I’m happy to announce that next week, I’ll begin shooting a four part documentary for PBS called (provisionally) “The Constitution,” in collaboration with director Stephen Ives and his production company, Insignia Films.
Stephen came to me a few years ago with an idea to do a series on the Constitution as a living document; that is, as it affects people here and now, in terms of civil liberties, government powers, and individual lives. Stephen knew he didn’t want to do a “typical PBS doc” — ie, David McCullough intoning narration as the camera pans over 18th century engravings of Founding Fathers. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)
So he approached me to be the on camera host and narrator, and we’ve developed a plan for a show that will have me cris-crossing the country, talking to people both famous and obscure whose lives have been profoundly affected by Constitutional issues.
The Constitution has been invoked a lot in public life of late, sometimes, to my mind, tendentiously and inaccurately. (It is not true, for example, that if the Constitution does not explicitly name a function of government, then that function of government is unconstitutional.) The Constitution was, and is, an imperfect document, and its strength lies in the ongoing arguments about its meaning, as much as what’s in the original text. I’m looking forward to digging into this stuff with Steve and his talented crew.
And also, getting to ride a motorcycle.
The above link goes to a short “teaser trailer” that we did here at Navy Pier in Chicago for a recent convention of PBS programmers. Look for the real thing on PBS in 2013.