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CWDG Online :: View topic - Lincoln on History Channel
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Lincoln on History Channel
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JD
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2006 9:57 am    Post subject: Lincoln on History Channel Reply with quote

I'm curious how many folks here watched "Lincoln" on THC last night.

I went into it with an open mind, although we'd been warned about the content and theme of the show with the previews - "He fought two wars, one was in his head..." stuff.

After the first half hour, I was hoping the program would get better. It didn't.

95% of the show consisted of talking heads, self-proclaimed Lincoln "experts," trying to convince us that Lincoln spent every minute of every day of his life contemplating how best to kill himself. We were treated to these folks' interpretations about how Lincoln was always - not sometimes - always in the deepest throes of suicidal depression. He was depressed over his mistake in marrying Mary. He was depressed because none of his homosexual partners became his life partners instead. He was depressed about politics. He was depressed about his law practice. He was depressed about slavery. He was depressed that he actually got elected President. He was suicidal when states began seceding. He was suicidal during the entire war - the author of "Lincoln's Melancholy," Josh Shenk, told us that Lincoln visited the Washington defenses, exposing himself to enemy fire, hoping to get shot and killed, and end all the misery.

Throughout the program, I really tried to give this Shenk guy the benefit of the doubt and listen to him. But it got tougher and tougher the more this putz opened his mouth. About 3/4 of way through the program when Shenk said that Lincoln had a death wish and hoped to get shot at the Washington defenses, I'd had enough.

Hardly any of the talking head were any better. We were treated to exposes, presented as facts (not theories or speculation) that Lincoln was in bed with just about every man he ran across. He spent much of his time at the Soldier's Home in order to bang the headboard with an officer from the Bucktails. One soldier caught them in bed together, and I guess he jumped in to make it a wild threesome or something. Anyway, I felt the puke rising in my throat as I tried to get through the rest of this program.

I've been disappointed in THC shows before, to be sure. There have really been some clinkers over the past few years. But this one has to take the cake. THC seems to have gathered the half dozen morons, a small group that panels such as the Lincoln forum laugh like hell at, and given them their own 3-hour show to espouse their depression, homosexual, death-wish theories. A group of bozos who wouldn't know 19th-century social norms (or abnormalities) even if a time machine dropped them into the 1860's for a month or two.

It was a waste of three hours. All of it reminded me of the rash of "revisionism" that we've been seeing lately, about anything having to do with the American Civil War. No one's satisfied any more that Lincoln was simply human. He won the goddamn war, for Pete's sake. He did everything he could to win it, and to find the general that could do it for him. Instead we're told that he walked around in a daze every day, head in hand, lamenting that he even started the war and praying to God that someone, ANYONE, would put a bullet in his brain. According to these cretins, Lincoln was incapacitated beyond any function at all and its a miracle he was able to simply breathe on his own.

What are anyone else's thoughts who saw this show?

J.D.
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GKWEAGLE1
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2006 10:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

HI JD,

I got home late last night so they were rerunning it around 1:30 am.

Let me back up a bit. As most know what I think of Abe. I regard him as our number two president (Washington is number one because he set the standard by which the rest would have to live up to, abiet some have failed miserably, Abe didnt).

Started watching this wide awake, but within a 30 minutes was sound ! The MRS woke me up at 4am.

I am like you JD, willing to give folks a chance. But this appeared after only 30 minutes to be more of what we have been getting on TV. I have come to see it as "Tragedy TV". It was nothing but trash. And that was once again after only 30 minutes.

JD, the intresting thing occured to me this morning as I type this.

We as "Amatuer historians" often hear how unqualified we are to expose our views. Even after careful research, years of reading, walking battlefields or even spending hours combing through archives of those who served the country. Yet we get some one who writes a book, and because he has a set of initials after his name he is regarded as a "professional" and worthy of basing a whole show on his "theories".

I am tired of it and just am well angered I think is the right term.

Jim

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Mike Nugent
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2006 2:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I only caught about the last 45 minutes last night but was similarly underwhelmed.

To echo some of our other discussions it bothers me that some will take a show like this as "etched in stone" history (after all it was on "The History Channel") rather than as the largely unsupported speculation of a few folks on the fringes of Lincoln history. As with Carhart's recent book and other revisionist approaches to more conventional views of events, some of what was presented will no doubt be repeated and referenced, giving rise to more myths that more serious students of these matters will spend an undue amount of time trying to straighten out.
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GKWEAGLE1
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2006 2:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

HI all,

I didnt finish my thought. So here goes.

What I wanted to say is that we are just as knowledgeable, just as informed about our subject and even more so (See BufordsBoys as an example) then some of these "pros".. And we are told to keep quiet or our views dont count.

Sorry that doesnt hold water with me adn never will.

Thanks Mike adn JD for your encourgement and inspiration as well.

At your service, SIRS,

Jim
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JD
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2006 3:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You both have hit it on the head - and I think Mike's point is very well taken in that true Lincoln scholars are going to spend years straightening out the mess. From here on in, I can hear many people labeling Lincoln as a "manic-depressive, suicidal homosexual" and all because of these fringe-type bozos getting a "show" of their own. It's sensationalism as its best and outright bullshit at the worst.

Jim, your point was addressed by Eric a couple weeks ago on his blog (http://www.civilwarcavalry.com) where he talked about "professional historians" versus us "amateurs." Because I don't have a PhD I'm looked at by some as a second-rate writer or historian. In the case of Lincoln, because some of these wackos indeed have PhDs or published works, they supposedly bring more weight to the discussion. I always thought of Gore Vidal, for instance, as a man who should have his mouth taped shut, but he proved it on last night's show. This is one fella who should never be interviewed again, let along having it aired on national television.

I'd only lost a tad bit of respect for THC over the past few years, but my opinion dropped like a rock last night. Any more of this kind of tripe and I'm going to trade the channel in for something worthwhile.

Like the Joy of Basket Weaving Channel maybe...



J.D.
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fifer
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2006 4:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

All I had to see was 15 minutes of that "blashemy" as Samantha called it and knew these bozos were so far out in left field I knew I heard enough.

Now, if my 14 year old daughter can see through this charade of "knowledge" presented as fact on THC, any one can see it, I mean, 'a blind man should have seen it. '

I taped it just to be sure my 15 minutes worth was what I knew was wrong .. and this morning watching most of it, you guys are right on!
How many years will it take for the wrong be undone?

Mindy
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James_Longstreet
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2006 8:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So, it was a good thing that Laurie CATEGORICALLY Forbade me to even contemplating watching it?!
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Basecat
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2006 11:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was gonna watch it, but have been too depressed and melancholy lately. :)

Caught 5 minutes last night, and that was enough for me. Have also had it with the number of theme books on Abe that seem to come out every 5 minutes, and will not be surprised if we all soon will be exposed to Lincoln and Dysentary.

For what it is worth, I just started reading Lincoln's Sanctuary by Matthew Pinsker, which deals with the time Abe and the family spent at the Soldier's Home. Very interesting book thus far, and a lot better use of time than the 3 hours needed to get through last night's program.

Hope all are well.

Steve Basic
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JD
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2006 12:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The only theme on last night's show about Abe and the Soldier's Home was that he categorically used it only to have, um, trysts with just about every male soldier he could get his hands on.

If Abe was looking on from the great beyond, he's either steaming like hell, or laughing this off like so many stories he told.

Maybe next these people will put together a show on, say, Washington and tell us how we've been wrong about him all these years. Some people just aren't happy, I guess, unless they get their 15 minutes of fame trying to tear down folks who were much better than them. Human, frail, with faults and failings, but better than they could ever hope to be.

J.D.
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Jungles
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2006 7:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Perhaps I can be accused of not giving it enough of a chance, but after
about 15 minutes I was getting over-dosed (and a little woozy) from all the artsy and portentous camera work, and thought I had a pretty good idea where the it was going with the psychology angle. I bailed out and went back to reading "Team of Rivals."

The Lincoln depicted in Team of Rivals is night and day from the permanantly depressed and suicidal basket case of THC. How could a man so astute in his personal and political relationships, so effective as a lawyer, who was so often described as amiable and good natured, with such a wide circle of friends, with a literally legendary sense of humor, so effective in his exercise of office, and so able to influence events (however much he claimed to be influenced by them), be able to function so well if as deeply depressed and even suicidal as the "experts" in this program made him out to be? He'd have been in the lunatic asylum, not at the head of the legal profession in IL, in congress, or in the White House.
Prone to episodes of depression? Sure. Went through them at times? Almost certainly. But stuck in a suicidal depression all his days, no. Not and act the way he did, and acomplish what he accomplished.

The most unfortunate part of this is that responsible Lincoln scholars are going to be dealing with the effects of this travesty for years to come, because to many people, THC's LIncoln is now the "real" Lincoln.

As a final thought, I wonder if we're at the point at which these Ken Burns
style documentaries almost come across as parodies of themselves. Or at least, terribly predictable in tone and approach. All the other-wordly camera work, sepia prints, banjo music, self-important narration, and talking heads bestowing half-baked opinions dressed up as deep thoughts.
I find them very hard to take.
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2006 1:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

JD wrote:
The only theme on last night's show about Abe and the Soldier's Home was that he categorically used it only to have, um, trysts with just about every male soldier he could get his hands on.

If Abe was looking on from the great beyond, he's either steaming like hell, or laughing this off like so many stories he told.

Maybe next these people will put together a show on, say, Washington and tell us how we've been wrong about him all these years. Some people just aren't happy, I guess, unless they get their 15 minutes of fame trying to tear down folks who were much better than them. Human, frail, with faults and failings, but better than they could ever hope to be.

J.D.


J.D.,

Glad I missed that part, as the Pinsker version in his book is way different than what was on TV. As I said, I just started the book on Sunday, and thus far, it shows that Abe enjoyed hanging out with the soldiers when he was out there at the home, and there have been a couple of letters from Soldiers, who wrote back home how great it was that the President would spend time with them while they were doing our duty etc.

Just who wrote the script for this movie..Al Goldstein? ;)

Hope all is well.

Steve
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2006 8:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


While I have a lot more on my plate to worry about then this all chain of events, I am beginning to get a bit nervous about the movie the Speilberg is doing on Abe.

Though as I understand it its going to be based on Goodwins book, I just wonder what we are going to see?

Jungles , you post says it all about Linclon. Great summation of his career, life and his term as President. This man was no Whacko!

Jim
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2006 8:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote



Hey JD, How about how to successfully run a business, and be an "Amature Historian", plus a loving husband, and dad who is deeply appreciated and love by his friends all at the same time??

I think you qualify on all these and more. Hey I will procudce it even. Now we just have to find a forum to do it in.. Think TV would be interested ?

Nah its not "tragedy TV!"

Jim
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James_Longstreet
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2006 4:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jungles wrote:
He (should) have been in the lunatic asylum, not at the head of the legal profession in IL, in congress, or in the White House.

High Time you Yankees Saw who you elected!!!....LOL
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GKWEAGLE1
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 20, 2006 12:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now Now Genl, just because you are a legend in your own mine!


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