Ken Burns Unpacks Ernest Hemingway's Facade of Masculinity
Ken Burns navigates the gap between the macho persona and the real inner life of his documentary subject, Ernest Hemingway. Dig deeper into the author's complex life and works in Ken's latest PBS Film Series, "Hemingway." #Colbert #KenBurns #Hemingway
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The Late Show with Stephen Colbert is the premier late night talk show on CBS, airing at 11:35pm EST, streaming online via Paramount+, and delivered to the International Space Station on a USB drive taped to a weather balloon. Every night, viewers can expect: Comedy, humor, funny moments, witty interviews, celebrities, famous people, movie stars, bits, humorous celebrities doing bits, funny celebs, big group photos of every star from Hollywood, even the reclusive ones, plus also jokes.

  • Home At Last
    Home At Last

    I read "The Garden of Eden", and I noticed the use of repetition. On one level it's a technique for simply helping the reader internalize more deeply the most important elements of the story to serve as strong structural posts on which to hang other details. The repetition helps you remember these details. The sparse detail is almost Jungian --- like a Fellini film. The use of image and archetype to permit the reader to project onto it their own very personal view of the image or symbol --- to project their unique and complex combination of personal and universal meaning they ascribe to the image.

  • Home At Last
    Home At Last

    Maybe he wasn't constructing a persona. Maybe he just did big game hunting because he wanted to try it, or because he enjoyed it. If I went on a big game hunt I wouldn't think it was a "manly" thing to do.

  • Theresa Carmen
    Theresa Carmen

    Like the way he's wearing his hair, was time for a change.

  • LLoyd Bowers
    LLoyd Bowers

    All this armchair psychoanalyzing of a hands-on kind of man who happened to be a writer turns me off. I appreciate that Hemingway was not a talking head. He lived life in the full. He embraced adventure. Hemingway gave everybody the ammo they needed to cut him down to size--his own writings, letters, journals, stories. He lived his life in the open, an available target--unlike the talking heads, who live their lives off-camera, and don't leave such a big paper-trail. The masses don't like a guy who stands apart, who has definition as an individual. One person who probably liked Hemingway was Ray Bradbury. He hated mainstream fiction, calling it "a nice blend of vanilla tapioca."

  • Gerry Dooley
    Gerry Dooley

    Seems like there is kind of an agenda here. I remember back in the '70's every book that came out about celebrities like Cary Grant, Tyrone Power, Errol Flynn, Montgomery Clift all claimed they were either bi or out and out gay. Seems like Ken has a little" gender fluidity "going here himself. It just seems like they needed some kind of angle to sell this doc and this whole gender thing is very current. They are also making assumptions based on what they've found.

  • Terry JP
    Terry JP

    Did that bring you joy stevie? At least Hemingway had a Talent and will be remembered for it. There are plenty of Clowns, you will just 1.

  • GreatBigRanz

    It turns out Hemingway HATED James Jones, calling him a coward (a man who was wounded during the Guadalcanal Campaign) and couldn't write for shit. Jones still used Hemingway to teach his daughter about grief as he was dying.

  • Steven James Beto
    Steven James Beto

    Burns came to bury Hemingway not to praise him.

  • Tom Winchester
    Tom Winchester

    What a great story! Love that he has a U.P. of Michigan connection.

  • jackgoldman1

    Ken Burns, Stephen Colbert? Where is Joe Biden and more liberal lefties who despise the real world and rural reality? Why must lefties rip on anyone with a real life? Why do lefties live in their Utopian University intellectual extremism? Hemingway is dead. Long live Hemingway.

  • Rob Warren
    Rob Warren

    I don’t go for that short/ long hair analogy.

  • Mike Haynes
    Mike Haynes

    Colbert talking about anyone’s masculinity is laughable.

  • avocate201

    Excellent documentary by Ken Burns. I watched it right after watching Cooper & Hemingway: The True Gen, which is a documentary about the unlikely yet fascinating friendship between Gary Cooper and Ernest Hemingway.

  • Kyle Demko
    Kyle Demko

    Omg Stephen let the man speak...I swear Colbert is the nicest guy but the worst interviewer.

    • avocate201

      Give Stephen Colbert credit for even having Ken Burns on his show. There should be more intelligent discussions like this on late night TV.

  • Judy Pasqualone
    Judy Pasqualone

    I’m adding this watching the program and listening to becomes clear..that Hemingway’s insistence that his wives cut their hair short while he grew his long to match...dates to when his mother dressed him and his sister at times as girl twins or boy twins..I’ve seen the photos and this is quite disturbing. But he continued that “facade” in he and his wives haircuts. Apparently his mother was not wrapped too tight and it was imbedded in he sons behavior. Sad.

  • Judy Pasqualone
    Judy Pasqualone

    I’ve just begun the three part series. I’m trying to take it all in. This complex man. Genius..sensitive man. I hope to read some of his books. I’m starting with The Old Man and the Sea. All I remember is some of the movie.

    • Gerry Dooley
      Gerry Dooley

      @avocate201 You have to remember that both Cooper and Hemingway were a couple of queens which is why they did connect. They were both hiding something.

    • avocate201

      I thought the Ken Burns series was fascinating. I saw it right after watching Cooper & Hemingway: The True Gen, which is a documentary about the unlikely yet fascinating friendship between Gary Cooper and Ernest Hemingway. The two documentaries are great companion pieces.

  • Diane Blumenthal
    Diane Blumenthal

    After seeing the Hemingway series, he was as fascinating a man as he was a writer. I never knew the physical toll that he'd been through covering all those wars. And knowing that he struggled with mental health and alcoholism for well over half his life and that he hung on until he was 61 I think shows how strong he was.

  • Louise

    Where’s the 2nd part?

  • Gal Brow
    Gal Brow

    An insane racist And I detest humans who kill beautiful lions tigers and bears for sport

  • rockyracune

    I have read all of Hemingway's work. In regard to liberal women, one of his excoriating quotes is "LIFE IS SHORT AND UGLY WOMEN ARE SO LONG." Damn, he could have been referring to AOC, Maxine Waters, and Nancy Pelosi! Papa!

  • wjack

    Another great Ken Burns documentary. All the blows Ernest Hemingway took to his head during his life had to have something to do with his mental state at the end. Interesting man with a sad end. Going to have to read some more Hemingway now.

  • BlackHoleBrew42

    For sale: baby shoes, never worn

  • Patricia Flynn
    Patricia Flynn

    alright! stunning! do i have tosay it? ken burns, you are cinema in your self expression. i love it. do they have, and if not, emoji for mind expansion? what do you do? Im a mind expander.

  • Ro Ro
    Ro Ro

    Performing masculinity and femininity is just that, a performance.

    • Steve Janowiak
      Steve Janowiak

      Yea, Charles Bronson was performing...Wrong!

  • John-Paul Michelangelo
    John-Paul Michelangelo

    PBS rumpswab tackling Ernest Hemingway is like a fly deciding how he will consume an elephant.

  • Scupperjack

    Before it burned down, Hemingway's house on Bimini was turned into a hotel. I remember seeing pictures on the walls of Hemingway with machine guns shooting at sharks from his boat. How macho! Of course, he is the same as the rest of all of us and subject to flaws in our humanity.

  • Tots Mini
    Tots Mini

    Finca Vigía here we come!!!!.... to get up-close-and-personal, with "This Old man and His Sea" of literary masterpieces!!

  • Chicken Person
    Chicken Person

    The internal pear proximately groan because list nally overflow following a earsplitting mirror. vast, abashed crayon

  • Cassandra Morrison
    Cassandra Morrison

    Writers present an idealized version of themselves in their fiction. That is far from uncommon. The tragic death of Ernest's daughter Gloria Hemingway in a jail cell in Florida tells you all you need to know about the back story of that family. TIME Magazine reported it this way: DIED. GLORIA HEMINGWAY, 69, transsexual youngest son turned daughter of novelist Ernest Hemingway; in a Miami jail cell. Born Gregory, the former physician wrote Papa: A Personal Memoir in 1976, battled alcohol addiction and had her medical license revoked. Her famous father once said Gregory had "the biggest dark side in the family except me." The date was October 1, 2001.

  • Rayne Michelle
    Rayne Michelle

    Masculinity is always a façade. You're all just little boys deep down.

  • Diego O' Land
    Diego O' Land

    Stephen, look buddy, I hate to be the one to break it to ya but your ratings are down. Like titanic down. But listen to me, babushka, I love ya, you know I do. Here's what you do, you rebrand. Call your show The Late Show with Coldbeer. It's a hit with the 18-32 market. Come on, you know you love it. And your wife, Effle, change her name to Poorya. Right?! You know where I'm going with this babushka. I only want 10% of the residuals on this massive concept. Call me, Ciao.

  • Perry Gerardo Robles
    Perry Gerardo Robles

    What I most revere about Mr. H is his experience. He wore many hats. That’s why I wanted to be like him. But the main reason I worshipped him was because he reminded me of my father. Adventurer. Willing to go and do what others don’t have the COURAGE to do.

  • Corri Johanson
    Corri Johanson

    Wow I just spoke with my psych class about Hemingway's writing being on toxic masculinity rather than supporting it. Ken Burns nailed it

    • Gerry Dooley
      Gerry Dooley

      do you just hate men? Ken's a bit of a sissy don't you think?

  • Jacob Nuckolls
    Jacob Nuckolls

    Wow, I just gotta give props to Stephen's interviewing skills. Excellent questions!

  • Tosin

    Wow. Yes, thanks.

  • Laura Griffith
    Laura Griffith

    Love Ken Burns, but I remember having to read some Hemingway in highschool, and I loathed it: Misogynist literature, sanctified by my authority.

    • newenglandlight

      I find him unreadable and racist as well.

  • pagamenews

    At 4:05 . Nope. Sorry. How do you explain the man's mustashe? And his beard? Hemingway was a man's man. Some men prefer women with short hair. I'm one of them.

  • Basic

    Forgive my digression, but every time someone uses the idiotic term "unpack," Hemingway, Shakespeare, and every other writer of significance turn over in their graves.

  • Lynn Turman
    Lynn Turman

    This would be interesting to watch but you just know Ken Burns is gonna put his liberal revisionist stamp on it. Pass.

  • Tom Hunter
    Tom Hunter

    If you want to understand why Hemingway was so powerful in his writing it is because he used and pioneered a technique called the objective correlative. He described it as “the sequence of motion and fact that creates the emotion.” Prior to Hemingway, writers in the 1800s would provide summaries of scenes. It was as if the writer was looking through a keyhole at the scene and giving the reader a summary of what she saw. In Hemingway’s work, he tried to let the reader see the scene, to provide not a summary but food for the senses. Instead of telling the reader what to think about what was happening in the story, Hemingway shows the reader what is happening. The novelist does not put her self between the reader and the scene. The novelist shows the reader firsthand the scene. That is much harder to do. That’s why when you read, for example, a Hemingway short story such as “Hills like White Elephants”, there is no summary telling the reader what to think. If you had been in the bar in Spain watching the couple have the argument, you would not have anybody telling you what they were arguing about. You would have to infer that based on what you saw and perceived. You would have to detect yourself that they were talking about her getting an abortion. The difference is, providing those sensory details directly without the writer stepping in to interpret, creates stories that never get old. If you read biographies of Hemingway, you see that often his stories in the first draft were full of telling. But as he rewrote, he replaced the telling with showing. There lies his genius and the reason we read him to this day.

    • Tom Hunter
      Tom Hunter

      @Ro Ro I think T.S. Eliot was among the first to do it.

    • Ro Ro
      Ro Ro

      He certainly wasn't the first to do it but the first to get popular at doing it.

  • Raelyn Eannelli
    Raelyn Eannelli

    Ken’s deep slo-movin voice is delicious on it’s own. Even better is when Ken combines his luscious melted hot fudge to slowly over a mound of ice cream; while dreaming in another of Ken’s history sessions!

  • Patrick Riccio
    Patrick Riccio

    Wow Ken Burns isn't wearing a wig anymore. Great looking new hair transplant.

  • Is That What Empty Means?
    Is That What Empty Means?

    This guy... talking about Hemingway and gender... whatever creature Papa was, it may notnhave been human, but it was definately male. Go to your non genered bathroom and use all the they thwm pronouns you want Ken Burns. Hemingway was a bro's bro.

  • Katherine

    Stephen should do more really smart interviews like this. Why not? He can obviously keep up.

  • Laura Brown
    Laura Brown

    In Modern Living Rooms Everyone Using "SoundProof Curtains" That Stops Outside Noise by 80% (25 Db) Tested. Check Here:

  • vicky Haluska
    vicky Haluska

    don't forget what he learned from Gertrude Stein??

  • Marie McMillan
    Marie McMillan

    I think I got smarter just from watching this.

    • Gerry Dooley
      Gerry Dooley

      @Marie McMillan well I'm a jerk and you're lame, wanna get a drink at the youtube bar&grill? Kidding

    • Marie McMillan
      Marie McMillan

      @Gerry Dooley Thanks for responding. :) To be fair, I felt like it was kindof a lame comment after I posted it, lol.

    • Gerry Dooley
      Gerry Dooley

      @Marie McMillan you're right, I'm sorry, it was a typical bad youtube joke, the kind I hate

    • Marie McMillan
      Marie McMillan

      @Gerry Dooley Why the unnecessary hostility?

    • Gerry Dooley
      Gerry Dooley

      you must've been pretty dumb to start with

  • mobilemidlifecatharsis run riot
    mobilemidlifecatharsis run riot

    Ohhh, the intellect, the humor, the insight. Soooo lovely. Both of them. Thank you.

  • Gladys Lambert
    Gladys Lambert

    What’s up with the flag on the couch? Stripes going the wrong direction make it ok for that purpose or what? Ken Burns rocks, that couch just caught my attention.

  • Roxanne Littlefield
    Roxanne Littlefield

    Hemingway may have had some talent going in, but he was a creative liar and thief. His mother’s piano lessons didn’t teach him about repetition, Gertrude Stein did. You have only to read “A Moveable Feast” to know what kind of thankless twat he was.

  • Rebecca Dolashewich
    Rebecca Dolashewich


  • GjbMcN

    Ken Burns is a Fantastic American Export and PBS a blessing! BUT why not HEMINGWAY THE MUSICAL 🎵?

  • aikicod1

    He was a garden variety drunk and a genius. This is not an unusual combination. The dichotomy of his personality made him, in certain circles, commonplace. I suspect that is why Ms. Gellhorn got bored, eventually.

    • Theodore

      What's the matter, can't write the wonderful things inside your precious head?

  • Haeuptling Aberja
    Haeuptling Aberja

    Good old Hemingway, the quintessential Great American Author: an extremely overrated fraud, just like everything else about that grotesque, hypocritical, fraudulent country. Land of the Imprisoned, Home of the Cowardly White Supremacist.

  • stf zung hak u systm
    stf zung hak u systm

    hello sir i have news urgent.basinsman mark pincus

  • Miroslavas Siniavskis
    Miroslavas Siniavskis

    Talking about my moms Icebergs #KenBurns #Colbert - I am afraid it's more powerful even than Hemingway's writing. 100% Virginity proof! The Old Man and The Sea - one of the most memorable books I have ever read!

  • Clyde Cessna
    Clyde Cessna

    The more I understand Hemingway the less I like him.

    • Steve Janowiak
      Steve Janowiak

      Because his bravado and masculinity makes you uncomfortable?

  • Miroslavas Siniavskis
    Miroslavas Siniavskis

    Look at this SchizoBridging mocking by Stephen! #Colbert #Hemingway - can We make more of those BackToTheFuture SchizoBridging?

  • John Auner
    John Auner


  • Michele Kett
    Michele Kett

    Why do so many Americans have the Stars and Stripes in their homes or on flagpoles outside their houses? Is it supposed to show patriotism? Which is historically, ‘ the last refuge of the scoundrel’.

  • Letha Hadady
    Letha Hadady

    Read About Hemingway in Michael foster's book OUTLAWS OF LOVE, Hemingway was dressed as a little girl his twin sister, by his odd mother, and he wore pink lady underware at times

  • Yokie Miller
    Yokie Miller

    SIgh, greatest writer of 20th century...All the women, people of color that were never heard..Hemingway couldn't write women to save his life. I've read most of his books, required reading in HS & college, no interest in reading him again, .

    • Theodore

      You never did.

  • koalaboom

    0:54 Gerry Adams?

  • Christian Haimet
    Christian Haimet


  • Johnny Cash
    Johnny Cash

    Exactly, Hemingway’s words sing and reverberate. Simplicity, or complexity, has nothing to do with it.

  • Don Surlylyte
    Don Surlylyte

    glad to see burns still working

  • Paul Dockree
    Paul Dockree

    A moveable feast. No other Ernest Hemingway book read. Or wrestled with. We will always have Paris.

  • Jaymes Guy
    Jaymes Guy

    He was an arsehole who beat up gay men just for fun. He was probably a self-hating gay man himself, or he would have been so obsessed with machismo.

  • Robert Schwartz
    Robert Schwartz

    Ken Burns' work should be taught in schools.

    • Gerry Dooley
      Gerry Dooley

      why, because he presents a lazy man's version of learning history? He's like Cliff Notes.

  • x x
    x x

    There are not enough thumbs up for this conversation. There's so much wound up in simplicity.

  • 300ampeg

    PAUSE: Kill every fan of Hemingway

  • Troy Gaspard
    Troy Gaspard

    My father completely bought into this persona.

  • Kenneth Gough
    Kenneth Gough

    I just Mr. Burns would wash his hair once in a

  • elsullo2

    Hemingway was a WEAKLING! He made it a THING to dilute good Cuban rum with crushed fresh mint and ice!......................elsullo

  • Mark Foster
    Mark Foster

    Love this show, but please release same guest multi videos in sequential order. Ie first video is lower than the part 2.

  • Celeste Balducci
    Celeste Balducci

    like WOMEN don't recall childbirth PAIN!!

  • Pam R
    Pam R


  • judy churley
    judy churley

    ...because gender is about how long a man's hair is and how short a woman's hair is. That's not superficial, much.

  • Sean Gibson
    Sean Gibson

    he changed his hair! Looks good on him.

  • יוסי מיינר
    יוסי מיינר

    The covid format of seeing people at home is always interesting. It is comforting to see Ken Burns in the most Ken Burns-eque room imaginable.

  • Andrew Budd
    Andrew Budd

    A genius of language. He could have written in a more opulent manner, however; he wrote in a form that everyone could understand. There are very difficult facets to his work than should be studied rigorously,. Don’t forget that he was an alcoholic who killed himself. Most authors are that way.

    • Jessica Turner
      Jessica Turner

      So much subtext

    • Theodore

      What a foolish comment.

  • ProjectFlashlight612

    That shotgun sure took away Ernest's facade of having an intact brain, this much is true.

  • David Reynolds
    David Reynolds

    “Dubliners” is an easy read by Joyce. People are scared away by “Ulysses” and “Finnegan’s Wake”. His earlier works are not as dense.

    • Tom Hunter
      Tom Hunter

      “When you wet the bed, first it’s warm but then it gets cold.”

    • David Reynolds
      David Reynolds

      @Sean Smith Yes. It’s also not as intimidating as his later works which are more unconventional in their structure. Although personally I enjoy Dubliners more. I have a fondness for short stories and it captures a cross section of middle class Dublin at an interesting time. You can read it as set of straightforward events or any amount of personal awakenings or commentary on the prevailing political and societal atmosphere.

    • Sean Smith
      Sean Smith

      @David Reynolds Portrait of the Artist isn't too bad either.

    • David Reynolds
      David Reynolds

      @Theodore It is an easy read relative to “Ulysses” or “Finnegan’s Wake”. I didn’t mean it was a Mills and Boon publication.

    • Theodore

      @David Reynolds I am not suggestng anything. Whether you understand the complexities of "Dubliners" is not in question. But that book is not "easy" reading, any more than are the stories of Hemingway.

  • D D
    D D

    Really? Our greatest writer of the 20th century who crafts many touching moments in his literature isn’t a simple 1 dimensional man’s man. What a surprise. Anyone who has read Hemingway or studied the man knows of his complexity. This is why ken burns is so important, he educates the uneducated about what all the educated already know.

  • cantonese language
    cantonese language

    This is the kind of interview that not only illuminates but inspires. Life is much more than what we imagine.

  • W M
    W M

    I am actually smarter by watching that clip on ISnets. Now, I need to watch it 50 more times to make up for watching a Cardi B interview where I actually got dumber.

  • gia luu
    gia luu

    The alive bugle immunohistochemically call because roll ultrasonically multiply times a therapeutic emery. utter, zealous apparatus

  • black bird
    black bird

    Hemingway was an ambulance driver in ww1, came home wounded and bitter and felt snubbed that he didn't get more medals. In WW2 he was the first to leave Paris when the Nazis arrived and only came back with the US Army when they were in full retreat. He took pot shots at the retreating German army with a 50 cal machine gun mounted on a jeep and he removed his Press Credentials from his US uniform so he would appear to be on active duty in the war. He was nearly arrested and charged for this impersonation.His celebrity as an author got him some slack. There's a long list of self inflicted wounds he suffered while drunk, including shooting himself with a shotgun while trying to 'gaff a shark.' This bloated jackass made himself and everyone around him miserable chasing old scores, bad mouthing old lovers and bullying anyone within earshot about what real manliness is all about.

  • Geoffrey Feinberg
    Geoffrey Feinberg

    He so's knowledgeable. He's a legend. How many documentaries has he done.

    • Michael Mathias
      Michael Mathias


    • Carlos Rodriguez
      Carlos Rodriguez

      I hope ‘smarts’ come back into style. The dumbing down of America is taxing

    • Mari Anne Souza
      Mari Anne Souza

      31 have been completed 7 more are in pre-production

  • 3 in 2 Art
    3 in 2 Art

    We’re accustomed to seeing Ken Burns speaking passionately about history with serious facial expressions - but how sweet was that smiling face in the opening shot?! 🥰

  • Bill Malloy
    Bill Malloy

    Ken, Ken, Ken! Take that American flag (or evocative blanket) off the sofa. Even though you've given so much to this country, that image suggests disrespect.

  • robert caldwell
    robert caldwell

    Kudos to Ken but,in college, I got the Time life greatest 100 novels in history subscription ( Don't, just don't ) I made it to Hemingway,and that's all I could handle. I read The Old Man and The Sea, For Whom the Bell Tolls,and A Farewell to Arms. Everybody dies ! Couldn't handle it. Quick question. Do you think it's somehow effecting my credit score? Don't think I ever payed for the subscription. I graduated in 81,so...

  • Rachael Huffman
    Rachael Huffman

    Where are my KEN BURNS' KEN BURNS? Isn't that Bobby Roberts??

  • Brian Christian
    Brian Christian

    30+ years later, it's nice to have my AP highschool English thesis validated!

    • Mark B
      Mark B

      That was funny

  • yohei72

    I loved Dave Letterman's show - there was never anything like it before and no one will ever do that better. But he couldn't have done an interview like this on Hemingway.

    • Gerry Dooley
      Gerry Dooley

      @yohei72 right

    • yohei72

      @Gerry Dooley Yes, that's what I'm saying.

    • Gerry Dooley
      Gerry Dooley

      that's not the kind of show Dave did, just as Colbert is not as funny as Dave.

  • Sue Barner
    Sue Barner

    I just thought he was a pain in the ass.

  • Jeffrey Izzard
    Jeffrey Izzard

    Burns needs a break- he’s gone ‘round the bend.

  • Shelley Handler
    Shelley Handler

    Ken looks so much better without his bowl cut. I hope he gets someone to maintain this look for him.

  • Magruder sanchez
    Magruder sanchez

    The nutty cat multivariably trace because kettle naturally push after a steadfast hurricane. scrawny, adjoining save


    Ken Burns is a god.