Show 9

Sunday / 1:45-3:30p / The Big Idea

America was born out of an idea based around freedom and liberty but what does that say about who we are and what our character as a nation is. Acclaimed journalists Deborah and James Fallows delved into this question in a deep and trenchant way by traversing the country in a single engine plane. On their remarkable journey, they visited a myriad of small towns across the U.S., which became the national bestseller, Our Towns: A 100,000 Mile Journey into the Heart of America.

Jason Hirschhorn considers himself a curator of all sorts of media and his ReDef newsletters are must-reading in the upper echelons of the entertainment industry and has spent a lot of time thinking about what the culture of this country tells us about our character. This multi-layered show will also include the screening of two films, a short doc called Gloria about the legendary civil rights activist Gloria Richardson as well as a new film by OT co-founder Gabe Lifton-Zoline about Jimmy Carter and a brilliant but infamous speech about who we could be he made forty years ago. This country is roiling as never before and what our character is really comprised of, will determine so much of our future.



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James & Deborah Fallows

For nearly four years, husband and wife journalists Deborah and James Fallows piloted their single-engine propeller plane to small and mid-size towns in America, reporting on innovation of all sorts, which resulted in a national best-selling 2018 book called Our Towns: A 100,000-Mile Journey into the Heart of America. As part of the Character of Our Country show, they will share what they learned along the way, ultimately drawing a conclusion that surprises much of the national news audience: “most parts of the United States that we visited have been doing better, in most ways, than most Americans realize.” They found that when you zoom in and spend time at the local level, Americans are actually adapting to life in the 21st century. As a widely published writer and linguist, and a longtime correspondent for the Atlantic Magazine, Deborah and James have decades of experience covering a myriad of topics from all over the world, including being on the ground for the formative years of China’s rise. Our Towns is currently being adapted into a documentary series by HBO.

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Jason Hirschhorn

Jason Hirschhorn holds a unique place in Hollywood as a top executive with MTV, Myspace and his current company, the ReDEF Group but he is also a careful curator and big thinker on the role of entertainment in our culture. He will be speaking about this as part of Show 9, the Character of Our Country.





Directed by: Stewart Thorndike

Runtime: 5 minutes

Movements are often defined by images and the photo of a young and defiant Gloria Richardson pushing away a National Guardsman’s rifle during a 60’s civil rights protest is iconic. This sharp doc, playing as part of the show Character of Our Country, gives us the context around the photo and spends time with Gloria today.


Crisis of Confidence

(a work in progress)

Directed by: Gabriel Lifton-Zoline

Runtime:  minutes

In the summer of 1979, Jimmy Carter gave a major speech from the Oval Office that was ostensibly about the energy crisis but, in fact, was about something much more important. He believed that after the concurrent nightmares of Vietnam, Watergate and the energy shortages, America was in a “crisis that strikes at the very heart and soul and spirit of our national will.” Crisis of Confidence, directed by OT co-founder Gabriel Lifton-Zoline with a special screening in Show 9, Character of Our Country, dissects Carter's prescient speech of forty years ago, and reveals just how relevant and resonant his words still are today.

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