Saturday, September 18, 2010 \PM\.\Sat\.
Jason McNew of the American Thinker wrote it better than I could:
Friday evening President Obama addressed the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute. At around 22:30, he incorporates part of the preamble of The Declaration of Independence, removing “Creator”.
“We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal….. endowed with certain unalienable rights, life and liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”
After President Obama says “created equal…”, there is a long pause during which he scowls and blinks several times. For once, he may actually have opted to not read something that was on the teleprompter. Is looks like he is disgusted and decided it would be better not to read what the preamble actually says.
President Obama, if our Creator is not the purveyor of our human rights, then who is? The government?
Saturday, September 18, 2010 \AM\.\Sat\.
Something for the weekend. The intro to the movie Spartacus (1960), one of the best film intros, with a superb melding of the music and “Roman” statuary. I saw this film initially in 1967 when it was first broadcast on television and it awakened a lifelong love of ancient history in me.
The film is full of historical howlers, par for the course for Hollywood. Crassus, the richest man in Rome, was not a proto-Fascist dictator. Spartacus, who is a shadowy figure because the source material is sparse (only Plutarch’s Life of Crassus and a brief section in Appian’s Civil Wars), did not simply march to the sea to escape Italy with his liberated slaves, but marauded throughout Italy, defeating several Roman consular armies in the process. There was no Senator called Gracchus, magnificently portrayed in the film by Charles Laughton, who led the opposition to Crassus, and Crassus wasn’t interested in personal dictatorship in any event during the time he put down Spartacus and his slave army. The list of substantial factual errors in the film could go on for considerable length.
However, all that is beside the point. The film is a magnificent work of art, and it gets the atmosphere of the late Roman Republic right: old Roman morality being forgotten, a growth of decadence fueled by ever more wealth from foreign conquests, endless amounts of slaves flooding into Italy from the same foreign conquests, factions in the Senate engaging in what amounted to a cold civil war between bouts of hot civil war, the Roman Republican government teetering on the brink of military dictatorship, the movie presents all of these elements more clearly than any classroom lecture could. Read the rest of this entry »