Friday, November 30, 2012

Race(ing) Popular Culture: More Thoughts on the Whitewashing of "Lincoln" and the Fathom Sneak Preview of Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 2 on Blu-ray

I just got back from watching two digitally remastered episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG) Season Two here in Chicago. The second year of TNG is when things really get going. It introduced the Borg in the episode "Q Who", and also explored the nature of humanity and sentience in the classic episode "The Measure of a Man."

Both episodes were glorious on the big screen: the Season Two blu-ray is a must buy. As a bonus,"The Measure of a Man" included about 10 minutes of new footage. In all, the additions added little to the plot. But, I have to admit it was great fun to watch TNG with a hardcore audience that mocked Wesley Crusher, who laughed at the homoerotic relationship between Data and Geordi, and was titillated by all the hot Picard sexy action with his still hungry and desirous ex-lover in "The Measure of a Man."

This screening reminded me of how powerful Star Trek has been in terms of presenting a hopeful vision of the future that was progressive and inclusive along lines of race, gender, and sexuality. From "The Measure of a Man's" discussion of slavery, to Deep Space Nine's exploration of queer and lesbian identity (as well as black masculinity), and classic Trek's bold embrace of characters such as Uhura, Chekhov, and Sulu, the Star Trek franchise was well ahead of most mass culture in preparing the (white) public for a multicultural future.

The presence of black and brown folks in Star Trek--and the show's honesty in dealing with questions of social justice (both through the use of metaphor and explicitly) made their presence feel natural. In watching TNG tonight in the theater, I was reminded of how popular culture is at its core about the creation of meaning across and within communities. We all "got" why the show was special. All present "got" the inside jokes. We all had a common frame of reference, even as a given individual may choose to read meaning into the show in their own way.

The range of reactions to the whitewashing of the movie Lincoln is a similar phenomenon. However, there are some qualifiers and differences. We have not reached a consensus on the meaning of the film. A given person's political priors, investment in the whiteness of memory, and attachment to the hagiography mythos surrounding President Lincoln, is also a lens which colors how a given person reads the movie.

Lincoln is not really about 19th century America. It is actually a mirror for post civil rights Age of Obama America. As such, I would suggest that a given viewer's upsetness regarding claims to truth-telling in art, as well as Spielberg's surrender to the white racial frame, is actually a proxy for other political attitudes.

Those who defend the willful deception that reads black agency out of Lincoln, are invested in a post-racial colorblind lie of a dream where talking about race is itself racist. This is the polite racial chauvinism and new age racism of the New Right and the faux progressive multicultural Left.

Moreover, the defenders of Lincoln and Spielberg's whitewashed history of the events surrounding the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment are proceeding from the status quo ante in American popular film: black and brown people are largely absent in leading dramatic roles; as such, their presence, and an acknowledgement of black and brown folks as equals with white people in the filmic gaze, automatically becomes "controversial" or "problematic."

Conservative readings of race in popular culture instinctively rebel against the inclusion of people of color (and gays and lesbians, women, and the Other, more generally) as a surrender to political correctness and multiculturalism run amok. Spielberg's choice to eliminate the agency of African-Americans in their own freedom struggle is an active one. It was a decision to work against the historical record--and to make a less interesting and fully evolved movie. Spielberg surrendered his art to the normativity of Whiteness. Spielberg should be held accountable for that decision.

He did not have to invent Frederick Douglass' relationship with President Lincoln, and the former's role in influencing the President's decision about the Thirteenth Amendment. He did not have to leave out the role of black bondspeople in forcing Emancipation and freedom. He did not have to make the black characters who were abolitionists, and shown in the film, mute statue bystanders. Spielberg made these choices for the comfort of Hollywood, profitability, and the White Gaze.

Apologists for Lincoln, and those who instinctively defend other racist films such as The Help or The Blindside often want to dismiss popular culture as "just" ephemeral and unimportant. However, they are deeply invested in responding to any suggestion that such films may be enabling white supremacy. Their responses are a function of a type of team concept and group think around white privilege--said films may be the fantasies created by millionaires and billionaires for "our" entertainment, but those are "our" films and any suggestion that they may be racially reductive or chauvinistic is an insult to all of "us."

Once more, politics and popular culture are deeply and intimately intertwined. In thinking through Lincoln and the varied responses to it, the film "matters in a variety of ways."

Two quick thoughts. As the late James Snead observed and paraphrased, "film is ideology presenting itself to itself, taking to itself, learning about itself." Lincoln tells us something about our contemporary political moment.

Second, the absence of black agency in Lincoln is important because it is part of a long history where, as Snead further develops, people of color are negatively coded for in popular film and other types of media:
The third device is omission, or exclusion by reversal, distortion, or some other type of censorship. Omission and exclusion are perhaps the most widespread tactics of racial stereotyping but are also the most difficult to prove because their manifestation is precisely absence itself. The repetition of black absence from locations of autonomy and importance creates the presence of the idea that blacks belong in positions of obscurity and dependence. From the earliest days of film, omission was the method of choice in designing mass images of blacks. 
Are the defenders of Spielberg's whitewashed history proceeding from a position of bad faith, drunk on the white racial frame, well-intentioned naive and ignorant, or just deeply invested in White aesthetic priors that are indifferent to the truth, even it means a conscious decision to remove people of color and their agency from a movie such as Lincoln?

What is your theory?


nomad said...

"What is your theory?" It's Spielberg. That's enough to tell me I'll be looking through a white racial frame and that I don't want to see the movie. Regarding the predictable and probably justifiable criticism I'm seeing here; did you really expect anything else? Reminds me of similar black disappointment with Spielberg's handling of The Color Purple.

insipid said...

Well... Someone REALLY needs to tell Alice Walker how terribly dissapointing his handling of her novel was. She claims to love it:

nomad said...

Guess that's her prerogative. Some folks didn't. I have been forced to watch segments of it, its a good movie (hey, it's Speilberg) but that's neither here nor there. I simply didn't want Spielberg's imagery superimposed upon the imagery I had derived from novel. It's same reason I won't see Spike Lee's Malcolm X. I like Lee's work, but I don't want his interpretation Malcolm superimposed on the image of him I have garnered in my readings and clips of the actual person. I don't want Spike to provide my interpretation of Malcolm no more than I want Spielberg provide my imagery of Lincoln. Movies are powerful tools for terraforming people's minds. On movies like the above mentioned, I pass. Like I say, the most historical accurate interpretation of Lincoln I've seen is Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter.

nomad said...

Something that just occurred to me. If Spike had done Color Purple I would have probably been standing in line to see it when it was released. One black artist interpreting the work of another black artist. That's worth seeing even if it does superimpose itself upon the images already formed in my mind from reading the novel. Spielberg's take? Not interested.

insipid said...

Well... that makes sense if you refuse to see any other interpretations.

I'm a civil war buff and Spielberg's was a pretty accurate depiction. The two problems i had in the story was 1. the depiction of him cursing. While he did tell some saucy stories on the circuit, there's no indication that he cursed while he was President and 2. There's certainly no record of him ever striking any of his children. I also would of liked it a little more if they dealt with some of Lincoln's more controversial views such as his desire to ship negroes to Liberia. Most historians believe that he changed his mind at this point in the movie. But there's many that make persuasive arguments that he didn't.

However to call this movie a "racist" film is a gross libel. He did not include Douglas in the movie because Douglas did not meet Lincoln during this time period other than his attendance at his second inaugural. Douglas' role was more in spreading the word of emancipation in the South, helping to recruit black soldiers. Black people were not a part of the story being told which was of the 13th amendment. Unfortunately blacks did not weild power at the time. They influenced power. Blacks in the balcony would be observers, not participants.

The story of the changing relationship with Douglass and Lincoln from Douglass moving from harsh critic to weary supporter would be a good story, the story of the recruitment of black soldiers would also be a good story. You can fault Spielberg for maybe telling the wrong story, but it's unfair to accuse him of racism because he accurately told this one.

chaunceydevega said...

@Insipid. You have one hell of a statement here...I will leave it to others to correct:

"Black people were not a part of the story being told which was of the 13th amendment."

Funny, some of the leading professional historians in the field would very much disagree.

I also think you need to expand your definition of "racism."

A. Ominous said...

RE: Spielberg's latest white(brain)washing opus: as I posted not long ago on this very site:

THE COLLECTED WORKS OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN is a Searchable Online Resource. In honor of the Spielberg Photoshop-Job on Honest Abe they're busy shoe-horning into our minds this holiday propaganda cycle, do a "simple" search on the word "nigger"... speaking of Hegemonic Power and its Foundational Media Myths.

Caveat: the people who formatted the site have rendered many of Lincoln's ugliest pronouncements sort of ambiguous (in one case, he *mockingly* quotes an editorial that advocates Black and White political equality... if you don't notice the faint, important colon before Lincoln's citation of the editorial --and the fact that they don't bother to close the quotes after: accident or not?--, you'd think they were Abe's beliefs: quite the opposite!)"

The Lincoln Myth is very nearly a bigger lie than the Santa, Jesus and Gandhi myths combined... but it needs to be, being as it's pretty much the cornerstone of North America's Exceptionalist Delusion.

Splitting hairs on Lincoln is only necessary if you're interested in nurturing the clever new "limited hangout" spin that holds that good old Abe was "only human, after all". In the sense that Lester Maddox was... sure.

Take the time. Use the resource. Read the closeted, kaffir-flogging chickenhawk in his own words, in clear context, and let's be done with these childish, hero-worshipping legends!

Abe was a racist shit when plenty of White Men and Women were risking their lives to oppose an evil Abe was more than fine with.

A. Ominous said...


"Well... Someone REALLY needs to tell Alice Walker how terribly dissapointing his handling of her novel was."

A.) You're indulging in the "Hyper-Proportional Negro Race-Authority" fallacy: ie: if one Negro says it's okay...

B.) It's a rare sell-out that decides to turn-around, midstream, and bite the massive hand that feeds it. Read Richard Wright's rapturous review of Gertrude Stain's cringe-inducingly racist "Melanctha" polemic:

"Wright says that he had even read 'Melanctha' to 'a group of semi-literate Negro stockyard workers' who 'understood every word:' 'Enthralled,' concludes Wright, 'they slapped their thighs, howled, laughed, stomped, and interrupted [him] constantly to comment upon the characters.'"

A load of pernicious horseshit. Still, a Brotha gotta eat.

nomad said...

Speaking of Star Trek spin off series (I didn't really follow them) but I thought it was cool how they turned the Klingons of the original series in to Space Africans. I just happened to be studying Africa at the time and I distinctly remember a prof saying that the quote "It is a good day to die" originating in some war in African history. I wish I could remember the context. Google doesn't bear that out. I suppose two different peoples on two different continents might develop similar sentiments in the face of genocide. I liked the badassed Space Africans.

Anonymous said...

insipid said...

@Chauncydevega- James McPherson, one of the world's premiere historians on the Civil War looked at it and found it to be basically historically acurate:,0,5620831.story

As I pointed out in another thread, black people were not part of the passage of the 13th amendment shown in that film. Black people in Lincoln's life were mostly servants, they were not Congressmen, they were not part of the group that Seward sent out to offer patronage and favors in return for votes. Again, I have yet to see a single historian mentioned where Spielberg has any fact of historical significance wrong. This story had a limited focus on the back-room deals and machinations that went into the 13th Amendment's eventual passage. It is of historical record that black people were not part of those machinations.

I think that you've expanded the definition of racism to the point where it is meaningless. He told a limited story of a limited event, for a limited time-period that didn't involve an abundance of black people. Your faulting him for telling the wrong story, not an innacurate one.

@ Steve Augustine- You're viewing history through a conspiratorial lens not as it actually happened. It's a common meme and one that gratifiangly allows those who believe it to look down upon the rest of us rubes disdainfully.

There is no evidence that Lincoln was gay. True if you look at his letters you may believe that, however you would also be led to believe that of Chase, Stanton, Seward and Bates if you looked at their letters. Professions of undying love and devotion was fairly common amongst the writings of men in the 19th century. Our interpretation of these writings as homosexual is more a reflection on our attitudes then theirs.

While Lincoln's views of racial equality were not as enlightened as those of Charles Sumner or Thaddeus Stevens, there is little doubt that the man was anti-slavery to his core. His view of how to end it was to not allow for its expansion and allow it to whither ont he vine. That he prioritized saving the union is without question. However calling him indifferent to slavery is just wrong. If you have time here's a nice reading of Lincoln's Cooper Union speech:

I think that speech, amongst other writings leaves no doubt that the man was anti-slavery.

I did not cite Alice Walker because she is some random negro that is OK with Spielberg's movie. I cited her because she is the author of the book upon which the movie is based. I cited her because she met frequently with Spielberg. As such she is a good authority as to A. Whether or not Spielberg did justice to her book and B. Whether Spielberg is a racist.

Your argument seems to be that the only good black authority is the condemnatory authority.

I don't think you should evaluate authority based on whether the source raves or condemns but rather on their experience that leads them to claim authority. Alice Walker as the author of the book is a valid authority. Frederic Douglass, though often critical of Abraham Lincoln grew to admire him as the greatest of statemen. Neither you nor I worked knew Abraham Lincoln nor worked with him on matters of race. Douglass did. I think both Walker and Douglass are greater authorities than you or I.

Unknown said...

Insipid: "Black people were not a part of the story being told which was of the 13th amendment. Unfortunately blacks did not weild power at the time. They influenced power. Blacks in the balcony would be observers, not participants." Exactly my (white) parents' objection to the "white frame" critique of this film. Apart from all its other problems, that argument accepts the movie as a kind of natural phenomenon, as if Spielberg and Kushner dug it fully-formed out of the earth with pick and spade. They didn't! They chose their story, they chose what historical persons to depict. Also, I am fairly certain that Daniel Day-Lewis does not naturally walk around with a halo of amber light hovering around his noble head; the dude is method, but not that method. The point being: even if it were true that blacks had nothing to do with passage of the 13th amendment, why choose a story where people of color are sidelined? Where white folks are the only heroes?

A. Ominous said...


1. "Your argument seems to be that the only good black authority is the condemnatory authority."

My argument is that "authority" (in any sense I'd consider worth debating) is not a matter of mere opinion; if you insist on basing your argument on an appeal to authority, I insist on questioning your "authority's" credentials.

Sidebar:"shilling" is a common practice in the field of entertainment.

Further: Do I need to lampoon Walker's lower-middlebrow
bodice-ripper to drive home the point that I'm not much bothered by who/what she approves of, in any case?

2. "While Lincoln's views of racial equality were not as enlightened as those of Charles Sumner or Thaddeus Stevens, there is little doubt that the man was anti-slavery to his core."

I see you haven't read the man-in-question's actual words on the matter. Do so (I provided easy-enough access to them) and get back to me and *then* we can have a discussion on the matter that isn't hobbled by impressionistic, propaganda-fueled fantasias. Nb: secondary, tertiary, and Hollywood sources are less than ideal.

Re: Lincoln's "Cooper Union Speech": you clearly haven't read all of it (few have), or, if you have read it from beginning to end, you did so very poorly... or with your brainwash-goggles on.

Lincoln's grand vision for racial healing in America was simply this: *deporting* all "Niggers". I can find many citations (primary sources) to support that (I can also find lots of examples of Abe using the word "nigger", as well, in his collected texts, edited by Abe himself), but I'll start with a tidbit from the speech you cite:

"In the language of Mr. Jefferson, uttered many years ago, 'It is still in our power to direct the process of emancipation, and deportation, peaceably, and in such slow degrees, as that the evil will wear off insensibly; and their places be, pari passu, filled up by free white laborers. If, on the contrary, it is left to force itself on, human nature must shudder at the prospect held up."

You grasp the gist of this, no?

A. Ominous said...

Below is a nice aggregation (saving me hours of hunting-and-pecking in a futile "debate" with a Believer) of Lincoln's *own words* on the matter, along with the words of his contemporaries and colleagues.

The Lincoln citations can all be confirmed in his Collected Works (link provided several comments above), in the original context which makes the intent of each statement crystal-clear.

Now, either Abraham Lincoln suffered from MPD, or your "knowledge" of his outlook and career are fatally compromised by the quasi-historical nonsense you've been fed (by teachers and Television, if that's not redundant) since Kindergarten... the latter is the most likely case, you must admit.

The Abe Lincoln his own words and deeds reveals is not the hologram you admire.


"At least one observer, General James S. Wadsworth, who had been "with the President and Stanton every day at the War Department—frequently for five or six hours—during several months," told New York Tribune correspondent Adams S. Hill that Lincoln was still committed to the Old Union and was on his way to the other place.
"He says," Hill told his managing editor, "that the President is not with us; has no Anti-slavery instincts. He never heard him speak of anti-slavery men, otherwise than as 'radicals,' 'abolitionists,' and of the 'nigger question,' he frequently speaks." (449)

Monitoring all this, and collating the information he received from Lincoln insiders, Adam Gurowski told his diary in August 1862 that the President is "indefatigable in his efforts to—save slavery." (453)

But Lincoln had no intention of dealing with racism or even discussing it. He didn't seek the opinions of his visitors. He was simply, he said, presenting a fact: Whites didn't want Blacks in America and therefore Blacks would have to go. "There is an unwillingness on the part of our people, harsh as it may be, for you free colored people to remain with us." The only solution from his standpoint, that is to say, from a White standpoint, was a Black exodus."It is better for us both," he said twice, "to be separated." (458)

Frederick Douglass attacked Lincoln's logic and his racism, saying that a horse thief pleading that the existence of the horse is the apology for his theft or a highway man contending that the money in the traveler's pocket is the sole first cause of his robbery are about as much entitled to respect as is the President's reasoning at this point. Lincoln's position didn't surprise Douglass.

"Illogical and unfair as Mr. Lincoln's statements are, they are nevertheless quite in keeping with his whole course from the beginning of his administration up to this day, and confirm the painful conviction that though elected as an anti-slavery man by Republican and Abolition voters, Mr. Lincoln is quite a genuine representative of American prejudice and Negro hatred and far more concerned for the preservation of slavery, and the favor of the Border Slave States, than for any sentiment of magnanimity or principle of justice and humanity." (460-1)

Far from being an anomaly, Lincoln's ethnic cleansing plan was the cornerstone of his military and political agenda and was based on what Randall called a "grand design" for a new White America without slaves—and without Blacks. (464-5)"

A. Ominous said...

Direct Citation (from Lincoln's Debate with Stephen Douglas, August 21, 1858):

"When my friend, Judge Douglas, came to Chicago, on the 9th of July, this speech having been delivered on the 16th of June, he made an harangue there, in which he took hold of this speech of mine, showing that he had carefully read it; and while he paid no attention to this matter at all, but complimented me as being a ``kind, amiable, and intelligent gentleman,'' notwithstanding I had said this; he goes on and eliminates, or draws out, from my speech this tendency of mine to set the States at war with one another, to make all the institutions uniform, and set the niggers and white people to marrying together. [Laughter.] Then, as the Judge had complimented me with these pleasant titles, (I must confess to my weakness,) I was a little ``taken,'' [laughter] for it came from a great man. I was not very much accustomed to flattery, and it came the sweeter to me. I was rather like the Hoosier, with the gingerbread, when he said he reckoned he loved it better than any other man, and got less of it. [Roars of laughter.] As the Judge had so flattered me, I could not make up my mind that he meant to deal unfairly with me; so I went to work to show him that he misunderstood the whole scope of my speech, and that I really neverPage 21 intended to set the people at war with one another. As an illustration, the next time I met him, which was at Springfield, I used this expression, that I claimed no right under the Constitution, nor had I any inclination, to enter into the Slave States and interfere with the institutions of slavery. He says upon that: Lincoln will not enter into the Slave States, but will go to the banks of the Ohio, on this side, and shoot over! [Laughter.] He runs on, step by step, in the horse-chestnut style of argument, until in the Springfield speech, he says, ``Unless he shall be successful in firing his batteries until he shall have extinguished slavery in all the States, the Union shall be dissolved.'' Now I don't think that was exactly the way to treat a kind, amiable, intelligent gentleman. [Roars of laughter.] I know if I had asked the Judge to show when or where it was I had said that, if I didn't succeed in firing into the Slave States until slavery should be extinguished, the Union should be dissolved, he could not have shown it. I understand what he would do. He would say, ``I don't mean to quote from you, but this was the result of what you say.'' But I have the right to ask, and I do ask now, Did you not put it in such a form that an ordinary reader or listener would take it as an expression from me? [Laughter.]"

Could any reader fluent in English draw the conclusion that the cited speaker (Abe Lincoln) was "anti-slavery to his core"? No.

Americans must, first of all, learn to *read*. Not skim and scan... read.

chaunceydevega said...

@Insipid. Thanks for the link. Foner disagrees as do others.

Your reading of the interview is also very thin and leaves out something very important. Be careful, you are sitting at the big kids tables. Some adults may show up--you never know when they are watching--so you should always be on your A game.

"Some have criticized the small, relatively passive roles of the black characters in the movie — did Lincoln know many black people personally? He didn't have a lot of personal black friends, but he had grown to admire a lot of black people he knew abstractly. One thing the movie leaves out is his relationship with Frederick Douglass. Lincoln came to know Douglass and admire him greatly, and Douglass did come to the White House."

Your own citation suggests that Spielberg made a choice to whitewash this history. Simply accept the fact and power of choice. Re: racism. My definition is very nuanced and expansive as is racism. Don't fall for the KKK burning negroes alive Bull Connor decision rule for what racism constitutes. Sloppy thinking.

insipid said...

I do not need the online version of Abraham Lincoln’s collected works, I have them right on my bookshelf. I’ve read them. I’ve also read Doris Kearns Goodwin’s team of rivals, I’ve read Stephen B. Oates “With Malice Towards None”, “Crises of the House Divided” by Henry Jaffa, Gore Vidal’s “Lincoln”, “Battle Cry of Freedom” by James McPherson. I’ve also read the “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: among other books on the Civil War. As I said, I’m a Civil War buff.

None of which is to say that my belief is necessarily superior to your belief or that I am necessarily right or that you are wrong. What makes history fun is the fact that there is no right or wrong answers if there were there’d just be one book on Abraham Lincoln that we’d all go to instead of the over 15,000 that exist.

As far as his deportation plans, there are authors that argue that he largely abandoned those plans towards the end of the war. And there are some that stated that he was advancing that politically for those who didn’t like slavery but didn’t want one of “them” to marry their sister. I’m not so sure of that. Either way I’ve seen no evidence that Lincoln favored FORCIBLE deportation. To use a Romney phrase he favored “self- deportation”. If he were in favor of forcible deportation he would not of consulted Frederick Douglass and other black leaders to gain support for it. He’d just order the troops. He feared, justifiably, the lynching’s and unrest that would follow emancipation. He recognized that the history of black people in America was not a happy one. He thought deportation the solution for both races. Furthermore there’s little evidence to support that Lincoln felt he had the power to force blacks to leave in that he always maintain that freed blacks should have the same legal and constitutional rights as white men. He believed their natural inferiority would prevent them from advancing as far. But he maintained in a speech in his speech in Peoria "What I do say is, that no man is good enough to govern another man, without that other's consent. I say this is the leading principle - the sheet anchor of American republicanism."

Lincoln’s use of the word “nigger” in that quote was done to illustrate the ignorance of Stephen Douglas. The entire passage, in fact was making fun of Douglas’ fear mongering regarding his intent to wage war with the South. Lincoln’s intent was to stop slavery by containing it, not through force. It was the dumb-ass South that made the forcible deportation possible by firing on Fort Sumpter.

While I certainly find Lincoln’s views of racial equality troubling, it’s also fair to say that the times then were much more racist then today’s times. A man who believed in full racial equality and suffrage would not have ever been elected to the Presidency. I also didn’t like President Obama’s views on gay marriage when he first ran for the Presidency, it didn’t stop me from voting for him. And it was the best vote I ever cast.

insipid said...

If you want to play a game of dueling quotes, I’ll be happy to oblige:
From the Cooper Union Speech:
Nor can we justifiably withhold this, on any ground save our conviction that slavery is wrong. If slavery is right, all words, acts, laws, and constitutions against it, are themselves wrong, and should be silenced, and swept away. If it is right, we cannot justly object to its nationality - its universality; if it is wrong, they cannot justly insist upon its extension - its enlargement. All they ask, we could readily grant, if we thought slavery right; all we ask, they could as readily grant, if they thought it wrong. Their thinking it right, and our thinking it wrong, is the precise fact upon which depends thewhole controversy. Thinking it right, as they do, they are not to blame for desiring its full recognition, as being right; but, thinking it wrong, as we do, can we yield to them? Can we cast our votes with their view, and against our own? In view of our moral, social, and political responsibilities, can we do this?
Wrong as we think slavery is, we can yet afford to let it alone where it is, because that much is due to the necessity arising from its actual presence in the nation; but can we, while our votes will prevent it, allow it to spread into the National Territories, and to overrun us here in these Free States? If our sense of duty forbids this, then let us stand by our duty, fearlessly and effectively. Let us be diverted by none of those sophistical contrivances wherewith we are so industriously plied and belabored - contrivances such as groping for some middle ground between the right and the wrong, vain as the search for a man who should be neither a living man nor a dead man - such as a policy of "don't care" on a question about which all true men do care - such as Union appeals beseeching true Union men to yield to Disunionists, reversing the divine rule, and calling, not the sinners, but the righteous to repentance - such as invocations to Washington, imploring men to unsay what Washington said, and undo what Washington did..

Lincoln Douglass Debates, Galeburg:
"Now, I confess myself as belonging to that class in the country who contemplate slavery as a moral, social and political evil, having due regard for its actual existence amongst us and the difficulties of getting rid of it in any satisfactory way, and to all the constitutional obligations which have been thrown about it; but, nevertheless, desire a policy that looks to the prevention of it as a wrong, and looks hopefully to the time when as a wrong it may come to an end."

insipid said...

While it is true that Frederick Douglass was a critic of Lincoln, he also certainly came to admire him.
From Douglass’ 1876 speech Commemorating Lincoln:
When, therefore, it shall be asked what we have to do with the memory of Abraham Lincoln, or what Abraham Lincoln had to do with us, the answer is ready, full, and complete. Though he loved Caesar less than Rome, though the Union was more to him than our freedom or our future, under his wise and beneficent rule we saw ourselves gradually lifted from the depths of slavery to the heights of liberty and manhood; under his wise and beneficent rule, and by measures approved and vigorously pressed by him, we saw that the handwriting of ages, in the form of prejudice and proscription, was rapidly fading away from the face of our whole country; under his rule, and in due time, about as soon after all as the country could tolerate the strange spectacle, we saw our brave sons and brothers laying off the rags of bondage, and being clothed all over in the blue uniforms of the soldiers of the United States; under his rule we saw two hundred thousand of our dark and dusky people responding to the call of Abraham Lincoln, and with muskets on their shoulders, and eagles on their buttons, timing their high footsteps to liberty and union under the national flag; under his rule we saw the independence of the black republic of Haiti, the special object of slave-holding aversion and horror, fully recognized, and her minister, a colored gentleman, duly received here in the city of Washington; under his rule we saw the internal slave-trade, which so long disgraced the nation, abolished, and slavery abolished in the District of Columbia; under his rule we saw for the first time the law enforced against the foreign slave trade, and the first slave-trader hanged like any other pirate or murderer; under his rule, assisted by the greatest captain of our age, and his inspiration, we saw the Confederate States, based upon the idea that our race must be slaves, and slaves forever, battered to pieces and scattered to the four winds; under his rule, and in the fullness of time, we saw Abraham Lincoln, after giving the slave-holders three months’ grace in which to save their hateful slave system, penning the immortal paper, which, though special in its language, was general in its principles and effect, making slavery forever impossible in the United States. Though we waited long, we saw all this and more.
So much of this debate reminds me of the debates I have over our current president. With President Obama I’m often accused of being a blind, hero-worshiping, brainwashed apologist of The One. I recognize flaws in both these men, I also see greatness. But that, I think is the human condition that we are not all necessarily one or the other. Though if you want to call me brainwashed, I will confess that I see a lot more great than bad in both men.
Though I still disagree with you I love your passion. Life is too short and precious for equanimity.

insipid said...

@chaunceydevega- Of course people disagree. Again, that's the fun of history. What's the fun of arguing over 2+2?

I read the part of the interview in question, i also answered that criticism earlier. 1. I believe that having a 5 minute segment featuring Douglass would of paid short thrift to the man and 2. Douglass did not visit the White House during the period in which the movie took place. Plus if he had put Douglass in the movie for 5 minutes would that have satisfied you? I doubt it, his ONE battle scene featured black soldiers and you still maintain that he ignored the importance of black soldiers in emancipation. Again, it seems to me that your anger is that he didn't cover what you wanted. Since it is your blog, should I admonish you for not being adult enough to remember my previous post? Imply that you are not at the big kids table? State that you, for some reason need to bring your "A game"? Or just accept that you and i can both be intelligent and wrong and that the internet is mostly shits and giggles?

I think there is a chasm between labeling only the KKK as racist and using that label for a director, whom you believe made some poor choices. If you're behind me and i do not open the door for you is it because i'm 1. Racist? 2. inconsiderate? 3. Absent minded? 4. Ignorant of the fact that you were there? The answer depends on my past history.
I am loathe to label a director a racist for making, what is to you, poor movie choices. I think that racist is a very loaded term that sparks a lot of emotional reaction. I feel you're using it a bit too casually here.

Plus, you must admit that taking on Lincoln, even today, is a powder keg that's hard to get right. ANY history of Lincoln that depicts him as anything other than craven would be derided by Steven Augustine, for instance. And I'm sure there's many that are angered because he is not made saintly enough. I'm thankful that he made the efforts, if for no other reason than it sparks conversations such as this.

chaunceydevega said...

@Insipid. Sitting at the big kids table is one of my favorite phrases. Roll with the punches. My point was don't quote from a source that actually works against your claim. I try to hold myself to high standards, I do the same for others. I mess up sometimes, just as all of us do. The trick is to own our ignorance and errors.

See the newest post about holding Spielberg responsible for his choices. Remember, this is not the first time he has been called out for his white savior complex. See his movie Amistad, and also complaints about the Empire of the Sun.

Poor movie choices that further the white racial frame and the centrality of whiteness are racist. I will give you another movie that does some very problematic work in terms of whiteness and the whiteness of memory, that movie? Forrest Gump.

The work that race and racial ideologies does in mass culture is not just overt in its racial invective. Reinforcing the benign nature of Whiteness and centering Whiteness as natural and normal and marginalizing, othering, or erasing black and brown folks is racist.

Race and representation are complex. Check out some of Stuart Hall's videos where he tries to break down these relationships. You may find them provocative, challenging, and informative.

insipid said...

Anyway, i'm tired of arguing about Lincoln. I have serious issues with your praise of Star Trek. Set phasers to argue!

How in the world can you be so condmenatory to Lincoln and give Star Trek such a complete pass on its absence of gay characters?

Even assuming you're right and that Lincoln made "racist choices" in excluding blacks it is STILL only one movie! Star Trek has been on the air for fourty six years resulting in 5 series, and (i think) a dozen movies and they STILL haven't had ONE gay character? And the one gay scene they did have was the result of an unfortunate transferal of a soul-slug. Not, because, heaven forbid, they should depict someone as being born that way.

If we're to believe Star Trek mythos in the future not only has prejudice and apparently all bad thoughts (except lust) and flatulence been eradicated, but in the future no man likes dick nor women likes snatch. I guess they found the gay gene.

chaunceydevega said...

@Insipid. Well if you include slash stuff Kirk and Spock are deep in love. Wrath of Khan can actually be read as a tale of gay obsession between Kirk and Khan.

There was a gay character in First Contact whose sexuality was written out--that was Lt. Hawk.

DS9 had many more issues exploring non-het sexuality. TNG also did the episode w. Riker and the "gay cure" for his lover. Classic Trek has serious issues with black men, as do the other series too--we are all crazy, depressed, insane, or pining for white women's love while wearing blue cybernetic eyes. The series ain't perfect.

insipid said...

Also, (sorry, i'm on a roll) doesn't it bother you the whole "White Man's burden" idea displayed particularly in the original series and next gen?

I mean was there EVER a time in the history of the show where the crew met an alien race and they got into an argument and someone from the crew said "you know, you're right, i never thought of that". I mean even Q the most awesomest powerful alien ever was morally inferior to John Luk.

Plus if the whole idea behind the show is that the only way we could get into space is if we put all racism, sexism, bad thoughts and body odor behind us, how the fuck did all the other aliens get into space? You know the ferengi, the klingons, the cardiasians, Frank Gorshen? Why are they capable of space travel and still such rotten pieces of shit?

It seems to me that much of the purpose of the series is to show that mankind can come together non-gay blacks, women, asians and hispanics to shit on every other civiliziation in the universe. This is a theme that's supposed to give us hope?

chaunceydevega said...

@Insipid. Absolutely. There is a cool book on Race and Star Trek (raceing towards the future I think?) that talks about this.

There are a few solid collections on this issue. There is a book on Trek and International Relations Theory that has a provocative chapter on the hegemonic nature of the Federation and its aggressive assimilating approach to alien species.

This is a very small part of a chapter that was supposed to come out in a book but the project got shelved at the last minute. You may find it interesting:

insipid said...


Fine, if slash counts, in the spirit of reconciliation I shall write a scene in which Stephen Douglass meets Abe Lincoln in the oval office- and fuck.

Or not.

Is them depicting non-het sex supposed to be better?

Producer: Let's really push the boundaries of sexuality on this show!

Other producer: Two men dating?

Producer: ARE YOU NUTS?!?!? I was thinking of a species being threatened by the dreaded Kondovian Cocksucker! It attaches to the genetilia rendering everyone in complete bliss- but also without the desire to procreate threatening extinction of the species!

OP: Brilliant, Charlie, sorry about the gay character idea, i don't know WHAT i was thinking!

Producer: Yeah, that was REALLY out there, Ted.

A. Ominous said...


"None of which is to say that my belief is necessarily superior to your belief or that I am necessarily right or that you are wrong. What makes history fun is the fact that there is no right or wrong answers if there were there’d just be one book on Abraham Lincoln that we’d all go to instead of the over 15,000 that exist."

There are, in fact, right and wrong answers regarding the historical record... these are called "fictions" and "facts. The "15,000 books" figure means nothing in and of itself (and reflects, in this case, only the energy required to maintain the propaganda that helps to produce the powerful and bizarre delusion, shared by most Americans, that American politicians are nobler, somehow, than any others on Earth) compared to the man's own words and if, in his speeches, he softened his position in order to get elected (not the first time a politician did this, I'm sure you'll agree), what of it?

If a man courts the feminist vote by saying some politically-correct things on the campaign trail, but is on-record telling rape jokes a dozen times the year before the election (and the years after), this is no paradox, and neither is that man's "good" balanced by his "not-so-goodness". To claim otherwise is sheer sophistry, especially in contemplating politics. "Family values" is so often the platform for serial-adulterers in Washington that we all now *expect* it to be so.

And, please: Lincoln's use of the word "nigger" was not a form of satire. That's why the online version of the Collected Works is useful. Simply put "nigger" in the search window they supply and read the results.

Lincoln's more constant arguments against the institution of slavery were A) that it kept Negroes in the country B) it hurt White labor... but he had no "inclination" ("I claimed no right under the Constitution, nor had I any inclination, to enter into the Slave States and interfere with the institutions of slavery.") to disturb it where it already existed. And his vision of Mass Negro Deportation did not soften or modify as he matured; here he is on the matter, in a speech, just three years before his death:

"Reduce the supply of black labor, by colonizing the black laborer out of the country, and, by precisely so much, you increase the demand for, and wages of, white labor."

RE: Douglass' supposed view of Lincoln, Lerone Bennett Jr., author of Forced Into Glory, writes, in that book: "A recent author tells us that Douglass said Lincoln was "the first great man I talked with in the United States freely, who in no single instance reminded me of the difference of color between himself and myself, the difference of color," but she didn't tell us that Douglass backed away from that statement in a speech he made two years before his death. (634n)"

A. Ominous said...


Totally agree with you about the Normative Message they've written into Star Trek's DNA; you've got a sharp eye for it, though not so sharp when it comes to Legacy Propaganda (Kirk vs Lincoln; laugh)... which makes me think I must have a blind spot re: some segment of the Total Propaganda Spectrum, too.

insipid said...

@Steven Augustine

I'm sorry, but the record is not "irrifutable" as is evidenced by the fact that I am refuting it. Furthermore, virtually everything that you have accused me of, from reading the history selectively, to being "brainwashed" i contend can apply far more to you. In the same way you bought into the idea of Lincoln being gay selectively reading his letters and his biography you've bought into other theories about Lincoln.

You're also wrong in regards to his main arguments about slavery. His main argument was that slavery is wrong. He made that clear at Cooper union, he made that clear numerous times.

I quoted whole passages from Lincolns Cooper Union, you quoted a sentence, I could also left whole passages from his debates his speeches his letters and much of his writings.
There are people with doctorate degrees that have spent 20 or thirty years studying Lincoln, reading every scrap of material that he has ever wrote and reading everything that has been said about him. People such as James McPherson, Stephen B. Oates, Shelby Foote, and yes Frederick Douglass are all intelligent people that have reached different conclusions than you. You should accept the fact that they are not stupid and consider what they have to say, just as i have considered what Mr. Bennett has to say.

There is not a single argument you have named that I have not heard before. I have rejected them for a reason, not because I am dumb.

The quotes and the anecdotes that you have given make a case, but not a compelling one compared to the bulk of the evidence. Yes, Douglass said critical things of Lincoln not just at his death but throughout his life and even in the speech that I quoted commemorating Lincoln. The fact that he said something critical at his death is not surprising at all. However there is no evidence that he recanted his admiration at his death.

Most of the accounts that you gave of Lincolns efforts to "save slavery" were second-hand. I can fill pages of second-hand accounts AND first hand quotes from the man himself of him being against the institution.

There has probably been more written about Lincoln than any other American. Considering that, your argument that reports of back-room crassness concerning race should outweigh his public statements is absurd. It implies that you should simply ignore the bulk of EVERYTHING written about him and decide that ONLY the negative is the "irrifutable" facts.

I can even understand his reasoning in regards to the deportation question. The story of the black population in the United States up until that point was not a happy one. There was no reason to believe or expect that after the war was over the race turmoil that had embroiled the nation until that time would come to an end. And it didn't. He thought that the best way to avoid that was to separate the nations. Again, ALL evidence that I've seen points to Lincoln wanting the separation to be voluntary. I'll admit that my knowlege of Malcolm X comes mostly from Spike Lee's movie, however, according to the movie Malcolms belief was that the races should be separate as well. I can understand the sentiment of both men without regarding them as evil or necessarily racist.

insipid said...

Here's an excerpt from Frederick Douglass' last great speech "Lessons of the Hour" delivered in 1894 less than a year before his death:

Among the great names which should never be forgotten on occasions like this, there is one which should never be spoken but with reverence, gratitude and affection, the one man of all the millions of our countrymen to whom we are more indebted for a United Nation and for American liberty than

[page 15]

to any other, and that name is Abraham Lincoln, the greatest statesman that ever presided over the destinies of this Republic. The time is too short, his term of office is too recent to permit or to require extended notice of his statesmanship, or of his moral and mental qualities. We all know Abraham Lincoln by heart. In looking back to the many great men of twenty years ago, we find him the tallest figure of them all. His mission was to close up a chasm opened by an earthquake, and he did it. It was his to call back a bleeding, dying and dismembered nation to life, and he did it. It was his to free his country from the crime, curse and disgrace of slavery, and to lift millions to the plane of humanity, and he did it. Never was statesman surrounded by greater difficulties, and never were difficulties more ably, wisely and firmly met.

So, if Bennett is right and Douglass inexplicably changed his mind about Lincoln 2 years before his death, he changed it again the following year.

A. Ominous said...


I don't bother debating Religious Zealots and I will no longer bother debating you; equally futile/boring wars of attrition. Just please tell me why you keep misspelling "irrefutable" and putting it in scare quotes...?

PS re: "people with Doctorate degrees"... there are hundreds (if not thousands) of people with such degrees who would have me believe in the Virgin birth and the Holy Trinity and that the imaginary Cain had sexual congress with someone other than his imaginary mother, too... proving what? Truth is one thing, the irrational passions of Believers are quite another!

Enjoy your day...


A. Ominous said...

(But, gee, the 19th century certainly had miraculous properties, no? A fellow in the 19th century could advocate the deportation of All Blacks *without being a racist*, and he could share a bed with Josh Speed for years, write Josh love-letters and have a nervous breakdown missing him... *without being Gay*! What a century! Laugh)

insipid said...

I made a mistake in regards to using irrefutable fact. I read it somewhere in the research and thought you wrote it. I believed at the time I was quoting you. I spelled it wrong because I didn’t know how to spell it at the time. Now I do and I thank you for that.
You've shown much more "religious zeal" than I. I am willing to actually address the points of the history you have cited without making the absurd argument that all that disagree with me are propagandists.

It's a trait I find in common with all those that love to preach conspiracy as history. They love to look down upon the rest of us with disdainful arrogance, accusing us of not being able to read as carefully as they, not being able to discern the great truth they find on some text, not having their vast knowledge, of being blinded by propaganda. They denounce what they consider the "wrong" texts as heresy. They claim to desire skepticism, but really they only want selective skepticism. You can ignore Bennett's obvious error regarding Douglass' supposed end-of-life change in attitude regarding Lincoln because ignoring his mistake comports to your pre-established mind-set. You also can ignore the vast bulk of the cooper union address in favor of ONE sentence because ONLY that one sentence confirms what you want to believe. You do not practice the same skepticism towards the critics as you do to Lincoln’s admirers. Thus you show much more religious zeal then I.

I do not ask that you give up your skepticism. Skepticism is a good and healthy thing. I do ask that you practice the SAME skepticism towards Bennett as you do towards McPherson or Oates or Fields. I’m not asking you to believe as I believe, just to question EVERYONE equally.

As far as the charge of Lincoln being gay, as much as I would love to have a man I admire to be part of “my team”, I’ll refer to Doris Kearns Goodwin’s statement on the subject written in Team of Rivals:

Some have suggested that there may have been a sexual relationship between Lincoln and Speed. Their intimacy, however, like the relationship between Seward and Berdan and, as we shall see, between Chase and Stanton, is more an index to an era when close male friendships, accompanied by open expressions of affection and passion, were familiar and socially acceptable. Nor can sharing a bed be considered evidence of an erotic involvement. It was common practice in an era when private quarters were a rare luxury, when males regularly slept in the same bed as children and continued to do so in academies, boardinghouses, and overcrowded hotels. The room above Speed’s store functioned as a sort of dormitory, with two other young men living there part of the time as well as Lincoln and Speed. The attorneys of the Eighth Circuit in Illinois where Lincoln would travel regularly shared beds— with the exception of Judge David Davis, whose immense girth left no room for a companion. As the historian Donald Yacovone writes in his study of the fiercely expressed love and devotion among several abolitionist leaders in the same era, the “preoccupation with elemental sex” reveals more about later centuries “than about the nineteenth.”

A. Ominous said...


"I’m not asking you to believe as I believe, just to question EVERYONE equally."

Be careful, or you'll have to change your screen-name to Presumptuous. I'm not in the habit of being instructed in hermeneutics by anyone to which I've had to teach the proper spelling of "irrefutable". The rest of my answer was more than covered in the comment before yours, above.

At the risk of being the p-word, my advice to you is to stick to passionate debates about Television.

A. Ominous said...

(erratum: "to whom"... laugh)

insipid said...

You got a fact concerning Frederick Douglass wrong, you mindlessly echoed a canard about Lincoln being gay but you totally kicked my ass because I didn't use spell-check?

Really? Well, if that's making you do a happy-Snoopy dance then you go on with your victorious self.

Also the chutzpah in your calling someone else presumptuous is staggering. We know from your writing that:

1. Americans must, first of all, learn to *read*. Not skim and scan... read. I have to congratulate you on that, it’s not often you get to read 2 sentences that are so perfect in their arrogance, condescension and triteness. Extra points for the hysterical use of ellipses. Makes one think that your thoughts are deep… really deep.

2. We’re being propagandized! That is if we disagree with you.

3. We are not to listen to anyone with a doctorate because... you know... religion. So i guess everything Martin Luther King said was full of shit too? Never mind the fact that there's every possibility that historians that agree with your take are also religious. And I’m sure there’s atheist historians that agree with my position. By the way Lincoln? Not religious.

4. If someone says something second-hand about a person we should ignore that person's public utterances and all his legislative proposals.

5. Most Americans share a delusion that politicians are noble? Where the hell did you get that?

6. Apparently you think you’re the only person who is aware that there are collected works of Lincoln and you think you’re the only person who has looked at them or has the mental capacity to understand them.

So, yes, please, continue to lecture me about being presumptuous. I can use the belly laugh.

A. Ominous said...

Yes, but you really *should* learn to read, "Insipid".

A. Ominous said...

(numbered lines correspond to your list)

You haven't presented a single fact about Douglass' attitude towards Lincoln that contradicts any point about Douglass that I've argued. And you don't seem to understand that while a politician's public speeches are usually exercises in expediency (to use a euphemism), a politician who panders to two sides of a clear-cut *moral issue* (within which category I'd count chattel slavery and wife-beating) can no longer be said to be a champion of the high road.

1. Based on the list of your misinterpretations of what I've written... yes, I reiterate: too much skimming, not enough reading.
2. I never wrote such a thing and you're in no position to judge whether I think it.
3. I never wrote such a thing.
4. I never wrote such a thing.
5. I never wrote such a thing.
6. I never wrote such a thing and you're in no position to judge whether I think it.

No, I won't lecture you about being presumptuous; I have enough work on my hands trying to teach you to read (first, Lincoln's texts; next, my comments)

insipid said...

Not only did I "contradict" a point about Douglass which you tried to argue, i completely disproved it.

You argued the following:

"Douglass' supposed view of Lincoln, Lerone Bennett Jr., author of Forced Into Glory, writes, in that book: "A recent author tells us that Douglass said Lincoln was "the first great man I talked with in the United States freely, who in no single instance reminded me of the difference of color between himself and myself, the difference of color," but she didn't tell us that Douglass backed away from that statement in a speech he made two years before his death. "

And i completely disproved that statement by quoting an excerpt from a speech Douglass gave one year before his death. If Douglass stopped admiring Lincoln, no one told Douglass.

As to the points:

1. Apparently you're not aware of what you write, or cut and paste, so you have no right to lecture me about skimming.

2. You wrote:

"I see you haven't read the man-in-question's actual words on the matter. Do so (I provided easy-enough access to them) and get back to me and *then* we can have a discussion on the matter that isn't hobbled by impressionistic, propaganda-fueled fantasias."

So yes, you did say we're listening to propaganda, in fact you referenced propaganda six times.

3. Yes, you did-

"there are hundreds (if not thousands) of people with such degrees who would have me believe in the Virgin birth and the Holy Trinity and that the imaginary Cain had sexual congress with someone other than his imaginary mother, too... proving what? Truth is one thing, the irrational passions of Believers are quite another!"

4. Yes, you did:

"If a man courts the feminist vote by saying some politically-correct things on the campaign trail, but is on-record telling rape jokes a dozen times the year before the election (and the years after), this is no paradox, and neither is that man's "good" balanced by his "not-so-goodness". To claim otherwise is sheer sophistry, especially in contemplating politics. "Family values" is so often the platform for serial-adulterers in Washington that we all now *expect* it to be so."

The supposed nigger jokes you listed were mostly of second hand sources but you took those OVER his public utterances and works because of the "logic" cited above. Certainly the one instance you gave of Lincoln using that word publicly was pathetic in that he was quoting Douglass and he was also making fun of him.

5. Yes, you did-

"and reflects, in this case, only the energy required to maintain the propaganda that helps to produce the powerful and bizarre delusion, shared by most Americans, that American politicians are nobler, somehow, than any others on Earth)"

6. Yes, you did-

"I see you haven't read the man-in-question's actual words on the matter. Do so (I provided easy-enough access to them) and get back to me and *then* we can have a discussion on the matter that isn't hobbled by impressionistic, propaganda-fueled fantasias. Nb: secondary, tertiary, and Hollywood sources are less than ideal."

Yes, i am in a position to judge what you wrote and to judge your denial of what you wrote and my judgement is this: you are full of shit.

A. Ominous said...


I hereby throw in the towel to you and your army of semi-literate, Harryhausen-type skeletal straw men. Cut off their heads and they keep on swinging their mighty blades of misinterpretation!

To help you learn (and grow) in the future, I'll explain how one of your silliest asseverations got that way: there is a vast difference between arguing that the *mere possession of a PhD* does NOT, by default, render a man/woman a genuine authority deserving an audience... and arguing that we should not "listen to anyone with a doctorate". The gap between the two statements is big enough to shove a higher education through, and the same failures in logic and literacy plague your other "points". You need to study Set Theory again, bud!

Likewise, nowhere do I argue or imply that anyone who disagrees with me on any topic is the victim of propaganda, though I believe that anyone who ignores Lincoln's constantly-affirmed (and less than flattering) positions on Blacks (as potential citizens or basic humans), in the face of direct citations of primary sources, is either brainwashed or stupid (or both). I'm happy to leave you some wiggle-room on that one.

Re: 5: "the noble" politician riff: come, now! No one can be *that dense*! The statement was comparative, not categorical, ya twit!

Seriously. Insipid? I'm done with you, old bean. Go find some other kind-hearted satirist to tutor you online (gratis).

(Oh sh_t... here come those headless skeletons again...!)

insipid said...

While it is true that not everyone with a doctorate is considered an authority on all things, the fact is that Stephen B. Oates, Doris Kearns Goodwin and James McPherson ARE considered authories on history, particularly Abraham Lincoln. So rather than trying to argue with their scholarship- something which you clearly lack the intellectual capacity to do- YOU engaged in a strawman about religion which also conveniently let you proselityze your atheism. GOOD JOB!

Furthermore, as far as my "choices" goes, i have a third one: recognizing that you do not know what you are talking about. The "primary sources" you cited were thoroughly unconvincing and- in the case of Douglass having an end-of-his-life epiphany as to what a rotten piece-of-shit Lincoln was, and the "Lincoln is gay!" canard- proven wrong. You would think that after being proven wrong, you'd actually read both sides of the record. But there's no convincing a zealot.

The ONE true statement you did make is that you could not win a war of attrition against me. I would win in any such war because the vast bulk of the primary source material favors my side, not yours.

A. Ominous said...

Great, Insipid!


insipid said...

Oh, and please stop trying to give the impression that Lincoln advocated chaining former slaves putting the back on slave ships and forcibly deporting them. All the records, including the Bconversations he had with Douglass, indicate that he advocated setting up a land for them in which blacks could go to voluntarily.

I do think that this was a wrong-headed attitude on his part. However while i do disagree with him profoundly, i understand his thinking and still think him a good man despite of this. Douglass also faulted Lincoln for this and still found him a good man.