Sunday, November 25, 2012


I saw Steven Spielberg's Lincoln last night with my son.

One of the best films I've seen in years. The cinematography and screenwriting are exceptional, and the acting is magnificent. Daniel Day-Lewis is astonishingly believable. I really felt as if I were watching and listening to Lincoln. I have long loved the 16th president-- he was a man of remarkable grace, intelligence and integrity-- and the movie makes him real. An amazing accomplishment.

It is not an action movie-- it is nearly all political dialogue, centered on the struggle to ratify the 13th Amendment in the House of Representatives. But despite the lack of car-chase scenes and explosions, even my 12 year old enjoyed it (he's a history buff).

There's much to like if you're a Christian conservative-- Lincoln's profound spirituality is displayed, and the term "Democrat" is an expletive. There is even an emphatic reference by the Great Emancipator to the rights of the unborn-- he was referring to unborn black Americans, who he hoped to save from enslavement. The reference was striking-- "unborn" was sharply emphasized. Could it be that Spielberg (a liberal Democrat) understands that the battle for innocent life is the modern battle against slavery? Slavery and abortion are predicated on the same execrable moral assertion-- that there are some human beings who are not persons. The moral assertion that slavery and abortion share is that the weak may be used and disposed of according to the interests of the strong. It is an assertion that Lincoln fought with his whole being. He died fighting it.

Whatever your political leanings, Lincoln is a movie that must be seen. Oscar subito!


  1. Interesting that you admire a man with integrity, when you have none at all yourself.

  2. Very, very doubtful. But you could start (and it would just be a start) by admitting the falsity of your claims about evolutionary biology, constitutional interpretation, history, physics, artificial intelligence, and so forth, that have been documented again and again in the comments.

    I'm looking forward to some real honesty and integrity on your blog. It would be a surprising and delightful change.

    1. I live to surprise and delight you.

      So if I surprised and delighted you, you wouldn't be surprised.

      So I can't do it.

    2. You have been doing your clown act for so long that it stopped being a novelty. You just come across as a clueless dork (remember those confident election predictions?).

      If this is your sort of thing, by all means keep doing it. Just be aware that people eventually tune out and go to check out another train wreck.

    3. You've documented nothing in the comments, Anonymous. You frequently draw false conclusions or draw on spurious sources. You think that you win big when you get the last word, but really people just tune you out like noise.

      Please go check out another "train wreck." Speaking of train wrecks, how's that Obama economy doing?


    4. Anon's problem is that he sees all disagreement as "lying" on the part of his opponent. He sees things one way, and because Egnor (or someone else) sees it another, it contradicts what he "knows" to be right. The other person is "lying"!

      He interprets the Constitution one way--which oddly enough bares little resemblance to what the Constitution actually says--and anyone who has the audacity to argue with him is telling whoppers.

      A disagreement is not a lie, and a lie is not a disagreement. Learn the difference.


    5. TRISH and JQ,

      We can objectively check how accurately Egnor sees the world. Here is a homework assignment for you:

      1. Have a look at this thread: My Prediction.
      2. Out of the six predictions made, how many were accurate?
      3. Discuss.

    6. A prediction that does not come true is not a lie. That's exactly what I'm talking about, Anon. You're such a vicious partisan that you see "lies" everywhere.

      At the beginning of every baseball season, sports writers from every paper in the country make predictions about who's going to win the World Series. I always read them with amusement because they are never right. Most are really far off the mark. Sometimes the team that was picked to win the World Series doesn't even make the playoffs. But the sports writers are not liars, they're simply not quite as prescient as they think they are.

      A lie is when I say that Anon beats his wife when I know he doesn't.


    7. You get a D for your effort, JQ. Anon's comment mentioned falsity, not lying.

      Egnor is consistently wrong on many things. It's possible that he is genuinely mistaken, in which case being wrong would not make him a liar. But he is wrong nonetheless.

    8. I am indeed wrong in many things. I was very wrong about the election.

      I speak my mind, under my own name, in public. I am quite fallible.

      You have many opportunities to demonstrate how I am wrong. I welcome it. You rarely take those opportunities-- you merely assert that I am wrong, without facts or logical argument, or call me names.

      So I'll keep expressing my opinions.

      Show me where I'm wrong.

    9. LOL. I just did. You seem to have a very short memory, Egnor.

      Read the beginning of your comment, where you acknowledge that you are wrong "in many things."

    10. So many comments, so little substance...

  3. I have long been interested in Mr Lincoln and the civil war period of American history.
    I am hoping to get out and see Spielberg's hagiography as soon as I can.
    But, I was recently passed a copy of a book by a firend and colleague of mine called 'Forced into Glory: Abraham Lincoln's White Dream' by a noted US historian, who also happens to be black (like my colleague, incidentally). My friends perspective on the subject of the civil war has always seemed rather 'unique' - and he claimed this study vindicated him. His family has fled slave catchers in the Northern States just prior to the civil war, you see.
    The book flipped my lid.
    I don't think anyone who wants to do a proper study of this President should pass it up. It is by no means a flattering portrayal of Mr Lincoln, but according to the sources and critics - it is extremely accurate.
    Some of the direct and authenticated quotes would curl your hair!
    That said, I don't think we will see any films based on it any time soon.
    It has been met with silence outside of historical circles.

    1. Lincoln held to views about race that were certainly not complementary to blacks. He definitely thoughts blacks were inferior to whites.

      But he had strong beliefs about equality under law, and had personal qualities that were quite admirable. He was completely wrong about racial equality (no race is inferior to any other), but he was precisely the right man for the right time.

      If he had been more radical in his abolitionist beliefs, he would have failed to preserve the Union and failed to end slavery.

      The movie includes this point, in some detail, especially in the portrayal of Thaddeus Stevens, who was a radical Republican who Lincoln had to cool off in order to get the 13th Amendment ratified.

    2. Lincoln was pretty racist. He also exercised wartime powers that would seem a little, ahem, tyrannical by today's standards. Let's say that if George W. Bush did to opponents of the war on terror what Lincoln did to opponents of the civil war, they would have impeached and removed him. Obama could have gotten away with it, I think, because he gets away with everything and the media never holds him to account.


    3. JQ,

      Lincoln had a real war to fight. One which killed 600,000 in a combined population of around 29 million. George W Bush's 'War on Terror' wasn't a war. It was little more than an enhanced police action against a relatively small group of criminals who killed several thousand Americans in a population of 300 million.

      And Bush then proceeded to start two unnecessary wars which resulted in the deaths and injury of vastly larger numbers of people, Americans and non-Americans alike.

      I agree that Lincoln was a great president. I look forward to seeing the film (although, I rarely watch films nowadays). I often wonder if Lincoln were alive today, would he be nominated for any public office by today's Republicans?

  4. Slightly off topic, I notice that iTunes (I tend to watch films on an iPad - because it allows me to watch them at my convenience over several days) has a new film on offer for rental or purchase:

    Abraham Lincoln Versus Zombies.

    Set during the Civil War, with Lincoln personally battling against the Undead of the Confederacy.

    Gawd. The trailer is as bad as the title and the synopsis.

    1. Cinema also has him hunting vampires, Bach.
      Mind numbing stuff.

  5. There are some strong rumors that Lincoln was a gay atheist. See here for example. Apparently Lincoln was having sex with other men in the White House while his wife was sleeping in another room.