Don’t call it cancel culture, call it cancel careerism.
Nearly 140 documentary filmmakers have signed onto a letter given to PBS executives, suggesting the service may provide an unfair level of support to white creators, facing a “systemic failure to fulfill (its) mandate for a diversity of voices.”
Titled “A Letter to PBS From Viewers Like Us,” the missive references Ken Burns, arguably one of PBS’ biggest non-fiction stars and creator of popular projects like Baseball, Jazz, The Civil War and an upcoming six-hour program called Hemingway. Citing data from the filmmaker’s website, it says Burns has created about 211 hours of programming for PBS over 40 years, through an exclusive relationship with the service that will last until at least 2022.
Such an arrangement leaves less room for filmmakers of color, who may struggle to gain similar funding or promotional support.
It leaves less room for anyone who isn’t Ken Burns. Likewise, the existence of Stephen King leaves less room in horror novels for anyone who isn’t King. And the existence of Kenny G, well you get the idea.
The problem here is a successful white documentarian in an age where the white part is a liability.
Demanding the suppression of a filmmaker because of his race would have been unacceptable a few years ago, but is now the new normal.
“How many other ‘independent’ filmmakers have a decades-long exclusive relationship with a publicly-funded entity?” the text asks. “Public television supporting this level of uninvestigated privilege is troubling not just for us as filmmakers but as tax-paying Americans.”
Umm guys, speaking as a taxpayer, most taxpayers want your entire parasitic industry funded by money stolen from taxpayers gone.
There’s really some horseshoe stuff going on when documentary filmmakers who work with PBS attack it as taxpayers.
But the documentary filmmakers haven’t actually bothered to research basic facts, like whom they’re sending the letter to.
The letter, sent to PBS President Paula Kerger and former ombudsman Michael Getler on Tuesday, was co-signed by several high-profile filmmakers — some of whom produce programs for PBS — including Oscar-nominated director Garrett Bradley (Time), Oscar-winning director Laura Poitras (Citizenfour) and Emmy winning editor and director Sam Pollard (MLK/FBI). (Note: Getler died in 2018, and PBS now has a public editor, Ricardo Sandoval-Palos.)
You can trust these guys to have done their research. Not that it matters because PBS and Ken Burns can be counted on, in the current fashion to form a circular white guilt firing squad.
The Emmy-winning documentarian Ken Burns said Thursday that he supports the goals of a group of nonfiction filmmakers who have criticized PBS over a lack of diversity and an “over-reliance” on his work.
“I wholeheartedly support the objectives of the letter writers,” Burns said in an interview. “I think this is hugely important, and one of the reasons we’ve been in public television has been a commitment to inclusion and diversity.”
Good thing that Ken Burns supports getting rid of Ken Burns. I look forward to the 12-part documentary about the purging of Ken Burns.
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