Here are a few items of interest to digest along with your microwaved turkey remnants.
- Wilson Library at UNC-Chapel Hill is hosting an exhibit of old North Carolina textbooks and the bizarre material contained therein. The First Dixie Reader, published in Raleigh in 1863, extolled the idyllic lifestyle of the elderly female slave: “Many poor white folks would be glad to live in her house and eat what Miss Kate sends out for her dinner.”
- The bicentennial of the War of 1812 is approaching, and the bureaucrats in Albany, NY couldn’t care less.
- Some interesting stuff turned up when a bank employee opened up a box that had gone neglected.
- The fate of (what’s left of) the historic K-25 plant in Oak Ridge, TN is in dispute. The Department of Energy had promised to keep part of it intact, but now they want to tear down the whole thing.
- Think historic preservation doesn’t make economic sense? Think again.
I ran across a post suggesting some possible subjects for historical biopics. The LBJ idea is especially intriguing; I wouldn’t mind seeing a miniseries adaptation of Robert Caro’s work.
I’d also propose Frederick Douglass (great story), John Brown, Joseph Smith, and Daniel Boone as interesting film subjects. Boone’s life in particular is full of dramatic material; the deaths of his sons, the rescue of his daughter, his captivity, and his court-martial would all make for powerful scenes, and then you could wrap it up in melancholy fashion with his abandonment of the Kentucky for which he gave up so much and migration to Missouri.
Personally, though, what I’d really like to see is an Andrew Jackson biopic along the lines of Patton, depicting both his greatness and his faults. I’d start out with his boyhood in the Revolutionary Waxhaws and the beating he took for defying a British officer, and then flash forward to the War of 1812.
Either that, or just adapt David Nevin’s novel 1812 as a miniseries. I rarely read historical fiction—I don’t read much fiction at all, actually—but that was a genuinely great book, and anybody who could play Jackson the way Nevin managed to flesh him out would deserve a Golden Globe.
Well, there’s a columnist who’s debating it, anyway. She seems to think commemorating a war with a close neighbor smacks too much of jingoism, but it looks like the PM has already made the decision for her.
I think it’s odd that the War of 1812 is The Big One for Canadians. It seems to me that the French and Indian War was much more significant in directing the course of Canadian history, setting that country on a British trajectory as opposed to a French one. Of course, a lot of Canadians remained on a French trajectory, at least as far as language and culture went, so that might have something to do with it.
I’d like to see somebody do a comparative full-length study on the memory of the War of 1812 in the U.S. and Canada and explain how the war’s legacy developed to the north and all but vanished down here in the States. These days we take it for granted that 1812 gets short shrift as far as the popular consciousness goes, but has that always been the case? And if not, what happened?