By ScheerPost Staff / Original to ScheerPost
“Truly brilliant in its honesty as one would expect from the man who transformed television from a myopic center of banality into a medium of accountability. All of the major controversies that confront us today from war and peace on through race relations, gay rights, gender equality, freedom of and from religion, economic inequality, the right and obligation to challenge power and the powerful and the reality that the American idea would always be a work in progress was brought into the American home by this genius,” ScheerPost’s own Bob Scheer wrote, when he was offered to be the first to review Norman Lear’s book Even This I Get to Experience on Amazon.
Lear’s career speaks for itself when looking at its importance in American history. A six time Emmy winner, a member of the Television Academy Hall of Fame, a recipient of the National Medal of Arts and Kennedy Center Honors only paints a fraction of the picture of Lear’s impact.
Throughout his catalog of brilliant shows, Lear pioneered the interest and importance of discussing crucial topics in today’s world. “Sanford and Son” paved the way for Black family shows in a television environment saturated with white characters. “All in the Family” brought working class and other pertinent issues that were deemed “unsuitable” for television at the time to the forefront of the silver screen. Racism, antisemitism, infidelity, homosexuality, women’s liberation, rape, religion, miscarriages, abortion, breast cancer, the Vietnam War, menopause, and impotence—common topics in today’s day—were controversial and groundbreaking to discuss and intertwine in a sitcom.
His founding of the People for the American Way, a non-profit that sought to challenge the Moral Majority, a Christian right organization built to serve as a political force, brought education and research to progressive causes. Declare Yourself, a nonpartisan, non profit campaign that aimed to register and encourage young voters, has registered 4 million people since its inception in 2004 at the behest of Lear.
Lear’s official Instagram page posted a regular “Breakfast Thoughts” video with an irregular twist: reflecting on 100 years of life. Watch below:
ScheerPost appreciates and commemorates Norman Lear’s life and wishes him and his family the best on this special day.