Burning Burns

Fabrizio del Wrongo writes:


Because who can imagine being interested in actual people?

Listening to Meryl Streep impersonate the persnickety, dying-quail voice of Eleanor Roosevelt in Ken Burns’ “The Roosevelts: An Intimate History,” you get the sense that this is the role she’s been waiting to play since she hatched fully formed from a green alien pod at Yale. The production would be about twenty percent shorter absent her painstakingly overdone, sloowwwwly enunciated pronouncements regarding poor people, dams, etc. “Meryl,” you want to say, “spit it out already so we can get to George Will’s next howl-inducing metaphor concerning the American spirit.” A few episodes in, my interest was maintained by one topic only: Eleanor’s connection to lesbianism. (You can’t help but wonder why all of her gal pals favor slacks.) But Burns and co. are too square, too reverential to address it. I’d love to see someone make an historical-figure travesty along the lines of “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” in which Eleanor, transposed to the swinging ’60s, dresses like Monica Vitti in “Modesty Blaise” and engages in hot lesbo action with a similarly transposed Mamie Eisenhower. Where “intimate histories” are concerned, I think dykes are more germane than dams.

Suggested titles for future Ken Burns projects:

“The New York Times: Ode to a Gray Lady”

“Paul Robeson: Black on the Outside, Red on the Inside”

“The Ivy League: No Business Like Know Business”

“Progressivism: Forward! to History”

“Boston: Segregation Done Right”

“Our Land: Woody Guthrie, the People’s Bard”

“Black People: A Documentary for White People”

About Fabrizio del Wrongo

Recovering liberal arts major. Unrepentant movie nut. Aspiring boozehound.
This entry was posted in History, Movies and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Burning Burns

  1. peterike says:

    “the role she’s been waiting to play since she hatched fully formed from a green alien pod at Yale”

    I think her pod opened at Vassar. Which is even worse.

    Eleanor Roosevelt worship is one of the saddest things about the Left. But it goes to show you that pushing the Progressive envelope was the route to fame and hagiography even in the 1930s. Progressives have owned the Narrative for a very long time now.


  2. peterike says:

    OT, but going back to your year-end film picks. I recently watched both “Tomorrowland” and “Clouds of Sils Maria” and very much enjoyed them both, especially the second. I might have gotten to them eventually otherwise, but your picks drove me to action. I appreciate it.


  3. jakobscalpel says:

    I agree the Roosevelt worship is way overdone…. but I actually enjoyed the show. Came out of it feeling more sympathetic towards Franklin (surprised!) and much less sympathetic towards Eleanor.


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