Amazing Grace

Interesting. Keying off of that post below about the barbecue police and my repetition of that ‘don’t believe what you read in the papers’ I should add ‘don’t believe what you see on the big screen’. This weekend back we went to see Amazing Grace which was enjoyable and certainly plucked at the heart strings. However, at the start of the film it states that the British Empire was built on the backs of slaves. No mention there of the ‘jewel in the crown’ … y’know, that place called India. And, hang on, what was this film about? It was about that same fucking empire banning that trade (Wilberforce did not singlehandedly do it). That would be the British Empire that blew more wealth on later suppressing the slave trade than it earlier made from it. A few days after the film, not being able to remember the name of the guy played by Ioan Gruffud i.e William Wilberforce – the guy the film was all about (it’s our age you know) we looked him up in a biographical dictionary and discovered some interesting facts: Wilberforce died a month before the emancipation bill was passed, so he wasn’t there in Parliament, and Pitt the Younger, who in the film apparently dies just before said act was passed, died 27 years before it. Dramatic licence or Hollywood rewriting history as it tends to? I mean, we’ve already learned from the dream factory that American troops single-handedly thrashed Germany in the World War II…

16 thoughts on “Amazing Grace

  1. Neal,
    Filmgoer's rule #1: NEVER be deluded into thinking you have learned ANYTHING about history from a Hollywood movie.

  2. I take it there was no mention of Belfast being ahead of the rest of the UK by a few years.
    From Belfast City Council's website –
    "In the late 18th century, Thomas Russell – the first Linenhall librarian – organised and led a successful campaign to boycott sweetmeats in protest against the slavery used in sugar plantations in the West Indies. Also in the 18th century, Belfast was the first city in these islands to ban ships involved in the slave trade from its harbour."

  3. Ed, there were many things that weren't mentioned. Wilberforce is singled out because people need their heroes, when in reality it was all about the zeitgeist then. What particularly annoys me is this slagging-off of the British Empire that seems to have become fashionable. Throughout its time it wasn't as if there were any empire builders or would-be empire builders that were better, in fact, most of them were worse.

  4. Nothing wrong with the occasional burger. It's one of the meals we quite enjoy here in Asherville, usually in wholemeal pitta bread with onions cheese and sweet chilli sauce. It's making them part of your staple diet that's the problem. Personally I think McDonald's biggest crime is the awful buildings and that cringe-making clown. I don't know if this is true but supposedly, if you pan back from the Pyramids, a McDonald's arch comes into view. For that alone the owners of the chain should be strung up by their testicles.

  5. I expect that's what the local market traders said when they built the pyramids. Or not as the case maybe.

  6. I dunno, burgers just aren't what they used to be. I can remember eating 'Wimpeys' when I was a youngster and I'm sure the damn things tasted a helluva lot better than the burgers they serve up now.
    The buns were toasted, the meat had flavour and actually looked as if it came from an animal. The relishes were kept to a minimum and over all the product just seemed to work.
    However, it could just be me because sex isn't what it once was either, twice a week seems too much and then if the wife starts pestering me too…

    How did we get here from 'Amazing Grace'?

  7. Mark, well, I guess in a few centuries time there'll McDonald's arches with preservation orders on them. That's the way it goes.

    Bob, depends where you get you're burgers. I can't actually comment about McDonald's and the rest because I don't buy that stuff. But regarding the usual supermarket supplies, it's surprising how accustomed we've become to crap. Beef from supermarkets is not sufficiently hung and it's dyed, burgers contain ground up badger's noses and frogs bollocks and the vegetables haven't rotted because they've been so irradiated they glow in the dark. Now I'm not going to go all organic on you, but farmer's markets are the place if you want decent meat and veg. And that includes burgers.

  8. i'll be honest. that fucking clown scares me to death.

    on a side note, one of the silver linings to iowa living is the easy access to fresh meat/veggies. if one has the fancy, one could take a stroll onto the family farm, observe the cattle in idle play, and state "yes, i'll take half of that one."

  9. i have given up on the modern quasi historic films, rather see sci fi and fantasy and horror.

    i have a tendency to shout "WRONG" at the film, as i did in the da vinci code, i spent the rest of the film explaining why it was wrong.

  10. Yup, Amazing Grace is about as accurate as 300 or Braveheart. The part of me that reads history is irritated but the bookseller in me knows for a fact that you can sell a lot more proper history books on the back of these films as a lot of folks decide they want to know the real story Hollywood hijacked. I remember selling a stack of good books on Japanese history and samurai on the back of The Last Samurai, a subject we'd have been lucky to sell a handful of books every few months on. The film's wandering from fact is annoying, but then it is an entertainment, not a documentary and if it gets a few more folks wanting to read good books then something good comes out of it.

    Mind you, there is no bloody defending U571, that was just pure cheek! Take those moviemakers who did that one out and batter them round the head with Neil Stephenson's Cryptonomicon, that'll teach 'em.

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