So for reasons I cannot explain, I managed to wrangle an invite to the premier of HBO’s John Adams series, held tonight in the US Capitol building. Star Paul Giamatti, Producer Tom Hanks, and original biography author David McCullough were all on hand for a reception held in the U.S. Capitol’s Statuary Hall, hosted by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and teeming with politicos like Ted Kennedy and Patrick Leahy and politico wannabes like Chris Matthews. Also lobbyists. After eating lots of finger food – I liked the chicken and artichokes, not so much the beef gristle on a stick – we all trekked down the stairs over to the Cannon House Office Building, where we sat in unbelievably uncomfortable banquet chairs that seemed almost to be stacked on top of one another. We then listened to some blowhard congressman from Adams’ hometown of Quincy, Massachusetts – he pronounced it “Quinzy” – and he proceeded to waste our time as he introduced his faithful congressional colleagues, none of whom you’re ever heard of. But then he introduced Tom Hanks, who I ‘m sure you have heard of, and he apologized for the uncomfortable chairs and told us that this wasn’t how they did it in Hollywood, and said “That’s what you get for living here. What can I say? Move.” He won us over instantly. He told the story of how John Adams successfully defended the British soldiers who instigated the Boston massacre, thereby demonstrating that our nation was ruled by law, not men. Then he introduced Adams biographer David McCullough, who was gracious and elegant as he excoriated the rising generation for being historically illiterate. Then the screening began. What we saw was the second episode, which covers the time frame surrounding the Declaration of Independence. It lasted an hour and a half and is presumably the second of six such episodes for HBO, based on McCullough’s book. What’s ironic about this is my family recently watched 1776, the musical version of these events starring a tone deaf William Daniels as John Adams and White Shadow Ken Howard as Thomas Jefferson. The HBO series could not be further removed from the singing KITT version. In the first place, nobody sings. Indeed, you wonder if any of them have ever even heard music in their lives. There’s nothing pretty about these people – they’re muddy, sweaty farmers with grit under their fingernails, scraggly wigs, and bad teeth. You can almost smell them from off of the screen. The only exception was Laura Linney, who was a strong, steely presence as Abigail Adams but still looked, even without makeup, like she was regularly getting her eyebrows waxed. Giamatti, on the other hand, somehow managed to be dumpy, short, and commanding all at the same time. He was a revelation as John Adams, as was Tom Wilkinson as an unlikely Ben Franklin. As soon as I saw Wilkinson, I had no idea who he was playing. Then he was addressed as Dr. Franklin, which stunned me. He hadn’t done much to mask his British accent, and I thought I would end up being distracted by having such an iconic actor playing such an iconic historical figure. It didn’t take long to lose him in the role, and the dialect actually helped the process along. That’s because each of these characters had a unique dialect that demonstrated the transition from British English to American English. It was really quite an accomplishment, as I doubt I would have noticed had I not been so keenly attuned to Wilkinson’s natural manner of speech. Every effort was made to keep this thing authentic, which could have turned this into just another museum piece, but instead made it vibrant and immediate. It’s terrifying to watch as Abigail Adams is awakened at night by canons being fired from the ships gathered in Boston Harbor. You’re aghast when you see the foul circumstances that confronted the original Continental Army. (Although I could have done without the gruesome smallpox inoculations. Authentic pus doesn’t earn anybody credit in my book.) Everyone rises to the occasion for this. Stephen Dillane is a perfect Thomas Jefferson – laconic, detached, and more than a little strange. And the guy who played John Dickinson – Cesar Woljnak, or something – he’s not listed in imdb, although I’ve seen him in a bunch of stuff – he was perfect. Absolutely perfect. His final speech where he pleads for Congress to reject independence almost had me rooting for the Redcoats. Some folks with me thought David Morse was too soft as George Washington, but I thought he was entirely adequate. The performances take a back seat to the expert writing, which catches the flavor of McCullough’s heady book without drowning you in detail. They manage to include almost all the language of the entire Declaration in the final frames, but it feels dramatically relevant, not like a recitation. The show is always engaging, It’s heartening to see Tom Hanks putting something like this together. When a guy can do anything he wants in Hollywood and he chooses to do something like this, you know there’s hope for the world. Also, smallpox is gross. I am Stallion Cornell.
March 6, 2008, 7:30 a.m. CST
March 6, 2008, 7:40 a.m. CST
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March 6, 2008, 7:58 a.m. CST
sounds like a bad band name. Maybe I won't be immediately canceling HBO after The Wire finale after all.
March 6, 2008, 8:11 a.m. CST
March 6, 2008, 8:13 a.m. CST
Most underrated founding father by far. Read McCullough’s book if you have any interest in history at all- it'll rock your socks off!!
March 6, 2008, 8:21 a.m. CST
This is one of the only reasons I won't cancel HBO after the Wire finale. It's probably going to be a long time before we see the Pacific but I'll hang in there.
March 6, 2008, 8:29 a.m. CST
...because "Quint-sea" sounds fucking stupid. I know. I grew up here. Well, next door, in Braintree. Which is a thousand-times cooler of a name. Put it this way, I lived close enough that in 2nd or 3rd grade, our class walked down the street to the Adams's House(s) for a field trip. That will be a thrilling sight for me, seeing them shoot a scene at his home (obviously NOT in Quincy, due to the fact that it's at the corner of a major intersection, across from a CVS in the here & now). It will be pretty cool to see how they envision that area in that time period. Tak Fujimoto is a god. Really looking forward to this.
March 6, 2008, 8:31 a.m. CST
William Daniels didn't look the part (except in height) of the pudgy, balding Adams, but otherwise his performance in 1776 is masterful. What Hanks is trying to do in this miniseries is different from what the musical was trying to accomplish, and I look forward to a different "read" on this critical point of world history.
March 6, 2008, 8:37 a.m. CST
March 6, 2008, 8:52 a.m. CST
John Adams was not. That is all.
March 6, 2008, 8:55 a.m. CST
No love for Band of Brothers? or are you referring to another series like Big Love.
March 6, 2008, 9:12 a.m. CST
Nice try, though ;)<br><br>He's on IMDb, but John Adams doesn't include him yet, as it only has series credited cast, and not individual episode casts yet.
March 6, 2008, 9:12 a.m. CST
I listened to it in my car on the commute. It was extremely engrossing, I didn't want to leave my car! It was pretty interesting to see how much of a tool Thomas Jefferson was.
March 6, 2008, 9:24 a.m. CST
by uss cygnus
William Daniels won a Tony Award for his performance as John Adams. He's not tone deaf. His singing was intentionally directed to be slightly irritating because the character of John Adams was "Obnoxious and Disliked" by most of the characters in the show. It was a directorial and character choice, and a brilliant one. 1776 is one of the greatest musicals ever written. If you've never seen it live on stage, you need to see it. The movie does not do it justice.
March 6, 2008, 9:26 a.m. CST
by uss cygnus
"This is a country of LAWS, not men." Uh, no. This is a country of government for the people, of the people, by the people. The constitution and bill of rights is not a suicide pact.
March 6, 2008, 9:35 a.m. CST
Even if it is, it won't be nearly as hostile to America and American history and our forefathers--oops, I mean "even-handed and honest" as liberals--oops, I mean "non-ideological fact-based rationalists" want it to be. No matter what sort of revisionist history you see, Cygnus, and are repulsed by, take heart in the fact that 90% of the liberals--oops, I mean "right thinking people"--are going to hate it as much as you, because it doesn't show George Washington and Thomas Jefferson smoking opium pipes while torturing native Americans and whipping their slaves while laughing maniacally.
March 6, 2008, 9:38 a.m. CST
The point being, the rule of law was a critical point for a country trying to establish a functional constitution at some point, as well as one trying to break with the monarchy and class systems where there were different laws for different people, depending on their position in society. I'm sure it's massaged to make a point how John Adams would have defended terrorists detained in Gitmo. But then, what does that matter? He was an old white man in part responsible for the travesty that is known as America! Damn old white bastard.
March 6, 2008, 10 a.m. CST
Now that would have been interesting.
March 6, 2008, 10 a.m. CST
by Kid Z
...to sap all the life out of any historical subject.
March 6, 2008, 10:03 a.m. CST
by Kid Z
... I take it by your alias that you're in the Navy. You guys do a helluva job but... uh... didn't you take an oath to DEFEND the Constitution of the United States of America? Dissing the Constitution seems, I dunno... more than a little dickish and a lot fascist.
March 6, 2008, 10:10 a.m. CST
"Man, are you a wanker"<br><br>Your contribution is valuable to us, and we will make sure to give it due consideration and get back with you. Thanks!
March 6, 2008, 10:12 a.m. CST
To direct the Philadelphia Chainsaw Massacre. Ben Franklin develops a new tool for American Justice, and British limbs start to fly.
March 6, 2008, 10:16 a.m. CST
For next year, the requisite band of soldiers who appear with me at every major television and movie event should now be dressed in long blue coats and wearing white powdery wigs.<p> oh and buckles on the shoes please.
March 6, 2008, 10:23 a.m. CST
I mean From the Earth to the Moon and Band of Brothers were absolutely terrible. /sarcasm
March 6, 2008, 12:09 p.m. CST
Please be true. I love movies like the Patriot, but such depictions are always overly romanticized and fake. Not to mention the terrible historical inaccuracies. I hope this one shows us a more accurate depiction of what it was like during such a crazy period of history.
March 6, 2008, 12:54 p.m. CST
by Kid Z
made WWII seem yawn-inducingly boring. I didn't see From the Earth to the Moon... I was already bored as hell years earlier by Apollo 13.
March 6, 2008, 12:56 p.m. CST
by Kid Z
...Hanks always producing TV miniseries versions of theatrical releases he's already starred in? What's next? The Michelangelo Cryptogram?
March 6, 2008, 12:58 p.m. CST
by Kid Z
...Authentic Puss... now on tour with Citizen Dick!
March 6, 2008, 1 p.m. CST
by Kid Z
...no, we just support the accuracy of white rednecks being bigoted @$$wipes... much like yourself.
March 6, 2008, 2:08 p.m. CST
American costume dramas for years (that aren't The Patriot). Looks like someone finally came through. I hear that Cullough's book is good, but he treats Adams like a God, which can be a little disconcerting. <p> Oh, and Brane, you know there are plenty of documented cases of the Puritans having sex with animals, don't you? No culture is perfect, but during the conflict between Europeans and Native Americans the Europeans were the aggressors who stole land that didn't belong to them. During King Philips War there were numerous reports of Europeans raping Native American women and virtually none of the Native Americans doing the same. For the Native Americans this was culturally repugnant. This is not to say that Native Americans didn't commit atrocities, they did, but their culture had certain moral boundaries the Europeans didn't share. For example, the Native Americans might torture someone, but previous to European contact they would never have massacred the large numbers that Europeans did in America and Europe. Face it, during the middle ages Europe was the most barbaric backwards place on Earth. No one has a monopoly on culture or decency, and that goes double for Europeans.
March 6, 2008, 2:21 p.m. CST
by Mel Gibsteinberg
I think it is blatantly ignorant to apply labels of "bad" or "good" to all Native Americans. Remember, from native tribe to native tribe these people had different methods and forms of government, religion, and diplomacy. Some tribes sought peace, others sought war and domination. Some were unbelieavably sophisticated in terms of architecture, societal structure, medicine, etc. Other tribes were one step above nomadic herders. I think both liberals, and many ignorant revisionists, get it wrong when they try to make all Native Americans peace loving farmers who only wanted to help, or else buffalo schtuping warmongers who sought the scalps from the whiteman as part of their bloodlust, that and alcohol. <P> The reason there is always so much debate over the "nature of the Native American" is that there is no single nature. They differed like European nations, and any attempt to simply group and label is ridiculous.
March 6, 2008, 2:27 p.m. CST
When I was responding I was thinking of mostly east coast Native Americans, but even that is problematic. The different environments across North America created a myriad of different cultures from the previously mentioned nomadic plains Indians to the Aztecs whose capital city was larger than any European equivalent.
March 6, 2008, 2:34 p.m. CST
My ancestors took the land from my other ancestors and then had sex with their daughters. Now I can get scholarship money and access to terrible free health care. Funny how things work out.
March 6, 2008, 2:44 p.m. CST
Riots in the streets.
March 6, 2008, 3:16 p.m. CST
by Mel Gibsteinberg
For the most part, the differences in tribes become smaller as you zero in on regions, like the North East. However, even so, there were still differences between several of the major tribes in the Northeast. It is like saying that the Normans and Saxons were more similar than the Normans and say the Italians. They were all peoples of Europe, and as you zeroed in on regions the differences became smaller, but still they were there. <P> But to revisit the topic, I do find certain complaints against American history biopics as absurd, simply because they don't show all the "evil" things the white man did. When viewed through the lens of our modern day, every dominant culture of the past was barbaric in a sense, as their views of humanity was based more on the nation or people, and not on the individual. Our culture today says the individual is just as important as the nation as a whole, that is a radical departure from nearly every culture in the history of civilization. So to criticize historical motives based on today's philosophy is ultimately futile.
March 6, 2008, 3:23 p.m. CST
to make a historically accurate film. I do think showing the complexity of the times is appropriate. I hated it in The Patriot when the main character didn't own slaves, because I guarantee you that would not have been the case. He would have been undersold on all of his crops if that was the case. So whitewashing history doesn't fly with me. I think adults are capable of understanding a little complexity.
March 6, 2008, 3:44 p.m. CST
What the hell is with the Band of Brothers hate? That series was excellent. The handful of WW2 vets I know also thought it was well done and was a pretty accurate depiction of how it was. On a side note, I'm really looking forward to The Pacific. The Western Front in WW2 was Club Med compared to what the Marines were going through in places like Pelilu.
March 6, 2008, 4:20 p.m. CST
What the hell? That show was one of the greatest things ever shown on television. And it sure was full of unnecessary flag-waving. It just showed what the soldiers went through. They weren't all shown as saints, and nobody's yelling, "For America!" And someone called it boring? I suppose you were expecting an action movie? Yeesh. It was about the soldiers who fought in the war. That was it. No political agenda, no over the top action scenes. They didn't even really show the Germans as being heartless Nazis! *sigh*<p>As for John Adams, from what I've heard of him, he is definitely an unsung hero when compared to Jefferson, Franklin and Washington. I think it's because he wasn't as flashy as the others and wasn't the kind of "celebrity" that they were. I definitely agree that we really have to see a real look at the American Revolution on film. I thought The Patriot would be that film, but it was a Hollywood "blockbuster" instead, demonizing the British, as if the war couldn't be explained without over the top villains. It sounds to me like this will show some of these events as they happened, warts and all. Interesting to see a heartfelt speech from a loyalist guy who doesn't want independence. And, ya know what? The "they were rich, white, slave owners" complaint is so damn old. We get it. Everyone knows it. These men weren't terrorized, abused peasants. That doesn't mean what they did wasn't something special. And if someone has any flaws, we can't praise anything they ever did? I agree that the bad is often overlooked for some romanticization of the Revolution, but we don't have to go the other way and say how terrible the founding fathers all were and how the country they founded is just all a bunch of bullshit. Like no other friggin' countries celebrate their history by focusing on the good. Personally, I don't mind hearing about the less than wonderful parts of these guys' lives. It makes them more human, and I don't think that means they don't deserve any praise. Not to mention the war wasn't just fought by the leaders. I suppose every one of those minutemen were rich, landowners?<p>Christ, you people have got me ranting like Rush Limbaugh here!
March 6, 2008, 4:22 p.m. CST
I meant to say BofB was NOT full of unnecessary flag-waving. Harry, install a real message board, for God's sake!
March 6, 2008, 4:23 p.m. CST
by James Westfall
It's cool. Being pro-America is now counter-culture. It's the new punk. I revel in it alongside you!
March 6, 2008, 4:45 p.m. CST
Does this mean we'll hear Ben Franklin saying things like "cocksucker?"
March 6, 2008, 5:19 p.m. CST
by Reynard Muldrake
Too bad I don't get HBO...DVD, I s'pose. And bonus points for the 'inbetween accents' and 'bad teeth'...ALmost as authentic as '10,000 B.C.' I'm sure. I keed, I keed.
March 6, 2008, 7:03 p.m. CST
Go fuck yourself.
March 6, 2008, 7:05 p.m. CST
Go fuck yourself.
March 6, 2008, 8:33 p.m. CST
Ben Franklin was bald, ugly, syphilitic and about 5'9...Tom Wilkinson is a great actor, but a horrendous choice for Franklin. was Phillip Seymour Hoffman unavailable?
March 6, 2008, 8:35 p.m. CST
you gotta be kidding me? you can insert the phrase "liberal propoganda" in ANY talkback. no matter how irrelevant and nonsensical it is. it's almost impressive, like the moron who wrote "Damn you Michael Bay" endlessly. only I think he knew that he wasn't saying anything of any substance...<p>I think even anchorite is tired of you. and that's saying a lot. if you're so moronic that one of the 5 or so conservatives on this site doesn't want you on his side...man, it might be time for a new screenname and a change of pace, kiddo.
March 7, 2008, 1:47 a.m. CST
Cause he owned Slaves right? Doesn't he have like a billion kids?
March 7, 2008, 5:46 a.m. CST
by Mullah Omar
I haven't seen a bad Hanks-produced HBO miniseries - the guy is truly using his clout for the powers of good TV. BAND OF BROTHERS was outstanding. FROM THE EARTH TO THE MOON was great. I'm really looking forward to the JOHN ADAMS miniseries.
March 7, 2008, 7:15 a.m. CST
I believe he produces that, which seems like an odd choice for Hanks. It's not historically based or anything. Maybe Tom's been trying to convince his wife that it's time to live the principle.
March 7, 2008, 9:51 a.m. CST
I wonder how central his farm was to his income. He did live in the Northern states after all (unlike Gibson's character in The Patriot). Not to diminish his moral judgment. I have profound respect for the founding fathers, in all their complexity and contradictions. My favorite has always been Thomas Paine.
March 7, 2008, 10:11 a.m. CST
John Adams, in addition to being a Farmer was also a Lawyer. While his farm was a success and a source of great joy to him it was nothing when compared to Plantations in the South. He needed far fewer hands to run his farm. He and his wife were against slavery, They had even been presented with a young salve girl as a gift and immediately arranged for her to be freed. However, his dislike of slavery did not prevent him from on occasion hiring slaves from others. While he did pay for their work and the treatment was far better than the average slave could have hoped for I doubt the Masters of these slaves shared the payment given by Adams.
March 7, 2008, 10:27 a.m. CST
Again, it comes back to The Patriot whitewashing history. Although, whenever Mel Gibson makes an appearance, the last thing I should look for is historical accuracy.
March 7, 2008, 10:50 a.m. CST
I don't think my earlier post gave as good of an account of John and Abigail's character in regards to Slavery. They were fiercely against slavery. Corespondence between them and with others showed how they felt it was a great evil. They also backed up their convictions with action. When duty called both John and Abigail away from the farm they sublet it to a free black couple. In addition, Abigail had arranged for a former slave to attend a Trade School with the other white farm hands. Shortly after the classes began the white men threatned to quit the School if he was allowed to continue on. When Abigail heard about this she called the men to her home and chastised them for such bigotry. The men sheepishly resumed class and the matter was never brought up again.
March 7, 2008, 11:18 a.m. CST
...really looking forward to this series if for no other reason than they filmed a lot of it in nearby Williamsburg. Also, I'll get in lin (by my couch) to see anything Hanks does. I hope this approaches or even surpasses the excellent Band of Brothers.
March 7, 2008, 11:27 a.m. CST
...since Band Of brothers was about an American combat unit, what on earth did you expect? Same with the space program; Were you expecting Nazi sympathy and glorious attributions to Sputnik?
March 7, 2008, 4 p.m. CST
by Samwise Ganja
but is there any news on PREACHER anywhere???? god i want that shit and i want it treated RIGHT....
March 8, 2008, 12:33 a.m. CST
by Stevie Grant
I'm really looking forward to this show. As far as the whole revisionist/pro-U-S-of-A/accuracy debate... I don't care. If this show is anywhere close to the quality of Band of Brothers, I doubt anyone will care about that after a couple episodes. Or I hope it's that good, cause I really like history and HBO shows.
March 8, 2008, 2:32 a.m. CST
indigenous Main Entry: in·dig·e·nous Pronunciation: \in-ˈdi-jə-nəs\ Function: adjective Etymology: Late Latin indigenus, from Latin indigena, noun, native, from Old Latin indu, endo in, within + Latin gignere to beget — more at end-, kin Date: 1646 1 : having originated in and being produced, growing, living, or occurring naturally in a particular region or environment <indigenous plants> <the indigenous culture> 2 : innate, inborn synonyms see native — in·dig·e·nous·ly adverb — in·dig·e·nous·ness noun
Going by the above merriam-webster definition of 'indigenous', anyone originiating or produced in America is a native American. <br> Besides, there's no such thing as an "original" American. Human life crawled out of the muck in Africa and spread across the continents. The American Indians got to North America first, but they didn't originate there.
March 8, 2008, 7:58 a.m. CST
You forgot the word "naturally." There is nothing natural about the conquest of North America. I don't know why I'm responding because Node already covered this.
March 8, 2008, 1:37 p.m. CST
Because it wasn’t about Nazi’s (except killing them) or Sputnik. Kinda self explanatory, yes? BOB was based on, y’know, the book of the same name. Furthermore, I don’t get where, especially BOB, was “black and white,” as you say. Many of the troops (interviews as well) showed mixed emotions about killing other human beings, for example. Also, didn’t the German general get the message to the audience, both at home and to Maj. Winters and crew, when he was addressing his troops for the last time that combat creates band of brothers in all country’s combatants? That’s pretty exoteric to me though, as the Spaniard said, “Maybe that words doesn’t mean what you think that word means.” Honestly, I think you’re reading into things (see: engaging filters) quite a bit or brought that baggage with you when viewing those fine series. Esoteric, not!
March 8, 2008, 6:07 p.m. CST
Thanks for the review, Stallion. I read McCullough's book a few years ago and really loved it. His writing style is crisp and moves quickly through the snow and cannon smoke of early America. He captured John Adams in a way I'd never read before: as an smart, practical, but imperfect man fearful of human nature. His years in France ended harrowingly when The French Revolution erupted with months of guillotine-messy bloodshed. Pretty powerful stuff. Adams witnessed the brutally dark result of an unbalanced government so upon returning to America fought hard for a three-pronged balance of power. I admired him more than ever after reading McCullough's novel.<p> Can't wait to see this on HBO. If Hanks and company get this right... holy shit will I be happy.
March 8, 2008, 6:16 p.m. CST
This miniseries is what I'm most looking forward to on TV this year. McCullough did NOT make Adams out to be "a god", and pointed out many of his weaknesses, not least of which being a puritanical streak and a touch of vanity. Considering the astounding achievements of Adams, the courage and moral decency he showed in his public life, he can be forgiven his personal faults. <p> Do yourselves a favor - read the book and marvel at the eloquence and intelligence of Adams and his peers, and shudder when considering the vast intellectual gulf which separates them from the presidential material of recent decades. <p> George W Bush isn't fit to shine the buckles on Adams' shoes.
March 8, 2008, 6:25 p.m. CST
...hating on Hanks and HBO need to STFU. Seriously, when you've reached the point where you start hating on From The Earth To The Moon and Band of Brothers you have literally proven that you have no taste whatsoever. And very small penises.
March 8, 2008, 8:45 p.m. CST
...amazes me that anyone could even criticize those two series. I'll take your advice and read the book about Adams though it'll have to be after the series. Don't wan't to spoil it or anything 'cuz I've always wondered if the Brits lost that war (notices lobsters crawling out of ears) and if the colonist ever did start a new country.
March 8, 2008, 9:38 p.m. CST
Depends on what you consider "natural". Humanity has been warring with each other since it began. Animals are constantly fighting each other. Conquest looks pretty natural to me. As much as I enjoy peace and civilization, history does not paint them to be our natural state.
March 8, 2008, 10:04 p.m. CST
My whole point was that walking across the Bering Strait to settle an area doesn't make you any more indigenous to a region than sailing across the sea to settle it. <br> Anyone born in an area is, by definition, native to that area. Otherwise, Native Americans would be historically known as Introduced Americans instead, since they did not originate in America any more than caucasians, blacks, Asians, etc. did.
March 8, 2008, 11:58 p.m. CST
do you really think that genocide of a culture is the same as living in a certain environment and adapting to that environment culturally? I think walking across the Bering Strait is more natural than the decimation of an entire populace. During King Philip's War there was an early battle where the Native Americans killed over fifty European settlers and believed it to be the largest death toll in history. In Europe this was nothing. Basically it would have been average as far as deaths in a single battle were concerned. I believe this is enough evidence to show that the kind of devastation Europeans inflicted upon the Native Americans was not "natural." The culture, and hierarchy, of the Europeans had already been established by the time the Europeans reached North America. Unlike the Native Americans whose culture was informed by the North American environment over tens of thousands of years. Do you see a difference between the two, because if you don't then you're blind. <p> Let's try one more. The plains Indians, such as the Sioux, built their culture around the Buffalo. In fact, they used just about every part of the Buffalo as a means to survive. This was because over centuries their culture "naturally" adapted to their environment unlike those who would attempt to replace them in the span of decades.
March 9, 2008, 12:27 a.m. CST
by Stevie Grant
This historical accuracy debate needs to end. Nobody will watch a show that makes an earnest attempt to be true the times back then: they were just too brutal, ignorant, and ugly. That includes the Native Americans. The Native American peoples' (especially plains Indians) interactions with other Native American tribes consisted of either a peaceful meeting between tribes... or the random ambush, murder or enslavement of persons. Life was hard and ugly back then. The ugliness only needs to be included to juxtapose the philosophical and political genius of the Founding Fathers and the advancement of North American civilization since that period. It's very easy to pretend that "Native Americans" lived in harmony with nature and each other... but that just isn't the case. And I'm not defending the genocide of the Native Americans by the US Government... I'm just saying that isn't that important to the mini-series biography about John Adams.
March 9, 2008, 12:39 a.m. CST
this mini series does not have to focus on Native Americans. It's about the relationship between the colonists and the British, and it will naturally be a partial picture. You just can't fit an entire time period into a mini series. The Native American debate came about when Brane attempted to argue that Native Americans coming over here on the Bering Strait and living for tens of thousands of years is the same as the conquest of the Americas and living on the continent for centuries. He believes that both cultures should be termed Native Americans. <p> By no means do I believe that Europeans are inherently evil. My ancestors are European, but I don't think that makes them Native Americans. There is a difference between the two definitions.
March 9, 2008, 12:56 a.m. CST
that the Native American culture is different from a European one? Strange, indeed.
March 10, 2008, 9:57 p.m. CST
They should set the constitutional convention on an island. Each of the 50 or so guys who signed the constitution fights to see who gets to sign last. John Hancock wins.
March 10, 2008, 9:58 p.m. CST
I know it was the Declaration of Independence that Hancock signed last..I just got carried away..but still....
March 12, 2008, 6:47 a.m. CST
"Who knew that it was so contoversial to claim that the Native American culture is different from a European one?" <br> It's not. The point of the argument is that it's historically inaccurate (perhaps a better word would be "outdated")to refer to ANYONE as native Americans. No one sprang forth from the dirt in North America. That was the point I was making when I entered the argument. Why not just refer to the individual tribes involved by name? Or would that hurt your perception that the Native Americans were all one big happy land-loving family?
March 12, 2008, 6:55 a.m. CST
I'd like to know just how many distict tribes and their cultures were wiped out as Native American culture spread over North America and tribes warred among themselves for the plum territories of just for the hell of it. Too bad that part of history is still mostly lost. Don't even try to tell me that it didn't happen. War and atrocity has followed humanity to every corner of the globe. Talk about human "nature"...
March 12, 2008, 6:58 a.m. CST
"...how many [distinct] tribes..."<br> <br> "...territories [or] just for..."
March 17, 2008, 8:52 a.m. CST
I loved every minute of it. Just when I was thinking about canceling HBO, they come out with this. Between John Adams, In Treatment, Real Time with Bill Maher, another season of Curb and the upcoming movie about the Florida Recount, HBO is giving me just enough to keep my subscription going.
March 17, 2008, 11:37 a.m. CST
The first two episodes are right up there with band of Brothers and is indeed brilliant. Can't wait for the next five installments. Congrats to Hanks, Giamatti and, wow, laura Linney for showing just how good television can be. Superb!!