Psychoanalyzing “Pat” (as everyone called him) isn't too tough. His early childhood was middle-class but his father abandoned the family, leaving behind nothing but hardship. In examining the problems of single-parent families, Moynihan discovered that, as bad as he had it, African-Americans had it worse. He penned a study that successfully nudged Johnson to more progressive racial policies.
“The Moynihan Report” leaked, however, and its blunt, paternalistic style did not sit well with many younger, left-leaning activists. The gulf between intent and syntax was a common thorn in Moynihan's side. Google his phrase “benign neglect” for more on that.
Moynihan was a fascinating and inspiring figure, so much so that even a standard documentary like this holds interest. But only very dedicated members of #TeamPat need see this love letter in a theater; streaming is fine. Moynihan does nothing wrong in Moynihan, but if half of this is true, maybe that's not so bad.
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