PP-BOATS are different than B.P.BOATS, but who cares.

          Answer me this:
          Who's to blame for mistaking myth for historical fact?  Are individuals accountable for their belief systems (each step of the way, not just ultimately) or are the propagators of ‘myth in nonfiction-sheep’s-clothing’ at fault?  And if these instructor-wolves are liable, where’s the beef?
          These three questions—easily directed at religion/priests or classroom/teachers—came to the forefront of my brain today, after watching two recently released films containing a common thread, (both Cheaper-quality, reviews will be posted next month) so I decided to point my three questions at: films/directors.
          The films were: Capote (which is plotted like* Girl with a Pearl Earring) and Good Night and Good Luck, (which is plotted like* The Downfall: Hitler and the End of the Third Reich).
          I discussed both with my film umpire:
          “I wonder how Good Night and Good Luck will be used in decades to come?  Do you think teachers will show it in class when teaching about 1950s-era McCarthyism?” I asked.
          “I think that’s certain to happen.  My high-school history teacher showed: A Man Called Horse, as part of Native American studies and Tora, Tora, Tora, when covering World War Two; I also recall watching Excaliber in English class.”
          “Did your English teacher show King Arthur and Merlin to depict actual events?”
          “Very funny…she showed it as an example of fantasy. Myth.”
          “Then, neither you nor she took it out of context, that's encouraging...
          ...but…a Hollywood war-movie?  Even though it may seem unbiased because it tries to be a movie that "tells it from both sides" it's still just a dramatic re-creation about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and NOT historically accurate, except for the war footage, of course.
          Also, I'm amazed anyone would think a movie about an Anglo trying to 'become a native'…wasn’t that the one with Richard Harris hanging by the chest?…I thought so…How does that have anything to do with teaching about Native American culture?”
          “It’s a wrong-headed, highly-skewed perspective, you’re right.  But, I wasn’t so good in those classes—and partly because I’m still not so good at history, geography, and religious studies; once-in-a-while, I like a movie that teaches me something while it entertains.  I’ll bet there are plenty of people who think like I do,” she said.
          So, I ranted: “Some films, by their very nature, are understood to be a story by everyone that watches them.  But when teachers show PP-BOATS to their students, there aren't any attached codicils: ‘What you are viewing is merely a story, or a depiction of a few people's ideas—namely those of the screenwriter, the director, and a producer or two.’  I'll bet even if the teacher told you it was a story…in a couple decades, your memory holds the film and forgets the disclaimer.”
          “aaah…PP-BOATS?” She asked.
          “Oh, sorry...I thought you knew my acronyms: period piece, based on a true story.”
          “Was Capote a period piece based on a true story?”
          “No. It’s actually a bio-pic, based on a true story…so: B.P.BOATS.  Confusing myth with fact in a bio-pic, like Capote, or Girl with a Pearl Earring, isn't as problematic as with a PP-BOATS.  Actually, it’s nothing compared with the mistake of teaching a PP-BOATS as if it were historically accurate!”
          “I don’t know if I understand the distinction—and I’m positive I don’t understand why one’s OK to confuse with history, but the other isn’t.”
          “I’ll use better examples.  Are you familiar with, The Birth of a Nation?  No? Well, it is a boringly-long, silent film, set in the years surrounding the US Civil War.
Filmed in 1914, but depicting the 1860’s, thus ‘period piece’; and since the war actually occurred, it is ‘based on a true story’.
          But, that’s where fact stops and fiction starts.  The director and screenwriter tell a story—which distills into flagrant racism—about why the ‘nation’ of the Klu Klux Klan needed to be ‘born’ to restore ‘white order and justice’ to the incompetent, negligent, and lazy newly-freed blacks in the southern states.”
           “Are you saying such an obvious fiction, could be confused with actual history?”
          “Yes.  And, it is.  Children are born and raised by stupid, evil, and viciously-hateful adults every day—who grow up to raise ignorant, vile, and insipidly degenerate children of their own.  And I’ll further answer your question with questions of my own: How could such an obvious fantasy as The Old Testament be confused with natural events?  How could the New Testament be considered a true-biography?  How can such a ridiculous fabrication as The Book of Mormon be considered depicting actual events?”
          “But, have you ever read or heard about anyone who believes the version of history depicted in that KKK film?”
          “Well...yes...In the mid-90s, I worked with a card-carrying hater who—while trying to convince me of the supremacy of the white race—ended up only making me sure of one thing: he actually believed the film revealed the ‘real truth’ behind a liberal, left-wing, non-confederate, cover-up!  This college-educated cracker from Arkansas spoke in earnest praise of this film’s message.”
          “Right.  So, I understand how this KKK PP-BOATS film is misused, even today.  But, if I'm following you correctly, it's not so bad to re-write history if it's done in a bio-pic?”
          “Correct.  Take the film: Girl with a Pearl Earring—even a huge misrepresentation about Johannes Vermeer’s paintings, or life, amounts to nothing more than you mistaking an artist for something he wasn’t.  In the film, his wife is a tyrant.  What if she was really a saint?  What if Vermeer was really a fanatical blithering idiot who not only couldn't mix his own paints, as this film depicts, but couldn't walk outside without a diaper?  The truth hardly matters at all.  It's only about one person: unimportant in respect to the big picture.”

          “So.  OK.  Where are you going with all this?  What do you think about directors who take Oliver-Stoneish and Michael-Mooreish liberties with history?  That make films about Pocahontas falling in love when she was actually kidnapped, that recreate history in the minds of millions, effectively making “new-history?”
          “Oh, I don’t much care either way.  They are—after all—just movies.  But I do so very much enjoy debating their value as if they were earth-shatteringly important.”
          “I thought so.”

* plotted like, does not always mean ‘similar to’: Capote (about the years he researched and wrote the book In Cold Blood) is plotted like, and similar to, Girl… (about the years Vermeer spent working on the titled painting).   But, although the plotting of Good… and The Downfall… are alike because each collect ‘snatches of time’ (from the years of Murrow’s news-team’s lives, and from Hitler’s last days in which his surviving-secretary shared a bunker with him) once these ‘snatches of time’ are combined, the differences are vast.  In Good... the journalistic endeavors to expose Senator McCarthy become canonized, while in The Downfall... Hitler’s fractured personality is not only it’s focal point, but it's rasion d'être.

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