Mel Gibson Ruining History

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Sep 252010

Thought this comic from the Washington Post comics was appropriate after Thursday’s discussion.

Slaves drowning

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Sep 232010

I know we all have plenty of disturbing images in our minds from the Middle Passage scenes in “Amistad.”   But I think it’s important to see that, although the way art is delivered to us has changed over the centuries, artists have always found ways to engage and arouse us.

Here’s a painting by J.M.W. Turner, done in 1840, one year after the Amistad events.  You may already be familiar with it from an art class.  It is nearly indecipherable at first glance, but if you look closely at the foreground you can see black bodies in the water, having been tossed from the slave ship in a group.  Turner used his medium of painting for the same purpose Spielberg used his medium of film—to unveil cruelty and make us see unspeakable truths.

Amistad means friendship

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Sep 222010

According to, the word “amistad” is a feminine noun meaning “friendship.”   Ironic considering the ship’s use in the 1900s.   But things have changed.  A nonprofit organization called Amistad America built a replica of the Amistad schooner, and is dedicated to cultivating diversity and erasing racism.

Spike Lee’s response to The Patriot

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Sep 162010

I just thought this was interesting it’s an article about Spike Lee’s response to the Patriot “The Patriot is pure, blatant American Hollywood propaganda. A complete whitewashing of history.”

How the Revolutionary War Started.

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Sep 152010

this is from a mini-series on [adult swim] called a A Young Person’s Guide to History. I found it to be informative, and very accurate.

My Sources (Pearl Harbor)

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Sep 092010

My project is going to be on Pearl Harbor (2001) and I have found some sources that will prove valuable to the project.

Doolittle, James Harold, and Carroll V. Glines. I Could Never Be so Lucky Again: An Autobiography. New York, N.Y.: Bantam Books, 1991.

I don’t currently have this one in my possession but I have requested it through ILL. It is (as the title states) an autobiography of James Doolittle (played by Alec Baldwin in the movie) and it includes information on the infamous “Doolittle Raid” that the characters Rafe and Danny go on in the movie.

Goldstein, Donald M., and Katherine V. Dillon. The Pearl Harbor Papers: Inside the Japanese Plans. Washington: Brasseyʼs (US), 1993.

This book contains primary documents from the Japanese and their plans of the attack. (Rather easy to deduct from the title of the book.

Goldstein, Donald M., Katherine V. Dillon, and J. Michael Wenger. The Way It Was: Pearl Harbor, the Original Photographs. Washington: Brassey’s (US), 1991.

I thought it would be interesting to compare the photographs of the real Pearl Harbor to what the movie ended up looking like and so I managed to find this book. It contains black and white pictures of after the attack.

Nelson, Craig. The First Heroes: The Extraordinary Story of the Doolittle Raid– America’s First World War II Victory. New York: Viking, 2002.

And here is a secondary source on the aforementioned Doolittle Raid.

Sunshine, Linda, Antonia Felix, Jerry Bruckheimer, and Michael Bay. Pearl Harbor: The Movie and the Moment. A Newmarket pictorial moviebook. New York: Hyperion, 2001.

This book was put together after the movie and includes quotes from the actors. It is sort of like a “making of Pearl Harbor” book.

Of course I need to find more sources but this is a decent starting point, much has been written on the subject so will not be that hard to find the secondary sources. However, I will be more interested in the primary sources from the 1941/1942.

Scarlet Letter Starter Bibliography

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Sep 092010

Doing the 1995 Scarlet Letter, which I have found out is “freely adapted” from the book as well as the earlier silent films made in the thirties. As a Hawthorne fan, I expect to be having a lot of crying and break down sessions in Dr. McClurken’s office. Below is the starter set of my bibliography. I am looking to dig into a couple set of sources

  1. Material about the film itself
  2. Primary and Second material on the time period
  3. Material about the author
  4. Secondary analysis of the novel.

Bosco, Ronald A., and Jillmarie Murphy, eds. Hawthorne in His Own Time: A Biographical Chronicle of His Life, Drawn from Recollections, Interviews, and Memoirs by Family, Friends, and Associates. Writers in their own time (University of Iowa Press). Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2007. I figured this would make an excellent guide for understanding the author of the book. Much like watching Last of the Mohicans, understanding the main author can shed light on future adaptations

Daniels, Bruce. Bad Movie/Worse History: The 1995 Unmaking of The Scarlet Letter. Journal of Popular Culture 32, no. 4 (1999): 1-11.   Excellent article that details the director’s decision as well as some of the social forces around the film. Daniels rips the film to shreds and explain why it was so awful.

Dow, George Francis. Every Day Life in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. New York: B. Blom, 1967. This secondary resource provides the essential details in the colony including clothing, architecture, sports, and most importantly for this project, laws and penalties.

Hawthorne, Nathaniel. The Scarlet Letter: Complete, Authoritative Text with Biographical, Historical, and Cultural Contexts, Critical History, and Essays from Contemporary Critical Perspectives. 2nd ed. Case studies in contemporary criticism. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2006. This would be my primary source, but it also provides a bit of background for the story itself.

Hutchinson, Thomas.The History of the Colony and Province of Massachusetts-Bay. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1936. I am not sure whether this source qualifies as primary or secondary as Hutchinson was in fact in the colony at roughly the same period the story takes place. However, his work on the colonies policies will provide a backdrop for studying The Scarlet Letter.

Johnson, Claudia D.Understanding the Scarlet Letter: A Student Casebook to Issues, Sources, and Historical Documents. Greenwood Press “Literature in context” series. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 1995. I am using this source for its bibliography of historical documents and as a starting point for some of the discussions of feminism within the story as well as the film.

LaPlante, Eve. American Jezebel: The Uncommon Life of Anne Hutchinson, the Woman Who Defied the Puritans. San Francisco: Harper, 2004. Perhaps a tangental selection, I feel Anne Hutchinson as a female outsider can set the platform for Hester Prynne. As two women who have disobeyed puritanical law, there ought be some interesting similarities.


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Sep 092010

Patton Bibliography

Blumenson, Martin. Patton: The Man Behind The Legend, 1885-1945. New York: William Morrow and Company Inc, 1985.

Blumenson strives to show the private side of a man that many people only new by his public persona.

D’Este, Carlo. Patton: A Genius for War. New York: Harper Perennial, 1995.

A Genius for War provides a detailed and thorough biography of Patton, from birth to his untimely death in 1945.

Hymel, Kevin M. Patton’s Photographs: War As He Saw It. Canada: Potomac Books Inc., 2006.

The photographs show what Patton saw through his own eyes during World War II.

Patton, George S. War As I Knew It. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1947.

Patton’s memoirs provide an in depth view of his life, from his perspective. His memoirs should provide an avenue into the reasoning behind Patton’s decisions.

Suid, Lawrence H. Guts & Glory: The Making of the American Military Image in Film. Kentucky: The University Press of Kentucky, 2002.

Suid provides a history of the relationship between US Military and Hollywood, and how it has changed over the years. It also shows how George C. Scott, Frank McCarthy, and Franklin Schaffner agreed and disagreed on how to portray Patton in the film.

Zaloga, Steven J. George S. Patton. China: Osprey Publishing, 2010.

Zaloga describes Patton’s strategies and battlefield tactics and focuses on the breakout from Normandy.

– Michael G.