Saturday, December 29, 2012

Spielberg’s “Lincoln” Pretends Black Rebellion and White Repugnance Had Nothing to do with Emancipation

I enjoyed the film “Lincoln.”  The actors were sensational, the script had only minor dings,  and I managed to learn something from a film that was deeply researched.  

I’d like to get that out of the way before I rage on. 

Why did Stephen Spielberg decide to do a film on America’s 16th president?  The timing is right, and there was a ready audience for it.  Abe Lincoln has been pretty much in the news, popular on all sides of the political aisle, with President Obama laying claim to him as his favorite and Bill O’Reilly writing a book on Lincoln, too. 

We know Lincoln as the Civil War president, and that event has legions of followers, enactors, readers.   Besides, can you say “Emancipation Proclamation” without thinking of the gaunt-faced man who led America through some of its bitterest days?

What I’m saying is that any decent film about Lincoln would have impressed an audience, and this one is entirely decent.   Spielberg knows what the public likes, and he always makes decent movies, sometimes exceptional ones.

 But he’s a liberal Democrat, and a heavy contributor to the Obama campaign.  As such he had a problem.  How could he make a  film adulating Republicans without antagonizing Democrats?   Southern Democrats, the political ancestors of the late Democratic Senator Robert Byrd, were the mainstay of the KKK and the most virulent, vocal, activist, and racist opponents of emancipation and the 13th Amendment.  

 Spielberg solved is problem by focusing on the “conservative” wing of the Republican Party.   The movie wastes a lot of digital celluloid in focusing on the stodgy indignation of the traditional wing of Abe Lincoln’s Republican confreres and supporters.

That’s not to say that there were no racist Republicans.  That would be as idiotic as today’s Democrats and their sycophantic jockstrap caddies in the liberal media saying that everyone who voted against Obama, or doesn’t like him or his policies, is a racist.   

Or as stupid as the old regional stereotyping of the North as being free of racism, while the South is full of bigots.   Only demented degenerated people like Michael Moore say such things.

Yet, for Spielberg to focus his abolitionist cameras on Republican conservatives instead of on the masses of racist Democrat KKK men, the real engines of racism,  is the type of fakery and fraud that weakens “Lincoln.”    

If Spielberg was that much afraid of offending Democrats, he shouldn’t have seized upon the money-making opportunity of making a movie about the president who “freed the slaves.”  But then again, we have become accustomed to that type of hypocrisy from liberal Democrats, from Progressives, and from Obama administration flaks.

Director Spielberg also spends too much tedious film time on the congressional intricacies and chicanery that opened the door to the 13th Amendment.  If the workings of Congress are his true interest, why not make a film of today’s congressional labyrinths. 

Too difficult, I’m sure.  Better to revise history.  Spielberg tries to sublimate his contemporary thematic ideology by embedding it into the workings of a divided Republican Party in 1865.  

Who could fail to be hooked by the subterfuge?   We’re supposed to love Lincoln, and we do, though it’s an often portentous, boring story-for-every-occasion Lincoln with a high squeaky voice.  Wasn’t there even the hint of a tough streak in the dour man? 

At one point, I expected Lincoln to emerge from his bedroom wearing Birkenstock sandals.

 To love Spielberg’s portrait and depiction of Abraham Lincoln, we must also carry the banner of the white-centric Progressive-appealing contemporary Democrats who want to blame Republicans, and Bush, and Tea Parties, and anyone but Obama for the mess we’re in today.

Another huge weakness of “Lincoln” is that pretends that African-Americans are passive and obedient beneficiaries of President Lincoln’s good heart.   Hasn’t Spielberg read William Styron’s “Confessions of Nat Turner?”  Where was Frederick Douglass in this picture? 

It is a fact, too, that there were so many Americans, and so many Europeans (the Brits abolished slavery long before we did), citizens of both North and South that were completely sick of the savagery and dehumanization of slavery. 

Human slavery must have been as sickening to many whites, as cruelty to animals is sickening today. It was certainly sickening to John Brown, “mouldering in the grave” John Brown who hated slavery so much he armed black men and went to war with the slave masters at Harper’s Ferry, Virginia.

Not even a mention?    No, Spielberg’s “Lincoln” ignores so much of background, of outrage, of rebellion, that it almost seems to ennoble the status quo, as if the 13th Amendment was some idea contrived by Progressives to win elections.






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