We Southerners know that history is on our side. Defenders of the Empire who try to cherry-pick historical facts usually end up looking rather silly. Yes, we say to apologists of empire, let’s debate history. Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln is the latest attempt to justify the president who mounted a counter-revolution to the Revolution of 1776, thus re-establishing the supremacy of the government over the people.
But the reaction of fans and critics hasn’t exactly been what Spielberg expected. For starters, Daniel Day-Lewis’s portrayal of Lincoln fails to create a believable, sympathetic character. One fan echoed the reaction of many others: “Is it me or does Abe Lincoln sound a lot like Mr Burns?”
Rex Reed’s review, entitled, Arid Abe: Lincoln Is as Wooden as Washington’s Teeth, not only rips Spielberg’s clumsy propaganda, but goes on to present facts about Lincoln and the real purpose of his crusade formerly seen only in pro-Southern circles.
The movie, says Reed, is a “colossal bore.” He finds it “so pedantic, slow-moving, sanitized and sentimental that I kept pinching myself to stay awake—which, like the film itself, didn’t always work.” Ouch.
And in response to the film’s heavy-handed Lincoln worship, which is really empire-worship, Reed observes:
In reality, Lincoln believed in equality under the law, but not racial equality; he had no use for blacks and maintained a strong personal belief that whites were a superior race. In his efforts to get his amendment passed, Honest Abe was not so honest either. He and his cabinet of rivals were not above bribery, lies, suspending habeas corpus or bending the Constitution to break the South’s economic infrastructure.
What’s that? Lincoln’s war was NOT about freeing the slaves, but just another war for power and treasure? Do tell.