– An enlightening road trip to knowledge
Courtesy of Rahoul Ghose/PBS
During PBS’ CONSTITUTION USA with Peter Sagal session at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour in Pasadena, Calif. on Monday, January 14, 2013, executive producer Catherine Allan, director Stephen Ives, featured scholar Dr. Richard Beeman and series host Peter Sagal discuss where the U.S. Constitution lives, how it works.
By Valerie Milano
Pasadena, CA (Hollywood Today
) 5/8/13 – “On the matter of the Constitution, Americans have always vaguely revered the Constitution, but never in my life have I seen Americans so passionately interested in the Constitution, and, of course, also passionately divided over what the Constitution means. That’s the good news. The bad news is that Americans continue to be amazingly ignorant of the Constitution”, stated Dr. Richard Beeman, history professor at the University of Pennsylvania and a featured scholar in many episodes of the new show Constitution USA
, during a recent interview with Hollywood Today
and other reporters.
Most history lessons can be incredible boring, but what if the topic is imperative to our general governmental knowledge? What if what most people believe about our nations owner’s manual isn’t accurate? How does a filmmaker get people’s attention in order to teach them the information in an entertaining way? He does what any creative filmmaker does, he thinks outside of the box. In Constitution USA
, Peter Segal (Wait, Wait … Don’t Tell Me
) takes us on a cross-country constitutional journey to learn the rights and the wrongs of our nation’s most misinterpreted document.
To get idea of why Constitution USA
came into existence Dr. Beeman explains, “in a recent poll, 50 percent of Americans cannot name the three branches of government. A poll done 10 years earlier, I don’t know whether this would be the case among [today’s] teenagers, was that about 70 percent of teenagers could name more of The Three Stooges
than they could of the three branches of government. So I think we really are in a situation where Americans are passionately interested in the Constitution but really need to know more about how it works.”
Sagal calls himself a “badass nerd” so of course his journey starts at a Harley-Davidson dealership. Here he purchased a touring bike including all the accessories with the idea of traveling cross-country to talk with some experts, but mostly to everyday American folks, about how the Constitution affects us. His first stop is in northern California to touch on the topic of medical marijuana and how state laws can sometimes conflict with federal laws.
In the first episode, Yale law professor, Akhil R. Amar, dubbed “the Yoda of Constitutional law” discusses the Constitution, “…it makes everything possible, it’s epic, it’s actually the most democratic deed in the history of planet earth. It’s that impressive. The world will never be the same. It’s the hinge of history. I divide history between the millennia that happened before 1787 and then 200 years since. It’s like the big bang. The momentum of this revolutionary moment bringing the people together to govern themselves will ripple out and give us a world that we all live in today.”
Sagal’s travels take him all over the Land of Liberty so, of you really want to take in some great information about American history and our Constitution Constitution USA
is the way to do it, it aired last night on PBS, May 7 – 28th