Friday, June 22, 2012

Teddy Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, Nazis, Teddy Bears, and Newton

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the final day of the Republican Party convention that ended with Taft being nominated for reelection despite Teddy Roosevelt having won all but one of the party’s primaries.  TR’s forces bolted, creating the National Progressive Party (a.k.a. the Bull Moose Party) at an early-August convention – splitting Republican votes in the process and putting even-more-Progressive Woodrow Wilson in the White House

TR and Wilson are equally culpable in creating the grotesque Progressive monster that is big government, as my former boss, Judge Andrew Napolitano, will explain in his book Theodore and Woodrow in October.  TR thought of himself as a middle-way moderate, though, and you can actually hear his voice as he rebukes Wilson in this 1916 speech, if you like. 

As it happens, we might see something like a repeat of the split-GOP vote outcome this November, with GOP-exiting Gary Johnson getting more votes for the Libertarian Party than usual and many of the Ron Paul fans likely sitting out the election instead of voting for Romney (unless perhaps Romney makes Ron Paul’s son, Sen. Rand Paul, his v.p. running mate).

•I’ll mark this 100th anniversary by seeing the final performance of the Teddy Roosevelt play The Moose That Roared, tomorrow at 2pm at Brick Theater in Williamsburg, if you’re tempted to join me.  Tickets are $15 at their site while they last, part of their Democracy play series.  The play reportedly contains wacky elements such as puppets. 

For the real story I have the volume Bully! written by Rick Marshall, filled with neat artifacts like passages from letters in which TR defended himself against charges of Populism, and hundreds of beautiful vintage cartoons of his toothy visage beset by various Trusts and money-serpents back in the day.  The book does not shy away from the strange, such as TR building one of his election campaigns in part around the seemingly-urgent issue of spelling reform

(Even a libertarian must feel tempted to grant TR superhuman status and the right to rule over other men upon reading again about such incidents as TR giving a speech mere hours after being shot by an assassin – without even going to the hospital – and telling the audience “It takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose!”)

•To hold you over until seeing the play tomorrow, here’s footage of a teddy bear being hugged by a kitten.  On a related note, here are cartoons I did for ACSH years ago, inspired by my childhood teddy bear, Roy. 

I also composed a theme song for Roy, the lyrics of which were: “Roy D. Bear/ He’s covered with hair/ Roy D. Bear/ He’s over there/ Roy D. Roy D. Roy D. Bear/ Roy D. Roy D. Roy D. Roy D. Bear/ He!  Don’t!  Care! (shikaboom shikaboom).”

•Needless to say, I sympathize greatly with Seth MacFarlane creating next week’s movie Ted about an adult male human with a walking, talking teddy bear pal left over from childhood.  It’s bound to be better than the awful, joyless, and not-quite-worth-seeing-for-laughs Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.  You watch that in amazement not so much at the visual effects or the 3D but at the fact that somehow it got produced.  Bizarre.  It reaffirms my minority view that Wanted, by the same director, was moronic.

The film will present a terrible dilemma to my lawyer friend Meredith Kapushion, since she loves Alan Tudyk but really ought to skip seeing him play Stephen Douglas here.  (The film also fills me with regret that I did not write a far more historically-accurate screenplay, as I have considered doing, about Teddy Roosevelt’s friendship with Bram Stoker and their shared wariness about sensualist Walt Whitman.  I see someone’s working on an Isaac Newton action hero movie, too – which I think I could make work very well as an anime, but that’s a whole different story.)

•By contrast, I am one of the lucky few Americans who has seen the internationally-produced, volunteer-completed, outsourced sci-fi comedy Iron Sky, about President Sarah Palin combating an invasion of Nazis from the Moon, and I pronounce it awesome.  It’s playing all over Europe but for some reason has not had its purportedly-imminent U.S. release date announced yet. 

So help me, if the American distributor is wussing out because of the movie’s darkly-ironic treatment of fascism, racism, and presidential politics, there will be a lot of angry sci-fi nerds, and well there should be. 

1 comment:

Gerard said...

Wanted is a thoroughly dreadful film. It was disappointing, because for the first fifteen minutes or so I thought it could turn out to be a pretty good movie. Then I realized that was going to be the apex of the film, artistically speaking.