AS a former (and very minor) member of the nation's conspiracy of jazz critics, i remember quite well the vitriol hurled at ken burns for his "Jazz" documentary. the UK's guardian, for instance, called the series, for its treating jazz like an art form that died with ellington, "a jam session in a mausoleum."
in some cases the charges were fair, in other cases not.
in any case it struck me that burns was experiencing a critical backlash, an exhaustion of the good will that had built up with "the civil war" in the early '90s. compared to hipper/angrier figures like errol morris and michael moore, the earnest burns was deemed as cool as his famous bowl haircut.
HERE is my piece on what may greet his new "the national parks: america's best idea."
i met burns not long ago to discuss his new project, his early work, and his critical reception. i like him a lot, a very intense guy who's willing to get swept away in a story, its characters and conflicts. anyone who helps bring more attention to john muir cant be all bad.