Wednesday, November 19, 2008

if I were Abigail Adams

I would have gone to Paris sooner to see my husband.

Other than that, she was pretty amazing, as is Laura Linney's portrayal of her in HBO' s recent John Adams.

When visiting the White House, under construction by slaves, she comments: "This is built on the backs of slaves. What good can come of it?"

The whole series is pretty phenomenal if you're interested in the time period at all, and doesn't flinch from how messy it was for the men trying to revolt against King George.

It didn't delve deeply into the issue of slavery, although there were a few places it's mentioned - Jefferson and Sally Hemmings, for example. The series doesn't address the issue of Native Americans at all, and I wondered how intentional that was. I wonder if Thomas Jefferson and John Adams thought of Natives at all.

Alexander Hamilton is portrayed as a greedy slimeball by Rufus Sewall, who in a side note, I've only seen as greedy slimeball characters. Is he doing this on purpose or typecast? Hamilton's insistence that how a country gets credit is by getting into debt reminded me of P.J.'s rant against the system we've set up in the U.S., that in order to have credit, you must have debt. Adams doesn't like the idea either, and the compromises he is willing to make are always portrayed as a way to benefit the common good of the United States.

And lastly, for much of his Presidency, Adams is trying to keep peace with France while his advisors are clamoring for him to worry about the citizens of French heritage being spies.

We have not come so very far, I think.

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