What would be the nicest thing I could say about Newt Gingrich? He may be one of the great supporters of the humanities, because you have people who don’t want to study the social sciences, because it’s not profitable, and now Newt, as the highest-paid historian in American history, may be an encouragement to people to study history.
Sending Paris Hilton to jail for being the most loathed celeprosy lesion in the history of the species seems like a happening idea at first – forty-five days at Century Regional Detention Center is so the new thirty days at Promises Malibu! But it sets a dangerous precedent to jail celebs just because someone hates them.
Film is the manipulative medium par excellence. When you think back on the history of film and the 20th century, you see the propaganda that’s been made. So there are moral demands on the director to treat the spectators as seriously as he or she takes himself and not to see them merely as victims that can be manipulated to whatever ends they have.
The general consensus among historians, among the ones who can handle the fact that ‘Lincoln’ is, in fact, historical fiction, is that we demonstrate enormous fidelity to history and that, beyond that, we’ve actually contributed a line of thinking about Lincoln’s presidency that’s somewhat original.
More people have more access to more readers for less money than ever before in history. It means a lot of dross but it means a lot of very talented people can find and nurture a readership in ways that were not possible twenty years ago. From a creative perspective, that is all that writing is about.
Accuracy is paramount in every detail of a work of history. Here’s my rule: Ask yourself, ‘Did this thing happen?’ If the answer is yes, then it’s historical. Then ask, ‘Did this thing happen precisely this way?’ If the answer is yes, then it’s history if the answer is no, not precisely this way, then it’s historical drama.