Thursday, December 13, 2012

"Why Not Write About What 'Lincoln' Does Do Instead of What It Doesn't"

Keith Harris of Cosmic America is angry about the way historians are criticizing Lincoln:

Time to vent. I have no need to name names – you’ve read the reviews and you know who they are. But I swear if I read one more historian’s erudite treatise attacking Spielberg’s Lincoln for not delivering a comprehensive history of the abolition movement I am going to light myself on fire and jump out a window into oncoming traffic. So instead of doing that I think I will take a long winter’s nap. It is an activity far less dangerous and far more interesting. Here’s an idea for all scholars of history, American studies, or anyone else who feels a burning desire to weigh in on this film. Why not write about what Lincoln does do instead of what it doesn’t .
Okay here I go…

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Wake me up when this is all over.

K

So what does Lincoln do well?

2 comments:

Joshua Wooden said...

Not sure. It seems to me that the only people qualified to answer the question are the very people criticizing it.

I wonder what it is about humans that we tend to gravitate towards what is wrong and negative rather than what is right.

As for me, I enjoyed the movie. I thought it was fantastic how they made him less mythological and more human. Scenes where he's interacting as a father and a husband make him more real, and more relatable.

John Fea said...

Joshua: Thanks for the post. Several of my students who are not history majors have seen the film and it has led to good conversations and even a request for good books on Lincoln. Does the film has problems? Yes. All historical films do and will. But from what I have read, it seems that this film comes close enough. I find myself sympathetic to Harris's rant.