Lake Oconee Breeze

On the Screen

November 26, 2012

"Lincoln" respects the audience and the history

LAKE OCONEE — “Lincoln”

Rated PG-13 (for an intense scene of war violence, some images of carnage and brief strong language).

Let me be clear right at the outset: if you are a neo-confederate; one who longs for the days of plantation life and hate the very memory of Abraham Lincoln, take a hint from the title and toddle not into the theater for Mr. Spielberg's latest historical opus. Lincoln is neither a full-tilt iconoclastic portrayal nor is it so idolizing that one is compelled to genuflect while viewing. However, Lincoln-haters will claim otherwise, usually because they are more interested in present day politics than understanding the actual point of the film: that Lincoln had to manipulate divergent powers to achieve the passage of the 13th amendment for complicated reasons that torture the span of attention of most people today. Yet that is not the only problem for Spielberg's Lincoln.

I read in the New York Times, one historian's complaint that the depiction of blacks was insufficiently respectful of their influence on Lincoln. The opinion piece seems to me as if she was mostly eager to pinkies-up nitpick so she can read her words in the New York Times. Pathetic. I caught a few minutes of a talk show on C-Span that bemoaned the "white man's obsession" about the "heroic" Lincoln. Give me a break! From the far right and the far left, Lincoln (the man and the movie) is heckled.

Most people don't even know what the 13th Amendment was about---why not be grateful that a film is not claiming that it was an alien plot for world domination? This nearly two and a half hour film features no nudity and Mr. Lincoln does not kill zombies or vampires (those movies are now available on DVD), nor does he dress, talk, seduce, or prance about on the top of a moving train as Bond-James Bond did/does/will do. This is a Lincoln who practices his dexterity in logical thinking seasoned by a ribald joke here and there---the relevance of which most of his dour fellow politicians fail to grasp.

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