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25 February 2013


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Michelle Obama's performance was the worst of the night and exactly for the reason you point out - she's not our queen. Apparently all the massive ego's weren't in LA last night.

As to props, doesn't our military have enough real work to do other than be on hand at midnight in full dress for the president's wife's PR stunt? (Yes, I'm sure they were all just 'invited' to watch the show and all just chose to dress up. Sure.) When it comes to cutting the budget perhaps the Republicans can defund a dozen officers assigned to the White House staff. At least it would be a start.


I didn't see Lincoln but from reviews I read I doubt I would have thought much of it.
Spielberg's films are always predictable to me....and always have some "ideological repeat" flaw that totally screws it up for me. There's something, some one theme in Spielberg himself....that cause him to sterotype 90% of of the characters in any movie and then cause his main character to 'fall out of character' for the sake of illuminating some 'larger" question or tear jerking response Spielberg wants.
Maybe Bollywood is just tired of that theme.

Medicine Man

Excellent observations -- I have not much to add. I haven't watched the Oscars for years. A giant circle jerk in my opinion; one that everyone is invited to watch because, of course, the larger purpose of the spectacle is for a certain class of celebrity to see and be seen. You are 110% right to harpoon the egos involved. Like you, I can only wonder at the "inside baseball" involved in the selection process.

I've thought for some time that those clowns give the game away with their aversion to recognizing comedies and action/adventure pictures; all "low art" in their eyes. Why not? If it really is about recognizing their craft, why not? Because it is an industry full of people who wish to be seen as artists rather than entertainers. Why indulge so many people publicly putting on airs?

John Bennett

Sorry Pat. A lot of us readers think Lincoln was a hero.



Some of Spielberg's work seem to me to be not too bad, but there definitely seems to be prejudice against him. McFarlane's anti-Jewish remarks (delivered through Ted )were surprising. I thought at first that this was ad lib, but since Ted is a CGI creation that could not be, could it? With regard to the officers in the picture, they are what are called "volunteer social aides" in Washington. These are junior officers hungry for the company of political "wheels" who volunteer to do duty after hours as hand holders at the WH. That is deplorable but it does not reduce MO's foolishness in this. pl


John Bennett

What makes him a hero? Is it his willingness to prosecute an aggressive war against the Southern States in the interest of centralizzing government and nationalism? Thst war killed more Americans than any other we have fought. What made the Union worth that? Do you think God made the Union for some special purpose of His own? what purpose was that? American Exceptionalism? Is he a hero becausehe freed the slaves? He made it clear throughout his career that he considered African-Americans to be un-assimilable. he made that clear in the Lincoln-Douglas Debates of the 1850s and in the spring of 1862 he told black leaders that if they were ever freed they should go to Africa because they would never be acceptable as equals in the the US. Perhaps Lincoln's suppression of habeas corpus makes him your hero. Perhaps the many thousands of executions of civilians in places like Missouri after trial by military commissions makes him your hero. Was it Lincoln's suppressin of the South in favor of the North? At this point you are supposed to remind me of who won the war. John Kelly, a columnist for the Washington Post stated openly today that Southerners have no right to an opinion as to the justice of the Civil war because they lost! Is that your opinion, that might makes right? Tell me how Lincoln was a hero other than a hero created by PR in the minds of people like you. If you want to find real heros in the struggle between the sections look at those who tried to compromise and avoid a rupture. Look at the presidents despised by you Lincoln lovers. Look at Buchanan, Fillmore and Peirce. pl


With apologies to Sir Winston Churchill:

"Seldom has so many whined so much about so little."

I have only seen Argo and Lincoln and I liked both of them.



you are a typical Scandinavian. you love centralised government power and that is manifest in both those films. pl


I saw those movies as entertainment rather than anything with deeper meanings and I found them to be well made. Other than that, government in Scandinavia is probably less centralized than you find in the US. As an example, it is the hunters' organization that issues weapons permits.

William R. Cumming

Bollywood and China now each produce more full length films than Hollywood.
I also never go to feature length films in a theatre anymore.
I watch many foreign films largely to see if I can discern a theme and many like those of the US feature abuse of women and children. If that subject banned few movies would be made IMO.
American history seems now to be driven by "Star" historians that thrive on the history of Presidents. In the long run or long long run few of the achievements of America have been by its Presidents. Most blew there chances of long term contributions even those serving two terms.
Whether our governments, federal or the STATES and their local governments pass for democracy now or not seems open to question.
AS to the military and the abuse of it for popular display I can only remember that most who use it for that purpose have probably never visted an American military cemetary and certainly few served.
I just finished reading the 4th volume of Robert Caro on LBJ. It concerns his struggle with JFK for the nomination in 1960, the time LBJ was VP and the ascendancy. The clearest point in the book is that the Kennedy Assasination saved Johnson's career since Bobby Baker had been pinned down legally and LBJ never would have been on the 1964 ticket.
The bottom line is that America has contributed uniquely to world history but the full nature of that contribution for good or bad is still to be determined.
My guess PL is that revolution of some nature is just around the corner perhaps not in your or my lifetime.

Professor Eric Foner of Columbia has written a book about the use of the term "FREEDOM" in American history. A word not mentioned in the Constitution if memory serves.



Denial is a very human reaction to avoid the feelings of guilt, shame and betrayal.


It is much easier, if not necessary, to believe that you and your comrades were stabbed in the back. Fighting endless wars that can’t be won brings all these feelings out of the closet. Indeed, if Senator McCain’s attacks on the Obama Administration about the Benghazi Incident indicate that America is in for another round of McCarthyism.

I haven’t seen “Zero Dark Thirty” but the Post indicates that Washington DC managed to keep it out of the winners circle much like Spielberg but not for the same reasons.


I really liked “Homeland” on Showtime. There are very few movies or TV shows that portray the thousand yard stare. You believe that Carrie and Brody both have been to war and seen the “Elephant”; just like the Veterans portrayed in “The Best Years of Our Lives”.

As for Lincoln he kept the States united; although, some may say that we would have been better of without Wilson, Johnson and Bush II as Presidents.



Yes, he kept the states together but at what cost? Does a cost/benefit analysis indicat that it was worth it? There were 50,000 plus casualties at Gettysburg alone. Pardon my thousand yard stare. pl


Since this is Hollywood its time to thrown some real vitriol into the ring.

I've always thought that Stephen Spielberg should be charged with attempting to infantilize the entire human race. He's never grown out of being an adolescent.


Col. Lang-

Sir, I haven't watched the Oscars in years. I've seen Lincoln and enjoyed the film. Lewis and Sally Field did well. It is typical Spielberg though, all the issues are essentially thought out for you, the "very evil" against the "very good", but what was most interesting to me is what it said about our attitudes towards politics today. Here's supposedly the most noble of political acts resting on greasing palms and showering wavering Congressmen with jobs. Lincoln in one scene wisecracking with his bagmen . . . Why make such a fuss about all those dirty deals and scandals . . . that's the way it's done, Spielberg tells us.

Maybe, that was what Hollywood didn't like.



So, you are saying that it is an accurate depiction of government then and now? If that is the case, then I might like it. lincoln was a career politician. That says it all. pl


Sir, I think you might just enjoy it. The depiction of the War Department's telegraph center is interesting, if that is what it is. Still, from watching the film, you would think that half the Union Army was made of African American soldiers . . .

I'm a Southerner (NE Texas) so I share a certain ambivalence towards that period of time. I remember my teachers (Southern matrons I call them) who taught us that Memorial Day was not "our holiday" . . . still, I would hope to see a Southern culture flourish again . . . with good writers like yourself, sir . . .


Some actresses and their stylists will never figure out that to wear a strapless number successfully you must have the cans to hold it up.

If you saw the movie “Flight” last night’s sock puppet parody was pretty funny.

Who wins and who loses can have as much to do with Hollywood politics as anything else. Possibly the producers of “Lincoln” campaigned too hard. “Argo” was also produced by two popular actors, Affleck and Clooney.

“Lincoln” is worth a watch although it has several endings too many in the late Spielberg manner. No, it’s not the really hard look at the subject that could be taken but that movie will never get made. This is as close as we’re likely to get. It was nervy of Spielberg to make a movie focused on getting a piece of legislation through the House, not a subject with previously tested box office appeal. Ostensibly the film was based on Doris Kearns Goodwin’s unreadable “Team of Rivals,” but the idea of Lincoln as a political operator really comes from Gore Vidal’s excellent novel.

The movie was widely praised for its realistic handling of political horsetrading. You could argue that it went further – the film seemed to imply that political corruption is sort of cute and useful for comic relief in your movie, at least if it’s in a Good Cause.

BTW, the scriptwriter, Tony Kushner, got into hot water with some liberals by suggesting that postwar dealings with the South were mishandled:


Maybe Day-Lewis was referring to “Nine,” a musical in which he starred that laid an egg critically and at the box office a few years ago.



Someone asked what kind of uniforms the people behind MO are wearing in her "hit." These were the mess dress uniforms of the various armed services. These are the equivalent of civilian evening dress. They are expensive and officers (as opposed to enlisted people) have to buy them. These officers have real "day jobs" in Washington and volunteer to hang out at the WH as part of the scenery.


Thanks for the clarification on the photo.



My objection to Lincoln is political, not personal. I spent a lot of time with him in writing my trilogy and as with CD, the more I knew him the better I liked him.

The office of the trade representative on 17th St NW across the street from the OEOB was the headquarters of the US War Department and the US Army. The Telegraph Office was on the second floor. It was the equivalent of the Pentagon and the West Wing situation room rolled into one thing. Lincoln hung out there so that he could know what the commanders in the field were reporting. War Department and army offices were all over the building. He also had a couple of roomy cells built in th ebasement so that he could keep selected POWs there for a while to talk to them himself. There are a lot of scenes in the building in my trilogy. CD works there. pl


I think you previously mentioned the Confederate widows and their children and the wrecked infrastructure of the South. You're one of the few to do so.



There was a lot of starvation. At the risk of offending our "countrymen" on the left, I will say that a lot of that was accurately portrayed in "Cold Mountain" and "Gone with the Wind." I recently watched GWTW for the first rime. A fine production. I read it in HS.

As I have mentioned here long ago, rural Virginia was still suffering the economic effects of the war when I came here in 1958 to go to VMI, and this was in the non-agribusiness parts of the commonwealth.

There is a two foor high statue in the Corcoran Gallery called "Taking the Oath." It shows a US Army officer administering the Oath of Allegiance to a white woman who has a couple of little children clinging to her skirts. One is White. One is Black. The sub-text is that if she does not take the oath then she will not be eligible for ration relief issue. The captain looks ashamed.


At the least, I thought it was disingeneous of Spielberg to pretend Lincoln's personal plea had something to do with the passage of the 14th Amendment. As if Sherman burning his way through the South did not weigh on anyone's mind.

It was definitely a Steven Ambrose/Ken Burns level of amateur history, shoved through a politically correct lens.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Force majeur isn't proof of anything, and perhaps the fantasy islands should remember that when the shoe is on the other foot.


I believe that the host's song about boobies adequately (un)covered the modesty of American womanhood. Shatner was the only part of the show that was worth a guffaw--hearty chortle.


As I was watching that movie, I was under the impression it was about passing the 13th amendment. Lincoln had been dead for a few year when the 14th amendment was passed.

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