Jean Shepherd - a dose of Americana, especially around Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving With Jean Shepherd – 1968 – Past Daily Holiday Pop Chronicles

Jean Shepherd – a dose of Americana, especially around Thanksgiving.

Jean Shepherd – WOR – Thanksgiving Turkey – November 24, 1968 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –

Thanksgiving 1968 as interpreted by Jean Shepherd via his daily radio program over WOR, this November 24th in 1968.

In our current confusing and somewhat contentious atmosphere, American humorists appear to be a dying species, if not an almost completely underground one. Humor in America has taken some pretty big knocks these past couple of years. The notion that someone like Jean Shepherd, who came to symbolize the somewhat haywire aspects of our society all through the 50s up to the 70s may very well not be on the radio today if he were still alive. I think we’ve lost our sense of humor because we no longer know what is funny or what is perceived to be funny. We have traded irony for snark and foible for abuse. We no longer are able to laugh with people out of fear we may be perceived as laughing at them.

Jean Shepherd was a master of irony – his view of the world was deep rooted in empathy for the average person just trying to get through the average day. Humor reigns in adversity – the unfairness of life is often captured as an absurdity – Jean Shepherd gleefully pointed that out and we caught ourselves nodding with approval.

Sadly, the world has turned on its axis and there has become no room to examine the absurd – to make light of the dire (because there is no longer anything funny about being broke or dealing with Social Services) – to laugh at ourselves because the person in the mirror sees no future – because we can’t see the humor, wallowing in anger and an unmet expectation and not much to be thankful for, this Thanksgiving.

So listening to Jean Shepherd these days is peering in on a life that no longer exists. And even though 1968 was no walk in the park, there was still humor to be had, shortcomings to laugh at out of empathy and not ridicule and some light, no matter how faint, at the end of the tunnel. We got through it and came out the other end. And Jean Shepherd helped us see that.

I miss him a lot – I miss us a lot. I wish we were kind.

Enjoy Thanksgiving.

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