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Abrahams cussing
12-16-2012, 02:43 PM
Post: #31
RE: Abrahams cussing
Beware those ghosts-Rob. Smile

Bill Nash
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12-21-2012, 01:11 PM
Post: #32
RE: Abrahams cussing
Interesting thread! I just now discovered it.

Maybe I'm mistaken here, but I think Laurie's main point was: What effect might the cussing in the Lincoln movie have on the general modern public?

I may know a little more about history and Lincoln than the average person, but not much, and I'm not a prude and do use bad words, but I'm not proud of it, and I think I have a decent set of morals, but I'm a long ways from being perfect. So maybe I can give a somewhat unbiased viewpoint.

My gut reaction to the cussing in the movie was negative. I didn't like it because I had/have a conception of Lincoln (and alot of historical figures in general, for instance, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, etc.) as being worthy of a certain degree of respect (I almost said "reverence"). I'm not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing, but the cussing did undermine that somewhat. I know they were just people who had their faults, but somehow the cussing "cheapens" them (I sound like such an old f**t, I know, and more than a little hypocritical, since I'm no stranger to some pretty bad words.) But there it is. I need to do some more thinking on this, but I'm interested in hearing what others think about what I just wrote.
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12-21-2012, 01:34 PM
Post: #33
RE: Abrahams cussing
Kate, I agree with what you said, and it was well stated.

So when is this "Old Enough To Know Better" supposed to kick in?
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12-21-2012, 01:53 PM
Post: #34
RE: Abrahams cussing
Of course, I agree; and thank you for the support and for understanding my point that the use of those two words was unnecessary to the script and purpose of the film.
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12-21-2012, 02:35 PM
Post: #35
RE: Abrahams cussing
Kate,

For me the bottom line is this...if a person is offended by cursing and doesn't want to see the movie based only on that, that is their right, although that isn't the approach I would take. For me, however, the fact that Lincoln curses and others do as well is about as exciting as applesauce and means nothing. I happen to believe such actions makes them more human, but that is only my opinion.

Your other point is more of interest to me. While I certainly have no problem looking at our national heroes with some reverence, I think to do so the way many would have us do does them a major disservice and takes away their humanity. Take Washington for instance. He was a breeder of foxhounds, and was so intent on getting a perfect bloodline that he drowned several puppies because of their imperfections. No one hears about this, however. Also, Washington carried on an unrequited love affair with Sally Fairfax and loved her even long after he married Martha. There is no evidence of an affair after Washington married, but historians of all stripes have generally accepted that Washington remained in love with her until the end of his life.

As for Benjamin Franklin, he kept mistresses throughout his life. Of all the essays he wrote, one might want to peruse two. The first is called A Letter to a Royal Academy. I won't give it's popular title, although this link will tell you. Second is Advice to a Friend on Choosing a Mistress, the title of which speaks for itself.

I don't bring up these examples as a way to denigrate what they did for our country, but rather to point out that the more we know about someone, the better we can understand and appreciate their accomplishments. That includes both the good and the bad. There's nothing wrong with that.

Best
Rob

Abraham Lincoln is the only man, dead or alive, with whom I could have spent five years without one hour of boredom.
--Ida M. Tarbell

I want the respect of intelligent men, but I will choose for myself the intelligent.
--Carl Sandburg
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12-21-2012, 03:52 PM (This post was last modified: 12-21-2012 05:29 PM by My Name Is Kate.)
Post: #36
RE: Abrahams cussing
I totally agree that all possible facts, both good and bad, should be made known about any important historical figure. There's nothing I hate more than a biased, lopsided, mythical portrait of someone.

But why so much cussing? Why the dirty jokes? Maybe it is true that Lincoln cursed and told dirty jokes. In fact, I don't doubt it. But in a movie that was about such a limited segment of Lincoln's life, and about something as important as getting the Thirteenth Amendment passed, it seemed to me that the cussing and dirty jokes was a distraction, and not a good one. Those kind of things would be appropriate in a long biography about Lincoln's whole life, including his upbringing, education, etc. I'm sure the cussing and the dirty jokes were a tension-reliever for Lincoln. But it's kind of like if they had included a scene of Lincoln using the potty. We all know he did it, but why mention it?
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12-21-2012, 05:18 PM
Post: #37
RE: Abrahams cussing
As a middle school teacher I had one classroom experience with an "R" rated movie. This was in the late 1980's when Glory was released. PepsiCo was so impressed with the movie that it sent a free, edited version to thousands of schools nationwide. The most violent scenes and some language, including the "F" word, were edited out. The principal brought the movie to me and asked me to use it in class if I had the time. Only in two years did I have the time, but this powerful movie led to some very worthwhile class discussions. We talked about inequality and even the whipping scene (which was partially modified for the "school" edition we received).

These were mostly 14-year-olds at the time they saw the movie in my class. In all honesty, I cannot say that editing out the language and the worst of the violence had any effect whatsoever on the positive value of the movie as an educational tool. I think the students understood the major points of the movie without hearing the language. The language and violence were extraneous in an educational setting; nothing important was lost because the movie was a few minutes shorter than the "theater" version.
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12-21-2012, 06:04 PM
Post: #38
RE: Abrahams cussing
"Iconoclastic" is the word that comes to mind. Maybe that is a little strong, maybe it isn't. Another word that comes to mind is "boring". All that political discussion that the average person wouldn't know the first thing about, was almost enough to put me to sleep. I'm sure people who are knowledgeable about history and Lincoln would have a different viewpoint, but speaking as an average American, I didn't find the movie particularly impressive. It's only when I thought about it afterward (and after the person I went to see the movie with, pointed out), that I realized what a strong and impressive person Lincoln must have been to have held together and succeeded in the goals of both abolition and keeping the Union together, against all the personal and political odds that he had to face. I'm not sure how many moviegoers would take the time to reflect on that (I hope that doesn't make me sound too arrogant).
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12-21-2012, 06:54 PM
Post: #39
RE: Abrahams cussing
(12-21-2012 05:18 PM)RJNorton Wrote:  As a middle school teacher I had one classroom experience with an "R" rated movie. This was in the late 1980's when Glory was released. PepsiCo was so impressed with the movie that it sent a free, edited version to thousands of schools nationwide. The most violent scenes and some language, including the "F" word, were edited out. The principal brought the movie to me and asked me to use it in class if I had the time. Only in two years did I have the time, but this powerful movie led to some very worthwhile class discussions. We talked about inequality and even the whipping scene (which was partially modified for the "school" edition we received).

These were mostly 14-year-olds at the time they saw the movie in my class. In all honesty, I cannot say that editing out the language and the worst of the violence had any effect whatsoever on the positive value of the movie as an educational tool. I think the students understood the major points of the movie without hearing the language. The language and violence were extraneous in an educational setting; nothing important was lost because the movie was a few minutes shorter than the "theater" version.

And in that sense, Roger, I would agree that leaving it out was probably the right thing to do. In a situation where people are not there on their own accord, forcing them to watch the film with the violence and profanity left in would have caused you far more trouble then the valuable discussion it brought about. But when a person pays for their ticket, you take your chances.

Best
Rob

Abraham Lincoln is the only man, dead or alive, with whom I could have spent five years without one hour of boredom.
--Ida M. Tarbell

I want the respect of intelligent men, but I will choose for myself the intelligent.
--Carl Sandburg
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12-21-2012, 09:23 PM (This post was last modified: 12-21-2012 09:27 PM by My Name Is Kate.)
Post: #40
RE: Abrahams cussing
I'm still thinking on this subject, so what I'm writing here is kind of a stream-of-consciousness thing.

It's not that the cussing or dirty jokes in the movie really bothered me. It's only after reading this thread that I gave it much thought (although I did take note of it while watching the movie). Then I realized that subconsciously my reaction to it was more negative than positive.

Manners, politeness, decorum, good breeding, ladylike or gentlemanly language are important because that is part of the glue that holds society together and helps to keep in check the baser elements of human nature. It is especially important that public figures show these qualities, at least in public, because they are role models. In private, I think it is OK that they sometimes let their hair down. Maybe the irreverence and bluntness that became so prevalent in the 1960s, was a reaction to pretentiousness and hypocrisy, people wearing a mask and trying to appear to be something they were not. That was certainly worse than swearing and dirty jokes, but the revolution went a little too far.

Lincoln was just a man, but how many people could have accomplished what he did? I think he deserves to be treated with a little deference.
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12-21-2012, 10:54 PM
Post: #41
RE: Abrahams cussing
Another thing that bothered me far more than the cussing, was the movie previews that showed before the movie began. Every single one of them, without exception, was violent. Guns, bombs, yelling, menacing figures dressed in black and battle gear, etc. And not just guns, but machine guns and assault rifles. That really got on my nerves. I hadn't been to a movie in years, but I don't remember the violence being anywhere near that level. And before each preview, there was a warning that it should only be viewed by "appropriate audiences". And that would be...who, exactly?
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12-21-2012, 11:30 PM
Post: #42
RE: Abrahams cussing
Lincoln cussed. There's no doubt about that. He told bawdy stories, some with cuss words. That's a matter of fact.

I haven't seen the movie yet, and if there's cursing in it, I'll sit through it, but I really don't need to hear what he might have or might not have said with regard to foul language. I'd rather see what he accomplished and how he did it. I'm pretty sure he used the privy every once in a while, but I don't need to see that to remind me how human he was.

"There are few subjects that ignite more casual, uninformed bigotry and condescension from elites in this nation more than Dixie - Jonah Goldberg"
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12-22-2012, 11:05 PM
Post: #43
RE: Abrahams cussing
Violence in movies is old, it just can be more realistically made now.

I recall watching the Bogart movie, "Key Largo" made in 1948 recently. Bogie shoots five gangsters on a boat at the end of the film, but the special effects of the day made it much less graphic than today.

Violence can be both gratitious or is can be deeply moving to make a larger point.

Shakespeare's plays are very violent.
In "King Lear," Glouchester's eyes are even pulled out on stage.
(Despite recent events Elizabethian England had a much higher level of violence than today's America.)

Yet "King Lear" is deeply moving and the violence in much of Shakespeare is done with pathos.

The cartoonish type violence is different. I don't think the violence in "Glory" or "Lincoln" fits the cartoonish version or is gratitious.

A movie like "Saving Private Ryan" about D-Day made almost 20 years ago is of course very violent and has a lot of foul language. Would removing that made it a better movie? I doubt it. Again the violence made the point about the sacrifices the troops had made.

I don't know that violence in movies is going up vs. ten, twenty, or thirty years or so years ago. I recall "gore" and "slasher" films were popular when I was a kid. But I don't know how to quantify this. There are certain directors who specialize in violent pics like Tarantino.
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12-24-2012, 03:32 PM (This post was last modified: 12-24-2012 04:03 PM by My Name Is Kate.)
Post: #44
RE: Abrahams cussing
Violence today is mass-produced and is an integral part of our culture. It is in movies, music, video games, TV, the internet, and it is constantly in the news. People are inundated with it, and so much of it seems designed to deliberately shock people by aiming at the most innocent and vulnerable in society. Rampant school shootings, church shootings, volunteer firefighters responding to a call end up being ambushed and shot...
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12-25-2012, 03:06 PM
Post: #45
RE: Abrahams cussing
Considering the violence of the Civil War - not to mention the violence of slavery - the amount of violence in the Lincoln movie seemed minimal to me, and mainly confined to the film's very first scene.

Did Lincoln sometimes cuss and often tell off-color stories? Yes, he did. And the reason why I was pleased to hear the little bit of cussing and sliver of potty humor is that these things went with Lincoln the Man. Despite the fact that the plot line concerned his effort to get the 13th Amendment passed, the movie was, more than anything, about Lincoln the Man. If he had been portrayed in a cleansed, staid fashion I would have been hugely disappointed.

Portraying Lincoln in this way was not an iconoclastic move nor a conduit to cheap laughs. It showed him as a living, breathing human being and how he handled day-to-day life, from his domestic trials to the method by which he handled people in attempting to attain his far-reaching goals.

Many of Lincoln's contemporaries were off-put by his informal nature and manner of speaking, even the way he walked and moved. The fact that some people today are reacting similarly to these aspects of Lincoln's nature shows, I think, how successful the makers of the Lincoln movie were in offering an almost spooky level of authenticity.

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