Thursday, May 31, 2012

What Is 'Freedom?' Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

(This review is for the book; the review for the film, which I thought was actually better than the book, but far more socialist is Radical Socialism: Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter & the Question Of American History). Please permit me to preface, at the behest of a reader, that I am completely willing to suspend my disbelief to enjoy this story; however, all art is an expression of the society from which it comes and the unconscious needs of its individuals; it's art's duty to express those needs and, while I had hoped the vampires would symbolize the "blood-sucking politicians" in Washington, not just anyone and everyone who has made money in this country. I This preview is for the book, not the upcoming film with the same title:
Abraham Lincoln.
It would be easy to forget the president were he not the quintessential icon of the American dream: self-taught, poor, raised on the frontier, the self-made president was known as Honest Abe, "With charity towards all, and malice towards none." When I saw the initial trailers for the upcoming film Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter, based on Seth Grahame-Smith's novel (who also penned the socialist screenplay Dark Shadows), these were the popular conceptions of Lincoln I believed a successful novel would draw upon, and the vampires he hunted would be symbolic of the corrupt politicians sucking the country dry of honor, leadership and resources for their own self-advancement, contrary to Honest Abe's devotion and self-sacrifice to keeping the union one at a time--like today--that the country is so divided on issues.
I was wrong.
If I were a Democrat--which I am not--as a woman, I would be feeling really persecuted by the Democratic Party. On the back cover, Lincoln holds the head of a female vampire; he kills only two female vampires in the book, against the multitude of male vampires, so why was a female's head singled out to be on the cover? Again, I am neither a Feminist nor a Democrat, but this seems to be one more hypocritical stance on the "war on women" Democrats claim Republicans are waging on women when it appears that male Democrats really are the ones who despise women. The first vampire Lincoln goes to hunt in the book is a woman, an elderly woman, who has been stealing children and killing them. This is an interesting image because women are meant to give life to children, not take life from children, rather like pro-abortion women in the Democratic party. Lincoln isn't strong enough to overcome her, however, and she nearly kills him. Symbolically, we could say that old woman was America, the "mother land" that had aged (like the old woman in the bath tub in The Shining) and the children she was killing was the "future generations of Americans" who would have prospered in the land, but the land took their life instead of giving them their life (they became slaves to capitalists instead of becoming their own "masters"). This is important for us to consider because this is the language that Democrats/socialists/liberals are re-writing history in, the identity of the country that they are re-casting to fit their own agendas; do you agree with this as being an accurate assessment of American history?
The book touts that it's the "real history" of President Lincoln, and I hope by now I have adequately proven that I am pro-art, and my posts of last fall demonstrate the diversity of vampire iconography and the importance to which I attach to the fanged beasts in cultural depictions. On the first page of his novel, Grahame-Smith lists as a "Fact," that "For over 250 years, between 1607 and 1865, vampires thrived in the shadows of America. Few humans believed in them." I believe in them. I don't believe that I will walk down the street and be attacked by a blond Brad Pitt-esque sorrowful vampire, but I know there are humans who have the traits of "sucking the blood" of others and living off humans and the morphed creatures of the night serve to remind us how easily we lose our humanity and what we become when we do.  That's not what Mr. Grahame-Smith believes, however.
He believes that if you have money, you are a vampire.
This image captures the "reality" the book presents best for someone who hasn't read it. Yes, that is supposed to be a photograph of writer Edgar Allan Poe and Abraham Lincoln. The poor quality reflected in this photo-shopped image reflects the poor quality of the theories of the book. I mentioned in my post, The Raven & the Raccoon: Edgar Allan Poe & Karl Marx that both Democrats and Republicans would be appropriating the image of the great American writer for their own sides, and this "photograph" is proof.  Like Men In Black III citing Andy Warhol in the relationship between capitalism and art, The Raven created a strong opposition between socialism and capitalism and the role consumer tastes--even when they are wrong--serve in the production of great art. Not everyone is meant to be an artist, not everyone can write, not everyone can make a film; that's called "life" not the French Revolution and killing everyone so you can spend your life writing mediocrity. If one is truly called to be an artist, in whatever medium, you suffer for it, you make the choices to be that and nothing else and that's how it is, unless you are Mr. Grahame-Smith and you believe it should be handed to you, which he obviously does so he can produce art as low in quality as this "image" of Poe and Lincoln. In the film Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, the figure of Poe has been "axed" out of the story (there is a Harriet Tubman, however, who does not appear in the book) but the reason why Poe appears in the book is because, Grahame-Smith reasons, someone who wrote about "so much darkness" must have known something of vampires. Great logic,...
Having said that, Grahame-Smith's novel suggesting that it is the "real history" of President Lincoln is a terrible, terrible lie; Lincoln never did nor would he ever, advocate the anti-capitalist sentiment Grahame-Smith does by his vampires. Grahame-Smith proposes the Lincoln was a socialist, which he wasn't, ever, and that Lincoln went around busting up capitalists, which he never did, and that Lincoln hated the founding fathers and the founding purpose of this country, which he didn't. I believe completely in the license of art, but I also know that there are such things as blatant lies, and in this election year, one of the greatest Americans in our history has been given a plastic surgery to make him unrecognizable and it's important to know how and why this has been done and it basically revolves on how Democrats and Republicans define "freedom."
Auction Negro Slaves, a truly terrible thing. The man and woman, owners of the establishment outside Atlanta, Georgia, and hence the sponsors of the slave auctions, are vampires, according to the book, and you can tell by the way they wear the dark glasses to protect their eyes from the sun. I would absolutely agree with Mr. Grahame-Smith that the DEMOCRATS who supported slavery and slave auctions, and started the Civil War, breaking off from the Union and electing a phony government, are absolutely vampires that Abraham Lincoln bravely fought off. While some in the book fit this description, it's not just because they were pro-slavery that these auction house owners are vampires; they are vampires because they have money. Mr. Grahame-Smith casually skips over what won the Civil War--the Union's capitalist industries, the factories, the money, the railroads built by companies that could ship goods and soldiers to battlefields--and suggests that the war was won simply because it was won, not having to do anything with the very reality of this country that he wants to do away with. Democrats tend to not like history, and the Civil War (and the role Democrats played in tearing up the country) is one reason why.
First, how do we establish that this is pro-socialist and the vampires are symbolic of capitalists? Two aspects of the story lay claim to this perspective. First, the main character in the book is a struggling writer and his situation is:
I'd always known I'd end up in the store after graduation, just like I had every summer since I was fifteen. I wasn't family in the strictest sense, but Jan and Al had always treated me like one of their kids--giving me a job when I needed it most; throwing me a little pocket money while I was away at school. The way I saw it, I owed them six solid months, June through Christmas. That was the plan. Six months of working in the store by day, and working on my novel nights and weekends. Plenty of time to finish the fist draft and give it a good polish. Manhattan was only an hour and a half by train, and that's where I'd go when I was done, with four or five pounds of unsolicited, proofread opportunity under my arm. Goodbye, Hudson Valley. Hello, lecture circuit.
Nine years later I was still in the store. (page 5)
Then he goes onto complain about people who come into his store, and what he's had to do to keep the store going.
The slaves Grahame-Smith hopes will revolt are the middle-class people who will be-head their employers.  The reason why all the vampires are rich in the Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is because, after taking the blood from their victims, they then take all their property, too, which is supposed to stir up in all of us a riot like the French Revolution. What does this presuppose? What does Grahame-Smith have to rely upon to build up this kind of thesis? That none of us have free will, that we are indeed slaves and trapped. This is the reason why, in Dark Shadows, Barnabas Collins (Johnny Depp) hypnotizes the ship captain (Christopher Lee) to get him to come work for him instead of Angelique (Eva Green), Grahame-Smith sincerely believes that the ship captain doesn't have a will of his own, that he's only a puppet to be bought by the highest bidder, even after the captain refuses Barnabas' offer out of "loyalty."  On a similar vein, the main character in the book, the one at the five-and-dime, (weep, weep, sob, sob) he doesn't have free will either: he was forced into working at the store, he was forced into getting married, he was forced into taking on a mortgage, and because of his will being enslaved by wealthy capitalists, he can't come up with any idea for a new novel better than To Mock a Killing Bird.  Just as Seth Grahame-Smith's books are parasites on truly great people (Abraham Lincoln) and a truly great great book (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) so he wants to be a financial parasite as well, because he can't make it on his own merit, and so everyone else should have to suffer for that. "Beheading," as long-time readers of this blog will surely remembers, carries another connotation: the removal from government. The government is the "head" of a country, so to behead someone is to remove them from a place of leadership.
Okay, I feel for the guy, but it's called "LIFE." (Mine hasn't worked out, either, by the way, but I'm not going to go to the richest neighborhood in town, massacre everyone, take their stuff and claim they were vampires). Next example, Lincoln's mother is killed by a money-lender that Lincoln's father couldn't pay back, so the money-lender sucked the blood out of Lincoln's aunt, uncle and mother in consequence citing his inhuman actions as "business" to deter others from taking advantage of him. These are the two reasons why vampires symbolize anyone with money, not just the slave owners on plantations in the south. The slave owners in the book aren't the historical slave owners we think of say, in Gone With the Wind, rather, the slave owners are employers everywhere in the country today, and we are being called to storm into places of employment and literally behead them, then steal their wealth so we can all become mediocre writers and thinkers like Mr. Grahame-Smith.
Yes, another fake photograph, just like the fake book. Jefferson Davis, DEMOCRAT and president of the Confederacy that broke away from the Union, and John Wilkes Booth, actor and assassin of President Lincoln that Mr. Grahame-Smith claims was a vampire.
It's important to point out--I just LOVE THIS ONE--that everyone who has money is a vampire, but not all vampires deserve to go to hell as quickly as some of them, and since Mr. Grahame-Smith and Mr. Tim Burton (the producer) are obviously rich because of capitalism, they would be included in this category, so since they are vampires with hearts, so to speak, when we rise up in a French Revolutionary style revolt, we shouldn't behead them or take THEIR MONEY because they are really on our side... we wouldn't know we were enslaved if it weren't for them telling us we are slaves...
Another fake photograph, this one of the White House during Lincoln's presidency, and vampires that were hired to protect him so he could bring the "bad vampires" to justice. This is like all the rich socialists who support Obama because they want their rich capitalists rivals to be taken out so they won't have anymore competition. And the book supports this. At one point, Lincoln does question why Henry, his mentor that is a vampire, tells Lincoln who the vampires are that Lincoln should be killing, but then Lincoln decides it isn't important, just as long as he is killing vampires. Lincoln leaves vampire killing for a while, but then takes it up again later.
These are important points because the tagline of the film is "Are you a patriot or a vampire?" Originally, I believed with all my heart that this tagline demonstrated the film would be capitalist and pro-America, because those are the principles upon which America was founded, and to be a patriot means that you love your country and the principles it stands for and practices, not to be a person that wants to take an axe and destroy everything about your country, including the constitution, and being inhumanly dis-respectful of the founding fathers (The Gabbler has the audacity to suggest Lincoln was gay).  IF this film proves to be socialist, then that's one more way Sacha Cohen Baron's The Dictator proves accurate about Obama's Party, because that will be a re-doing of the political language of the country.
A shot from the film, to be released June 22; this doesn't happen in the book. It's possible that Mr. Bekmambetov, the director, has more influence over the subtle arrangements of the film's story that will switch it from being a socialist vendetta to being a truly patriotic film; funny if it would take someone born in the former USSR to show Americans what patriotism is all about... no, it wouldn't be funny, it would be a thoroughly revolting day, but at least he could do it.
Note, please, that I said "If," there is a chance that, in spite of Mr. Grahame-Smith's socialism and advocacy of mediocrity, and (producer's) Tim Burton's blatant hypocrisy over the very system that has permitted him to fulfill his dreams and become wildly successful, there is a chance that the film will not be as bad as the book; why? Director Timur Bekmambetov was born in the Soviet Union, there weren't any theaters in which to show films after the collapse of the communist state; perhaps Mr. Bekmambetov has half a brain to know that his financial success wasn't from socialism but from capitalism and he'll support that. Here's a quick featurette:
What still has me worried?
Please note at 0:52, when "Abe" turns around and there's a vampire standing there, and Abe throws him up, the sign on the building the vampire hits says "BARTS SHIPPING," which refers to the money-lender (from the book who was named Barts) that sucked Lincoln's mother dry. The identity of the manufacturer is retained, meaning it will probably still be anti-capitalist. In some cases, I can absolutely agree with an anger about millionaires and billionaires who don't do more public works with their surplus of wealth (I would love to see celebrities banning together to help the Katrina victims, the way they all did to help the 9/11 victims, with so man of them donating $1 million, that was great! but they rarely do that and that's flaws in human nature), there are--without a doubt--people in the capitalist world who are so driven by greed that they will do anything to anyone to make a buck. The collapse on Wall Street is perfect testimony to this; but what president was it who ordered the Wall Street bail out?
From the book: a skull of a vampire fighting for the Confederacy. I wonder if Grahame-Smith ever attended an American history lecture in his life, and knows who it was that started the Civil War?
In the book, this question is really the thesis of the socialist agenda: "Why would any man conspire against himself? Why would any man hasten his own enslavement?" (emphasis in the original, page 270). From a capitalist view, we can say that socialism is enslavement because the government is given total control over all individuals in society and there is no mobility, upwards or downwards, there is no choice of job, there is no freedom of selection. In socialism, the enslavement comes from having to have a job, from having to work, to having to actually be good at something and be responsible for yourself rather than have the government taking care of you. These are imperative concepts, because this is exactly what the civil war in this country is about right now and what will be decided in November. They are also patriotic concepts because we are now--thanks to Mr. Grahame-Smith--arguing about what this country was founded upon, who founded it and why (because there was too much government control in countries they were fleeing, there was no personal freedom and people wanted to be responsible for themselves and have a chance at mobility, that's why). If you will, please watch this latest trailer, not from a realistic perspective, rather, as if it's anti-capitalist and pro-socialist:
Liberals have many times accused me of seeing only what I want to see in film interpretation, but to save my life, at this point in time, having read the book (which, thankfully, I bought second-hand so as not to contribute to Mr. Grahame-Smith's accumulation of wealth so he doesn't become a vampire like the ones he wants murdered) I just can't see how there is going to be a lick of sense in it. Additionally, at the end, Abraham Lincoln has been raised from the dead and has become a vampire. Yes, Abraham Lincoln has been raised by the dead by the very political party that hated him so much, they seceded from the Union and started the Civil War, and have turned him inside-out against what he really believed and stood for.
God help us.