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View Diary: Write On! Who do you write for? (107 comments)

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  •  & most of the cast isn't standard wasp. (8+ / 0-)

    i really feel like the people who created this program are aiming at using fantastic entertainment to make the audience more receptive to reality.   it's wonderful!  

    •  I would love to have heard the pitch for that show (7+ / 0-)

      A revolutionary War story, starring a Brit and 3 strong African American characters, 2 of which are female.

      In all honesty, thinking about that kind of wild storytelling is very freeing. Sometimes you don't check yourself, just go for it.

      •  also most of the supporting/recurring cast (5+ / 0-)

        isn't wasp.  and even katrina isn't a wasp, she's new-amsterdam dutch by name.

        their pitch must've been very clever.  like gene roddenberry telling the suits that star trek would be a "Wagontrain to space" (approximately). ha!  with blacklisted writers & guest-casts!

        some of Sleepy's production credit names seem very familiar from quite a ways back - writers and producers with a boatload of experience in outa-the-box work.  i get a strong sense that they know their history extremely well, and their audience, so they're highly qualified (as well as educated and skilled) at freewheeling without setting a foot wrong unless they intend to.  (the idea of runaway slaves being safe to move freely around in a collective settlement without fear of slave-hunters coming after that isn't factual, but it makes a point).

        or it could largely be very happy coincidence!

        •  Well, even the wasp history isn't a white history (4+ / 0-)

          One of the first casualties of the skirmish on Lexington Green was Prince Estabrook, a slave. He was an armed member of the local  militia and took a musket ball in the thigh in defense of his "country" of Massachusetts. Later on, 10% of the armed militia of Connecticut was African American.  It just isn't mentioned in the survey history courses.  Which is a shame.  African American history is American history. You just have to find it.

          2 cool things about just one week in the Revolution, around April 19, 1775.  The women at the bridge:  Pepperell, MA. This is a not-completely-true story about American women taking up arms, of a sort, against the Crown.

          Prudence was a Patriot, inside and out while her brother Samuel was a Tory, loyal to the King. By 1775 Prudence was 35 years old, had been married 14 years and mother to 6 living children. While visiting her mother in Hollis, she overheard her brother and his Tory cohort, Benjamin Whiting, discuss a plan to deliver a message to British regulars revealing the location of gunpowder hidden by the rebel Patriots. In short time she was back in Pepperell sending an alert out to other women within that network now committed to active rebellion. The women quickly reacted. It was decided to stop the Tory spies at Jewett's Bridge, present location of the covered bridge. They gathered together armaments available, probably not guns because those weapons had gone with the men; but farm tools can be threatening weapons.

          Then they waited at the bridge, into the night, shielding the lantern, totally silent until two horsemen approached from the north. Taking advantage of surprise Prudence burst upon them with lantern bright demanding to know their identity and business. Her brother Samuel knew the depth of his sister's commitment to the cause and immediately turned tail avoiding possible fatal injury. Leonard Whiting pushed forward, believing he couldn't be stopped by a bunch of women. He was wrong of course.

          Women's history is American history. You just have to find it. Prudence Cummings Wright was paid for her service to the Commonwealth.

          2: The second wave of British forces out of Boston on April 19, 1775 was commanded by Hugh Percy, 2nd Duke of Northumberland.  He was "the smartest guy in the room," as it were, that day. His quick thinking saved the lives of hundreds of British regulars with his defensive moves.

          Also, there was this:  "Percy's illegitimate half brother was James Smithson whose bequest founded the Smithsonian Institution."  (an ibid on the link above.) Now is that a soap-opera waiting to happen or what.

          History, real history, is way fun, once you figure out you have to hunt for it.  I think the "Sleepy Hollow" writers would have a blast with the Prudence story above.

          •  Verrrry interesting. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            thnx for the lynx.  wikipedia is something of an addiction of mine!

            The oddities of word choice and concept here and there in the Pepperell Bridge reportage are somewhat typical of local histories, in my experience working with materials of that kind (mostly just cataloguing them, and helping readers find on the shelf what they were looking for, nothing in-depth).  In current years, (or always, really) questionable word choice and concept is not unusual in news reportage either, partly because the agency/entity reporting it may have a particular iron in the fire, and of course because a particular word that's really not the most truthful to use may be used anyway because of its high adrenalin quotient, to satisfy the excitement-demand of the viewers (and before broadcasting, to satisfy newspaper readers likewise). More and more, it seems to me, selective reportage is the rule, focussing on giving viewers their "fix" rather than on accurately depicting the full situation in the service of public education.

            Then the news 'reportage' eventually becomes history material which, you're so right, has to be hunted for. And then the contradictions hunted through!  

            I'm with you that the Prudence story would make great television, but since it's commercial television I'd bet the writers' room discussion often has to be conducted at high pitch to be heard over the gnashing and grinding of teeth about what historical material has to fall by the wayside.

            The walled-off big room at the police HQ in 'Hollow" gives a little bit an appearance of a mini-Smithsonian itself, doesn't it? :D

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