February 7, 2013

"Lincoln" smears Connecticut.

"I could not believe my own eyes and ears," said Connecticut Congressman Joe Courtney. "Placing the State of Connecticut on the wrong side of the historic and divisive fight over slavery is a distortion of easily verifiable facts."
"It is historical fiction -- a noble genre going back to Shakespeare and well before -- not history," [said Columbia University historian Eric Foner].
And yet we're pressured to go see that movie because of the way it explains history. 

By coincidence, Shakespeare is getting some negative press this week, after bones found under a parking lot in England were determined to have belonged to Richard III, the last of the Plantagenet dynasty, supplanted by the Tudors, whom Shakespeare had reason to flatter as he portrayed Richard III as a villain.
No “bunch-backed toad,” no “slave of nature and the son of hell,” no “bottled spider,” the exhumed Richard is enjoying a remake as a physically challenged fellow with spinal curvature who might have starred in last year’s London Paralympics if given the chance.

Alas he got clobbered several times with a halberd (presumably wielded by a halberdier ignoring late 15th century safety regulations), and may have suffered the ignominy of being sodomized with an unlicensed dagger while being carried naked on horseback to Leicester. ....

“I’ve spoken to scoliosis experts and they say acute scoliosis like that was painful,” Philippa Langley, a Richard III enthusiast, told The Guardian. “So we know that he was working through the pain barrier every day just to do his job.... He had an incredibly powerful, strong work ethic. This man never stopped. He was on a horse every day, fighting skirmishes, doing everything they had to do.”
Imagine a movie about Lincoln that does not cater to the tastes of the present-day dynasty. There's plenty of old material to rake over. He wasn't called "bunch-backed toad" or a "bottled spider," but he was called "The obscene ape of Illinois." And:
The illustrious Honest Old Abe has continued during the last week to make a fool of himself and to mortify and shame the intelligent people of this great nation. His speeches have demonstrated the fact that although originally a Herculean rail splitter and more lately a whimsical story teller and side splitter, he is no more capable of becoming a statesman, nay, even a moderate one, than the braying ass can become a noble lion. People now marvel how it came to pass that Mr. Lincoln should have been selected as the representative man of any party. His weak, wishy-washy, namby-pamby efforts, imbecile in matter, disgusting in manner, have made us the laughing stock of the whole world. The European powers will despise us because we have no better material out of which to make a President. The truth is, Lincoln is only a moderate lawyer and in the larger cities of the Union could pass for no more than a facetious pettifogger. Take him from his vocation and he loses even these small characteristics and indulges in simple twaddle which would disgrace a well bred school boy.

40 comments:

Oso Negro said...

And furthermore, Lincoln was obsessed with preserving "the Union" and it didn't matter HOW many Americans had to die over it.

Paco Wové said...

"Shakespeare had reason to flatter [the Tudors] as he portrayed Richard III as a villain."

This is one of those things that falls into the "I thought everybody knew that" category. What do they teach in high school English these days?

Big Mike said...

Democrats have continued to smear Republicans to this day, looking at Eisenhower (all he does is play gold), "Tricky Dicky" Nixon, "bumbling" Jerry Ford (who was a team leader on back-to-back national championship football teams), and Reagan and Bush were just plain dumb.

But may the Good Lord help anyone who dares to point out that poor black people are worse off by every statistical measure since Johnson's "Great Society," or that Bill Clinton couldn't keep his hands off any woman not totally ugly that came within four feet of him, or that the present incumbent has not the faintest grasp of economics.

DADvocate said...

Lincoln and Obama both came out of Illinois. Imagine if someone called the current president "The obscene ape of Illinois."

Mitchell the Bat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mitchell the Bat said...

I'm going to assume the dramatization of Lincoln's homosexuality is historically accurate.

Big Mike said...

Eisenhower played golf, not "gold." And BTW, Eisenhower played 88 rounds of golf in 8 years of office. Obama has played over 100 in just over 4 years.

The Godfather said...

I was surprised when I saw "Lincoln" to hear Connecticut voting against the 13th Amendment. I grew up in Connecticut and thought I knew it's history reasonably well, and that it was pretty "liberal" on the slavery issue. I know the script-writers wanted to make the vote appear close, but if (as I understand it) it was in fact close, couldn't they have accomplished their goal while reporting the voes correctly?

It's and excellent movie, notwithstanding this faux pas.

EMD said...

with an unlicensed dagger

Even back then, they had trouble with dagger control.

MnMark said...

The film "Lincoln" was really misnamed. It is not a story about Abraham Lincoln, per se. It doesn't tell the story of the man's life. It tells the story of the passage of the 13th amendment.

But people wouldn't go to a movie named "The Battle to Pass the 13th Amendment", so Spielberg nominally dresses it up as a story about Lincoln, when it is really just another rehash of slavery/civil rights/holocaust stuff, which is the touchstone of the atheist liberal "religion".

We used to make great epic movies about Christianity - all those Charleton Heston 1950s epics, for example. But the new national religion is White Liberal Guilt, and the most holy and sacred events in that religion are when Good White Liberals defeated Evil White Conservatives to free black people, save Jews, etc etc etc. And so we hear endlessly about that stuff.

A German foreign exchange student stayed with friends of mine for a year, attending an American high school. He said that it seemed like the only things that were taught in history were about blacks and about World War 2 (i.e. the holocaust).

Vince said...

I used to teach History, and the kids always clamored to see "historical" movies-probably so they wouldn't have to listen to me. I told them that movies are bad history and kept lecturing. It made the movies I did show all the more appreciated.

traditionalguy said...

Interesting juxtaposition today of a Divine Right King that lead Aristocrat Knights into battle to keep their own kingdom of serfs, compared with a self made small town trial lawyer who sent volunteer Armies and Navies into battle with Aristocratic Southern society for his client that was the Abolitionist GOP favoring a workman keeping his own wages over eternal human chattel slavery.

But both men had strong characteristics which infuriated their enemies.

furious_a said...

...the exhumed Richard is enjoying a remake as a physically challenged fellow with spinal curvature who might have starred in last year’s London Paralympics if given the chance.

Exactly, all the out-of-nowhere drumbeat coverage to ordain a mascot for the [Affliction]-Rights flavor of the month.

Larry J said...

Big Mike said...
Eisenhower played golf, not "gold." And BTW, Eisenhower played 88 rounds of golf in 8 years of office. Obama has played over 100 in just over 4 years.


That's different because SHUT UP YOU RACIST!

Or something like that.

Quayle said...

Lincoln is being pushed to open the space for Obama.

As Obama pushes policies that divide the nation, perhaps even to very strong disagreements, or (God forbid) even fighting, Lincoln is the model which Obama seeks to cast himself in.

"The president we revere led the nation to a civil war for nobel purposes."

The only hitch is that Obama's purposes aren't anything near Lincoln's.

furious_a said...

I'm going to assume the dramatization of Lincoln's homosexuality is historically accurate.

Given that the poor man had to go home to Mary Todd every night, it would be understandable.

Tim said...

Sure, this was a pointlessly stupid error in the film; too bad Congressman Joe Courtney (Democrat, dont'cha know?) isn't pressing so hard for a real-life accounting for truth and facts in Benghazi.

EMD said...

We used to make great epic movies about Christianity - all those Charleton Heston 1950s epics, for example


Ben Hur
Gods and Kings
Pontius Pilate
David and Goliath
Noah

These may end up terrible, but Hollywood has seemingly found God again.

MnMark said...

These may end up terrible, but Hollywood has seemingly found God again.

We'll see. I suspect what they will do is neutralize the Christian aspects of the stories, using them to teach liberal values about the sacredness of Equality and Diversity and the evil of Racism, etc.

For example, here is an industry person writing about "Pontius Pilate":

In a brief review of Blasi's screenplay, Deadline's Mike Fleming Jr writes: "Rather than a straight-ahead biblical film, Blasi's script reads almost like a biblical-era Twilight Zone episode in which a proud, capable Roman soldier gets in way over his head. [Pilate's] arrogance and inability to grasp the devoutness of the citizenry and its hatred for the Roman occupiers and their pagan gods leads him to make catastrophic decisions."

From that it would seem the movie is not about the divinity of Jesus Christ. It's about the political situation Pilate faced. It's a political thriller, not a Christian religious movie.

I bet they do something like to all of them. No self-respecting Hollywood liberal is going to make a straightforward movie suggesting Jesus was for real. The most they could do would be to portray him as the Ultimate Liberal.

EMD said...

I agree on PIlate. It would be a political thriller if told from Pilate's POV.

I'm anxious to see what they do with Ben-Hur. If anyone thought Straw Dogs was a pointless remake, Ben-Hur certainly takes the cake.

edutcher said...

Hey, at least they didn't remind us Delaware was the last state to renounce slavery.

Vince said...

I used to teach History, and the kids always clamored to see "historical" movies-probably so they wouldn't have to listen to me.

Hey, if you were 10 years old and had a chance to see lots of sword fights, huge battles with thousands of extras, hundreds of belly dancers in every other scene, and Liz Taylor or Gina Lollapalooza wearing next to nothing, would you have preferred to sit in class and listen to you?

Mitchell the Bat said...

I'm going to assume the dramatization of Lincoln's homosexuality is historically accurate.

About as much as Tom Jefferson's fling with Sally Hemings.

lgv said...

Elitist snobbery against Lincoln. It is the equivalent of not going to an Ivy League law school today.

Will any future Supreme court justice not be a Ivy League grad? They might stoop to Stanford, but anything else would not be worthy.

I'm sure Truman was viewed in a similar fashion.

Leadership should be limited to those of a certain rank in life, noblesse oblige

chuck said...

Eric Foner understands the role of the historian and has done his best to live up to the high standards set by his left wind predecessors.

Ann Althouse said...

"left wind"

in a thread with " play gold"

edutcher said...

lgv said...

Elitist snobbery against Lincoln. It is the equivalent of not going to an Ivy League law school today.

Will any future Supreme court justice not be a Ivy League grad? They might stoop to Stanford, but anything else would not be worthy.

I'm sure Truman was viewed in a similar fashion.


As was LBJ, which was a laugh even then, given nobody thought themselves more above him than those WASPirants, the Kennedys.

William said...

Someone has observed that now is the winter of Richard's disinternment. Perhaps. when he is again laid to his rest, he will finally be granted his last wish for a hearse......It seems to me that glory hounds and villains are the historical figures who have the most appeal to bards and film makers. Lincoln is the one exception. For that alone he should be celebrated.

Richard Dolan said...

The better historical argument against Connecticut would be its decision to disenfranchise free blacks by statute in 1814, and more significantly in the new state constitution adopted in 1818. In the period leading up to the 13th Amendment, Connecticut had a very mixed history on racial issues. On one hand, it restricted slavery in the 1790s and abolished it altogether in 1848. But Connecticut also was a leader (see its 1818 constitution) in disenfranchisng blacks and in creating a de jure second class citizenry based on race.

Sean Wilentz tells the whole sad story in his wonderful book, The Rise of American Democracy, for those who are interested.

furious_a said...

These may end up terrible...

You mean, you don't think Pearl Harbor was an improvement over Tora! Tora! Tora!

Patrick said...

"Pettifogger". Now there is an apt word to describe our current president from Illinois.

furious_a said...
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furious_a said...

...in which a proud, capable Roman soldier gets in way over his head. [Pilate's] arrogance and inability to grasp the devoutness of the citizenry and its hatred for the Roman occupiers...

Josephus' The Jewish War, basically portrays the Roman occupation of Judea that way: communal (Greek vs. Jew, Jew vs. more devout Jew) grievances escalating to communal rioting which fury turned against local Roman garrisons after they intervened to restore peace which then gave the Jewish zealots a pretext for open rebellion against Rome.

Could be a fun movie if it doesn't 'preach'.

Michael K said...

"Mitchell the Bat said...

I'm going to assume the dramatization of Lincoln's homosexuality is historically accurate."

You may do so but there is no evidence aside from modern political correctness toward gays to support the idea. Men slept in communal beds while on the circuit at the time. Even the judge sometimes joined the lawyers in rooming house beds. The expressions of esteem between men were made in an era when no one would have dreamed of the modern interpretations.

Similar accusations have been made about Shakespeare's sonnets with no more evidence.

Homosexuals yearn for validation.

Crunchy Frog said...

But politics were so much more civil in the past. Or so we are told.

From Inwood said...

William

Speaking of typos: it's "disinterment".

I'm not being smug; I only noticed when I forwarded your great comments & my spellcheck caught it!

From Inwood said...

edutcher & lgv

Even Conservative snobs like Laura Ingraham (try that on your spellcheck) came out against Harriet Miers (try that on your spell check) from, gasp, SMU as not like us, my dears,

From Inwood said...

Michael K

They’ve made the same point about Eleanor Roosevelt’s gushy Victorian prose in her letters to women friends as absolute proof of her homosexuality

From Inwood said...

Prof A

Maybe Chuck meant "let wind"

From Inwood said...

furious a

It's not your point, but I find Tora.... an excellent movie, tho it didn't do well at the box office & many people I know find it a Big Bore.

Pearl Harbor (2001) is a joke: War is Hell & complicates Boy meets Girl romance.

lgv said...

Inwood said:

edutcher & lgv

Even Conservative snobs like Laura Ingraham (try that on your spellcheck) came out against Harriet Miers (try that on your spell check) from, gasp, SMU as not like us, my dears,


Miers wasn't a great candidate, regardless of law school. GWB rewarded loyalty a little too much over competence. Ingraham went to UVA for law school. Wahoos rank no better than SMU grads. They are both 2nd tier snob schools, meaning they are elitist only within a narrow geographic area.


From Inwood said...

lgv

UVA is ranked #7 in USNews which is Tippy Top Tier.

SMU was in the top 50 at the time.

My point was/is that grads of a Top 15 law school don't recognize grads from any schol not in that ranking.

I doubt that any GOP POTUs would ever again nominate anyone not from a Top 15 school, which leads to insularity.

Inwood