Culture

“Abraham Lincoln” and new history

abraham lincoln vampire hunter still

History, like memory is subject to change and perspective. You remember your 8th birthday party as great for you, but for your sister it was pure hell. For a while your opinion of that party wouldn’t change, until years later when you found out the real reason dad wasn’t there: he was cheating on mom, not at a business meeting. Then that party becomes a lie and all the good memories, photos and everything else associated with it are tarnished. Like a bad breakup, we drown out and refuse that part of our history that was good, opting instead to look back on it with our present knowledge as bad. It’s much the same with looking back with nostalgia; we refuse to remember the bad and amplify the good. Sometimes, we even choose to remove facts from our memories, so that we don’t remember it was us that caused the breakup, or us that embarrassed our sister, causing her to have a crappy time at our 8th birthday party.

Well, as horrible as that is, that’s exactly what happens with history. Yes, even the ruining of birthdays. While some of history’s changes are good (adding detail, revealing things we didn’t know before, solving mysteries), there are also bad changes (adding and revealing things we didn’t want to know). Then there’s the changing perspective of history, which like our memory, helps us remember our past the way we would want to now. This is usually done to benefit an agenda of today. Maybe you remember when Texas conservatives wanted to rewrite history in order to reinforce their point of view. “Who controls the past, controls the future” after all. Their rewritten history had the Jamestown settlers and Theodore Roosevelt cast as socialists and Franklin Roosevelt as the cause of the Great Depression.

For comparison’s sake, Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter is more historically accurate. If you’re going to ignore the facts, you might as well make it interesting. While Hunter is fictional, it does the same thing as the conservative rewritten history, which is to fundamentally change persons and events to tell a different story altogether. Yes, certain aspects of history can be looked at and debated in different ways, but facts cannot. For example, Jamestown was a capitalist venture, as in not socialist. And Teddy Roosevelt as a socialist? Who’s stupid enough to say tha–oh, Glenn Beck. That makes sense. But who’s stupid enough to say FDR caused the Great Depress–oh right, Michele Bachmann. That also makes sense.

You can see why conservatives are rewriting history though; they’re trying to remember what they want, instead of what happened. Everybody does that, including myself. I don’t try to force the school board to teach my history by shoving it down the throats of youngsters, but you get my point. If you don’t get my point then perhaps the shoving-down-the-throat method is more effective. In any case, if the conservatives want to rewrite history and teach it in schools, then may I suggest making the book Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter required reading. You know, to add credibility to this rewritten history.

If you’re going to ignore the facts about history and create a false memory, you might as well make it awesome. And I think school kids would rather read about vampire-slaying, top hat-wearing, emancipating Honest Abe than whatever the hell the conservatives would make him. Probably a socialist. But who am I kidding? The kids would just watch the movie.