Friday, November 27, 2015

Roger Rees = my favorite British actor who played historical American characters for PBS documentaries

Roger Rees was my favorite British actor who played historical American characters for PBS documentaries, if those are enough caveats. He played Thomas Paine in the PBS documentary on the American Revolution "Liberty" reciting "These are the times that try men's souls" from "The American Crisis"

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Roger Rees also played William Bradford in the PBS American Experience documentary on "The Pilgrims"





Bradford explains his understanding of faith:

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Bradford on his inspiration to emigrate and leave England:

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Bradford on trying to recreate his concept of community described in the Bible sans church hierarchy and bureaucracy:

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Bradford on realizing his and his coreligious temporal travails are chalked up to being mere pilgrims on this earth, anticipating the spirit of John Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress".

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Bradford coming to terms that his ship, the Mayflower, was blown off course into isolated New England territory, either by fortune or by treachery, as the Spencer Tracy film "Plymouth Adventure" speculates, from Mark Tooley – 11.26.14 "The American Spectator" review "SPENCER TRACY AT PLYMOUTH ROCK: Today’s secular intolerance wouldn't abide such a Thanksgiving movie"

"Tracy, true to his own real-life personality, effectively portrays a grumpy, unlikeable, and chronically depressed but competent Captain Christopher Jones, who meanly accepts a bribe to deliver the Pilgrims to chilly Massachusetts rather than the desired southerly Virginia."


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Bradford comments on his sense of isolation after sailing across the Atlantic Ocean to America:

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An anthropologist, not quoting primary sources, asserts Pilgrims viewed Native Americans not as future converts but as mere vermin:

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Alyssa Rosenberg's November 24 "Washington Post" review "‘The Pilgrims’ challenges the myths of the first Thanksgiving" notes Bruchac's comment:

"'I think it’s necessary to ask who the savages were,' the anthropologist Margaret Bruchac says. 'Were they the people who had lived in this territory for millennia? Or were they these people who had forced themselves into someone else’s home?' That’s a sort of rhetoric that can easily become trendy and hyperbolic, but 'The Pilgrims' brings the historical ammunition to back it up, while also providing a fair assessment of the community’s genuine accomplishments in self-governance.
That commitment to a comprehensive understanding is what makes 'The Pilgrims' useful, rather than merely polemical. It’s a call to enlarge our understanding of Thanksgiving, rather than to chuck the holiday out altogether as some sort of political gesture."


It doesn't seem to occur to leftists that perhaps everyone should be treated equally, and broadly stereotyping and disparaging entire groups is inappropriate. The "Washington Post" also compares the Pilgrims to ISIS terrorists:

"Despite their theological extremism, oddball reputations and the logistical obstacles to success, the Pilgrims managed to plant themselves in America. It may not be comforting to see even the broad parallels between the Pilgrims and the extremists of the Islamic State (both groups shared a sense that the apocalypse was — in the form of the Thirty Years’ War — or is nigh), but it’s true that some small, determined religious movements do actually change the world."

Ric Burns speculates Bradford's poem was written in memory of his lost wife:

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Bradford on the tremendous death toll from famine and exposure:

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Bradford plans of a preemptive strike against perceived potential enemies:


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The "New York Times" in their review also implies that the Pilgrims were similar to current day ISIS pointing to this decapitation scene


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From NEIL GENZLINGER NOV. 23, 2015 article "Review: In ‘The Pilgrims,’ Ric Burns Looks at Mythmaking"

"gives us a clearer picture of who the religious separatists on the voyage were, and their fundamentalist interpretation of their faith and desire to create a community based on it might put you in mind of a far different group that has been in the news.
The Pilgrims and their fellow travelers weren’t terrorists, of course (despite an instance of putting the severed head of a perceived enemy on a pole), but they and those who followed certainly did effect a cultural conquest."
It's rather anachronistic as well as disingenuous to compare capital punishment practices from nearly half a millennium ago to contemporary practices, but par for the course for leftists seeking moral equivalency between the US and its modern day opponents.

I think it's also disingenuous for the film to imply the Puritans in Boston were loyalists to the British crown:

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"the [Puritans] who go to Boston make a fuss that they are NOT separating from the Church of England"
A few years after starting colonies in America, Puritan leader, Oliver Cromwell, led a Civil War in England which resulted in King Charles I being deposed and eventually beheaded. Scene from the biopic "Cromwell" illustrates being accused of treason:




Trial of Charles I from "The Sword Divided"



Charles I execution scene from "To Kill A King".




Back to Bradford and his philosophical acceptance on the limits of his accomplishments

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Bradford feeling abandoned by former associates

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An essay from seeming leftist social justice warriors at Gordon College "The "Log of The Mayflower": Memory and Desire in the Winter of William Bradford" describe Bradford's ideological conflicts:
"he saw how the voluntary alliance of the 'Lord’s free people' could be rattled by the unruly liberties of its own individuals. Bradford came to understand that liberty needed to be balanced by 'conscience'—which he understood as the public commitment to uphold the mandates of Scripture."

Bradford learning Hebrew at the end of his life:

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Anthropologist Margaret  Bruchac seems simpatico with people celebrating a Day of Mourning vs Thanksgiving for losing the King Phillips War.


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The film ends "somewhere, William Bradford might have smiled"

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Presumably, the "somewhere" Bradford and his followers hoped to be smiling from is not in this realm but in his heavenly Father's house


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