I’ve been wanting to post about this for a very long time. It’s a topic that seems to come up again and again, and one that is faced by modern Quakers who don’t often see themselves in the media. As media is both reflector and reflection of what is reality, without imagery depicting modern Quakerism, the general public (who doesn’t blog) still thinks of us as the Quaker Oats man or Shakers.
I’ve been searching for up-to-date portrayals of Quakers in the entertainment world, specifically movies and tv shows, using IMDB, and other basic avenues. What I’ve discovered is that there aren’t many. Of course, the basics are:
- High Noon (movie, 1952)
- The Friendly Persuasion (movie, 1956)
- Six Feet Under (tv, 2005)
- Angel and the Badman (movie, 1947)
- A Quaker Mother (movie, 1911)
- Down to the Sea in Ships (movie, 1922)
There are various Quaker characters that appear in many films but these are hardly worth mentioning, as they just added “spice” to the storyline but no substance or contribution to the plot.
Some articles on this topic have complained about entertainment as competition to religion. Some notable Quakers in entertainment (ahem, NPR) include Scott Simon who is unafraid to acknowledge his Quaker background, at least among Quakers. Another comment has been posted by a Quaker TV critic about the lack of TV being an asset, but what about Quakers being included in programming? Can you name any I’ve missed out on?