Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Did Our First President Scam Us?

Recently I've watched very little television.  The only thing I've watched this week was when I went down to the basement on Monday night.  There was very little of interest to me until I remembered that the HISTORY channel was having a special called "Death Masks".  

Now I am normally not into the macabre world of all the halloween week shows.  In truth, I HATE halloween.  (And no I'm not going to capitalize it like it is something special, thank you very much spell check!)  But I happen to know a little bit about death masks so I was curious.

My late father-in-law actually owned one of a very few, rare casts of Abraham Lincoln's hand.  I remember when he first pulled it out of his file cabinet back when he was a state legislator.  It struck me as something strange to keep in your statehouse office.  But, I digress.  Apparently back in Lincoln's day (as well as many people from antiquity) it was popular to make a cast of famous people's faces, hands, and even bodies while they were alive and or dead. 

So Monday night's show was about a handful of famous people whose death/life masks are out there.  Then they took this really cool computer technology and laser scanned the masks.  With their computer programs, which I am not afraid to admit that I don't understand in the least, they could then "flesh out" that person's face to look very real and alive on the computer.  It was cool.  They did, however, overuse the "oh my, look we can pop his eyes open and it looks like he is really alive" feature.  I guess they neglected to realize that without hair or a neck they were only faces.  But the faces were in 3D so they looked really real.  You could see skin pores, eyebrow hairs, wrinkles and everything!  I'm sure that you've been dying to see some dead guy's skin pores reenacted.

It really was very interesting, but, of course being the HISTORY channel it had to have some kind of controversy to each story.  The one that really made me mad was that they tried to make it seem as though George Washington was somehow quite scandalous because (wait for it) he may have misrepresented the shape of his jaw in the portraits that were painted of him. We all know that he wore false teeth and apparently there were times when he was sitting for a portrait when he had his teeth in his mouth and other times when he did not. 

 Somehow I think the original George W. had more important things to think about other than how to fool the American people with what his jaw really looked like in his portraits. Just because today's politicians are constantly trying to manipulate their public image doesn't mean our founding fathers were as well.

I think what also kind of surprised me was how many people there are in our world who specialize in knowing everything there is to know about, say, Julius Caesar.  I mean, I'm glad that somebody knows about them so they can write it down for history.  But there were several people for each historical person who seemed like their whole lives were taken up with knowing all about their "people".  For someone like me who was always taught that eternity eclipsed everything, that just seemed like a waste of your life.

Anyway, I need to find out if our family still has that cast of Lincoln locked up somewhere. And if you are interested, the show is going to be on again and you can find out about it here.  And if you want to know what really matters about George Washington you might want to read this

Now I know why I usually watch HGTV.

1 comment:

  1. Okay, this is the type of stuff I get psyched about - so excited to go set the DVR. Thanks!!!