19 April 2016 | redryan64
Lengthy and Microscopic Close-up of Life & Legacy
TO VIEW THE life of Jackie Robinson simply from the point of view as a baseball player is to ignore about 7/8 of the man. Although it was his appearance center stage on the World scene due to his playing the game very, very well; his other accomplishments were equally as singularly unique and overwhelming in shaping our future.
WHEN ONE HEARS of Jackie's having to agree to remain silent and not retaliate against whatever abuse came his way, it seems incredible that a man could endure and live up to such. We have often wondered if such internalization of this tension contributed to his later deteriorating health and physical condition. Did it shorten his life expectancy?
THE FACT IS obvious that film maker, Ken Burns is a true admirer of Mr. Robinson. This we say is central to our critical analysis and it does somewhat of a disservice to the mini-series. Mr. Burns inclination to get before the camera and speak as an expert on Jackie's career.
OTHER THAN THAT one little self indulgent bit of business (understandable and forgivable), Filmmaker Burns interjects some other bit of himself by revealing much of his own political leanings.
OUR REFERENCE TO this concerns mention of the 1964 Presidential Election and campaign leading up to same. The election was between Democratic standard bearer, the incumbent Lyndon B. Johnson (Hubert H. Humphrey VP) and Arizona Senator, Barry M. Goldwater (William Miller, VP). The election was Landslide in favor of Johnson.
BUT THE CHARACTERIZATION of Mr. Goldwater was not exactly rendered in an impartial and even handed manner. We are told that Jackie Robinson believed him to be a bigot, yet we don't hear that from Jackie's own words. The blame is put on Goldwater's failure to vote yes on the Civil Rights Act of that year.*
WE ARE INFORMED in the film, however, that Jackie Robinson was a Republican and did support Richard M. Nixon over John F. Kennedy in the 1960 Presidential contest.
IN CONSIDERING THE entire length of the mini-series, we did enjoy it for its multi-faceted examination of the Man's accomplishments in any of the other fields outside of Baseball. But, for all of its lengthy on screen duration, we really learned little about Mr. Robinson that we didn't know before. It does appear to have originated as a creative use of footage originally shot for Ken Burns' BASEBALL.
NOTE: * Voting negatively on a particular bill does not necessarily serve as prima facia evidence of racial bigotry. Serving as evidence to the contrary are two other well known facts:
1) Barry Goldwater was a founding member of the Arizona NAACP.
2) As commanding General of the Arizona Air National Guard, it was Goldwater who ordered it to be desegregated.