Darwin and Bertie

Allen Esterson takes a hard look at some tendentious biographical interpretation of Darwin by Adrian Desmond and James Moore.

…they achieve their aims by a highly selective use of evidence, and by insinuating connections between Darwin’s evolutionary writings and concurrent political events for which there is no documentary warrant.

Well perhaps they were doing postmodern history.

It appears that The King’s Speech is another example of postmodern history. Christopher Hitchens tells us how.

The King’s Speech also part-whitewashes and part-airbrushes the consistent support of Buckingham Palace for Stanley Baldwin and Neville Chamberlain and their unceasing attempt to make an agreement with Hitler that would allow him a free hand in Europe while preserving the British Empire.

Oh well, that was then. It’s so much pleasanter to think of them as lifelong anti-fascists, don’t you think?

Isaac Chotiner in The New Republic doesn’t think so.

The King’s Speech is historically inaccurate, entirely misleading, and, in its own small way, morally dubious…What the film never mentions is that Edward VIII was an ardent admirer of Hitler and of fascism, and a proponent of appeasement long after Germany moved onto Polish soil and hostilities began in earnest…Bertie himself is also romanticized. He is seen presciently raising the question of German aggression before the invasion of the Sudetenland.

Dude, lighten up, it’s a movie. Movies don’t have to get the history right. Come on – movies tell stories, and they can’t do that if they have to get the history right. Have some champagne, step on a peasant, relax.

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