Pilot for a program called "Edge." This show focuses on politically controversial artists, including Andrew Dice Clay, Lorna Simpson, Dread Scott Tyler, Karen Finley, John Fleck, Holly Hughes, and Tim Miller.
00:00Copy video clip URL Slate, count-in.
00:11Copy video clip URL Disclaimer about the strong language in the program.
00:33Copy video clip URL Show opening.
01:11Copy video clip URL Cold open: “Art of the ’90s meets politics of the ’90s.”
02:13Copy video clip URL Host Robert Krulwich introduces the first segment, which explores the hype around comedian Andrew Dice Clay. Clay was an extremely popular comedian at the time despite his offensive brand of humor. Vanity Fair critic James Walcott stars in a skit spliced in with video clips of Dice called “Another Day in Hell.”
04:21Copy video clip URL Chris Rock and Mario Joyner talk about Clay. “The masses are scumbags,” Rock explains. “Everybody says you gotta be nice and appeal to the masses. The masses aren’t nice.”
04:49Copy video clip URL Cornell West, a professor of religion at Princeton University, puts the growing crudeness of American culture into historical perspective. “America has never had to come to terms with national decline, with economic contraction, and with spiritual impoverishment all at the same time.”
05:35Copy video clip URL Walcott dreams of a time when things were nicer with clips of “Leave it to Beaver.” Then, for comparison, we see “Married with Children.” “Now, even prime time family entertainment talks with a swagger.”
06:45Copy video clip URL Frederic Smoler, a professor of intellectual history at Sarah Lawrence College, talks about Clay’s blue-collar background and fans. “I think there’s an orgy of upper- and middle-class hatred about Clay.”
07:19Copy video clip URL Lionel West explains: “Andrew Dice Clay…expresses the sense that many young, white, working-class males feel, of being marginalized in a moment in which it looks as if black people, brown people, and Asians, and indigenous people, and women have moved to the center stage.”
07:50Copy video clip URL Sam Kinison, comedian, talks about people realizing they’re not getting the American Dream and the frustration this causes.
08:17Copy video clip URL Smoler talks about the demographics of Clay’s fans, and the appeal of his various personae.
09:25Copy video clip URL Why are there so many female fans of Andrew Dice Clay? Kinison and Smoler explain.
10:05Copy video clip URL Tricia Rose talks about sexual relations in modern times.
10:23Copy video clip URL Walcott tries out Clay’s tactics for picking up women – he insults a woman and predictably gets slapped.
10:37Copy video clip URL Rock and Joyner say that every comedian has tried out tasteless jokes. They feel that Clay may be getting so much negative attention because of the number of tasteless jokes he tells, as well as his smirking persona.
11:03Copy video clip URL Walcott reads joke by Clay. Then he reads joke by Jackie Mason.
11:22Copy video clip URL Rock says Johnny Carson has told offensive jokes about black people.
11:36Copy video clip URL Rose says that when we censor things like Clay’s jokes, we lose a sense of what modern anxieties are present in our society. With censorship, “what we have is a forced civility.”
11:55Copy video clip URL Smoler says that most of Clay’s jokes are sexist, racist, and vile and not worth talking about.”What’s impressive about Clay is the emancipatory and truth-telling impulse in him,” he explains.
12:47Copy video clip URL West says that racism and sexism have been the normal state for the history of this country but now we cannot go back.
13:14Copy video clip URL Dice chokes up on stage at the Arsenio Hall show while talking about his showbiz journey.
14:21Copy video clip URL Introduction to a segment about photographer Lorna Simpson. Simpson’s work is presented as a counterpoint to Andrew Dice Clay, because she seeks to undermine stereotypes.
15:06Copy video clip URL Montage of Simpson’s work. Simpson talks about the experience of working within a white mainstream.
15:35Copy video clip URL Josh Baer, an art dealer, talks about the the art world’s search for work that explores issues of race and gender.
15:58Copy video clip URL Simpson lists issues that are present in her work, and explains her photo series “Kid Glove.”
18:00Copy video clip URL Simpson at work.
18:22Copy video clip URL Armond White, City Sun-Arts Editor, talks about how Simpson’s work provides a much-needed black perspective in the art world. “This is practically new–at least it’s new for the mainstream art world.”
18:49Copy video clip URL Footage of Simpson’s work at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York. Gary Sangster, curator, talks about Simpson’s art in the context of the Decade exhibition, which explores identity.
19:53Copy video clip URL Simpson talks about how African Americans appear in mainstream society and about African American hair. We see her sketches for images.
20:54Copy video clip URL Alva Rogers, performance artist, talks about Simpson’s work.
21:53Copy video clip URL John Hiatt performs his song, ‘Through Your Hands,’ on a rooftop.
25:50Copy video clip URL The host shows us an apartment building in New York City where Richard Nixon tried to get an apartment, but was turned away. Buck Henry goes to the newly opened Nixon museum in Nixon’s birthplace, Yorba Linda, California. Henry drives around Yorba Linda, showing us the sights.
26:40Copy video clip URL Shots of Yorba Linda. Dedication of museum with brief shots of important politicians, such as the Reagans and the Bushes. Tom Brokaw does a report.
27:29Copy video clip URL Hugh Hewitt, director of Nixon library, talks about the opening.
27:40Copy video clip URL Henry asks museum staff about the film playing at the museum, “Never Give Up: Nixon in the Arena.” We see parts of the film and items from museum.
28:48Copy video clip URL Stanley Kutler talks about the Nixon Library as a theme park where reality was designed by Nixon.
29:08Copy video clip URL Henry asks for information about the Nixon birthplace and library. Then he goes into the house and takes a tour. The tour guide explains that the Nixon home cost $800 to build from the Sears catalog.
29:58Copy video clip URL Hewitt says that this museum is fair and balanced and they do address Watergate. “Particularly contrasted with the other presidential museums, many of which are just pure shrines.”
30:18Copy video clip URL Kutler says it is impossible to separate Nixon from Watergate and that it would have been impossible for the museum’s curators to omit reference to the event, so this alone is not a sign of a balanced portrait.
30:40Copy video clip URL Alex Cranston shows us the Watergate room. We learn that the text in the room was written by the President’s office.
31:06Copy video clip URL Kutler explains his dissatisfaction with the Watergate Room: their thesis is that Nixon was persecuted by Democrats who wanted to reverse the mandate of 1972 and that they were engaged in a coup against him. They treat it as an aberration and not as characteristic of his career as a whole. There was no mention of Nixon’s acceptance of the pardon, which according to the laws of our country was effectively an admission of guilt.
33:20Copy video clip URL Kutler talks about Nixon’s skillful manipulation of the media. Nixon talks to Tom Brokaw and his mother. Brokaw insists he is not there to bless the site, he is simply reporting. Man talks about Nixon’s final campaign – the campaign for history. Tom Brokaw talks about Nixon’s positive sides.
35:20Copy video clip URL “Someday, he’ll be left alone to history,” Kutler says.
37:18Copy video clip URL Krulwich introduces Tony Jones, administrator at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago, to begin a segment about politically controversial art. “We are a kind of laboratory for the visual arts,” Jones explains. “Sometimes we create tranquilizers, and sometimes we create gunpowder.”
37:50Copy video clip URL We are shown a controversial painting of Chicago Mayor Harold Washington wearing women’s underwear. The painting was done by a student at the Art Institute of Chicago and exhibited there. Coincidentally, Washington died a few weeks after the painting was displayed, which heightened the general offense in the public.
38:53Copy video clip URL Footage of Chicago Police “arresting” the painting of Harold Washington. The students demanded “No censorship by City Hall.” While Jones professed to agree with them and battled to have the painting remain up, he did pay for two full page ads apologizing to the citizens of Chicago.
40:17Copy video clip URL ‘Dread’ Scott Tyler talks about his revolutionary artwork. His controversial piece was called “What is the proper way to display the American flag.” It consisted of an American flag on floor and a shelf with a book on which to write comments. In order to access the comment book, however, viewers had to step on the flag.
40:40Copy video clip URL Veterans protest in the museum and clash with other museum-goers. The groups argue until one of the veterans eventually takes the flag and requests arrest.
42:12Copy video clip URL Jones says that the public isn’t used to this kind of art with political meaning. He says that for a long time, abstract art dominated, and it was not understood by the general public. He says that now, however, figurative art is back and it tackles very controversial subjects and the public is reacting strongly to it. We see huge protests outside the Art Institute.
42:38Copy video clip URL Joe Medosh, class president at the Art Institute while Tyler’s work was being shown, says students were afraid to go to school. Tyler talks about his experience being censored by the Art Institute a year later. Jones says that he has no regret for his actions standing up to the protesters and exhibiting the students’ work.
46:58Copy video clip URL Jones says that the Art Institute is expecting an even worse year for anger. “More artists are seeking to confront their audiences and make them mad, and more politicians are happy to get mad, if in the process they can get votes.”
47:28Copy video clip URL Section on four performance artists who are currently being denied funding for their controversial work. We see clips of performances by each. First is Karen Finley, who complains about the political structure of museums.
48:50Copy video clip URL Next artist: John Fleck. Fleck crawls to a toilet and drinks water from it.
49:33Copy video clip URL Holly Hughes performs a monologue recounting a conversation with her mother about her own sexual orientation.
50:39Copy video clip URL Tim Miller protests discriminatory hospital care for AIDS patients and complains about medical treatment for the poor.
52:08Copy video clip URL Text gives figures about government funding. In 1990, the government gave less money to arts funding than it did to military bands.
52:21Copy video clip URL Section on the American trend of news anchors doing on-site reports and America’s love affair with news anchors.
52:42Copy video clip URL News clips with anchors on site.
53:20Copy video clip URL Harry Shearer talks about England’s “news readers” compared with America’s news anchors. He says that American anchors’ sole purpose on the site is to convey mood. The key to their job is not telling us news but rather telling us how to feel about it. He points out that the anchors are actually less informed than the viewers about the events because the anchor spends the majority of his time traveling to the sites.
57:17Copy video clip URL Credits roll.
58:35Copy video clip URL End of tape.