Lear helped 'define a generation' but that is no compliment

Lear helped 'define a generation' but that is no compliment

Lear helped 'define a generation' but that is no compliment

Some notable news this week is the passing of television producer Norman Lear, the creative mind behind numerous hit TV shows, but Lear is also being remembered for using humor to mock the nuclear family and introduce post-modernism to America’s living rooms.

Lear passed away from natural causes December 5 at age 101.

In one story about his passing, CBS News credited Lear for introducing TV shows in the 1970s, such as “All in the Family” and the spin-off “The Jeffersons,” which “broke taboos” on television by addressing issues such as politics, abortion, divorce, and race. 

The story goes on to credit Lear for television shows that “helped define a generation,” a claim nobody can disagree with if they watched loud-mouth bigot Archie Bunker argue politics with his caring liberal son-in-law. Two years before the Roe v Wade ruling, America also watched Maude, at age 47, abort her child in a two-part episode that aired in 1972.

Hollywood veteran Ted Baehr, a devout Christian whose MovieGuide keeps an eye on the industry, tells AFN he met Lear twice and found him to be polite and gracious. That is where the compliments stop.

“Norman was very, very strong in being a progressive communist,” Baehr says. “He designed all of his programs to undermine everything that the Founding Fathers wanted to establish in America, and to undermine men and faith and values and joy and peace.”

Lear, who was married three times, based Archie Bunker on his own terrible father. Beginning in the 1970s, when American audiences were introduced to Archie, Lear was mocking the roles of a father and husband long before Homer Simpson and Al Bundy came along. That was also 50 years before a Thomas Jefferson statue was removed by New York City Council; a self-described Marxist was elected to lead the American Library Association; or college students chanted for the deaths of Jews.   

All of those examples, including Lear's groundbreaking TV shows, can be traced back to Marxist thinker Antonio Gramsci. He described control of the media, religion, entertainment, and academia as "cultural hegemony" because whoever holds power over those institutions shapes the future. 

Lear, whose family heritage is Jewish, repeatedly rejected he was an atheist. He described himself in news interviews as a proud liberal and card-carrying ACLU member.  

Baehr, Dr. Ted (Movieguide) (1) Baehr

In the 1980s, Lear co-founded People for the American Way, which describes itself as a "progressive" nonprofit that challenges religious conservatives. The group recognized his passing by vowing to continue its work "to build a freer, fairer democracy where everyone has the opportunity to follow their dreams."

Baehr, who is no stranger to Hollywood’s methods, says Lear cleverly hid his leftist agenda behind humor because it works much better than preachy messages.

“Humor gets us to lower our guard, lower our defenses," Baehr says, “and lower our presumptions, and lower our worldview, and eventually it gets us to change.”