Retrohistory: Abraham Lincoln and the Log Cabin Republicans

President Abraham Lincoln as a Vampire Hunter

Some claim Abe Lincoln was our first vampire hunting president. And why not? After all, some are claiming he was gay.

[Lincoln’s first codename was “nuts” – not that there’s anything wrong with that]
I once heard someone ask Isaac Asimov, one of the most published individuals of all time, how could he possibly write all those books? Asimov responded: “It’s simple. I never rewrite anything.”

It would be nice if our culture followed that advice with regards to historical figures.

But no.  We must mythologize them.  If they are hated, we will be able to hate with impunity and without apology.  They are the perfect movie villains.  No one complains about the portrayal of Hitler in the Indiana Jones’ movies or Inglourious Basterds or as a subtitled parody of this scene.  And we assign these hated individuals to the opposition.  Godwin’s Law was invented specifically for this phenomenon and states “As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.”

The converse is also true.  Our heros are lauded and feted beyond human recognition.  Hence, we now have Abraham Lincoln as a vampire hunter:

(Apparently Lincoln wanted to rid the US of vampires… but he wasn’t successful if you look at the current members of Congress.  Still, we should be thankful that there can’t possibly be a sequel to this film — unless Ulysses S Grant ends up fighting zombies.)  And, just as we claim Hitler to be part of the opposition, we love to take our heroes and make them one of us.

So I suppose it is expected that we find Andrew Sullivan, who is a gay (or Log Cabin) Republican, wanting to claim Lincoln as his own: Continue Reading

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The Lorax needs to speak for Dr. Suess about this film remake

How Dr. Seuss goes green in Hollywood

The Lorax needs to speak for Dr. Suess about this film remake

The Lorax spoke for the trees but who will speak for the arts?

[unless]

The Lorax, the movie – did it need to be made?
Was the studio poor?
Did it need to be paid?

Are the Once-lers behind it, this money-grab ruse?
Recycle for Earth
But don’t redo Seuss!

A more traditional “Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss” can be found here.  If you enjoyed this post, please consider subscribing over on the right side of the page or follow me on Twitter. Thank you for reading and commenting!

Meryl Streep wins Best Actress at 84th Academy Awards

Meryl Streep and the Oscar – By the Numbers

Meryl Streep wins Best Actress at 84th Academy Awards

The Iron Lady loves her Golden Man (Source: Reuters / Mike Blake)

[how do I love thee?]
Okay, time to fess up.

How many of you saw The Iron Lady?  You know, the movie where Meryl Streep plays Margaret Thatcher.  The part that just earned her an Oscar. (Meryl, not Margaret.)

Before you answer, let’s do some math:

At the time of the Oscar broadcast, The Iron Lady made $25.7M domestically.  Average ticket prices for films are presently just under $8.  (This seems a bit low to me because I wish I could find a theater that showed screenings at that price!  But let’s go with the assumption that numbers don’t lie – especially since I’m about to make an argument based on numbers.)

If you divide the average ticket price into the total sales made, you find that… um… carry the 1… hmm… 3.2 million people paid to see The Iron Lady.  This isn’t a movie aimed at teenage boys, so we don’t need to worry about any additional viewers from illegal streaming.  But, just to be generous, let’s also assume that everyone in the Motion Picture Academy – all 6000 of them – also saw the film because they get free movie screeners from the studios.  That’s a grand total of…  3.2 million people who saw Meryl Streep’s performance in The Iron Lady.  And that number is an upper limit estimate because I doubt many who saw the film in a theater only paid $8 for their ticket.

3.2 million people.  Let’s put that number into perspective.  This week 3.5 million people were watching a repeat of an animated series based on the film, Napoleon Dynamite – at the same time that the Oscars were being broadcast.  Last week, the television show, Pan Am, had 3.8 million people watching its finale – and it was a show cancelled because of low viewership. And these numbers are only the “prime demographic” of viewers ages 18-49; we haven’t restricted the demographics that saw The Iron Lady.

If The Iron Lady were a television show, it would have been canceled from lack of audience.

That The Iron Lady didn’t generate much of an audience isn’t surprising.  After all, neither critics nor audiences were impressed with the movie.  Rotten Tomatoes meters as of the Oscar broadcast gave it a 53% on the critics’ meter and a 55% on the audience meter.  These are not good numbers.  That kind of word-of-mouth producers can do without.

So what’s the point of all this higher mathematics?

Last night, both my Facebook and Twitter feeds lit up like proverbial pinball machines (remember those?) on the news Streep won the Oscar for Best Actress.  Today at work everyone is talking about how exciting it is that she won.  And many people are claiming she “deserved” this win.  Now, if I were a member of the Meryl Streep fan club (I’m not – I’m a fan but I have my limits), I might understand all of this.  I’d be surrounded by all things Meryl, after all.  But I’m just an average guy.  So the conclusion is inescapable: Most of the people so excited over Meryl Streep’s winning the Oscar last night didn’t see the performance for which she won.

This is a pretty odd phenomenon when you think about it.

People:  if you really support an artist, go and support their work!  Or as another artist once said:

The only reward one should offer an artist is to buy his work.
~ Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Note:  the Oscars didn’t exist in Renoir’s time.  But the same idea applies.

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Michele Bachmann: A Ready-Made

[don’t know much about history]
Some blogs just write themselves. This weekend, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann moved the seat of the American Revolutionary War from Massachusetts to New Hampshire:

This wasn’t a simple gaffe in an extemporaneous speech. It was a pre-planned part of her remarks which she also delivered, with the same error, the previous night.

Compare her clip with this gem from the comedy film, ANIMAL HOUSE:

As you may recall from the film, the charismatic but academically-challenged Bluto (played by John Belushi) ended up as a US Senator.

The writers of ANIMAL HOUSE really understood what moved the American public.

As a bonus irony, consider this: the US Senator who used to write comedy for a living, Al Franken, has had a better command of facts during his first term in office.