Monday, April 21, 2008

Art and History and T.V. Guide

Near the end of the HBO miniseries on John Adams last night, Adams chastises the painter John Trumbell for the unreality of his famous portrait of the signing of the Declaration of Independence -- how the true version of this "moment" (which wasn't actually a moment at all, instead taking place over many months) has been lost in the popular imagination. Trumbell's artistic license was both unnecessary and dishonest, Adams says.

Unlike founding fathers Washington, Jefferson and Hamilton, Adams is not pictured or celebrated on American currency ... except for the back of the $2 bill, Trumbell's offending portrait.


TV Guide recently gave a Jeer to the HBO miniseries:
Jeers to HBO for declaring its independence too strongly with John Adams. As a pay-cable outlet, the net isn't subject to the same censorship standards as broadcast or basic-cable channels. But that doesn't mean all of its productions must include graphic content. The superb Adams would make perfect viewing for history buffs of all ages, were it not for the nudity (did we really need to see the full monty during the tar-and-feather sequence?), sex scenes between John and Abigail and gory depictions of various 18th-century diseases. I know — it's not TV, it's HBO. But it's also not necessary.
Maybe this is just me, but Americans need to know the miseries of disease in the "pre-Nasonex" and "pre-Ambien" period, and that Jefferson, Adams and Washington didn't have access to tooth whitener.

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