The 90’s, episode 406: The American Way

Episode 406 of the award winning series, The 90's. This episode is called "THE AMERICAN WAY" and features the following segments:

02:23Copy video clip URL “90’s Video Poll” by Nancy Cain. In Yorba Linda, California at the birthplace of Richard Nixon, a tourist responds to the question “Who would you trust to be President?” Answer: “I would support whoever supports family values. That is really the bottom line.”

03:12Copy video clip URL “Patrick McDougall” by Patrick Creadon. In Chicago: “I don’t know too many politicians I would trust. I might consider voting for someone new to the scene.”

03:40Copy video clip URL “Julie Harding” by Jay April. In Los Angeles: “My name is Julie Harding. I’m a legal secretary and I’m also a bridge tournament referee. I think Frank Zappa should be President because he can carry a tune and he eats his broccoli.”

03:56Copy video clip URL “Political Posture” by Bill Tunnicliffe. Spoof of a political ad styled like a Calvin Klein commercial.

06:00Copy video clip URL “James ‘Bo’ Gritz” by Jim Mulryan. James “Bo” Gritz, the most decorated Green Beret of the Vietnam War and the role model for “Rambo,” discuss his Presidential aspirations with a radio interviewer: “People say, ‘Well, Bo, what chance do you think you have against the establishment?’ My return is, ‘What choice have you ever had?’ I honestly believe that America, like Rip Van Winkle, is waking up now. It’s been about 40 years. People are scratching their backsides, rubbing their eyes. They’re asking, ‘What’s been going on while I’ve been asleep?’ Politics is about two layers lower than whale manure and if you want to get dirty, just get in the political hog pen. I believe D.C. is the one more hill that we’ve got to take and prefer to call it Washington, the District of Criminals. It’s time the government learned who they are working for. We, the people are back.”

08:46Copy video clip URL “Red, White and Blues” by Howard Heitner. Different peoples comments on America and the flag are juxtaposed over various images of Old Glory: “The Pledge of Allegiance and the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence represent something that’s very beautiful and very fair and principles of a democracy, but I don’t think that is the reality of how we live or what we live under. The reality is money and the quest for power… Greedy Americans… Americans are lying bastard cut-throats… I don’t think the U.S. government has really done the right thing to other people… An aggressive nation meddling in affairs they really shouldn’t be involved with…They’re always very proud to suppress, they’re always very proud to beat… They wave the flag and everybody’s supposed to jump up and down… A lot of people died to uphold the ideas the flag represents. To me it is disrespectful to see the flag burned…”

12:53Copy video clip URL “Echo Man” by Nancy Cain. At Venice Beach: Echo Man belts out his unique rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” and then asks for tips. “This isn’t Disneyland,” he declares.

13:32Copy video clip URL “Timothy Keating” by Jay April. In Los Angeles: “Jimmy Carter should be President. He’s a proven winner. He’s the only President I voted for who got in and he’s had the most graceful retirement of any President living.”

14:05Copy video clip URL “John Nolan” by Jay April. In Los Angeles: “I don’t see anyone with integrity on the horizon… How about C. Everett Koop. He’s a doctor, the country’s sick and at least the man has some integrity, which the rest of that bunch don’t.”

14:39Copy video clip URL “Robert Clark” by Patrick Creadon. In Chicago: “One that strikes me as trustworthy is Ralph Nader. He has a sense that business leaders are not to be trusted and a healthy skepticism of the powers of government.”

15:20Copy video clip URL “Ralph Nader” by Bill Stamets. Ralph Nader is shown from a behind scenes view while being interviewed at WMUR, a New Hampshire TV station. He is running as a write in candidate in the New Hampshire primary. “There’s too much power and money in too few hands in this country. We’ve got to develop new reforms that will give voters, consumers and taxpayers more power to shape the future of this country. The problems about the candidate running around in New Hampshire now is that they can’t deliver because the forces are all stacked against them.” After the interview he complains about only being given two minutes to lay out his ideas, “You have to talk in very quick soundbytes and it was pretty contrary to the kind of reflection on the important issues facing this country and the world that communication systems should permit. The public airways are not really accessible to the public. That’s why we need an audience network. We can’t let television be trivialized and marginalized. We have to open up television to an intelligent community of citizens who will learn how to communicate to one another through this electronic medium through other than quick eight second bites, if you’re lucky.”

17:51Copy video clip URL “How They Saw The New World” by Larry Kless. An experimental, artistically rendered anchor man comments on the powers of television, “Once upon a time television was supposed to operate in the public interest. But lo and behold, it has captured the public and made it a product, which it sells to advertisers. In the process TV has become the nation’s primary information machine.”

18:22Copy video clip URL “Ike For President.” An animated campaign commercial for Dwight Eisenhower.

19:16Copy video clip URL “Pay No Attention To Those Men Behind the Curtain” by Todd R. Smith. A fictional meeting of members of the White Men’s Club: “Do you understand why all these groups are trying to stir things up?… Look we’re in the club, the White Men’s Club… Stupid name… Let’s face it, we don’t pay much attention to this club… Our rules aren’t even written down. We just obey them… We don’t whine about equality, because this is democracy… Anyone can succeed. We just hire the best candidate for the position… The fact that more white men possess the qualities we look for is nothing to make excuses about… But we don’t like to talk in terms of race or color, sexual preference or religion. After all, we’re just people.”

21:23Copy video clip URL “Wally Nelson” by Robbie Leppzer. While gardening in Deerfield, Massachusetts, Wally Nelson comments, “I will not vote. I consider it a waste of my time.” When asked if there is democracy in America he responds, “I’ve lived in America all my life and I’ve never seen democracy, so I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about.”

23:58Copy video clip URL Ronald Reagan clip. Reagan from 1980: “There are those who question the way we choose a president, saying the process places difficult and exhausting burdens on those seeking office. I have not found it so.”

24:17Copy video clip URL “Bill Clinton” by Bill Stamets. At a campaign rally in New Hampshire, Bill Clinton, governor of Arkansas, says, “Running for president is a very humbling experience. And some days it’s hard to convince yourself that anyone deserves to be President.” Clinton is directed by photographers to walk toward them holding a bag in a parking lot. “Then we want you to do it on rollerblades,” one of them says. Clinton to a crowd on the campaign trail: “I do believe since you are the first primary in the nation, you have a heavy responsibility to make all the politicians who come to this state in both parties go beyond rhetoric and thirty second ads and tell you what they would do if they were elected president. ” Clinton plays billiards and goes bowling. At the bowling lane, he thinks he has just knocked all the pins down, “How can that happen? I hit it right down the middle. Didn’t you think I was going to get that one?”

26:28Copy video clip URL “Uncle Sam Falls” by Bill Stamets. A humorous clip where a mannequin dressed as Uncle Sam topples over and people scramble to right him.

27:03Copy video clip URL “Sex and Politics” by John Axelrad. Dr. Susan Block, a disk jockey who hosts a sex radio talk show and presidential candidate, explains that she is a candidate who will be open about her sex life. She further explains that being sexually conservative does not mean being a competent president.

29:40Copy video clip URL “Hot Water” by Jim Mulryan. John Boehn talks while sitting in a Victorville, California hot spring: “If you watch as people deny themselves sex experiences their faces tighten up. They’re angry all the time because they’ve seen the sex stimulation and it’s beauty, but the y never have any access to it. Look at priests. Their upper lips go, unless they’re priests who have found a good buddy. If they continue it, their lower lip goes also. Look at the lips of some of the people determining our laws. Look at Kennedy. He’s living. Those people have a serious disadvantage in the political arena. . . We destroy a man, he can be politically brilliant, he can be a wonderful man, he can have marvelous ideas; but if he went to bed with the wrong person, well forget it, he’s out. To make ‘sex’ a dirty word so that people can’t experience it, except under the terms defined by law. I think it’s an abomination. It’s cruel and disgusting.”

30:38Copy video clip URL “Positive Motion” by Andy Abrahams Wilson. People with AIDS use a cooperative dance class as a kind of therapy. Over scenes from a dance: “The virus keeps us apart and shows me my strength, joins me with you.” Participants in the group give personal statements: “I don’t know what to do with all of this. As hard as I want to stuff it all away, it keeps knocking in, it keeps pounding away and I don’t know what to do about it some days.” Another one comments: “I’ve been walking around and all the people who are in my head, around me, are dead. So many of the people I have a good time with aren’t here. It’s just hard for me this week. I’m glad I’m here because I’ve got friends here.” The group dances.

35:45Copy video clip URL “Eileen Myles” by Skip Blumberg. Poet and LGBT icon Myles talks about her campaign as a write-in candidate.

37:47Copy video clip URL “Joe Begley” by Appalshop. In Blakey, Kentucky: “I don’t see any leadership and I see greed and suspicion and selfishness and when it’s like that nobody can survive. The people in Washington know nothing about reality.”

39:16Copy video clip URL “Panama Girl” by Che Che Martinez. In Panama, a little girl sings a song, “It’s said they came in three ships to discover what we knew was our land. Now they’re calling it the encounter of two worlds. There was imposition, destruction and the sacrifice of our people. They are saying they brought civilization, what about the syphilis and colonialism they left us?”

41:08Copy video clip URL “A Matter of Conscience” by Robbie Leppzer. In Colerain, Massachusetts, Betsy Corner comments on the arrest of her husband for his refusal to pay taxes and the seizing of their home by the Federal Government: “We refused to pay our Federal taxes because one half of those taxes go to past, present and future war making. We don’t want to pay for killing. We don’t want to pay for nuclear weapons, genocidal weapons, nor intervention in countries where we don’t belong.” In the Hampshire County Jail in North Hampton, Massachusetts, Randy Kehler is incarcerated: “I’ve been to Nicaragua twice in the last five years and I’ve seen the results of our military policies there. The killing still continues in El Salvador>, financed and supported by our country. Then there was Panama and before that Grenada and last year the horror of the Persian Gulf slaughter and I don’t think that’s going to be the end. It’s going to keep going, keep going, keep going.” Betsy says they fill out their tax forms and figure out what they owe and give 50% to charities that help victims of war and 50% to local groups “who have lost out because our priorities are skewed priorities.” Randy: “Killing is wrong… Nobody can tell me that it’s right. If that’s not right, to refuse to be a part of it must be right.”

45:09Copy video clip URL “Joan Jett Blakk” by Bill Stamets. Queer Nation presidential candidate Joan Jett Blakk: “The Republicans and Democrats: I think they’re all the same myself. That’s why we have the Queer Nation Party. It’s different, it’s just different. [Republicans and Democrats] pretty much think the same way, but they tell you they think differently. I’ll be the only president that answers the phone myself.”

46:09Copy video clip URL “Jody Sibert” by Nancy Cain. In Santa Monica, California: “Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis… No laughing… I meant it… I haven’t even seen the movie, but that’s how much I trust them.”

46:36Copy video clip URL “Congressman Jose Serrano” by Eddie Becker. “I’d like to see someone like Jesse Jackson run for one specific reason. If someone like him does not run who will put on the table the issues of the poor?… If this country can liberate Kuwait, why can’t it liberate the poor of the South Bronx?”

47:27Copy video clip URL “John Eric Priestly” by Jim Mulryan. On the curb in Los Angeles: “It’ s not economically feasible to liberate black people. White people can say whatever they want, but they do not want to be under the supervision of nobody black. Period.”

48:33Copy video clip URL “Tom Laughlin” by Garth Roger Bacon. Presidential candidate Tom Laughlin (a.k.a. Billy Jack) comments on Americans’ lack of interest and the lack of choices they have in the political process. According to a poll his staff conducted on the streets of New Hampshire, more than 87% of the people “detest” all of the candidates. He proposes that it will take someone from outside of the political system to make a change.

50:24Copy video clip URL “Tony Fitzpatrick” by Patrick Creadon. The artist at work: “I think you would have to look at the kind of guy who would want to be president. Doesn’t that scare you? By the time they get up the food chain, they’ve hocked every bit of their soul, every principal. Those guys have whored out every bit of their humanity just to get in a position to be elected. So, it’s a matter of which scumbag do you want? Why don’t they tell us who’s really running this country? AT&T, IBM, Dow…”

52:06Copy video clip URL “The Motorcade Sped On” by Mass Media. Archival footage of JFK slickly edited and set to a beat.

54:46Copy video clip URL “Blase Bonpane” by Nancy Cain. Dr. Blase Bonpane, peace activist: “We don’t have a relationship between church and state, but we have a relationship between media and state.”

56:18Copy video clip URL Excerpt from “Nixon Resignation.” From the White House pool feed. Moments before Nixon resigns in 1974: “My friend Ollie always wants to take a lot of pictures. I’m afraid he’ll catch me picking my nose. You wouldn’t print that, would you Ollie?”

56:42Copy video clip URL End Credits.



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