All posts by ricbretz

In Defense of “Mailing It In”

closed_mailing_envelope_clip_art_17066

by Rick Bretz

There is a phrase in its many forms that has been used for decades to criticize less than stellar effort.  That phrase is “Mailing It In”,  “Phoning It In” or in today’s vernacular, “Mobile Phoning It In”, “Texting It In” or “Twittering It In”.   Twitter by its nature reflects a lack of effort or a thought process as Twitter users prove each day. They all define the same state, “A lack of enthusiasm or effort when engaged in an activity or job.”

“To deliver a performance without commitment or effort, with lackluster results.”

Examples of “Mailing It In” are everywhere for committed people to admire or show disdain.  It’s the person who leaves their grocery basket in the parking spot rather than return it to the cart holder. A shocking lack of effort by many grocery store customers that creates more work for stock clerks the world over.

Take the person who connects to a Skype conference and then does something else for the next half hour. It happens all the time.  There may be times in the United States or in other countries where the briefer with a PowerPoint presentation is briefing him or herself thinking they have 9 other people on the conference call.

The spouse who says “yes” periodically to their significant other during the telling of a story while watching a favorite television show is just another instance.  The conversation “continuer” so that you can trick your wife or husband into appearing that you have heard each word from that day’s activities while engaged in “Dancing with the Stars” or “Ice Road Truckers.”

The parent who brings home dinner from a fast food establishment. Alright, that one may happen do to a tough day at work or, in the case of a single parents, they deserve a break.

The driver who parks a car over the parking lines so another driver can’t park in the next slot.  Ok, that one is on purpose but  it deserves a mention because the person is “Mailing It In” in the consideration of others department.

The pseudo-environmentalist who lectures people about saving the lakes and forests before driving away in a truck getting 19 miles per gallon or before getting on their private jet for the next lecture.

These “effort” fails are pointed out so that they can be held up in defense of “Mailing It In’.  Without examples of “Mailing It In” many citizens of the world would not have a bar to reach beyond.

An argument can be made that multi-tasking is a form of “Mailing It In”. splitting up maximum effort among many jobs.

However, after listing all of these examples, “Mailing It In” may be vital for the society to evolve, save time, generate jobs that clean up any less than 100 percent effort.  For example, the guy who “Mails In” a poor parking performance is providing work for automobile repair business.   The spouse that doesn’t completely hear a conversation misses the part where  the car was hit during the day because the trucker is driving on this ice. It’s funny how the world works.

 

 

 

The Reason I Write-Tom Wolfe

the right stuff

by Rick Bretz

The recent passing of the legendary author Tom Wolfe caused a reflection on why I write this blog. I am a fan of many authors, one being David McCullough.  Two other writers have influenced me and given me the inspiration to keep on writing.  They are Frank DeFord, the sports writer who wrote about many topics for Sports Illustrated as well as authoring books.  The other writer is Tom Wolfe, who wrote a page turner for all time.

A friend first introduced me to Tom Wolfe’s writing style in 1981. she said that if you  want to read terrific writing pick  up the book “The Right Stuff.” The book is an insightful look at the Air Force test pilot fraternity in the late 1940s and 1950s as well as the birth of NASA’s astronaut selection and training program.  Hollywood made a movie out of the book later in the 1980s.  Before getting into those topics, Wolfe introduces the reader to a name, Chuck Yeager, the pilot that has the best “Right Stuff” of all test pilots.

The book opened my eyes to a different kind of writing style. He pioneered the style of “New Journalism”, using non-fiction narrative techniques to fill the story for the reader.  He may not have been in the room or inside someone’s mind but gave the reader a good idea of what it might have been like.  His writing style delivered dynamic prose in a descriptive style that was entertaining and informative. Here’s an example of his style:

“Well … things are beginning to stack up a little,” said Gordo. It was the same old sod-hut drawl. He sounded like the airline pilot who, having just slipped two seemingly certain mid-air collisions and finding himself in the midst of a radar fuse-out and control-tower dysarthria, says over the intercom: “Well, ladies and gentlemen, we’ll be busy up here in the cockpit making our final approach into Pittsburgh, and so we want to take this opportunity to thank you for flying American and we hope we’ll see you again real soon.” It was second-generation Yeager, now coming from earth orbit. Cooper was having a good time. He knew everybody was in a sweat down below. But this was what he and the boys had wanted all along, wasn’t it?”
Tom Wolfe, The Right Stuff

The direct quote, “Well … things are beginning to stack up a little,”  many of us have heard a number of times on Astronaut documentaries.  But this was written before all of those documentaries hit cable television.  He took the quote and absolutely blasted it out of the park relating it to the original man on the top of the Pyramid, General Chuck Yeager.  In the book he talks about the Pyramid and his chapter on Naval Aviator pilot training is a thing of beauty.

“A persistent case of the bingos was enough to wash a man out of night carrier landings. That did not mean you were finished as a Navy pilot. It merely meant that you were finished so far as carrier ops were concerned, which meant that you were finished so far as combat was concerned, which meant you were no longer in the competition, no longer ascending the pyramid, no longer qualified for the company of those with the right stuff.”
Tom Wolfe, The Right Stuff

I read “The Right Stuff” three times in the span of two years.  The first time to enjoy it as a great read.  The second time to analyze the writing style and the third time so I could analyze the word choices he made and how each sentence flowed into another.  His writing style demonstrated what was possible for me when writing my own articles for newspapers and magazines.  I’ve won a few writing awards through the years and the reason I still write posts for this blog is due to the craft of great authors like Tom Wolfe. I may never get as descriptive and smooth as my favorite authors but I like like trying

Tom Wolfe wrote many other books, among them being “Electric Kool-Aide Acid Test” and “The Bonfire of the Vanities” equally as well received.  He also authored several magazine articles.  But for me, “The Right Stuff” kept me writing and forced me to constantly seek the perfect sentence, paragraph and more.   I am just one of many he influenced. Tom Wolfe left us on May 14, 2018. He left leaving the literary world  his wordsmith genius and the golden treasure of his work

Notable Links:

https://www.amazon.com/Right-Stuff-Tom-Wolfe/dp/0312427565

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Right_Stuff_(book)

https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/news/tom-wolfe-right-stuff-author-and-new-journalism-legend-dead-at-87-w520325

https://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/907221-the-right-stuff

 

The Path to Statehood: Hawaii and Alaska

erupting lava during daytime
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

by Rick Bretz

The Hawaiian Islands’ volcanic eruptions generating the long stream of hot lava is analogous to the extended years and upheaval it took to join America as a 50th state.   As the lava flows in nature’s effort to reclaim territory, many of its citizens and towns are seeing their houses and roads taken over.  This island paradise that has become a vacation spot and tourist destination surrounded by the Pacific Ocean is a stark contrast to Alaska, a frosty, just as remote scenic territory due north.

 

Alaska was a state that nobody wanted and many government administrators and elected officials  thought Secretary of State William Seward’s venture to purchase the Alaska territory was ill-advised at best.  The newspapers at the time called it “Seward’s Folly.”

snow light sky winter
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Hawaii, in contrast, was not only wanted, but literally taken over with the Island Queen Liliuokalani under house arrest in the palace.

Why would the American government want the territory and the Islands as part of our eventual United States?  The answer is found in that both were sought after for the same purpose and yet for a couple of different motivations.  The United States government purchased Alaska from Russia in 1867 for 7.2 million dollars.  At the time, the treaty to purchase Alaska seemed like wasted money but the purchase ended the presence of Russian influence  in North America at the time.  Russian influence allegedly would revisit us later in the form of hacking, spying and social media posts during our 2016 elections.

Later, the 1896 discovery of Gold in the Yukon and its strategic importance during World War II in the Pacific Theater vindicated William Seward’s push to purchase the territory which began before the civil war.  Alaska became the 49th state a few months before Hawaii on January 3rd, 1959.

Alaska’s significance remains strategically important but today the state is well known for the large number of reality shows situated there from “Deadliest Catch”, “Gold Rush” and “Ice Road Truckers” to “Alaska State Troopers”. Who knew when Congress approved the purchase of the Alaskan territory that it would be a boon to the television entertainment industry in the 21st Century and make several Alaskan citizens relatively wealthy from something other than gold mining?

Hawaii took a divergent path that centered on what can be called, “the protection of the good old American dollar.”  Specifically, the influence of plantation owners and their wanting to protect their financial interests from the rise of the Hawaiian Monarchy.  The United States annexed the Hawaiian Islands in 1897 at the urging of the American plantation owners.  This annexation was in the form of a takeover as the Queen Liliuokalani was put on trial before a military tribunal, forced to relinquish all claims to the Monarchy and imprisoned her.  This just because she wanted to exert some power as as a monarch. This power threatened European and American land owner however so these men literally asked the United States government representatives to call in the Marines.

https://www.iolanipalace.org/history/queens-imprisonment/

The financial interest was the primary reason for the forced annexation of Hawaii but it also served a military strategic importance for naval bases.  Along with several other islands, such as Guam, the Philippines, the Kwajalein Atoll and Alaska, the annexation gave the United States a presence in the Asian theater.  This first line of defense proved vital at the outset of World War II.  The Hawaiian Islands had citizens that came from many countries other than the United States, like Japan and Portugal.  Hawaii became the 50th state a few months after Alaska on August 21st, 1959.

Why so long of a wait for Alaska and Hawaii statehood?  As with everything that the government does, it comes down to power and what the current political landscape at a particular time, as in Southern Democrats who didn’t want civil rights legislation passed. The number of democratic and republican votes in congress figured in the decision.  The racial mixture of each state and Alaska’s low population figured in the long wait.  The economic advantages with Alaskan oil reserves and Hawaii’s tourist industry added to the attractiveness of having them as states.  In the end, the political issues and resistance from certain groups in Hawaii were overcome and the territories became states.

Becoming a state can take a long circuitous route as the Puerto Rico effort to become one shows to everyone following it. The status of statehood depends just as much on political concerns as the financial ones.  The original 13 colonies had a  significant issue to overcome on their path to become a member the select group of the United States of America-the war to gain independence from the crown.

Notable Links:

https://www.alaska.edu/creatingalaska/downloads/Statehood-for-Alaska.pdf

http://teachinghistory.org/history-content/ask-a-historian/25769

https://history.state.gov/milestones/1866-1898/alaska-purchase

https://www.english-online.at/history/alaska-and-hawaii-at-50/alaska-hawaii-at-50.htm

http://statehoodhawaii.org/2009/05/12/the-statehood-plebiscite/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hawaii

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/what-puerto-rico-learn-hawaii-180963690/

 

 

 

Crossing the Line with Hate Speech

crossingtheline

by Rick Bretz

During the congressional hearings on Facebook management responsibilities concerning data,  one of the questions to CEO Mark Zuckerberg was “What is hate speech?”  Zuckerberg hesitated for a moment and the congressmen interjected, “I can tell you what it isn’t, hate speech is not something you disagree with.”

[Amendment I.] Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The congressman wanted to drill down on the accusation that Facebook selectively let liberal political viewpoints get through their algorithms designed to block hate speech and bullying type posts and but also block conservative slanted articles. .

Who knows how their code is written and what type of firewall configurations they use? The more interesting part of the exchange was “What is the clear definition of hate speech?”  Do you know it when you see it and is it actual hate speech?

The representative had a point but he wasn’t completely right because most people also disagree with certain forms of hate speech.  Hate speech can have a general definition but the details concisely and clearly defined.  As Mark Zuckerberg testified at his hearing, “Details matter.”

“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”

George Orwell

The Supreme Court defined it this way in 1942. In the case of Beauharnais v. Illinois , Justice Frank Murphy explained where free speech can be judged as outside the accepted normal speech. These instances include,  “lewd and obscene, the profane, the libelous and the insulting or ‘fighting’ words — those which by their very utterances inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace.”

All hate speech and free speech does not fall into the verbal or written bucket.  Hate speech can also be an act or symbol such as a burning cross on a yard.  It is noteworthy the Supreme Court has sided with the defendants or refused to hear the cases over such hateful acts as Nazi marches and a cross burning on yard.

Adolf Hitler’s escalation of the subtle hatred to the blatant gave him time to build his military and economy before waging war with Europe, Eastern Europe, Britain and its commonwealth, Africa and the Soviet Union.

From Adolf Hitler’s speech in 1937, given on January 30th, the anniversary of the Nazi takeover of power in 1933, nuried deep within the pages of the text comes this, “.…the failure to recognize the importance of conserving the blood and the race free from inter-mixture and thereby the racial aspect and character which are God’s gift and God’s handiwork. It is not for men to discuss the question of why Providence created different races, but rather to recognize the fact that it punishes those who disregard its work of creation.

And further along this, “…so the blood-and-race doctrine of the National Socialist Movement will bring about a revolutionary change in our knowledge and therewith a radical reconstruction of the picture which human history gives us of the past and will also change the course of that history in the future.”

He was talking about the Jewish communities and culture and also was warning everyone who paid attention that his words would be followed by action.

This passage is notable because of his words after 1940 when giving speeches.   These words were spoken later during World War II, speaking to a crowd at the Sports Palace in Berlin, January 30 1942, “And we say that the war will not end as the Jews imagine it will, namely with the uprooting of the Aryans, but the result of this war will be the complete annihilation of the Jews.”

Hitler’s party and propaganda ministry later published a pamphlet with the offensive title, “The Jew as a World Parasite” in 1944 for “educational” purposes.

Hate speech in America could be just as vile when referring to races, gender and sexual orientation from groups like the Ku Klux Klan and other organizations.  Hate speech can be and often is protected by the First Amendment.

Freedom of speech ceases to be protected when it incites violence against people resulting in injury or death.  The crossing of the line should be recognized when it initially occurs.

Recognizing hate turning into violence several years later as in the case of Germany and the holocaust, or in the case of way the United States treated the Indian Nations in the 1800s can be disastrous for a whole section of society.   Issues remain concerning  the Trail of Tears episode and President Andrew Jackson’s decision.  Many countries have their records that force their citizens to hang their heads in shame when reading the pages of history.  The British have theirs, and so do the Russians, Australians and the Japanese.

What is important is that leaders and citizens learn from it so the world will be a better place.  It’s a constant struggle as we all can see when turning toward the Middle East or more recently when looking back at the breakup of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s.

Facebook is confronting tough questions about what is permitted on their social network as well as what they do with their data metrics.  Discerning real hate speech from different viewpoints is an issue that must be resolved so bad actors don’t have a platform for recruitment.  These are questions that should answers by getting all of the right people in a room.

Some people talk or post and then go back to their cave.  Some people talk and then they turn it into action.  These are the people we all have to guard against and prevent them from carrying out a plan that could maim or kill innocent people.

 

Notable Links:

http://www.uscourts.gov/about-federal-courts/educational-resources/about-educational-outreach/activity-resources/what-does

https://www.recode.net/2018/4/10/17216734/live-facebook-mark-zuckerberg-testimony-senate-hearing-data

https://www.thoughtco.com/hate-speech-cases-721215

https://www.npr.org/2011/03/03/134239713/France-Isnt-The-Only-Country-To-Prohibit-Hate-Speech

http://research.calvin.edu/german-propaganda-archive/hitler1.htm

http://research.calvin.edu/german-propaganda-archive/weltparasit.htm

http://www.worldwarii.org/p/hitler-speeches.html

http://ww2history.com/key_moments/Holocaust/Hitler_talks_of_Jewish_annihilation

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/nazi-statements

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/anti-semitism

 

 

The Right to Privacy, Data Protection and Social Media

globalhopping

By Rick Bretz

Joining a social media site like Facebook is opening the curtains to the big picture window to your life.  However, when you pull the draw string to open up the curtains in your home, you can close them back up just as fast anytime you want to keep your life to yourself.

“The right to be left alone”

The World Wide Web is the global communicator and what a user does on it or puts on it is forever, saved on a server somewhere for use on the Wayback Machine.  When you click on something you are part of the big industry of data mining and collection that can be parsed, sliced, organized and delivered to businesses and analysts everywhere.

Congratulations! You are part of the modern technological community.

The Right to Privacy

A book published in 1995, authored by Caroline Kennedy and Ellen Alderman, foresaw the future conflict between data protection, data collection and the right to privacy for internet commerce customers.

In the introduction, the authors pointed to a phrase justice Louis D. Brandeis used more than 120 years ago when he called the Right to Privacy, “The right to be left alone.”  The question is if you buy something from a vendor website should you have the right to be left alone or should your personal preference data be left alone.  If you buy a widget on the internet today you will find widget advertisements pop up on the news websites you visit later on.  Is that right? Is that OK.  Is that just the way businesses run in the age of information technology?  The short answer is “Yes.”   Does it give a business the right to do whatever they want with the data?  Arguably, “No.”

The authors also correctly point out that the word “Privacy” does not appear anywhere in the United States Constitution. However. one could infer a right to privacy when reading it, especially in reference to the Bill of Rights and its amendments.  The important one that comes to mind is the fourth amendment concerning illegal search and seizure.

laptop computer table

The current issue being covered by the media involves Facebook and how they treat their data mining and collections of users.  The business of selling user data and preferences to other agencies for them to use for other purposes has made Facebook users think twice about continuing to post their thoughts and likes.

One could argue that when someone signs up for Facebook, Instagram or any other social media site you are giving up your right to be “left alone.”  What you really want is the ability to selectively let your friends and relatives know what is going on in your life.  People are upset today because Facebook is treating their data from the personal lives of users like another commodity, like selling computer hardware on the open market.

In the Kennedy and Alderman book, the authors were ahead of their time when discussing issues associated with personal rights concerning this issue. Their topics included, Privacy and Your Self, Privacy Versus the Press, Privacy and Law Enforcement and Privacy in the Workplace

The book discusses the Fourth Amendment, in particular concerning a law enforcement case.  The book explains that this amendment states “a right of the people to be secure in the persons, houses, papers and affects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated.”  The book further explains that the Supreme Court has interpreted the amendment as protecting an individual’s “reasonable expectation of privacy.”

The question remains, if you join a social media site, should you presume a reasonable expectation of privacy.  Today information technology, web use, and data collection and analysis generate effective business practices and customer satisfaction.  It’s the reason a consumer can order something from the internet from a vendor and be assured that product will be available to be sent to customers the same or next day.  Data mining and collection can be used to effectively manage a business or negatively effect a user as when businesses sell their data to other companies or when black hat hackers steal the data and sell it or hold it for ransom.

Most universities have an Information Technology ethics course as part of their curriculum for computer science graduates.  The “Do No Harm” philosophy can be followed or not.  As with any instrument of technology, if put in the wrong hands, the potential for damage increases.

Businesses have a legal and ethical responsibility to protect data.  Data that can personally identify someone should be protected with a special effort.  Personal Health Information (PHI) and Personal Identifiable Information (PII) like social security numbers, phone numbers and addresses are gold to black hat hackers who want to ransom the data.  Experts in the field of information security will tell you there are millions of instances everyday where hackers try to exploit vulnerabilities in commercial and government networks to get user data. The good news is most of them are thwarted by perimeter security technologies.  The bad news is it only takes one attack that defeats these measures to mess things up.   Consumers don’t need companies selling their data and spreading it elsewhere to add to the challenge of safeguarding user information. Protecting data and personal privacy should be important to an individual and to everyone who sees it.

Notable Links:

https://constitutioncenter.org/interactive-constitution?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI0ez668Go2gIViLbACh0jtQufEAAYASAAEgL6C_D_BwE

https://www.sans.org/security-resources/ethics

https://www.eccouncil.org/code-of-ethics/

https://er.educause.edu/articles/2017/3/ethics-and-the-it-professional

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-facebook-privacy/facebook-says-data-leak-hits-87-million-users-widening-privacy-scandal-idUSKCN1HB2CM

https://www.techradar.com/news/us-uk-investigating-facebooks-role-in-cambridge-analytica-data-breach

https://www.americanbar.org/publications/blt/2014/01/03a_claypoole.html

https://www.isaca.org/Journal/archives/2012/Volume-6/Pages/Lack-of-Privacy-Awareness-in-Social-Networks.aspx

http://archive.org/web/

 

 

 

 

Book Recommendation: Andrew Jackson and the Miracle of New Orleans

jackson book cover

by Rick Bretz

Before the people voted Andrew Jackson President, he was a lawyer, self-made business man and a commanding officer and general of a United States military unit.   The book “Andrew Jackson and the Miracle of New Orleans” with the subtitle, “The Battle That Shaped America’s Destiny”  by Brian Kilmeade and Don Yeager concentrates on a short time period in  Jackson’s career but important to his future nonetheless.  The subtitle concerns the vital geographic New Orleans port and the Mississippi River in that they were both vital to westward expansion.  The outcome went a long way toward the United State’s goal of forging a strong voice in international relations.

This is the third book by the co-authors.  The others, “Thomas Jefferson and the Tripoli Pirates”, and “George Washington’s Secret Six” used the same strategy as this one, zooming in from a satellite’s view of America’s history and the Jackson legacy to give the reader a pinpoint, telescoped examination of an important battle at the end of the War of 1812 with Britain.  These short, 200 or so page books will not give a reader a wide sweeping view of subject but a slice in time or an event important to the United State’s history.  The authors are putting together the history puzzle one piece at a time.

The General

Jackson’s personality and leadership style brought results.  The book shows how Jackson, without any formal training, intuitively understood battle tactics and how to use the terrain to his maximum benefit.  He could make decisions in the middle of a battle but took advice when it was clear someone else in the command had a better idea, and that included the suggestions of a privateer or pirate, depending on one’s  assessment, Jean Lafitte.  He understood how to motivate his men and how to relate to the people of New Orleans during social functions.

BattleOfNewOrleansAreaMap

The authors do a good job of outlining the British plan of attack leading up to the Battle of New Orleans.  The British commanders made several mistakes at the beginning that helped Jackson’s cause.  However, Jackson’s ability to forecast the British Navy and Army’s avenues of attack was as much a factor in the victory as was the British commander overconfidence in taking on solders, Native Americans, Pirates and volunteers from several states in the area.  It was a mixed recipe of anyone Jackson could muster but General Jackson made the Army a personality of one, his.  That personality was tough, resourceful, with a boiling and deep hatred of the British Army from his childhood years due to events that caused the death of his family members.

The books also gives detailed descriptions of the swampy lands in the bayou that both sides of the war had to maneuver through to build defenses and a launch point for an attack.  The challenges presented by the New Orleans terrain was in contrast to the problems the diplomatic team had in Britain when negotiating a truce.  The snail’s pace communication presented difficulties in know who had the upper hand when ironing out details of a peach agreement.  They didn’t want to negotiate a peace with New Orleans in British hands. For as the book points out, the New Orleans port and control of the Mississippi River was key to America’s Westward expansion and a victory over the British invading force for a second time meant increased prestige to the World’s countries looking on a young United States.

Notable Links:

https://history.army.mil/news/2015/150100a_newOrleans.html

http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/battleofneworleans.htm

https://www.whitehouse.gov/about-the-white-house/presidents/andrew-jackson/

 

An Honest Review of Abraham Lincoln Portrayals

by Rick Bretz

A recent viewing of Raymond Massey’s portrayal of Abraham Lincoln brought on a recollection of the actors trying their craft being Lincoln on the screen.  Many actors have attempted to flood the screen with the essence and character of our sixteenth President of the United States.  Three films stand out for capturing Lincoln’s personality on film.

16_abraham_lincoln

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0032181/?ref_=nm_flmg_act_71

Raymond Massey, a Canadian actor, in the movie “Abe Lincoln in Illinois” and released in 1940,  shows the young politician’s ability to relate to people from every social and financial status.  Massey’s Lincoln tones down the ambitious side of the rising potential of the young lawyer in favor of his agreeable nature and storytelling expertise. He’s almost the reluctant politician in this movie.

hqdefault

The death of his first love interest, Ann Rutledge, is an important part of the movie and makes the audience aware of how important an event the death had on him for the rest of his life.

The selection of a young actress Ruth Gordon as Mary Todd Lincoln is perfect.  She realizes the young Lincoln will go places and understands him from the beginning.  Gordon gives the audience and idea of how the relationship between the two must have been and how Lincoln handled his equally ambitious wife. Massey’s voice is deeper than Lincoln’s from what historians have written, but the actor’s gangling frame gives the movie audience a sense of how he moved and how coordinated he was socially and physically. The movie ends after Lincoln is elected President as he and his family boards the train to Washington, DC, to begin the long, stressful work dealing with a rebellious south and a civil war.

https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0557339/?ref_=nv_sr_1

Another movie has Henry Fonda showing us how effective a public speaker and lawyer Lincoln was during his travels in Illinois as an attorney.

Henry Fonda's Lincoln

Young Mr. Lincoln“, released in 1939, has Lincoln defending two suspects accused of murder.  It also introduces Ann Rutledge and Mary Todd as his love interest and future wife but the story centers on Fonda’s playing Lincoln in the courtroom. It seems when producing a movie about Lincoln it is mandatory to show his storytelling skills.  This movie is no exception but this movie also demonstrates his ability as a critical thinker and in the courtroom while cross examining witnesses on the stand.  Fonda captures Lincoln’s affable personality while also giving us a hint of his ambitious nature.  Fonda’s Lincoln has more confidence and the feeling that he is destined for great things and that he is in control of his surroundings.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0032155/?ref_=nm_flmg_act_100

 

The third and recent version of Lincoln is performed by Daniel Day-Lewis as “Lincoln“, released in 2012.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0443272/?ref_=nm_flmg_act_2

Day-Lewis, from what historians gather, has Lincoln’s voice close to the real Lincoln pitch.  He gives a performance showing a worn down Lincoln, after shouldering the responsibility of a long civil war, and enduring the grief of losing two of his children.  Day-Lewis shows Lincoln managing the many personalities of his cabinet as well as anger and other emotions that come with being the President of the United States.

Daniel Day-Lewis said of playing Lincoln, “I never, ever felt that depth of love for another human being that I never met. And that’s, I think, probably the effect that Lincoln has on most people that take the time to discover him… I wish he had stayed (with me) forever.”

lincoln-daniel-day-lewis-02

The three movies show the many facets of Lincoln’s personality and ability to relate to people. It’s daunting task to take on a role from history’s greatest figures.  If you overplay it or make a mistake in the acting, then it misses the mark or worse, you can look foolish on screen.  The actors hit the mark.

 

Honorable Mention:

Walter Houston-Abraham Lincoln-1930

 

Notable Links:

https://www.whitehouse.gov/about-the-white-house/presidents/abraham-lincoln/

http://www.anb.org/view/10.1093/anb/9780198606697.001.0001/anb-9780198606697-e-0400631

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/will-the-real-abraham-lincoln-please-stand-up-3431/