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Monday, February 13, 2012

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Pussycat Catnap

Abe Lincoln is one of the very rare people who suffered from gigantism - a condition where you keep growing until your own height crushes you to death.

He's one of those rare folks who's SL avatar would actually be 'to scale' if he used the typical avatar people use.

The idea of him being some ninja-kung-fu-swords-master while engaged in the most important battle for the rights of the dispossessed against the 'liberty' of the empowered since Moses is just... obscene.

This is the man who's actions, by intent or not, have inspired every single notion of civil rights and humans rights in the world since. He may not have set out to 'free the slaves' - but in the end he inspired the human race to free itself from itself.

We should take our heroes as they were, not in glossed over wuxia-fantasies that cause us to miss the lessons to be learned from their greatness and their weaknesses.

Ignatius Onomatopoeia

Should only surprise us that it did not happen sooner.

Consider Edison's Conquest of Mars, a sequel to Wells' novel War of the Worlds, with The Wizard of Menlo Park leading a Terran fleet to enact vengeance on the Red Planet:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edison%27s_Conquest_of_Mars

I read it long ago. It's an awful novel, but it shows that the Lincoln film is not the first fiction to play loose and fast with an American icon. According to the entry cited, Edison approved the piece.

Unlike Lincoln, Tom Edison realized than any publicity was good for him and his reputation.

So what's next? JFK rising again to save a post-apocalyptic USA, like the legend of King Arthur's return?

In this battered era of uncertainty and small leaders, we need a few who are larger-than-life (and good with a broad axe, I reckon).

Camelot 2062, anyone?

shockwave yareach

"they honor history and Lincoln in ways I'd argue are even more important: For one thing, this movie will become the way a new generation will first learn about Lincoln,"

Um, no. History is recorded fact, not made up garbage. History is "Lincoln was president during the American Civil War". History is not "Lincoln freed enslaved werewolves from Vampire plantation owners in the south."

Having fun and entertaining stories using historical figures is fine. There is plenty of that in fiction. But fiction it is, and suggesting that it be construed as anything other than fiction, fantasy and bad dreams brought about by 3 day old bratwurst, does nothing to bring Lincoln to the youth of today. All it does is cause some people to start believing that these fantasies are fact, just as people now believe CSI stories are all true and extraterrestrials built the pyramids and the Cloverleaf monster is real (because they saw it on a shaky camcorder).

If you want to tell a rollicking good story, go for it. I'm a fantasy writer myself. But don't call it history, historical, documentary, or anything of the sort. Lincoln no more staked vampires than Buffy actually existed. And the inability of so many people in VR to distinguish between real and not real makes me weep for the future of the species.

Orca Flotta

Pussycat:
This is the man who's actions, by intent or not, have inspired every single notion of civil rights and humans rights in the world since.

Really? In the world? Maybe the world between NYC and LA. These things happened in a fresh, young nation which just left the status of unruly revolutionaries and was still busy defining itself and trying to manifest itself among the big players.

Fighters for real human rights were to be found on other continents, in other countries at that time: Marx for example had and still has a far greater impact on world history than anything that ever happened in the funny, brutal, greedy colony on the other side of the Atlantic ocean. Yes, it's true, Marx was a real revolutionary, a gambler, always broke, spent time on the barricades, spent time in jail, and turned philosopher only when he was being taken "out of circulation" by the evil empires storm troopers. Now that's a perfect protagonist for a grand scale Hollywood spectacle. We could turn him into some amazing mix of Obiwan and Han Solo, a steampunk jedi. YAY!

Much more sex appeal and fighting potential in Marx than that lame Abe. The force was strong in young Marx! ;)

Pussycat Catnap

Really? In the world?

Yes.

Freedom fighters around the world claim inspiration from Lincoln.

And ever since the Civil War, every time the US acts bad on issues of rights of minorities, native people, colonized people, or anything - detractors criticize us with the legacy of Lincoln.

So yes, the world.

Lincoln's war changed the game.

Moses put it into the human global psych that a slave has a right to resist. Lincoln put it in the global mind that a master has no right to own. That set us down the path to the modern norm that any person is equal - no matter who they are.

And its become a global norm - and the legacy of this man is what changed that from a notion of 'radicals' to what was accepted as proper.

Before Lincoln, abolitionists and equal-rights causes were seen as evil and socially disruptive. After Lincoln Abolition was a human norm, and in time equal rights moved from radical to a norm. All set in motion because of a little conflict in a then unimportant former UK colony which had a result other than what that conflict set out to achieve...

Pussycat Catnap

"All it does is cause some people to start believing that these fantasies are fact, just as people now believe CSI stories are all true and extraterrestrials built the pyramids and the Cloverleaf monster is real (because they saw it on a shaky camcorder)."

The sad thing is that many juries in the USA now are starting to have evidence issues due to the way CSI presents DNA as something 'instant and unquestionable'.

Result: No DNA = no conviction. Bad or corrupt DNA = wrongful conviction because the jury just hears the word 'DNA' and stops listening, assuming guilt. All other evidence for or against ignored.

The reality of DNA evidence is very messy - often highly dubious partial matches due to decayed DNA, contamination, and so on. DNA is tested on a 9 to 12 point match system. But courts are letting prosecutors display evidence of only a 3 point match and call it a reliable partial match. A 3 point match is as conclusive as 'random [insert race] male'... Yet the jury hears 'match', ignores partial, phases out when the match geeks show up with charts and tables, and remembers last's night's episode of CSI.

Orca Flotta

Moses put it into the human global psych that a slave has a right to resist. Lincoln put it in the global mind that a master has no right to own. That set us down the path to the modern norm that any person is equal - no matter who they are.

Good one, Pussy. You are aware that in most countries over the western world slavery was long gone and abolished by then. And I hardly think that revolutionaries like Marx and co would be inspired by an arch capitalist and nationalist patriot like Lincoln. Not only because the American civil war was of no importance in the greater scheme of social evolution and uproar all over the world but because it was also a few hundred years behind the actual development.

For example in Germany students marched and shouted the same paroles in 1848 we heard again in San Francisco in 1969.

Hamlet Au

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Civil_War_in_the_United_States

The Civil War in the United States is a collection of articles on the American Civil War by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels for the New York Tribune and Die Presse of Vienna between 1861 and 1862, and correspondence between Marx and Engels between 1860 and 1866... The articles promote the Union side of the war, arguing that the conflict was fundamentally about slavery.

Orca Flotta

The articles promote the Union side of the war, arguing that the conflict was fundamentally about slavery.

... about slavery in the USA probably. Because in Europe slavery was already a thing of the past since medieval times. And of course Marx and Engels were pro union since the union states far better reflected European circumstances with their huge factories and workforce compared to the rather outlandish concept of big farms and other rural stuff as typical for the south. Let's not forget both gentlemen's concern was first and foremost for the workers.

Harper Ganesvoort

With the greatest respect to the life and memory of Abraham Lincoln, whose history I have studied in my time -- this movie looks like it will rock. It makes me curious about the book, to be truthful; and I've sold copies of it at the store without wanting to open one until this time.

Remember, all, that a country's internal history can be built as much upon mythos that has grown up around a great figure as upon fact. Most of us believe that Lincoln was a respected figure, the leader of the Union, throughout the entire Civil War. What people don't know until they look at the full histories and biographies is that Lincoln faced vicious attacks upon himself and his presidency throughout most of the war. He was portrayed in some political cartoons as a baboon or other unflattering figures, his intelligence ridiculed, etc., until the war was won. Then he became the president that led us through the crisis. A few days later, after he had been killed, he received instant canonization as a Saint of the Republic, in essence. That is the Lincoln we imbibe(d) in elementary school, and who tends to travel with us to the day we die. Is that, I would ask, any more realistic than the Axe Cop Lincoln in this movie, slaying bad guys that 99% of the world will realize are patently out of storytelling?

Even if we don't gussy up the historical Lincoln with vampires, there has been nothing to prevent people from inserting him, or other historical characters, into fiction for the masses. There may be people out there who were children in the Seventies, who managed to stay up late listening to the CBS Radio Mystery Theater, thinking that Lincoln and Benjamin Franklin each solved at least one murder mystery in their time, if you use the argument that history should not be played with. Or it may be that these people were intrigued by the stories enough to do some reading on their own and learn more about the historical figures, thus letting art whet the appetite for scholarship. So don't cast too many aspersions upon this movie until we discover the results of watching it.

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