
Re: Ken Burns National Parks: critiques
October 03, 2009 03:29PM
Quote
tomdisco
Quote
Frank Furter
Two unsettling aspects to the Burns National Park presentations were epitomized by the events surrounding the acquisition of Grand Teton--
1. Socially beneficial adoption of policy or land is more often driven by alturistic independently wealthy individuals rather than insightful government.
2. Parochial interests are inherently at odds with preservation and a wider public interest. In some ways, the "compromises" that exist in Grand Teton are similar to the compromises that occurred in Hetch Hetchy. Exemption and exclusion of Wyoming from the antiquities act make that area a cultural and archeological "dead zone" . It is as though all public libraries were closed in Wyoming-- it represents a symbolic disregard for a national values inherent in federal lands and undermines any wider cultural preservation to areas of unique cultural, historical or scientific interest.

Point #1 was quite a surprise for me. I had no idea how much impact one man's money contributed to the purchase of land for the purpose of conversion to national parks. The fact that no federal money had ever been spent for national park creation until the FDR administration is a staggering revelation. It is also ironic that it required some of the most miserable and obstinate personalities to be found (like Harold Ickes) to further protect the national park process. What a history!

Jim

Harold Ickes is my kind of guy (My Dad's name was Harold, and he was the same way :-)
avatar Re: Ken Burns National Parks: critiques
October 04, 2009 05:40PM
Still a burning desire for more Ken Burns' documentary video on the National Parks?

Possible to review or view the entire series until Oct 9th.:

http://www.pbs.org/nationalparks/watch-video/#872

In addition, there are Deleted Scenes and Untold Stories
such as:
First Car in Yosemite:




<http://www.pbs.org/nationalparks/watch-video/#806>;



The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
avatar National Parks: Ken Burns' Worst Idea
October 11, 2009 06:37PM
Obviously from the title, not a favorable critique. Interestingly, those most critical of the series seem to be somewhat uninformed about the parks (I would think those that are not familiar with the parks would have found the series interesting and those with more experience might have found it tedious.).

http://www.politicsdaily.com/2009/10/11/national-parks-ken-burns-worst-idea/
National Parks: Ken Burns' Worst Idea
I thought I would love the new Ken Burns PBS series The National Parks: America's Best Idea........



The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
avatar Re: National Parks: Ken Burns' Worst Idea
October 11, 2009 08:05PM
Quote
Frank Furter
Obviously from the title, not a favorable critique. Interestingly, those most critical of the series seem to be somewhat uninformed about the parks (I would think those that are not familiar with the parks would have found the series interesting and those with more experience might have found it tedious.).

http://www.politicsdaily.com/2009/10/11/national-parks-ken-burns-worst-idea/
National Parks: Ken Burns' Worst Idea
I thought I would love the new Ken Burns PBS series The National Parks: America's Best Idea........


I didn't have to read more than a couple paragraphs to know Donna Trussell needs to get up off her big fat lazy ass and go see something other than what's on her DVR
avatar Re: Ken Burns National Parks: critiques
October 02, 2009 09:09PM
Hetch Hetchy wasn't a compromise. It was a complete rape of a national park.
avatar Re: Ken Burns National Parks: critiques
October 02, 2009 09:25PM
There is a dam on Jackson Lake that was upgraded after the creation of Grand Teton National Park. It is hard to visit GTNP and not develop the sense that this is a "different" kind of park (hunting, commercial development, private residences, water regulation for irrigation of farmland, dude ranches, etc.). Too bad it couldn't have been protected 30 years earlier.



The cure for a fallacious argument is a better argument, not the suppression of ideas.
-- Carl Sagan
avatar Re: Ken Burns National Parks: critiques
October 02, 2009 09:30PM
Quote
Frank Furter
There is a dam on Jackson Lake that was upgraded after the creation of Grand Teton National Park. It is hard to visit GTNP and not develop the sense that this is a "different" kind of park (hunting, commercial development, private residences, water regulation for irrigation of farmland, dude ranches, etc.). Too bad it couldn't have been protected 30 years earlier.

I wonder with current attitudes about national parks, would the Ahwanee, and other park lodges, even exist?
Re: Ken Burns National Parks: critiques
October 03, 2009 03:28PM
Quote
Frank Furter
There is a dam on Jackson Lake that was upgraded after the creation of Grand Teton National Park. It is hard to visit GTNP and not develop the sense that this is a "different" kind of park (hunting, commercial development, private residences, water regulation for irrigation of farmland, dude ranches, etc.). Too bad it couldn't have been protected 30 years earlier.

There is a proposal afoot right now to increase that damn's height yet again, and install a new hydro plant just below the dam. What a curse that would be.
avatar Re: Ken Burns National Parks: critiques
October 02, 2009 09:22PM
To heck with the national parks, I want that red Mustang the bears were climbing on
avatar Re: Ken Burns National Parks: critiques
October 02, 2009 10:02PM
OK now a weeklong look at National Parks is over.

On the last of the six-part series:

I really really like that red Mustang and I want it.

Wolves are kewl.

Jimmy Carter is not the end of the story (though he still has problems with leadership to this day). Many more hectares of wonderful land has been protected since.

Martin Luther King's "Dream" speech had nothing to do with National Parks other than he made the speech in one.

More critiques to come...
avatar Re: Ken Burns National Parks: critiques
October 03, 2009 01:53PM
Here is a good youtube documentary on the criminal behavior of our government in Hetch Hetchy.


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