Anniversaries of 2012 redux
About a year ago, I wrote about the anniversaries of 2012. Remarkably, I saw was very little attention to those anniversaries in the last years, (with the exception of Charles Dickens [more on Dickens 2012 in a separate post] and a BBC Radio 4 program on “Forgetting” Lawrence Durrell.)
Perhaps most surprising to me was the lack of attention, in the United States at least, to the two hundredth anniversary of the War of 1812. (I understand that our Canadian friends are making a much bigger deal of it: link 1, link 2, link 3, link 4.) We cannot say that the United States, Britain, or Britian’s Canadas really won that war; it largely reinforced the status quo. However, we can definitely say that the war was disastrous for the Shawnee, Potawatomi, Ojibwa, Muscogee Creek, Seminole, Choctaw, Cherokee and Chickasaw nations.
Perhaps we will see an uptick of interest when we come to the anniversaries of the battles that led to the two great American historical songs: the 1814 Battle of Fort McHenry (which led to Francis Scott Key’s “Star Spangled Banner”) or the 1815 Battle of New Orleans (which led to the eponymous song sung by Johnny Horton that is the all time top-selling country song.)
There was a small continuing flood of US Civil War material during its 150th anniversary, although since Civil War books are always being published, it is hard to say whether it was an uptick or not. The New York Times’ Disunion Blog continues to be the best Internet presence of the anniversary.
The Civil War did generate one of the worst movies of the year, Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter.
Fortunately, that was counter-balanced by one of the best movies of the year:: Steven Spielberg’s (and Tony Kushner’s) Lincoln. (Doubtlessly with Speilberg’s and Kushner’s names attached to the films, and favorable commentary in the press from the likes of David Brooks, Ruth Marcus, Rebecca Keegan, and Philip Zelikow, anti-Semites were driven to insanity by this film.)
All-in-all, 2012 was only a fair year for celebrating anniversaries. But, coming up in my next post, the literary anniversaries of 2013.