Friday, November 04, 2005

Good Night; and Good Luck

Ryan and I just watched “Good Night; and Good Luck”. This black and white film chronicles the end of the McCarthy hearings in the 1950s from the viewpoint of Edward Murrow, a CBS reporter who was publicly critical of McCarthy’s methods. Aside from being well written and beautifully directed, it provoked several thoughts from me.

As trite as this sounds, this movie beautifully illustrated the saying that “Those who do not know their history are doomed to repeat it.” The historical footage of the McCarthy hearings was frightening and eerily familiar. In an age where our civil rights are being increasingly co-opted for the greater good, I find echoes of McCarthy. While we have not yet reached hearings in which people are convicted of communism (or terrorism) by unproduceable witnesses, we do live in an era where suspected terrorists can be held without trial indefinitely. The search for terrorism has not yet reached the fevered pitch of the red scare, but we need to be careful and protective of our liberties.

Second, “Good Night; and Good Luck” showed the birth of the ratings war that currently rules our television viewing. Murrow’s program was canceled because people would rather be entertained by Ed Sullivan, and without ratings, the show had no sponsors. What struck me about the broadcasts portrayed in the movie was how cerebral they were. I cannot believe an audience today would take the time to comprehend Murrow’s message. I don’t know if people are dumber today or simply lack the willingness, but it is a shame that our news is delivered in 15 second sound bites with words no more than 3 syllables long.

It’s been a long time since I watched a movie that made me think as much as I have tonight. I highly recommend this film for its history and commentary about how precious it is to have the rights afforded us in this country.

1 comment:

sapsparky said...

I'm glad to hear that you guys enjoyed it. Sara and I are planning on see it soon.

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