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Originally invented by Ben Franklin to mess with Thomas Jefferson on his birthday ...
June 11, 2011 4:24 AM   Subscribe

Acclaimed documentary filmmaker Ken Burns takes on the untold story of The Vowels. Part 2.
posted by clerestory (21 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
Took me a moment to figure out that this post is not about the excellent song The Vowels, Part 2 by Why?.
posted by 2or3whiskeysodas at 4:45 AM on June 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


And I came here expecting to see a family history of the ever-acclaimed author Sarah Vowell, who herself has been doing a lot of history lately.
posted by hippybear at 4:49 AM on June 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


I once rode in an elevator with Ken Burns. He got off after four floors. Good thing, too, otherwise we would have all turned sepia.
posted by jonmc at 4:57 AM on June 11, 2011 [10 favorites]


I once rode in an elevator with Ken Burns. He got off after four floors. Good thing, too, otherwise we would have all turned sepia.

And your elevator panel choices were Up, Down, Pan Left, Pan Right...
posted by hal9k at 5:09 AM on June 11, 2011 [5 favorites]


"We would not have a worthwhile planet without America" Hmm interesting way to start a documentary about vowels. (By "interesting" I mean I just threw up a little in my mouth.)
posted by Gratishades at 5:29 AM on June 11, 2011


Pretty well done. Wish the interviewees had made eye contact with the lens and not the interviewer though.
posted by nathancaswell at 5:38 AM on June 11, 2011


(gratishades this is a parody)
posted by nathancaswell at 5:39 AM on June 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


nathancaswell Whoops, colour me chastised. Any parody that strikes one so offensively must be good. I'll start again. Should have noticed the title.
posted by Gratishades at 5:48 AM on June 11, 2011


2or3, Why is only sometimes in a post about vowels.
posted by condour75 at 5:51 AM on June 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


I knew "Y" was going to be controversial, but that made its valiant fight for full vowel recognition no less tragic. I'm grateful to Burns for describing every single underlying cause of that complex bit of American history in an unambiguously clear manner that no other historian can ever hope to contradict or improve upon -- it's just like what he did for the Civil War.
posted by lesli212 at 6:02 AM on June 11, 2011


It seemed kind of forced to me, you could see them really trying. Just panning over old photos doesn't do it. It didn't have the feel of Ken Burns to me.

It sure wasn't the Old Negro Space Program.
posted by marxchivist at 6:14 AM on June 11, 2011 [11 favorites]


So the Y is due to beloved president Nixon!
posted by Obscure Reference at 6:15 AM on June 11, 2011


I knew "Y" was going to be controversial

It's tragic what's happened to W. Despite co-opting the word diphthong in their own patois, that term is still thrown around un-ironically, and I find that terribly sad.
posted by StickyCarpet at 6:20 AM on June 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


Y and W can point to to small victories, like uncopywritable, but they are still regularly excluded from facetious and abstemious.
posted by StickyCarpet at 6:27 AM on June 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


SC, just add "-ly." Problem solved.
posted by GrammarMoses at 6:32 AM on June 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


marxchivist: "It sure wasn't the Old Negro Space Program "

This made me laugh -- or chortle -- so hard that I began to cry -- or weep, if you will. I would argue that both parodies are adequate -- or good -- in some ways, though both lack a few elements of what make -- or comprise -- a true Ken Burns documentary. However, it must be concluded, upon perusal of both that both are amusing and not wastes of a Saturday morning.
posted by lesli212 at 6:38 AM on June 11, 2011 [2 favorites]


It sure wasn't the Old Negro Space Program

Oh man "NASSA" is just brilliant
posted by nathancaswell at 6:55 AM on June 11, 2011


so is the white african american studies guy who says everything 2 different ways
posted by nathancaswell at 7:02 AM on June 11, 2011 [1 favorite]


We're this far into this thread and none of you have pointed out that if you get Ken Burns involved in a documentary about these letters you will, most certainly, end up with (a) vowel movement?
posted by tomswift at 7:03 AM on June 11, 2011


Splendid!
posted by Capt. Renault at 9:31 AM on June 11, 2011


It seemed kind of forced to me, you could see them really trying. Just panning over old photos doesn't do it. It didn't have the feel of Ken Burns to me.

It sure wasn't the Old Negro Space Program.


I came in here to say exactly this.
The Old Negro Space Program benefitted from great voice work, among other things, while the vowels one had merely okay voice work.
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:02 PM on June 11, 2011


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