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Home » Intrinsic nature of his art » JEAN SHEPHERD, An American Commentator

JEAN SHEPHERD, An American Commentator

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JEAN SHEPHERD AND AMERICA

Besides his continuing commentaries over the decades

regarding human foibles,

Jean Shepherd’s great  theme is the nature of what makes us

Americans. He may voice complaints, but he

undeniably loves the United States of America.

This theme may not always be obvious.

But the subject of America is not often far from his thoughts.

SOME INDICATORS OF SHEPHERD’S AMERICA IN HIS WORKS–

THE AMERICA OF GEORGE ADE (Book editor/introduction—1960)

+ JEAN SHEPHERD’S AMERICA—(Two series of television shows–

1971, 1985)

+ The minor foibles of average Americans that make us individuals.

+His participation/description of the March on Washington, 1963

+His commentaries about America re: JFK assassination. 1963

+Some customs/habits of Americans that make us American:

1. “JEAN SHEPHERD ON ROUTE ONE” (TV 1983)

“Oh, Lord, I love my fellow Americans.”

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 2. CHRISTMAS (A Christmas Story–film, 1983)

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3. SOLDIERS ON THE HOME FRONT=SHEP’S ARMY (2013)

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4. Three 90-minute TV dramas from his short stories

regarding American customs:

a. HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION

(“Phantom of the Open Hearth”–1976)

b. FOURTH OF JULY

(“Great American Fourth of July…”–1982)

c. THANKSGIVING, and escape from a wedding not of his own making

(“Star-crossed Romance of Josephine Cosnowski”– 1983)

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JEAN SHEPHERD: AN AMERICAN COMMENTATOR

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2 Comments

  1. mygingerpig says:

    By logging in you’ll post the following comment to JEAN SHEPHERD, An American Commentator: He often said that our holidays and how we celebrated them were uniquely American. What he called the minutiae of everyday life were also part of the American character–dish night at the movies, the great ice cream and gas price wars, the contests that promised the working stiffs great rewards and often delivered worthless trivia like a leg lamp or a decoder ring that translated “crummy commercials.” He saw these as part of the warp and woof of American life and built allegorical stories around them.

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  2. I think the reason so many people relate to A Christmas Story is because it is fundamentally true in so many ways to the experiences of Americans as kids and in families. I recall Shep talking about the American tradition of parades, that it was unique to America and our way of celebrating. I am reminded of the way Woody Allen celebrates New York in many of his movies. Shep did a similar kind of celebration of America. “Ludlow Kissell and the Dago Bomb that struck back” is a perfect capture of our Fourth of July.” He didn’t do a lot of flag waving except when he was being philosophical.

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