Negativity Theory states, as we all know, that historical figures aren’t as good as they appear. I know this topic will be remedial for some advanced students, but I think it is still fun to explore from time to time.
As we know, most people are surrounded by friends and loved ones. Among their many functions they effectively become “Keepers of the Lore.” It is their job to conceal and/or minimize the unsavory stuff while injecting exaggeration and hyperbole into anything that might be good, not necessarily limiting themselves to things that actually happened.
The theory states that the ability to discover unflattering information about a person is directly proportional to the amount of time that has passed. It also states that just about everyone has some kind of freakish penchant or skeleton in their closet. In many cases, information about these quirks never sees the light of day.
Let’s take someone like George Washington. He famously chopped down a cherry tree and, when confronted about it, said, “I can’t tell a lie, Pa.” Or did he? The story came from a book written about George Washington after his death, which was written by a guy who plagiarized other stories for the man’s life from published fiction of the time. No credible source for the story was ever found, so the cherry tree incident is considered apocryphal and its credibility is questioned.
There is also the matter of Washington crossing the Delaware as portrayed in the famous painting. In the picture Washington maintains a heroic stance at the bow of the boat. The painting has been analyzed, though, and many “historical inaccuracies” have been found. They include:
- It was raining during the crossing.
- Some reason that it would have been difficult for Washington to stand in choppy waters. Another theory states, however, that perhaps the occupants of the boat were standing to avoid icy water.
- The flag in the painting didn’t yet exist at the time of the crossing.
- The boat is the wrong model and appears too small to carry the occupants. The actual boats used had higher sides.
- The crossing took place at night, not in the day.
- The river shown is far narrower than where the crossing took place.
- Horses were not ferried across the river in boats.
- The painting shows Washington’s boat going geographically in the wrong direction.
I think this one example shows how history can tend to get a few facts wrong. So it is also easy to imagine the volume of information that may be omitted altogether.
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I just had a great idea. I’ve always wanted to write a screenplay and I think I finally have a concept unique and interesting enough to justify a treatment!
This is pretty exciting for me. If you’re willing to read on a bit, perhaps you could be kind enough to let me know if I’m on the right track.
It’ll be a movie about dragons. You may not have heard about these mythical creatures yet, but I’ll bet you will soon. If my efforts are successful it won’t be long until “dragon” is a household word.
A dragon is generally reptilian or snake-like, winged, has the ability of flight, and can breath fire. Yeah, I predict these creatures will be fascinating to unsuspecting audiences.
Although dragons can be found in the mythology of Asian cultures, they were also present in Greek and Middle Eastern mythologies, too. In fact, the English word “dragon” is derived from a Greek work that means “dragon, serpent of huge size, water-snake.”
I haven’t fully worked out a plot yet, but I’m pretty sure it’ll work something like this. There will be a land where dragons are hated, feared and hunted. In that land we will find out hero, most likely a young person, a criminal, or some other form of outcast from mainstream society.
This hero will, at some point, by chance, encounter a dragon. The dragon might be freshly hatched from an egg, perhaps even bonding with our hero. Or the dragon might be older. For super special drama the dragon might even be the last of his kind. (But this admittedly might be taking things too far.)
During that initial encounter things will, at first, go mostly as expected. There will be dramatic explosions of fire, courage, daring, etc. Yada yada yada. One or both of our main characters might even be injured. But at some point something unusual will happen and the two will decide not to finish each other off. One or both of them may realize that the propaganda they’ve been fed about the other just might not be true.
That’s the end of Act I.
Act II primarily deals with boring shit where the two get to learn allegedly interesting and fascinating things about the other. I won’t bore you with these details. Suffice it to say they hang out a lot, go on some mildly interesting side adventures, and, through this process, grow to become lifelong friends. Blech.
Act III is where it all comes to a head. Just when the two heroes are so close that they are about to take things to a whole new level of physicality (if you know what I mean), something tragic will happen. Suddenly the two will have to drop all of their fun frolicking because they’ll be in a world of shit. Some big bad guy will be doing Something Bad. Perhaps it will be a hunt for the dragon that we all now love. Or perhaps someone will be trying to take over the human’s village, stab all the people with swords, etc. Whatever the mechanism, it will arouse the audience, inducing anger and a desire for resolution.
That’s when our outcasts, the two heroes, will ride/fly in like John Wayne and save the day.
Pretty good, eh? Think I can talk Hollywood into it? My vision, if successful, will be that someday we’ll get a movie like this ever other month or so. I think the possibilities are endless for minor variations on this same theme.
I know this idea is so damn unique it’s almost mindblowing that I was even able to come up with it. I admit right now I had to resort to LSD. That really fuels the creative process.
So, that’s it. That’s the idea. Now bring on the criticisms. Don’t worry, I can take it.