December 19, 2014

Faces Of America – Telling AMERICAN Stories

Genealogy Catches On

How many years have we waited to finally get some genealogy related programming on TV?  The “hobby” has come a long way from public libraries and genealogical societies to prime time television, hasn’t it?

The Debate

It’s inevitable that there will be debate over the format and content of programs like Faces of America and Who Do You Think You Are?.  Tonight’s second installment of Faces had people in the Facebook genealogy community discussing whether having celebrity’s families as the focus of the program was worthwhile.  It depends on if you’re a genea-phile or just a regular “Joe” watching.  Like it or not, someone is paying for that programming even if it is PBS (aka, you and me).  As such, they have to make sure there’s a good variety of people with interesting history, but they also have to begin the series with notable people to “sell” it to the non-genealogists.

The Result

I’m OK with that, and I’ve even gotten past the ‘jumping around’ of the stories as Faces of America progressed tonight.  Do I wish they would stick to one story and tell it clear through? Of course.  But I also understand that if they did that it wouldn’t satisfy the people who came to see their favorite celeb’s family history, so like a good recipe you get a little smidge here, and a dab of something else there.  “Keep them wanting more“, right?

Hope For Future Shows

No doubt, the current producers of the show are taking note of what is being said, pro and con, and if there is another (second) series they may change things or stay with the same formula. Do we really care that much?

No, I don’t.  I think it’s much more important to capture the interest of the viewing public any way it can be done.  Our society is in serious moral decay, with family unity and honor a casualty of great proportions.

If there is something to snag the interest of people it’s going to be that we show them that all people have a story, not just Meryl Streep or Mario Batali.  We have to take baby steps to get the ball rolling.  We need to start with the Yamaguchi’s and hope that the next series will progress to American’s in yet other walks of life.  We all have a story, and I, for one, think all of them are interesting.

Global Cousins, American Citizens

Let’s open our minds and embrace the gift of history and genealogical knowledge that Faces of America’s content is presenting to us.

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