Dec 20, 2010

Suggested Story Line for Soap Opera Goddess: Veterans' Plight in America

Agnes Nixon is the Goddess of the American soap opera, and has energetically brought topics of social concern to the public consciousness. To Ms. Nixon: We suggest as a social issue to include in your work: The American veteran.Nixon, creator of All My Children and One Life to Live is the subject of a piece this morning by National Public Radio's (NPR) Linda Holmes in which Nixon says: "If you can think of something else [to be included as social issue in the American soap opera], ... send me a postcard."

From NPR'sLinda Wertheimer:
[Nixon's] always built real issues into her stories, too. And it's not always easy to talk about those issues without potentially running afoul of networks and sponsors: Nixon talks about writing a character's uterine cancer into a 1962 story at Guiding Light, but there was a catch: she had to do it without mentioning the words "uterus," "cancer," or "hysterectomy."

Others have pushed back against her story-lines, too, as Nixon recalls from a time when she showed a white woman's black friend entering her house through the front door. One store in the south, she says, stopped carrying Procter and Gamble products — because that was the company that owned the show.

And in what she tells Linda Wertheimer was her attempt to address "the last holdout" as far as social issues she could address with her audience, Nixon later wrote the story revealing that Erica Kane's daughter Bianca was a lesbian. "Everybody was waiting to see how Erica would react," she says. "And that character, Bianca, became the most popular woman on daytime. I felt that that was the last thing that I could think of [to address]. If you can think of something else," she chuckles, "send me a postcard."
Here's an open postcard:

Ms. Nixon,

Please conisder including the plight of the American veteran. Few are aware that the veteran faces hostility from an unresponsive bureaucracy ranging from local veteran service officers to neocons embedded in the Veterans Benefit Administration to think tanks and politicians advocating for an end to veterans' benefits.

The sense of betrayal and hypocrisy encountered by the American veteran would offer a range of compelling story-lines for the American soap opera. Said veterans' attorney and advocate Bob Walsh of a benefits-hostile Dept of Veterans Affairs bureaucrat, Mark Rogers, who derided in a national piece veterans receiving benefits for sufdering from PTSD:
What about the claims of all the honest veterans that languish in the system for decades until they die? They freeze to death on the streets or blow their brains out in the garage. The veterans' benefits claims system is a national tragedy, and men like [longtime claims specialist with the Veterans Benefits Administration] Mark Rogers are the problem, not the solution for our veterans and their families.
Freezing to death on the streets and blowing their brains out in the garage as pay-back for serving our country. Now that's a story-line.

1 comment:

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