In honor of Independence Day I offer this reprise of a video I produced almost five years ago that embraces the naive wisdom found in the Golden Age of American television. Is this a great country or what?
Who would have thought that after 50 years the Cleaver brothers would be looked back upon as media visionaries? The insight and stark analysis preserved in this video unmistakably marks them as the intellectual peers of Minow, McLuhan, and Colbert.
The video above contains an actual clip from Leave It To Beaver. In the episode’s customary moralistic epilogue, the boys tackle the same defects in television news that Jon Stewart so elegantly skewered in his now famous Crossfire appearance.
Seeing this icon of innocence and family values humorously addressing a media problem that persists 50 years later, illustrates just how entrenched these problems are (and how easy they are to make fun of). But the fact that we’re still laughing at the same jokes is a bit disheartening. It’s not exactly an affirmation of progress.
The parade of prattling pundits that populate the closing credits are only a taste of the Blathering Class that infects our national discourse with deceit, diversion and division. And yet, people watch. Are we gluttons for punishment, addicted to conflict, or just starved for knowledge and hoping some will inadvertently reveal itself?
I don’t know. I guess I watch too much TV. Have a Happy Froth of July.