I went to see the movie, Lincoln, this afternoon.
Here's my take.
Add one more installation to the revisionist canon of American history. It's a sordid Gospel of the political left that includes Uncle Tom's Cabin, To Kill A Mockingbird, Roots, Amistad, and Red Tails.
Enter the theater with anticipation of Spielberg's tradition of quality production and satiating the viewers' brains with disinformation. Spielberg hides true history beneath a mythical wardrobe that satiates the mind with white guilt and delusions of white privilege.
Sad to say, most are fooled. Movies are, by their nature, meant to entertain. That requires an appeal to the brain's right hemisphere; it's emotional center. That, in turn, bleeds and blends with the brain's logical left hemisphere and, alas, we can't distinguish between truth and fiction.
Goebbels would be impressed.
The movie opens with a gory scene of a black Union battalion doing bloodly hand-to-hand combat with Confederate soldiers. Oh, the joy of watching black soldiers in blue uniforms gouging evil white devils with their bayonets. We are informed that black soldiers played a vital part in the Union's military effort. We are not told that the first black officers ever to serve in the United State military were in the Confederate army. Nor are we told that nearly two thousand black Louisiana freeman enlisted in the Confederate Army in one day. [See more: Black History They Don't Want You To Know.]
As a mass of Union troops meander in the background, a well-spoken black soldier of obvious high intellect and good breeding sets the stage for the movie's thesis as he boldly makes his case before Lincoln. Black folk deserve to be free and should be allowed to vote.
The villains were Democrats who were appalled at the thought of Negroes being considered equal to whites. The super villains were the Southerners. Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens, for example, was placed in a bad light. Literally. (Jackie Earle Haley, the actor who portrayed Stephens, bore an incredible resemblance.)
In short, the movie is about highly intelligent, well-behaved, cultured black people being held down by mean-spirited, dopey white people. That's important. After all, the purpose of the movie is to instill the core Marxist doctrine of equality in the minds of Republican moviegoers. To that end it is essential that blacks be portrayed as dark white folks. The Bell Curve be damned.
The plot figures around Lincoln's efforts to convince the House of Representatives to end slavery by passing the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. Lincoln figures the amendment is twenty votes short of passage. The movie chronicles his efforts to convince twenty lame-duck Democrats to switch sides.
Lincoln is portrayed as a folksy sort whose brilliant mind and determined purpose navigate the maze of Washington politics, using hook and crook to reach the crowning achievement of his presidency. It appears that Spielberg wanted to tamper with the American psyche by replacing the Emancipation Proclamation with the 13th Amendment as the instrument that ended slavery in our nation. He would, of course, be correct. But it is telling that the movie portrays Lincoln as a man of high moralistic altruism who hated slavery as much as I hate my neighbor's cat. The truth is, Lincoln's proclamation legally freed slaves in part of the South and none of the northern slave states. From the Union's perspective, then, the rebel South was free while the Union and sympathetic Southern regions (Tennessee and Louisiana) retained slavery. There was also no mention of Lincoln's plan to ship black folks to Africa en masse.
Were it possible to span time and transport a Lincoln associate to the movie theater, that person would not recognize the actor on the screen as the historical Lincoln. Only the name and appearance bore resemblance. He would also be appalled at the price of popcorn.
The movie manipulates our minds with characters who mouth incidents and antidotes that jab at our inner conscience. The Lincoln's colored servant girl informs us that, as a slave, she was beaten. Meanwhile the younger son of Lincoln studies photographs of slaves, particularly the iconic image a slave scarred by the whip. Slave beating was highly uncommon in the South. It was neither expedient, legal, nor socially acceptable. Moviegoers believe a lie.
I've never cared for critics who gripe about dialog in either movies or novels. It's an easy target and relative to the critic's bias. But this movie deserves special attention: The dialog was a wholesale abandon of the vernacular. Add a blend of Shakespeare's beautiful prose with Dr. Seuss's Cat in the Hat. Subtract the rhyme and meter and you'll have a good idea of the dialog. Americans did not talk that way in the 19th century.
That, in my mind, is a positive; not from the artistic perspective, but in the fact that the corny dialog adds a sense of fraud and fakeness to the movie that divorces it from credulity as being faithful to history. Another positive is that the audience was mostly comprised of retirement-aged folks, with a few youngsters who appeared to be in their fifties.
Also annoying was the mood music that over-cued the audience when to rejoice and when to sob. The repetitious use of the term 'enfranchise' was another brain acher.
The final scene of Lincoln was a silhouette of the towering president lumbering down a darkened night hallway about to make his final exit from the White House to be shot dead at Ford's Theater. Spielberg tastefully and tactfully declined to include a scene of the assassination.
Daniel Day-Lewis played Lincoln and earned his paycheck. The movie also starred notables Sally Field as the not-so-crazy-after-all Mary Todd Lincoln, Tommy Lee Jones as the fervent anti-slavery crusading congressman Thaddeus Stevens, and Hal Holbrook as Francis Preston Blair, a prominent member of President Lincoln's cabinet. (In 1862, Blair offered his slaves freedom and later noted that "all but one declined the privilege." That, too, was missing from the movie.)
Did I see Lincoln?
I saw Spielberg.
Did I see a movie about Lincoln?
I went to view a lecture by Spielberg.
To make the lecture more palatable, Spielberg placed his thoughts in the dialog and imagery of a cinematic production.
To make the lecture attractive to Republicans, he framed his thoughts in an historical context, using their most revered icon, Lincoln, to do the preaching for him. The movie, Lincoln, is nothing more than an elaborate hand puppet in which Spielberg does the talking while the puppet on the screen moves its lips.
How else could Spielberg convince thousands of gray-headed Republicans to endure 150 minutes of indoctrination on the key Marxist component of 'equality?'
The puppet -- Spielberg pretending to be Lincoln -- tells us that he didn't end slavery as an expedient means to conclude the war but, rather, he would have extended the war and sacrificed hundreds of thousands of lives rather than abandon his quest to achieve the Marxist ideal of equality.
In fact, an honest title of the production should have been, "Why We Should Abandon Individual Liberty and Replace It with Government Imposed Marxist Ideal of Equality." But, alas, Spielberg opted to call it Lincoln.
Imagine 100 years from today someone were to make a movie about Ronald Reagan in which he touts the attributes of the Soviet empire; a dialog that somehow omits the event in which Reagan implores Mr. Gorbachev to "tear down this wall."
You, of course, would never be fooled by such malarkey, no matter how elaborate the production. But your great-great grandchildren would well-be taken in.
The lesson to be learned: We are to stand up and cheer when Congress replaces individual liberties with Marxist nonsense.
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