New "authentic" movie highlights Lincoln's crusade against zombies

February 6, 2012

“Aside From the Vampires, Lincoln Film Seeks Accuracy” – Headline from The New York Times.

Just in time for the Civil War sesquicentennial – which is a really long word I don’t have time to look up – a new movie, “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Slayer,” promises a new birth of learning about our nation’s heritage.

Based on a book by the same name, the movie, says the Times, attempts a “meticulously researched, surprisingly authentic” look at Lincoln – “but with vampires.”

It is altogether fitting and proper that Hollywood should do this. How else can we expect our nation’s young people to learn history?

The movie, to my understanding, is not founded on new evidence of Lincoln’s crusade against the living dead, of which surprisingly little is known.

(Though we do learn something of Lincoln’s motivation: His own mother was killed by vampires! It’s unbelievable the important stuff they leave out of history books.)

Rather, it uses Lincoln’s (probably) fictional campaign against zombies as a way to present the Great Emancipator in a fresh light.

As director Tim Burton said of the book, “I really didn’t learn much, but I like the idea of history being told this way.”

Yes, exactly. “I really didn’t learn much.” Isn’t that what history class is all about? It’s not what you learn but how you learn it.

And, using this storytelling technique, students will at least learn something about our greatest president, even if it’s mainly about his prowess as a zombie-killer.

After all, we need to do something to keep our historical memory alive. Recent polls show that a majority of Americans are unable to name the event that began the War of 1812 (Teddy Roosevelt’s mounted attack on Pearl Harbor) or the year it began (1492).

That could change with the help of people such as Thomas F. Schwartz, the state historian of Illinois, who said his main contribution to the movie “was to show the filmmakers how they might slip vampires into Lincoln’s story with minimal damage to the historical record.”

That’s the key: minimal damage to the historical record. Because if you’re not careful you could wind up with a movie about our 16th president’s vampire-slaying exploits that bears little relationship to the historical Lincoln.

I understand that purists might object to this new approach to teaching history. But those people should take a close look at Lincoln’s later photographs.

Look at his deeply lined face. It’s clear he has more on his mind than the just a run-of-the-mill Civil War. He’s also burdened by a simultaneous War on the Undead.

In fact, he looks so tired and gaunt you might think: He’s a zombie!

Wait! Maybe this movie does have it wrong. Lincoln himself was the vampire!

And that would make a swell sequel.

SPEAKING OF HISTORY: Ahmad Bradshaw’s touchdown was one for the books.

Imagine running for a touchdown to put your team ahead with about a minute to go in the Super Bowl.

Now imagine that being a mistake. That’s right. You’re supposed to fall down. And not score a touchdown.

I sat there thinking: I could have been a Super Bowl hero! You wouldn’t have to worry about me making a touchdown. I would have fallen down as soon as I got the ball.

Now on to another important topic: why didn’t Madonna win the game’s MVP trophy?

Over the years, people have complained about the Super Bowl game not living up to the hype, but the real disappointment has been the halftime show, which never lives up to the hype.

The Super Bowl itself is a big, gaudy, ridiculous spectacle and it deserves a big, gaudy, ridiculous show.

Madonna delivered.