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On Norman Lear

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We should at least have a quick thread on Norman Lear. He’s really so astonishing. He was 70s TV. Almost every great show of that decade came from him. And these shows–I mean, for the first time ever and it never has really happened since, you have comedies that honestly deal with racial issues. From All in the Family to The Jeffersons to Sanford and Son, you just have incredible bravery and a man willing to pull it off. What he realized is that racists also need to be humanized, that America’s racial politics are funny even as they are messed off, and that you can trust an audience to get these things. None of these three things are widely admitted today anywhere in American entertainment. You have serious shows dealing with race in a real way. I mean, The Wire is the greatest show of all time based in part on this honestly. But comedy? You can barely tell an Irish joke these days without the Knights of Columbus blowing up at you and forget about mentioning race in any other context. Dave Chappelle came the closest until he imploded into his own extremely unfunny flat out intolerance. And then of course there’s the feminist shows such as Maude and One Day at a Time. That a middle aged white man was behind all of these shows makes it all even more surprising. And god bless him for maintaining himself both mentally and physically until the very end, which evidently happened quite quickly. A remarkable life.

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