Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The Glory of Moyers


The other day, I was riding along the Hudson River on my bike [A quick aside: for those who don't live in Manhattan, there is perhaps no greater joy on a nice day than riding a bike along the Hudson. The sight of the river-- and its accompanying breeze-- only feet away makes you feel like you're on vacation. The aside is now over.] and listening to Bob Edwards on XM Radio. Edwards was replaying an interview with Bill Moyers from April.

Moyers was nothing short of inspiring. Sure, he's inspiring to journalists for all the obvious reasons-- his uncompromising integrity, willingness to dig for the truth and, let's face it, his ability to survive and thrive for so damn long. But, in a way, some of his comments seemed most inspiring, most apropos for filmmakers, particularly those interested in telling more intimate, human stories. The truth, he said (and I am bitterly disappointed that I don't remember his exact words), is what people don't want exposed; the rest is just publicity. When talking about the power of interviews, he said that the greatest production value, in his opinion, was the human face-- the truths that the wrinkle of a nose, the twitch of an eyebrow, the curl of a lip could impart. Discussing a series of surprisingly popular interviews that conducted years ago with Joseph Campbell called Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth with Bill Moyers, Moyers said that the power of storytelling lay in the ability to see your story in someone else's, implying the ability of stories to serve as a connective tissue, as common ground for people. To this notion I would add that stories impart possibility, by showing its audiences the reality and vitality of a life other than their own.

Sadly, I don't know Moyers as well as I should or would like to, but this interview with Edwards makes me want to know more, definitely makes me want to check out the Campbell transcripts.

Moyers' humanism-- his belief in the truth that comes out of simple human interaction-- is something that can embolden filmmakers and journalists alike.