I've got to say something about it. It's like a pebble in my shoe I can tolerate no longer.
Patriotic hack Steven Spielberg has made a movie about Abraham Lincoln. We know without watching it that the film is thinly disguised hagiography, like most histories of the 16th president (trailer below). In yet another multi-million dollar Hollywood production designed to give us a warm & fuzzy feeling, Spielberg seeks to remind us how great America was, and thus still is, having done this previously with World War II in Saving Private Ryan and the miniseries The Pacific, both starring Tom Hanks, his Jimmy Stewart-like partner in exaltation of the Greatest Nation Ever Conceived.
You don't have to feel embarrassed. It's OK to feel good about America.
But let's look at this more closely.
Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves. Steven Spielberg chose Daniel Day-Lewis to play Lincoln. Steven Spielberg directed Daniel Day-Lewis in the film. Spielberg hired Tony "Angels In America" Kushner to write the screenplay. Can Americans tell the difference between history as it actually happened and Spielberg's Hollywood version?
No, they can not.
Therefore, and conclusively, through the infinite power of manipulable, unretractable association in the Public Mind, Steven Spielberg has freed the slaves! It's the 21st century Hollywood version!
Spielberg's Gettysburg Address. Looking very Lincolnesque, Hollywood director Steven Spielberg frees the slaves at Gettysburg on November 19, 2012.
However, and more generally and accurately, it was Hollywood that freed the slaves.
Hollywood is liberal. Steven Spielberg is a liberal.
And look — a Black Man is president! That man is a liberal, although he's a somewhat wishy-washy "centrist" kind of liberal who doesn't care as much as he should about Habeus corpus, but loves to deploy predator drones against wrong-place, wrong-time civilians in Warziristan. A man who has paid considerable lip service to saving the middle class but hasn't done jack shit about it. A man who has consistently protected the interests of the Big Banks through the good offices of his Secretary of the Treasury Timothy F. Geithner. A man who ... sorry! I'm off on a tangent here.
Let's return to our main theme. The real bottom line? — liberals freed the slaves!
And to prove that America has been restored to its former glory, the liberal, monied West Coast elites, which include various movers and shakers in Silicon Valley and various Hollywood moguls like Steven Spielberg, the people who were the real winners of the 2012 election, have their man in the White House once again. One might even go so far as to say that these West Coast elites, along with his other big donors, own Barack Obama.
But I need to be very careful here, so let me make it perfectly clear that Barack Obama is a Free Man, if not entirely his Own Man, given the glaringly obvious fact that money buys politicians and has done so for as long as any honest historian can remember. Barack Obama is not a slave!
Is this a great country or what? What do we see? We see Progress everywhere we look! Or, at least, we see it everywhere we are told to look. After much pressure and embarrassment, Barack Obama finally and publically (but not legally in the various states) gave his blessing to same-sex marriage, thereby freeing more slaves, sort of. What more could we possibly want?
An aside — properly speaking, from a physics and Human Nature point of view, it was science, technology, and fossil fuels which ultimately freed the slaves, but that is not my subject today.
And then there is the Imperial court historian behind the film. Gore Vidal is turning over in his grave.
Doris Kearns Goodwin is a star on the Public Television list of "approved" historians, much beloved by Ken Burns and other sentimentalists. When her book about Lincoln Team Of Rivals came out in 2005, Steven Spielberg snapped up the movie rights, knowing that he would need to free the slaves at some future time. And that time has come.
Goodwin's history (hagiography?) appears to some to be a rip-off of a central theme in Gore Vidal's great historical novel Lincoln, which was published in 1984. That theme states that Lincoln surrounded himself (in the Cabinet) with his political rivals to better be able to control them and provide a unified front for fighting the Civil War. In fact, Vidal himself was bitter about the apparent theft in so far as the puppet Goodwin was getting (and does get) all the credit for his intepretation of Lincoln's political scheming during the war.
Unfortunately, I can not find the video/interview in which Gore Vidal expresses his views on Goodwin's work, but that doesn't matter, especially in so far as Vidal is now safely ensconced in the grave. Decrying the lack of memory in this Great Nation, Vidal used to call it the United States of Alzheimers (video below). Vidal was obviously an abrasive man, an unpleasant man, an unpatriotic, go-against-the-flow, openly gay man whose work is not suitable for the Steven Spielberg treatment.
Well, OK. I have gotten rid of that pebble in my shoe. I feel better now. Two videos, first the trailer for Steven Spielberg's Lincoln, and then Gore Vidal talking about America's future.