Thursday, May 15, 2008

Changing The World

It's been a busy time of year. My oldest daughter will graduate magna cum laude from Wheaton College on Saturday. I'm very proud of her. I never got within shouting distance of having Latin on my undergraduate diploma. I've got a lot to do to get ready for the party on Saturday.

I stopped to watch some NBA playoff basketball the other night. During a time out I naturally surfed the channels to see what else was on. When I got to VH1, I saw that they were running a four-part history entitled "Sex and the Revolution". It had "sex" in the title, so of course I stopped to see what it was about. It was a documentary about sexuality in America from the 50s on. It featured Kinsey, Hugh Hefner, all the usual suspects.

The thing that struck me was the style. It interspersed still and moving pictures between commentary by "celebrities" and "experts", weaving them all together with a narrator on top.

The first time I saw history presented this way was Ken Burns' "Civil War" series on PBS. I was riveted during that presentation. I wasn't a Civil War buff, but that program almost turned me. Ken Burns has done a lot since then (baseball, jazz, World War II), but that first one was truly ground breaking and influential. Every document since seems to copy his ideas.

Ken Burns is a very talented man, but not every talented person gets to say that they changed the world for those that came after them.

What a great accomplishment. It started me thinking about how I've changed the world in my time on this earth. I can't come close to Ken Burns, let alone any truly ground breaking individual. I'd better get busy. Who knows how much more time I'll have?

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