…are a lot like the real Lincoln.
Just saw the movie and enjoyed it. Your point about Stevens’ actual radicalism being possibly hemmed in had Lincoln survived is eerily made clear in one scene. With the close up shot to his face and bald head as he recites section 2 of the 13th amendment, Tommy Lee Jones has a creepy crazed look in his eyes. I think the soundtrack even hinted ominous tones at that point.
Right, that scene was a bit over-the-top but effective. Thanks for all your Skyfall stuff, still haven’t seen it.
I can’t imagine Speilberg even understanding the history let alone ‘getting Lincoln right.’ So, no premium bucks for the Hollywood commies. I’ll see it on Netflicks however, I’m looking forward to any reviews.
I see that in one of his interviews screenwriter Tony Kushner – the author of Angels in America, in which the “angel” is the spirit of the Stalinist (even is she wasn’t an important spy) Ethel Rosenberg – peddles the baseless conceit that Lincoln was “gay,” although he concedes that the Lincolns nonetheless had a “real” marriage (pretty obvious – they had four sons). Presumably, Spielberg and Kushner had the decency to leave this angle out of the movie (which I haven’t seen).
I suppose the Left feels that it cannot celebrate Lincoln without assimilating him to one of their categories of sacralized victimhood. I wonder how they would react, though, to a similar imputation about one of their real heroes?
I take Prof. Lawler’s word for it that there’s nothing objectionable in the film, and even that it’s pretty good. Still, I can’t see that hard leftists like Spielberg and Kushner have any more moral right to define Lincoln for the impressionable public than would, say, white supremacists.
Robert, I haven’t seen the movie yet but I’ve heard it’s based on a very solid book about Lincoln’s relation to his cabinet members, “Team of Rivals” by Doris Kearns Goodwin. I’m definitely going to watch the flick, because even the Hollywood commies can only screw up a good basis for a script (such as this one) so much
By any objective measure Lincoln was our most divisive President, He divided a country, that should have been persuaded, and brought it back together at the point of a gun and at a cost of 600,000 lives and countless numbers maimed.
H.L.Mencken’s excoriation of Lincoln for the the high-flying hypocrisy of the Gettysburg address is worth pondering “liberty, in the political sense, than so many convicts in the penitentiary.
”But let us not forget that it is poetry, not logic; beauty, not sense. Think of the argument in it. Put it into the cold words of everyday. The doctrine is simply this: that the Union soldiers who died at Gettysburg sacrificed their lives to the cause of self-determination—”that government of the people, by the people, for the people,” should not perish from the earth. It is difficult to imagine anything more untrue. The Union soldiers in that battle actually fought against self-determination; it was the Confederates who fought for the right of their people to govern themselves. What was the practical effect of the battle of Gettysburg? What else than the destruction of the old sovereignty of the States, i.e., of the people of the States? The Confederates went into battle free; they came out with their freedom subject to the supervision and veto of the rest of the country—and for nearly twenty years that veto was so effective that they enjoyed scarcely more liberty, in the political sense, than so many convicts in the penitentiary.”
Our finest poet-President was perhaps our worst President of the people.
Mr. Wolfe, I’m not sure Ms. Goodwin is all that good an historian. Consequently, her description of Mr. Lincoln would, undoubtedly, follow the ‘progressive’ interpretation, or be heavily tilted toward an apologetics of consolidation. Netflicks serves well enough, though Mr. Lewis is a favorite.
Mr. Casas seems to have correctly analyzed the era quite correctly.
I often times agree with djf, but I must disagree with him here.
“Still, I can’t see that hard leftists like Spielberg and Kushner have any more moral right to define Lincoln for the impressionable public than would, say, white supremacists.”
First of all I do not recognize Spielberg as a hard leftist. Foundationally I do not recognize the left right paradigm, as anything more than a political science short cut designating hypothetical positions ascribed to plaintiffs and defendants placed on opposite sides of a v. analogized to our legal system. I think that your use of “leftist” and “rightist” causes consumer confusion, and I also believe I can prove this. And partially I believe this is part of what is problematic for Republicans and the Republican brand.
But supposing I did recognize Spielberg as a “hard” leftists, I almost certainly would want to join him. I join the Living Constitutionalists and the progressives in recognizing the foundational nature of federal rule of Evidence 403. That is in recognizing Trademark and Servicemark as valid and serious forms of property and also difficult components of dominion over the mind of man under modern capitalism. In terms of Left vs. Right then if you place Spielberg on the Left and white supremacists on the right, I certainly want to join Spielberg, and I believe I am justified in doing so.
That is I plan to move for summary judgment on the question of Spielberg’s moral right to define Lincoln vis a vis white supremacists. (humoring your leftist designation).
I don’t know of an actual venue where you could find a jury that would listen to the white supremacists. But I join the institutional left led by the ACLU in recognizing that the white supremacists should be accorded freedom of speech. I even believe that the white supremacists (as a brand ironically) should be allowed copyright. What I dispute is the value of such copyright. Not all modicum of creativity fixed in a tangible medium of expression is created equal.
I submit that Spielberg’s copyright is more valuable than that of the white supremacist, and that this is not evidence which should suffer a rule 403 objection, because it is entangled in the very heart of the problem itself.
While I have not read the (hypothetical) brief of the white supremacist argueing for its moral equality/right to define Lincoln, I believe that the heart of its potential argument can be rejected apriori vis a vis the moral right of Spielberg.
That is white Supremacy qua white Supremacy and really the entire problem and question of racism is nothing more than false consciousness vis a vis a designation of source origin and sponsorship addressing the question of exceptionalism. Summary judgement is appropriate because in the best possible light the white supremacist can only show that he has a rational basis for using color and race as a primitive form of Trademark. Essentially the white supremacist must show that being “white” is relevant. I admit that under the Lanham act colors can be valuable forms of property for designating source origin and sponsorship, and admit that “white power” is even present in the flowery script of Coca Cola. But in the case of Coca Cola the white power, never rises above the level of rational basis, and that rational basis exists to form in the mind of the consumer an association with the product Coca Cola. The white supremacists use of the color white to designate an association with greatness, and purety is by contrast a perversion of american intellectual property because it does not refer back to a concrete and homogeneous product that takes part in a standardized level of greatness. Even given the most charitable reading the white supremacist is simply talking about the white race as a brand or form of trademark capable of designating source origin and sponsorship. In other words he may convince the court that from time to time human beings have for various evidential reasons a rational basis for taking race into account, just as consumers of Coca Cola may have reasons for depending upon the uses of the colors red and white. But racism in the broadest sense as the use of color to designate source origin and sponsorship is only the crudest level of trademark, and only gives rise to a rational basis for a certain belief. It is useful for making snap decisions at Krogers, but the structure of this racism under the Lanham act is different, and it is only charitably that one reads the white supremacist as having established a rational basis foothold.
While the white supremacists under a favorable summary judgement standard can demonstrate at best a rational basis vis a vis trademark questions, they produce in general subpar value copyright and political speech. Spielberg in contrast can be considered as a valuable servicemark, and has produced intellectual property of considerable monetary worth which has factually advanced the progress of the science and the useful arts. That is Spielberg has a history of produceing valuable copyright, and the character of his servicemark is foundationally superior to that of the White Supremacist, such that in employing Spielberg as a material designation of source origin and sponsorship, one is employing strict scrutiny in matters of aesthetics.
I therefore move for summary judgement on the question of justified belief in servicemark in the case of Spielberg v. White Supremacy.
Does A hard leftists like Spielberg have more moral right to define Lincoln for the impressionable public than would, say, a white supremacist?
Answer: Yes. Not all modicum’s of creativity fixed in a tangible medium of expression are created equal or constitute valuable copyright.
Lincoln was not gay in the movie in a way I could notice. Gay Lincoln couldn’t help but undermine Father Abraham. Of course there’s something LEFTIST about the GETTYSBURG ADDRESS. And there’s a lot leftist about T. Stevens. The movie, as noted by John P, portrays TS as well-intentioned but basically dangerous. So it’s a moderate left movie. But I’m not against the thought that the country progressed down the equality road in a good way by abolishing slavery. Having said that, we should remember there are very, very questionable things about Lincoln and his civil religion. We should remember he was a great man but only a man and so not wholly transparent even to himself.
I might add that only on POMONCON can you see both sides (in various ways) of our nation’s Lincoln war represented so ably.
… abe-ly …
Lincoln was, indeed, a tyrant (I trust I don’t have to list the litany of offenses, yet again?) who jettisoned Constitutional gummint at first opportunity.
I do believe he worked assiduously for the “Eastern, monied interests” considering the financial losses associated with an establishment of a Southern Confederacy. It is probable that for his sins, he suffered greatly and may have been tormented. Sin has consequences.
I was hoping you might answer Mr. Lewis’s query. Now, that dude’s smart and way over my poorly educated head!
Saw the movie two nights ago. Lots to talk about, hard to talk about, though, because of the anti-Lincoln and anti-”Hollywood lefties” memes introduced post-haste.
Speaking to others with different perspectives, an observation and a query: a late scene (poignantly) had Mary and Abraham talking about life after the Presidency. Mary made a point of noting that it was “Good Friday,” hence conventionally problematic for taking out your bride and beloved for a ride. During the conversation, Lincoln declared he wanted to visit not only “the west,” but Jerusalem, the city of David and Solomon.
A couple of queries: 1) were these stated-desires historical, i.e., do we know if Lincoln harbored them? If so, I would find them more-than-a-little-interesting.
I hesitate to bring this one up, but I’ll do so with the appropriate caveats:
2) Given that Kushner and Spielberg are Jewish, is there some sort of a “Lincoln preferred Judaism to Christianity” thing going on here, with the flaunting of Christianity’s sacred day and the extolling of Davidic kingship (which, presumably, knew the need for the low arts of politics)? In this connection, i.e., Judaism & (or versus) Christianity, I’m not sure I saw any “Lincoln-as-Messiah” in the movie. I may have missed it. But if it’s missing, that may be suggestive as well. (Certainly, “with malice toward none and charity for all” tips in the Christian direction, but without making Lincoln Christ-like.)
Interested to hear what others saw and thought.
That was a striking scene, of course. Paul. I’m guessing it’s made up. I no of no evidence that Lincoln wanted to visit Jerusalem etc. Still: There’s nothing in the movie to suggest that Lincoln regarded HIMSELF as a Messiah. But he does sacrifice himself in fact; the movie makes a big point of how much he’s aged in a single year. The focus on the last year of his life, completing the redemptive act etc. just before his death seems Christ-like to me. I agree the opinion of the movie is that Lincoln doesn’t think of himself as a Christian and he’s about no more that making men citizens (under the law, of course). After that, politics in its compromising and extemporizing character continues in a direction no one can predict. There’s more to be said here: But I’ll leave with the observation the view that Lincoln and even “the Founders” are more Jewish than Christian exists other places than among Hollywood lefties.
Another irrelevant observation: Lincoln’s practice of “the low art of politics” in the film just isn’t very low. It’s perfectly legal to offer worthless offices to worthless men under “the patronage system.” Nobody’s life is threatened, nobody is blackmailed big-time etc. etc.
Years ago, back in the 70s, I remember having read (don’t remember where) that Lincoln told Mary, just before he was shot, that he wanted to visit Jerusalem after leaving office. The story sounds apocryphal, but it was not invented for the movie.
I have no doubt that Spielberg and Kushner are anti-Christian, but they are not much on Jewish identity, either, except to the extent that Judaism and Jewish identity are wholly identified with the Left, to the point of being submerged therein. (This is the standard approach to Judaism and its sources and symbols in all non-Orthodox movements today; everything is reinterpreted as symbolizing Leftist values.) A few years ago, Kushner offered the view that the founding of the State of Israel was a “mistake.” Of course, this is not because he believes that salvation occurs on a “spiritual” plane, but because he believes that salvation occurs through the worldwide progress to a Leftist vision of “justice,” from which parochial Jewish nationalism (aka Zionism) is a distraction.
Spielberg and Kushner also collaborated on the Munich movie, which is notably hostile to Israel’s program of rubbing out the terrorists responsible for the murder of the Israeli athletes. Rather odd for Obama worshippers to deplore such tactics, but then, they made the movie before BHO became president and began targetted killings of people on the other side of the world who, supposedly, might kill some of us one day.
djf, so i’m obviously not a world-class Lincoln expert. Could anyone give the source of the Jersualem story or assess it’s significance?
Thanks Peter & djf, we’ll all have to await the answer concerning the trip to Jerusalem from experts.
I didn’t see any obvious Jesus-scenes; the opening scene with the two sets of soldiers was more Hal before the battle of Agincourt than anything in Scripture. As for his death-bed scene, when I saw it I didn’t detect any particular Christian-allusion. It was, however, quite obvious that the scene very very, very self-consciously framed, so I could have missed something. But it seems a stretch, e.g., to liken the attendant cabinet to the disciples. As for spending himself to the final penny of his strength, I too, would have aged a decade during the final year of the war, especially if I spent all night looking over pardons. That seemed required by historical verisimilitude rather than symbolism of some sort.
One thing I noticed about the historical license that K & P allowed themselves: the chief topic of debate during the 13th Amendment debate was the constitutionality of the amendment itself; that was completely ignored. Michael Zuckert’s very good on this point (and on the 13th and 14th Amendments in general).
Lincoln the family man was counterpoised to Lincoln the politician. “Father Abraham” didn’t quite span the two, I thought. In other words, the differences struck me more than any similarities. In any event, there’s a lot there to think about in connection with his relationships with his two sons and his wife.
I thought too many of the characters spoke too well. We needed some dialect and class differences.
The most false note in the movie for me was during the aforementioned ride on GF, when Mary expressed her concern about how she’d be viewed by history. Really? On the other hand, Lincoln certainly had views about America’s place in human history. They movie did not try to deal with his own ambition.
When I said “the low arts of politics,” I wasn’t deriding them as immoral. However, there was a clear suggestion that Lincoln, in crunch time, went beyond patronage-dangling. This, of course, was counterbalanced by his wonderfully deft one-on-one soliciting of votes (not all of which worked). But from the dialogue and action I gathered the consummate politician okayed bribery as well. (BTW: James Spader was wonderful as Bixby, although one could say the same thing about almost all of the actors.)
Among the best features of the flick: the portrayal of Lincoln’s speech: as lover and raconteur of stories (with a point); a very laconic public speaker (“And that’s my speech.”); possessing eutrapelia (i.e., well-adjusted to his interlocutors and situation; his capacity for drawing people out and thereby drawing them in (or vice versa).
Lots there. Chime in!
A quick google search revealed the source of the story that Lincoln told Mary at Ford’s Theatre that he wanted to see Jerusalem. Apparently, the Springfield minister who officiated at Lincoln’s funeral wrote, in a notebook, that Mrs. Lincoln told him that the President said to her, before he was shot, that “There is no place I would like to see so much as Jerusalem.”
The story does not have the ring of truth to me. After Lincoln’s death, clergymen tended to create apocryphal stories and quotations that made him appear more conventionally religious than he really was. He was of a religious nature, of course, and a close reader of the Bible, but he was not theologically orthodox. From what I’ve read about Lincoln, my sense of the man is that his first priority, after leaving office, would not have been a visit to the Holy Land.
From what I’ve just said, it would be rather odd if the story was incorporated into the movie to make Lincoln appear more “Jewish” than Christian.
djf, thanks for the detective work. You’re right, it’s an in-credible story.
But the puzzle remains: given that it’s apocryphal, K & S still retained it, while transferring it to the carriage-ride scene, which they prefaced with the clearly made-up comment about being out-for-a-ride on Good Friday. In other words, both Christianity and “Jerusalem,” Jewish version, are brought together in the script, with Lincoln ignoring Christian convention and aspiring towards Davidic Jerusalem. Coincidences? A K-S jeu d’esprit? My fertile imagination? None of the above?
Just saw the movie tonight, I loved it! I agree with Paul’s points about Lincoln’s speech, his storytelling ability really was effectively expressed in this movie. That was also the best part of John Ford’s “Young Mr. Lincoln” in my mind too.
The seen at the end with Mary and Abe was very interesting, I was struck by it too. When Mary said, “I’ll only be remembered for being crazy,” my brother and I burst out laughing in the theater. In terms of the “low art of politics” aspect of Lincoln (which was certainly part of his political life), the movie did try to show him as in some ways above bribery, though in reality I think he came pretty close to that kind of thing at least while he was in Springfield. My main criticism: it was kind of arrogant to call it “LINCOLN” when this covered just one of many important (and perhaps more important) events in his life, the passage of the 14th amendment (how about defeating McClellan in the Election? or making the decision to write the Emancipation Proclamation? or going through all those generals before ending up with Grant to lead the army of the Potomac? or debating Stephen Douglas in the Illinois Senate race?)
*meant to say “scene” and “13th amendment”
Yeah, the only way the title could be appropriate would be if the (tacit) claim of the movie were that this was the decisive and most revealing chapter in his life. Implausible on its face.
—-Spielberg continues to deliver ‘on board’
PC moral alibis and predictive programming
for the capstone world EUGENICS agenda.
Surely the ONLY urgently relevant aspect
of Lincoln to be dealing with —for the FIRST
time, would be his quite possibly –FATAL–
diss of the Global USURY banking syndicate.
(CHECK OUT ‘Money Masters documentary)
And BEWARE! —this would NOT be the
first time Spielberg’s collusion and timing
BE AWARE! —he released his guilt-trippy,
PC revisionist ode to China ‘Empire of the Sun’
during the heyday of handover to RED China
and on the eve of the
MAO still beams over Tiennamen
—Their flag is STILL —-RED
——-EUGENICS is STILL unfolding
And this is the —’mysteriously overlooked’—
of the RED China, Globalism and EUGENICS
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