When I watched All in the Family reruns as a child, I never could have imagined the impact it would have on today’s popular culture. Though society has changed so much since then, its creative brilliance allowed a specific narrative to play out by raising controversial topics in a comedic way.
According to the Hollywood Reporter’s January 12th edition circa 1971, “All in the Family is either going to be instant smash or instant disaster. Unfortunately for Bud Yorkin and Norman Lear, who based this on the British series Till Death Do Us Part, the latter is more likely to occur. The majority of television viewers will find this show tasteless, crude, and very unfunny. Lear, who also wrote this first episode, is to be congratulated for finally giving television the relevance it has called for, but after last season’s “relevant September” he and CBS really took a chance. All in the Family was directed by John Rich.”
“For decades now, Americans have believed that their country is deeply divided by “culture wars” waged between religious con- servatives and secular liberals. In most instances, Protestant con- servatives have been cast as the instigators of such warfare, while religious liberals have been largely ignored. In this book, L. Benjamin Rolsky examines the ways in which American liberalism has helped shape cultural conflict since the 1970s through the story of how television writer and producer Norman Lear galvanized the religious left into action. ”Columbia University Press
Even though society is in a space of division regarding politics, reading an academic text like Rise and Fall of the Religious Left Politics, Television, and Popular Culture in the 1970s and Beyond could have healing value. Whatever is needed emotionally to smooth the difficult terrain of the last several years will have to be a personal journey. Most people have their own views and perspectives of the last several years, but not everyone understands their need for healing. This book is a great place to start.
Author L. Benjamin Rolsky is an adjunct instructor in the History and Anthropology Department at Monmouth University and a part-time lecturer in the Religion Department at Rutgers University.
To learn more and purchase the book, click here.