Never aired Edward Abbey Film Essay: “I loved it…I loved it all”

I just came across a post made a few days ago by a gentleman named Ned Judge, a producer, director and writer based out of New Mexico.  Apparently, back in 1985 Judge was working for a network TV show and worked with Edward Abbey on a short film essay, which it turns out the network never aired.  Do yourself a favor and watch the short film here, as Abbey’s narration, commentary and even acting are highly entertaining!   Below is some more information provided by Ned Judge:
An eight minute film essay that I co-produced and directed with Ed Abbey in 1985. At the time I was working for a network magazine show. The executive producer took me to lunch one day. He told me that he was having trouble with his son who was 18. The son thought his dad was a corporate whore. He had told his father if he had any balls at all he’d put Ed Abbey on his show. That’s why the EP was talking to me. Would I see if it was possible? I had an acquaintance who knew Ed and he passed the request along. Ed responded that he’d give it a try. He signed the contract and wrote a script. We met in Moab and went out to Arches National Park to shoot some practice sessions with a home video camera. We would review them at the motel in the evening. After a day or two, Ed was feeling pretty comfortable on camera so we scheduled the shoot. We were all happy with the way it went. But then we ran head-on into network reality. Roger Mudd, the show’s host, was extremely negative about putting an “eco-terrorist” on the show. The executive producer caved (his son was right about him apparently). So this Abbey essay was put on the shelf and never aired. Abbey died 3 years later in March 1989.

4 thoughts on “Never aired Edward Abbey Film Essay: “I loved it…I loved it all””

  1. Thank you for posting this, Matthew. I am an Abbey fan and have read his entire work.
    It is actually a small world because Dave Peterson, who worked on the State Task Force for Colorado Roadless, edited Abbey’s letters in a book entitled Postcards from Ed. Here’s a link.

    We had a meeting of the RACNAC (FACA committee for roadless) and TU folks and us went to dinner, where Dave and I had a great conversation about how neither of us thought Abbey was the misogynist he was sometimes thought to be. Dave’s opinion was from his friendship and mine from his writing.

    I don’t appreciate though, the quote using the “w” word. I am usually against dragging pejorative terms that are related to women’s sexuality into debates. I don’t think you did it on purpose, you were just copying what the paragraph said, but I had to say how I feel about it.

    • Thanks for your comments Sharon. I too have read nearly all of Abbey’s works. Honesty, it took me a few minutes to figure out which “w” word you didn’t like. I’d just like to point out those aren’t my words, I really honestly didn’t even notice them, but they are the words Mr. Judge used when he posted this unaired Abbey film a few days ago. Thanks.

  2. Thanks Matthew.
    I agree with Sharon but would add while the use of the “w” word is indeed pejorative, it is also inappropriate as a suitable metaphor. The root of the metaphor represents a far less pernicious activity than what the metaphor actually refers to — which is the corporate credo elevating the pursuit of shareholder value and earnings on investment above all other life.

    While the root of the metaphor is a mutually agreed upon exchange of goods and services, the other is a unilateral decision to impose predatory, kleptocratic, or other amoral services largely servicing the corporate institutional acquisition of the public’s goods (common wealth). That includes their Bill of Rights, their rights of free speech and to freely assemble, their public lands, air, water, soil and all other elements of the common wealth in general, including ecosystem services, their rights to privacy, their rights to be secure in their own homes, and their rights to have a living wage job in order to even have a home.)

    Abbey’s message contains an implicit warning of this predatory force that the “w” word simply can’t begin to touch in scope and magnitude.

  3. So David and I now agree on at least three things, cap’n’trade, REDDs and the use of the w word.

    Matthew- although I know you only virtually, I strongly suspected that you had copied and not intentionally used the “w” word. That’s why I said in my original comment:

    “I don’t think you did it on purpose, you were just copying what the paragraph said, but I had to say how I feel about it.”


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