But tonight, to my utter astonishment and disbelief, the latter part of the show was devoted to an interview with KEN BURNS. Brian Williams, who is a very polished newsman whom I've always known to keep his emotions in check, was like a giggly school girl when he sat opposite Mr. Burns. He was so excited and delivered one compliment after another to Burns, who exalted in the praise.
There is no doubt Ken's head is filled with a lot of knowledge, but it is hard to understand why he is so totally oblivious to the importance of Jim Reeves.
Instead, he said excitedly that if, after seeing his documentary, Hollywood doesn't rush to make a movie about Merle Haggard, because Merle was so fascinating, then he would be very surprised.
Jim Reeves absolutely doesn't exist.
I watch "The 11th Hour" every night, M-F, and I have never seen the set transformed into how it looked tonight; there were pictures of country music artists surrounding Brian and Ken as they spoke and OF COURSE, Jim was not among them. Brian also read a list of stars who are featured in the documentary, and Jim's name was not mentioned.
Burns has won big awards for his documentaries on such subjects as the Civil War, so he is highly regarded. I've never seen Brian Williams set aside his dignity like he did tonight and gush about somebody or do such blatant promotion as he did for the Burns country music series.
I would say after seeing this spectacle tonight that Ken Burns' real genius is NOT film making...it is self-promotion.
I have been immersed in country music for 50+ years. I have gotten to know many artists and in the course of doing my book on Jim, have gathered massive amounts of information on many artists whose lives intersected with Jim.
I can tell you for a fact that the Burns series -- while it contains some nuggets of useful information here and there -- conveys only a fraction of the total picture of country music. It is like an alternate universe. Even the well known historic events of country music are not told well; they are superficial or factually incomplete or misleading. It boggles the mind that this series would receive such massive publicity and would thereby distort people's perception of country music and which stars were important and which ones were less so.
I base my assessment on having been able to access the bulk of the 16 hours the series comprises today (which is available online). They have taken so much that is irrelevant or trivial and focused huge amounts of time on it, while totally missing the larger story.
BTW, Johnny Cash was again a main focus and his picture was prominent in the lead-in to the interview. Everything revolves around Cash and the Carter family and June Carter, and Roseanne Cash on camera, and a bloated looking fake cowboy Garth Brooks talking about how country comes from the heart.
This is a monumental failure to tell the story. They have it so tangled up with rock, rockabilly, jazz, black music, bluegrass, etc. It's just a MESS.
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