A New Civil War Documentary

Status
Closed
May 2018
646
Michigan
#1
This article, which advocates for a new Civil War documentary, is not at all surprising given the political climate in America. As someone who posts on history forums, I can applaud a new documentary on just about anything. In that regard, the article makes a good point that there really is only one popular ACW documentary: the one by Ken Burns.

However, the article is infected with the usual neo-progressive ideological ranting which ruins good ideas:

-She criticizes a documentary on the American Civil War, a documentary about a war, for its focus on battles and generals. One of the reasons I look upon Wellington favorably is because he saw war as going beyond battles and generals and acknowledged the greater political ramifications. However, the ACW was a war, and any documentary about a war will spend a large portion of the time about generals and battles. Her criticism is invalid.

-It apparently doesn't condemn slavery enough. Throughout the whole Ken Burns film, it is obvious that slavery is wrong and images of scarred backs, slave ship diagrams etc... make it clear that slavery is wrong. Just because the whole 11-hour series wasn't a documentary on the evils of slavery doesn't mean slavery isn't evil. In fact, at almost every opportunity, Burns points out how wrong slavery is. Her criticism is invalid, given how often the documentary condemns slavery.

-She makes the typical neo-progressive point that it was done by a "team of white men." Seriously? How racist can you be: apparently, white males (who are politically on the left) are incapable of producing an objective documentary. The Civil War does an excellent job of portraying the views of both sides. Her criticism is not only invalid, but racist as well if she truly means to imply that white people, by virtue of race, are incapable of being objective.

-She alleges the Ken Burns film promotes the idea that the ACW was not about slavery. Quite the contrary, as the documentary factually states that while the ACW started over states seceeding from the Union, by 1865 it had become a crusade against slavery. The proof of this is the fact that many Union soldiers deserted after the Emancipation Proclamation, and several contemporary unionists expressed the (unfortunate) opinion that they were willing to fight for the Union, but not for emancipation. Her criticism is completely wrong, and factually incorrect: the ACW started over states rights, but ended over slavery. The only way the ACW could be construed as "starting" over slavery is the fact that if slavery didn't exist, the ACW probably would not have happened. But even Lincoln himself declared that he was deploying Federal troops to keep the Union together, not end slavery. So much so that he famously stated that if he could save the Union by freeing all the slaves, he would. If he could save the Union by freeing none of the slaves, he would do that as well. And if he could save the Union by freeing some, and letting others stay in slavery, he would do that too. The greatest American President himself so much as stated the war didn't "start" over slavery (yet he was the one who made it about slavery, thankfully).

Overall, the article comes across as a big whine-fest about how white people are incapable of objectivity, the notion that any Confederate General can't be portrayed positively in any regard, or that the hundreds of times slavery is categorized as "bad" in the documentary is somehow insufficient to placate political extremists.
 

Naomasa298

Forum Staff
Apr 2010
32,511
T'Republic of Yorkshire
#2
Overall, the article comes across as a big whine-fest about how white people are incapable of objectivity, the notion that any Confederate General can't be portrayed positively in any regard, or that the hundreds of times slavery is categorized as "bad" in the documentary is somehow insufficient to placate political extremists.
Not interested in this flame bait.

THREAD CLOSED.
 
Likes: frogsofwar
Status
Closed