Legendary The Who rocker Roger Daltrey helped members of America's Congress celebrate the special relationship between the U.S. and U.K. governments on Wednesday (30Oct13) by performing at the unveiling of a bust in Winston Churchill's honour. The veteran Brit joined Secretary of State John Kerry and leaders of the Senate and House of Representatives at the Capitol in Washington, D.C. for the dedication and belted out The Who classic Won't Get Fooled Again and Ben E. King's Stand by Me to represent the close bond between the two countries.
During the ceremony, House Speaker John Boehner paid tribute to the late British Prime Minister, calling him "the best friend the United States ever had", adding, "He saw in America the very exceptionalism we see today."
Churchill, who led Britain into World War II, built up a rapport with then-U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt and famously rallied support from U.S. citizens to join the Allied forces and defeat Nazi leader Adolf Hitler and his Japanese allies after the attack of Pearl Harbor in 1941.
His bold address during a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress that December (41) boomed out of speakers in the Capitol once again on Wednesday as he was remembered.
It used to be that to become a painter, you would apprentice with an old master for decades in order to master the tiniest, most delicate brushstrokes, subtle shades of lighting, and mathematically-based perspective tricks. That's how Vermeer and Rembrandt came to anchor the Dutch School. How the Renaissance maestros learned to imbue breathtaking realism into Biblical or mythological settings. Or you could just teach yourself to paint via an app on your smartphone.
That's the way George W. Bush learned to apply brush to canvas. In an interview with NPR's David Greene, former first lady Laura Bush talked about her husband's recent foray into the fine arts and the daring subjects he's rendered in oil and acrylics: his pets. "He was looking for a pastime," Mrs. Bush says. "He got an app on his iPad where he could draw pictures. Like, he’d draw a picture of him in bed with Barney and the cat." The fact that Barney has now died lends a poignant streak to his work.
To deepen his connection to his chosen medium and place himself in the context of politicians turned painters of yore, Bush turned to presidential historian John Lewis Gaddis, his wife says. Gaddis recommended that Bush read Winston Churchill's book Painting as a Pastime, since the legendary prime minister liked to dabble in watercolors himself back in the day when he wasn't fighting Nazis. So now, he paints for several hours a day and bombards his wife and daughters with pictures of his handiwork, even when they're on the road.
This is what can happen when you're no longer the leader of the free world.
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Ah, history. Just saying the word makes me think of large dusty tomes and an wizened old man talking about even older stuff. That’s the problem with history though, it’s so final and in the past. Would history be so much cooler with, I dunno, superheros?
Luckily, Hollywood has answered that very question by slightly revising history with a few small additions. Sure WWII was horrific, but what if the bad guys were actually working for a demon from hell and we narrowly avoided complete domination thanks to one super soldier who the fortitude to stop evil in its tracks? I bet AP American History would’ve been a lot more fun to be in if that were the case.
World War II was one of mankind’s most tragic events that still mars our collective conscious to this day. It’s an event that will never be forgotten and demonstrated both the capacity for human endurance and human terror. But you know what would make it awesome? A dude with a red skull.
Apparently in World War II, there existed a chemical that transformed a person into their peak physical and emotional self. Unfortunately Steve Rogers was the only one that was able to have the experiment performed on and that caused him to become Captain America. Throw in an indestructible shield and you have yourself a superhero. Who needs nuclear technology when you have a beefy Chris Evans? Just look at those pecs! Who would mess with that?
X-Men: First Class
Ah, the good ole 1960’s America. Nothing but peace, love, and racial tension.
But racial tension doesn’t draw in the big bucks (Oscars, sure, but hundreds of millions of dollars? No.) so instead let’s make it about mutants with super powers! And let’s kill the only black guy in the movie in the first five minutes of meeting him because we’re that cliche.
Now, I’ll give the makers of X-Men: First Class this—they did focus on the mounting tension between the US and the USSR and played with that fairly well while promising that the sequel will deal with more of the internal tension of the 60’s. But in the end all the great music, art, and culture of that time can’t compete with a painted naked Jennifer Lawrence.
In most of these historical superhero movies, the writers treat the setting with a bit of magical realism. They want most of the stuff to remain the same save for the bits of superhero they throw in to make the story entertaining. Except Watchmen kind of throws that out the window and rewrites all of history—and history doesn’t like you.
Nixon is still the president. We won Vietnam. A Superhero killed JFK. There’s going to be another cowboy in the White House. Watchmen effectively deconstructed the superhero motif while at the same time deconstructing history itself. Not too shabby for a comic book.
At least Captain America has the decency to recognize that the 30’s weren’t all peaches and cream. Combined with WWII, we also had the Great Depression to deal with and the fact that television wasn’t yet widespread. A really tough time to live in.
And yet, nostalgia is never one for accuracy, which The Rocketeer makes you think all the country ran on back then was gumption and can-do attitude (in fairness, that’s pretty accurate). Throw in some sepia tones and steam-punk enthusiasts went nuts.
The United States of America has had it’s ups and downs. But one of the lowest points in our history was when brothers fought brothers during the Civil War. Terrible, terrible tragedies all around and of course the one superhero movie to be set around that time is one of the worst superhero movies of all time.
Apparently throwing in a former Confederate soldier who can talk to the dead doesn’t make the Civil War any more interesting. Nor does adding Megan Fox (but that helps). Nor does it make sense having Eli Whitney design a weapon, but that’s not the worst case of misappropriating historical facts. That honor belongs to..
League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
Granted, this is more of a literary fiction debacle than actual history debacle, but it still involves a lot of superheros trotting around Europe in the late 19th Century so that’s good enough for me.
Just how big of a mess was this movie? Well besides completely mixing up all sorts of characters and time lines established in their respective works (on top of having no understanding of basic Europe history or technology), it caused Sean Connery to retire from acting. And that’s a crime against humanity.
Now I know movies are generally regulated to one time period and can’t encompass all of time and space, but TV can! And there is one television show that has sent it’s superhero to all corners of mankind’s history and had it’s way with it: Doctor Who. The show began as a children's educational show about history with a bit of sci-fi thrown in to draw in the crowds. But then the nerds got a hold of it and it became this huge event television show. But that didn't stop it from taking a stroll through all of history.
No, seriously. Name an event (or person) and Doctor Who has probably done an episode about it. Just naming these off the top of my head: Shakespeare, Dickens, Agatha Christie, Pompeii, the moon landing, Churchill in WWII, Titanic, Vincent Van Gogh, JFK, Nixon and Watergate, Queen Victoria, and Jack the Ripper. And that’s only from the last five years. Doctor Who has quite literally been there, done that, caused it to happen.
What would a list of superheros be without one real life example? Christopher Lee holds the world record for appearances in movies but that hasn’t stopped him from totally dominating in real life. Not only did he play Saruman and Count Dooku, the man was an actual hardcore spy for Britain in WWII. No, really. He was in the Special Operations Executive which also employed Ian Fleming who then went on to write a few stories about this not-at-all special man named James Bond. When he filmed his death scene in the first Lord of the Rings, Lee gave a little too detailed description of what a man sounds like when he’s stabbed in the back. Yeah, pretty sure Christopher Lee is an actual superhero and it just goes to show Hollywood doesn't need to spice up history when real heroes are already here.
Jane Lynch stopped by Conan last night and talked about what it's like for her to meet famous people nowadays. Plus, President Obama called her a 40-year-old virgin. Man, what a jerk! She's a 50-year-old virgin.
Kathy Bates reminisced with Jay Leno on The Tonight Show about her first Oscar win. Plus, she shared a story about getting topless with Jack Nicholson, who apparently is the most boring celebrity ever to get topless with because in the hot tub, while topless, the two discussed Winston Churchill and the art of painting. Now that's a sex tape guaranteed to go viral.
Ryan Seacrest talked with Jimmy Kimmel about the changes in American Idol this season. Also? American Idol. American Idol. American Idol. GOD WHY DOES AMERICA LOVE THIS SHOW SO MUCH. Oh, and we learned that Seacrest drinks a big glass of green vomit all day. So, you know, that's good.
Warman passed away at his home in Queens, New York after suffering heart and kidney failure on Friday (16Apr10).
The photographer began his career at the New York Herald Tribune, where he worked for over 20 years until the publication folded in 1966. He moved into freelance photography and landed awards for his portraits of celebrities and world leaders, including Kennedy, literary legend Hemingway and former British prime minister Winston Churchill.
Warman is survived by his son Richard and his brother Earl Warman.