The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

White as U Wanna Be #2

Ken Burns


swac said...

But he's done so much for jazz!

*thinks about the crowd at the last jazz festival he attended*

Never mind.

Tom Sutpen said...

Oh, youve gotta give us a hint about that crowd, Stephen!

I've said (and written) more about that series than I care to now; at least with this much coffee in me. About the nicest, most charitable thing one can say is that it was . . . not really Ken Burns' best work.

Still, I had occasion to watch Huey Long again about six months ago. Utterly masterful. I don't know what happened to that guy (Burns, I mean), but he absolutely lost it.

Pawn said...

love him, cant wait for the national parks series.

Fred said...

His series on baseball was fine as long as you subscribe to his notion that great athlete/mediocre baseball outfielder Bo Jackson was the greatest player of all time. It was sort of like entrusting the defining documentary on the sport to someone who knew nothing of baseball and had never watched a game.

Jordanna said...

Let's just say the crowd pretty much matched the title of this series.

In fact, it was the great Chicago soul man Syl Johnson who said in his heyday when he had hits he rarely ever saw a white face in the crowd, and now he does the festival circuit and sees nothing but.

swac said...

Uh, that was me.

Robert Fiore said...

I think I like a lot of people I was fortunate that The Civil War was the first Ken Burns film I saw. The elegiac air of nostalgic rue (to take a phrase a writer for The New Republic used) seemed perfectly pitched to the subject matter. It was only later that we found out that he probably applied that style to his wedding video. It's the way he does everything. The trouble with Baseball is that one game of baseball is a lot like another, and hour after hour of it gets numbing, the monotony broken every 20 minutes or so by another trip to the woodshed to be scolded about the color bar. One tries in vain to think of the conceptual equivalent of the Ken Burns history of Jazz -- the Margaret Dumont history of whorehouses, perhaps. As for The War, if you're going to show how World War II affected four different cities you really ought to choose at least one where the war was actually fought. It's best appreciated if you watch it before you've seen The Sorrow and the Pity and The World at War.

Nevertheless, it's unjust to deny that there's talent there. There's something watchable even when he's at his most tedious, The Empire of the Air is a fascinating piece of work, and The Civil War is one of the great movies period, says me.

Tim Lucas said...

Could have sworn this was Bobby Goldsboro.