Revisionism

A quote from a review of Lincoln:

To those who insist that it would have required a PBS miniseries or a wholly different feature film to portray black characters with more complexity and to suggest that African-Americans played a role in their own liberation, I offer the following dreams and fantasies of my own. Thaddeus Stevens could have talked about politics at home with his common-law wife, Lydia Smith, who was African-American. They might have discussed the tension between Stevens’s idealism and the president’s pragmatism; Smith could have given Stevens advice about how to handle himself during the House debate over the 13th amendment.

Yeah, after which she went to her office on campus to prepare her tenure dossier while he did the dishes and drove the kids to soccer practice. Because that is totally how black women lived in the XIXth century.

People expect to be babied at every step of their lives, even at the movies. History is so upsetting that it needs to be cutesified for consumption by these overgrown infants.

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10 comments on “Revisionism

  1. I can only respond with a bit of pan-Africanism, which I am happy to email to all hungry liberals who want more of it:

    THANK gOD FOR THE UNNATURAL MUTANS -THE CANCER OF THIS PLANET, THEIR DEMISE IS NIGH. tHEY HAVE DESTROYED OUR PLANET, THEY HAVE MURDERED AND MAIMED. nO MORE, NO MORE, EUROPE IS THEIR HOME, AUSTRALIA IS FOR THE NATIVES- PATHETIC PATHOGENS,AAAAAA FRICA FOR AFRICANS, AMERICA FOR THE NATIVES AND ASIA FOR ASIANS..

      • Some Zimbabwean guy commenting on my Facebook posts. He also doesn’t seem to like the Zimbabwean writer, Marechera, because he thinks I wrote an extract I quoted:

        What has not b…See more
        Like · · Promote · Share
        Mike Ballard and Edward Kambarami like this.

        Edward Kambarami · 53 mutual friends
        bwahahahaha” White pebbles on a white beach dazzle the eye towards the lighthouse” – You must be out of your small brain…
        about an hour ago · Unlike · 1

        Edward Kambarami · 53 mutual friends
        “Out of the black sunlight, a mother gorges herself on the foetus screaming out of her” – hahahah – is this a poem or a line from Mein Kempf …
        about an hour ago · Edited · Like

        Edward Kambarami · 53 mutual friends
        Pamhata pako
        about an hour ago · Like

        Edward Kambarami · 53 mutual friends
        Beche raambuya vako..
        about an hour ago · Like

        Jennifer Frances Armstrong Marechera is not to everybody’s taste

  2. Most people can’t even handle straight-forward, not revisionist texts, which do not tell a story about morality, representing characters in the way they ought to be.

  3. Unlike you, I don’t see modernity as a watershed moment, but rather as a process that took several centuries, and had different effects in different places. It was shaped by three movements in Western Europe: the Renaissance, the Refoirmation and the Enlightenment (see here Modernity: from dawn to decadence | Notes from underground)..

    Peter the Great tried to introduce these to Russwia, and the Bolsheviks tried to complete what he had started. How successful they were remains to be seen.

    • Thank you, I’m well aware. I guess my entreaties not to be reproached with simplifying were not frequent enough. :-)

      What really matters I’m this context, howeber, is that the people who lived then (and created art) did see the moment as profoundly transformational. Virginia Woolf, as we all know, said that around 1910 the world changed. She was transmitting a general feeling people had.

      • I wasn’t reproaching you, just pointing out a different interpretation. And a similar change took place at the Renaissance, when Western art adopted the photographic convention, see, e.g. The ikon in an age of neo-tribalism | Notes from underground.

        I don’t think you were over simplifying, just that you were highlighting one aspect of a wider phenomenon, and its so wide that there can be many different ways of looking at it, and comparing them can be inter5esting.

  4. Clarissa:

    Keep in mind that Thaddeus Stevens was not your typical Congressman.

    Actually many people considered Lydia Hamilton Smith his common-wife and she was a business woman who ran several businesses.

    He also appears to have treated her with unusual respect.

    Now whether you would find any of those scenes that historian Kate Masur suggested to be interesting is another thing. As it is, many of the best scenes in Lincoln had Thaddeus Stevens in them. Lincoln‘s screenplay was loosely based off of A Team of Rivals..

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