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Abrahams cussing
12-07-2012, 12:20 AM
Post: #1
Abrahams cussing
Hey everyone i saw this and thoug i would share it may have already been shared but its a debate over Abraham's csuuong in the movie Lincoln

Here's the site

http://movies.yahoo.com/news/lincoln-cus...00268.html

A
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12-07-2012, 06:30 AM
Post: #2
RE: Abrahams cussing
Ashley, I do have some hearing loss, and I heard some of what was said in that article but not as often as indicated there. I will be interested in what others heard. I have read that Lincoln's contemporaries observed that Lincoln enjoyed telling and hearing adult jokes.
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12-07-2012, 09:28 AM (This post was last modified: 12-07-2012 09:30 AM by LincolnMan.)
Post: #3
RE: Abrahams cussing
Frankly, I didn't notice Lincoln swearing that much-but that could just be me. I too have hearing loss, Roger-I have severe tinnitus. Anyway, Ashley-thanks for sharing that with us. As Roger noted, we know Lincoln did tell off-color jokes.

Bill Nash
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12-07-2012, 10:34 AM
Post: #4
RE: Abrahams cussing
This strikes me as much ado over nothing. Did Lincoln curse? Yes. Did the F-word exist during the Civil War? Of course it did. Lincoln was a product of the frontier. Think about this. If you look into a cabin like the one Lincoln grew up in, the first obvious point is that there is no privacy. Adults were engaged in adult behavior right alongside (sometimes) sleeping children. It's a fact of life. Read accounts of revivals and preacher's memoirs from the time when Lincoln was growing up and one of the main complaints is that frontier settlers were vulgar and used vulgarity on a regular basis. To be honest, I'm a little surprised that James McPherson would deny the profanity aspects of this story.

Any time David Barton is quoted in a story, it automatically sets of an alarm in my mind. Barton is not a historian. He's a propagandist.

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Rob

Abraham Lincoln in the only man, dead or alive, with whom I could have spent five years without one hour of boredom.
--Ida M. Tarbell
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12-07-2012, 01:41 PM
Post: #5
RE: Abrahams cussing
I figured cussing back then was kinda of like now where it was used and obvisly did exsit with is natureal given as humans we tend to use words like that. I don't think it was a bad thing i think it was normal of th time as it is now.
Thanks for all your imputs.
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12-07-2012, 06:17 PM (This post was last modified: 12-07-2012 06:32 PM by Mike B..)
Post: #6
RE: Abrahams cussing
(12-07-2012 10:34 AM)Rob Wick Wrote:  This strikes me as much ado over nothing. Did Lincoln curse? Yes. Did the F-word exist during the Civil War? Of course it did. Lincoln was a product of the frontier. Think about this. If you look into a cabin like the one Lincoln grew up in, the first obvious point is that there is no privacy. Adults were engaged in adult behavior right alongside (sometimes) sleeping children. It's a fact of life. Read accounts of revivals and preacher's memoirs from the time when Lincoln was growing up and one of the main complaints is that frontier settlers were vulgar and used vulgarity on a regular basis. To be honest, I'm a little surprised that James McPherson would deny the profanity aspects of this story.

Any time David Barton is quoted in a story, it automatically sets of an alarm in my mind. Barton is not a historian. He's a propagandist.

Best
Rob

I may sound like a broken record on this forum...but YET again I agree with Rob Wick.

Lincoln, like many of us (yes I have used profanity and the "f" word a few times) used indelicate language on certain occasions.

In Zall's book which attempts to get to original Lincoln jokes, there was one joke that Lincoln used to tell with the "f" word in the punch-line. It is on page 101-102 of Zall's book. The joke about a boy and a cat isn't particularily funny as written, but the joke must have been more funny in the telling, sort of like Penn and Teller's infamous joke about the "Aristocrats."

(For those who may be offended at some off-color things, please stop reading now.)

Lincoln did tell potty humor, including a joke Herndon claimed he heard Lincoln tell countless times about a man passing gas while cutting a turkey at a party. Again not so funny as written, but I am sure Lincoln made it funnier in the telling.

One of the men who did report the Ethan Allen joke about the privy recalled Lincoln passing him a note after his marriage saying, "Brown why is a woman like a barrel?" You can look up the punchline in Herndon's Informants which is searchable online. Let's just say it is R rated.

The frontier atmosphere Rob Wick mentions is clearest in this incident. In court one day, Lincoln said to an adverse witness who put on airs of being a ladie's man, "There's Busey-he pretends to be a great heart-smasher-does wonderful things with the girls - but I'll venture that he never entered his flesh but once & and that is when he fell down and stuck his finger in his a--." The informant simply says, "things were free and easy back then."

There are a number of other jokes and half-jokes like this, but one gets the point.
Remember humans have been shown to use language situationally in studies. The almost all male frontier circut travelling atmosphere was very condusive to salty language. Lincoln as far as can be told did not break the social expectations of using this type of language around women for example.

(12-07-2012 12:20 AM)Ashley Norman Wrote:  Hey everyone i saw this and thoug i would share it may have already been shared but its a debate over Abraham's csuuong in the movie Lincoln

Here's the site

http://movies.yahoo.com/news/lincoln-cus...00268.html

A

Ok, yes, have to agree with Rob Wick yet again about "historian" David Barton. Barton said this in the article:

“The historical record is clear that Lincoln definitely did not tolerate profanity around him,” Barton says. “There are records of him confronting military generals if he heard about them cursing. Furthermore, the F-word used by Bilbo was virtually nonexistent in that day and it definitely would not have been used around Lincoln. If Lincoln had heard it, it is certain that he would instantly have delivered a severe rebuke.”

The above shows Barton knows zero about Abraham Lincoln and is again playing propagandist.

Apparently he knows as much about Lincoln as he does about Thomas Jefferson:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2012...confidence

His publisher actually pulled his book on Jefferson because it was full of so much misinformation that they could not put it out in good faith with their name on it. The idea that he gets air time anywhere as a "historical expert" is a joke.

But back to his take on Lincoln in the movie.

Barton makes a whole bunch of errors in one paragraph. The "f" word was not virtually "non-existant." There is no record of Lincoln "instantly rebuking" generals for their language. As I have said above Lincoln used the word on occasion himself. Lincoln once famously said, "He would hold McCllelan's horse if he gave the country a victory." I doubt he would have worried about Little Mac's language.

Lincoln tolerated drinking, womanizing, and whatever as long as he thought a general was aggressive and successful (see Joe Hooker and Dan Sickles.)

The funny thing is Seward was known to curse far more than Lincoln and Lincoln used to rib Seward over it. The two rivals at one point developed a very close relationship. There is no evidence Seward's cursing ever got a real rebuke from Lincoln. Also, Lincoln friend and D.C. Marshall Ward Hill Lamon was universally known for his dirty jokes. Lamon acted as Lincoln's unofficial bodygurad, even sleeping on the floor in front of the door when Lincoln was re-elected without being asked to in case anyone tried to harm Lincoln. Again, no sign of Lincoln rebuking Lamon for his mouth.

I wish places would vet Barton more before they give him air time to spout off about things he knows nothing about.

OK...rant over Smile
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12-07-2012, 07:56 PM
Post: #7
RE: Abrahams cussing
I agree with Rob, Ashley, & Mike on this. Lincoln swore. Lincoln the "saint" of mythology didn't. Part of the appeal of the movie, for me at least, is showing Lincoln as a man-a real man who gets angry at times, has problems he is not sure how to deal with, and sometimes "gets it wrong."

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12-07-2012, 08:51 PM
Post: #8
RE: Abrahams cussing
Quote:I may sound like a broken record on this forum...but YET again I agree with Rob Wick.

Somehow, I can't see anything wrong with that. Big Grin

I don't necessarily have a problem with a group advising people as to what they might object to in a movie. If someone found cursing offensive, and they seriously didn't think there would be any in the film, having knowledge before would be, as far as I can see, harmless and it would allow them to make an informed choice. But I wonder if those who might object to the cursing would object as much if there were more violent battle scenes? My major beef is with Barton, but Mike has made my case here very well.

Maybe I'm immune to being bothered by it. In the 14 years I worked in newspapers, the language I heard (and used) would sometimes make a sailor blush. I always said it was a sad state of affairs that people who made their living with words couldn't come up with any better than various four-letter ones. Smile

Best
Rob

Abraham Lincoln in the only man, dead or alive, with whom I could have spent five years without one hour of boredom.
--Ida M. Tarbell
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12-07-2012, 10:11 PM
Post: #9
RE: Abrahams cussing
(12-07-2012 07:56 PM)LincolnMan Wrote:  I agree with Rob, Ashley, & Mike on this. Lincoln swore. Lincoln the "saint" of mythology didn't. Part of the appeal of the movie, for me at least, is showing Lincoln as a man-a real man who gets angry at times, has problems he is not sure how to deal with, and sometimes "gets it wrong."

To me it give Lincoln a more human nature and brings him more to life given he was human as we all are. it made it more realistic. I know as a person ive done things wrong and let out a few words of that nature and I think it makes the Movie and him more human, that and I think with the time frame in which he was living how could he not have moment of this nature. thats me any way I see him more a person with legit reactions. beside if we or he didnt "get it worng " sometimes how would we learn. Smiles and I like what you put.
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12-11-2012, 06:43 PM
Post: #10
RE: Abrahams cussing
I have debated for several days whether or not to be the devil's advocate on this matter of Mr. Lincoln's cursing. I'm biting the bullet and plowing ahead to disagree in regards to the two specific words that the reviews caught. Let me preface by saying that I have not seen the movie.

However, we had a discussion about this at least a year ago at Surratt House (both men and women were involved). The consensus of opinion was that those words did exist but were never used in public conversations - especially in mixed company by people of good breeding. When used, it was mainly by the ignorant and poorer classes.

We even consulted writers' guides that tell you what to say or report about various historical times. One source listed the F word as being of Dutch or Low German origin and not standard English. Yet another cited that it did not really enter into the English language until after World War I.

I don't consider myself a babe in the woods, but I don't remember ever hearing either word until I went to college. I do remember the first time I used the S word in front of my parents. It was at the dinner table, and I said the common phrase of being "up....creek without a paddle." My father literally threw his fork down on his plate, stared at me, and told me never to use that word again. This from a military man.

In the case of Mr. Lincoln, I would certainly agree that he liked off-color jokes, probably used some "hard" language at times, and was certainly no saint. I know he came from a frontier background where cursing was probably more prevalent, but I just don't see those two words being used in great frequency by him or others in good society - especially once he entered the political world. Being one of the "good old boys" does not require one to use such raw language to get points across.

Throwing them into the script of the movie, strictly in my opinion, was done to try and catch the modern viewer's ear - and thus condone our frequent use of bad language - and also to try and reinforce the idea that Lincoln and his associates were just "common men of their era." With our constant exposure to those particular words, we are never going to clean up the English language. Now someone can proudly point to the film and say, "See, even Lincoln and his colleagues used those words. History proves it."

And, before you beat up on me, I am no prude -- I taught secondary school for Pete's sake!
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12-11-2012, 07:06 PM
Post: #11
RE: Abrahams cussing
(12-11-2012 06:43 PM)L Verge Wrote:  I do remember the first time I used the S word in front of my parents.

I'll never forget the first time I said that word in front of my dad. He was driving me to school-- a punishment, as I had carelessly dented my car and it was in the shop-- and I thought that he would drive off the side of the road. He was absolutely frosted.

I have often wondered if the "no cussing in polite company" thing was a Southern tradition but folks move around so frequently now that such a distinction may be hard to verify, if it ever existed at all.

--Jim

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12-11-2012, 10:13 PM (This post was last modified: 12-11-2012 10:21 PM by Gene C.)
Post: #12
RE: Abrahams cussing
Laurie, I appreciate your opinion on this subject.
As we all know, just because its in a movie doesn't make it true. The people that made the movie also wanted to make money, so if they take a few liberties to spice up the story, we need to recognize this and cut them some slack. (even though they really didn't need to)

I do appreciate all the comments the movie has generated, and hopefully it will increase the desire for more people to learn about a great man, and take the positive lessons we can learn from him to make our own lives, and those around us, better.

So when is this "Old Enough To Know Better" supposed to kick in?
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12-12-2012, 06:04 PM
Post: #13
RE: Abrahams cussing
(12-11-2012 10:13 PM)Gene C Wrote:  Laurie, I appreciate your opinion on this subject.
As we all know, just because its in a movie doesn't make it true. The people that made the movie also wanted to make money, so if they take a few liberties to spice up the story, we need to recognize this and cut them some slack. (even though they really didn't need to)

I do appreciate all the comments the movie has generated, and hopefully it will increase the desire for more people to learn about a great man, and take the positive lessons we can learn from him to make our own lives, and those around us, better.

FWIW,
I can only say what I have heard from others. Many of my Civil War buff friends and others who aren't have seent the film and not one complained about the language in the film. I have heard rave reviews from just about everyone. As far as I recall, Lincoln doesn't say the "f" word in the film. The James Spader character says it after he has a gun drawn on him and maybe elsewhere. That scene is played more for laughs than anything, as it got a loud guffaw from the audience in the theatre I was in.

(On another point, since he was so much in the film, the real Thad Stevens was supposedly a guy who could swear a blue streak when he got angry, which was frequently.)
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12-12-2012, 07:15 PM
Post: #14
RE: Abrahams cussing
I think for some added perspective, people need to read Stories The Soldiers Wouldn't Tell by Thomas Lowry. Although Lowry got into some serious trouble recently, I've never seen anything mentioned about this work that would lessen it's veracity. It gives an interesting account as to what really went on with soldiers during the war.

As I said before, Lincoln was a product of the frontier. He had to have heard every word imaginable, and used select ones himself. He also rode the circuit with a number of other men, and during the times when they were sitting by the fire I doubt they were reciting Bible verses.

I often get the feeling that many people who are upset with the saturation of sex and profanity which seems apparent in today's society has the notion there was a "golden age" when such things didn't happen. I've never accepted that. People got pregnant outside of wedlock all through history (even Lincoln believed it of his own mother) and pornography isn't a 20th century invention. Read traveling accounts of 19th century preachers on the frontier and you'll get a greater understanding of what real life was like then. I read several in trying to understand Everton Conger's father, Enoch and his life as a missionary on Ohio's Western Reserve.

Best
Rob

Abraham Lincoln in the only man, dead or alive, with whom I could have spent five years without one hour of boredom.
--Ida M. Tarbell
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12-12-2012, 08:06 PM (This post was last modified: 12-12-2012 08:08 PM by L Verge.)
Post: #15
RE: Abrahams cussing
Funny you should mention Tom Lowry's book, Rob, because I have it sitting right beside my desk at work at this very moment and am very familiar with it and have heard Tom talk on the subject several times at meetings that I have attended. I am actually using it as a reference right now in trying to track down some information that I ran across while researching Ella Starr Turner.

And, as I said, I am certainly not naive enough to think that there was a "golden age" (as you put it) where everyone was prim and proper. I have studied the social and cultural histories of the 19th century enough to know about the birds and the bees of that era. I also curse, but seldom use the strong words.

I do object to hearing those strong words tossed around casually every time I turn around, however. I guess I'm just naive enough to not understand why they have to be inserted into something like this movie that is focused on the greatness of Lincoln and the men who guided us through a horrible civil war.

What does saying the F word two or three times in the course of a two-hour movie achieve in helping us understand these men? How did those curse words help save the Union? Would the movie be a failure if those words had not been inserted into the script? Would we walk out of the theater thinking, "Oh my. I didn't near the F word at all. The movie is a failure!"

Just because man has cursed since the first time he burned his finger in the fire, it doesn't mean that it has great significance in world history.

I'll stop now because I have to go prepare my sermon for Sunday...
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