Bogus Movie Is Considered One of Greatest; Really a Scam


Idiotic Scene From "Historic" Birth of a Nation

Idiotic Scene From "Historic" Birth of a Nation

On This Date in History: First, on an interesting note relating to baseball and Bonds as well as a recent post, I found out that Hank Aaron’s birthday was February 5. The man he passed as the all time home run king, Babe Ruth, celebrated his birthday on February 6. That’s kinda unusual. Then, I got to thinking…which is dangerous…I had a post regarding the Great Baltimore Fire on Feb 7-8 1904. Speculation is that it started from a carelessly tossed cigarette or cigar. Now, Ruth would have just celebrated his 9th birthday and his father’s bar is located close by to where the fire started. I don’t think that Ruth had been sent away to St. Mary’s Orphanage when he was 9, so what about the possibility that the fire was started by the juvenile delinquent George Herman Ruth!

Griffith's KKK Saves The South from Reconstruction...Nonsense

Griffith's KKK Saves The South from Reconstruction...Nonsense

That would make a good story line for our feature of the day…Kentuckian David Wark Griffith.   He was born not far from Louisville in La Grange and became famous for the first full length feature film, Birth of a Nation. The film opened on this date in 1915 and Birth of a Nation is  widely regarded as historic and monumnetal and such. I could never figure out why because it’s stupid and it’s biased and racist and inaccurate. I believe that the notorieiity comes, not due to the content, but instead for the techniques that Griffith used and pioneered that gives the film its place in history.

Griffith was born in 1875 to an Ex-Confederate. Now, much of the nation today thinks of Kentucky as being in the South. But, when I moved here, I couldn’t believe I was moving so far north. I thought I was in Yankeeland. Kim Stevens is from Alabama and she married a guy from Louisville. Her family said that they thought they could accept that she was marrying a “Yankee.” People who are really in the South don’t think of Kentucky as being in the South. Oh…the anger I get from people about that. I tell people to move to Jackson, Mississippi if they want to find out what the South is like. I point out that about 25,000 served in the Confederacy from Kentucky while over 130,00o served in the Union. I point out that Louisville was home to the

Griffith's KKK Saves The Ladies! More Foolishness

Griffith's KKK Saves The Ladies! More Foolishness

Army of the Ohio and 75,000 Union Troops who were invited into the state by the legislature in late 1861. I point out that Louisville averages over 15 inches of snow a year and often gets below zero. I point out that St. Louis is exactly 250 miles due west, was a major city in a border state yet no one calls them the South. My thesis had to do with Loiusville’s true roots being with the North but that they purposely realigned themselves with the South for economic reasons after the war. That’s where the myth of the Kentucky Colonel comes from. Louisville had the only working railroad into the South after the war and wanted to capitalize economically for the rebuilding south and so they basically said, “why, we wuz with ya all the time boys!! Do business with us, not them Yankees!” Never mind that Braxton Bragg came into the state with an Army of 45, 000 hoping to get Kentuckians to join the Confederate cause. Kentuckians declined, leaving Bragg to refer to Kentuckians as a bunch of “shuffling middlemen.” Now, there were no book burnings, but Kentuckians simply left out all references to the North when they wrote the history of the state, specifically the Memorial History of Louisville to 1896. They had a whole section on the Southern Exposition but said not one word about the National Industrial Exposition that lasted twice as long. They made no reference to a huge event that became national in scope in 1885 celebrating the birthday of US Grant. It’s on Grant’s Tomb in the form of a plaque but is found nowhere (except my published article…Ohio Valley History Fall 2008… and thesis) because they wanted no one to find out about it. It messed up their story.

Protesters Were Pretty Close To the Mark

Protesters Were Pretty Close To the Mark

Well, DW Griffith was part of the mythmaking when he made Birth of a Nation. For the first month of its release, it was called The Clansmen and was a biased view of the Civil War and Reconstruction. It portrayed African Americans in an awful light and as evil and bad. It created the illusion of the Ku Klux Klan as some heroic figures. Now, US Grant had crushed the Klan in the 1870’s. But, not long after Griffith’s stupid movie, the Klan re-emerged to be a scurge on the land for decades to come. There is little doubt that Griffith’s film helped sway public support toward the reborn group that became “anti” all sorts of things, not just African Americans. It’s an idiotic film. It was censored in some cities and sparked riots in many northern cities. The newly formed NAACP tried to have it banned. Griffith did agree to cut out some particularly offensive scenes. But, the film itself is largely historically a fraud and I suppose it set the stage for historic movies to come as most Hollywood historically based films are not accurate…don’t believe everything you see.

Fairbanks, Pickford, Chaplin and Griffith: Founders of United Artists in 1919

There are some interesting things about the film though was that Griffith began the idea of feature length films. He also was the first to make actors rehearse before shooting scenes, thus increasing the quality of the acting. Griffith helped pioneer the use of zooms and close ups and panning camera shots. He also had breakthroughs in editing techniques that are still used today. His work with the actors helped launch the big careers of people like Mary Pickford, Lionel Barrymore and Lillian Gish. He later went on to form United Artists with Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks. So, Griffith does have a place in film history….just don’t buy his work of propaganda and foolishness AS history…its nonsense.

12Z GFS Called For over 5 inches through Wed

I Told You So! (at least I think so)

Weather Bottom Line:  Well, I’m breaking out Colonel Klink because this is pretty close to an “I told you so” as I’ve had in awhile.  Then again, maybe I should wait until this event actually happens before I claim victory because it’s still not a slam dunk.  But, I like Werner Klemper so there you go.  What am I prematurely crowing about?  First off,  I’ve been saying for days that I didn’t see how we were going to get above freezing today or any other day this week.  At 5pm we touched 31 in Louisville.  Hmmm…I suppose it’s still possible that we move warmer but at this point I claim victory. Then, I’ve been telling you since last Wednesday that we could see a pretty decent snow on Tuesday and Wednesday.   Then, I let you know that some data was trying to bring in rain in between the snow, thus decreasing our snow total.   Well, the morning run from both the GFS and NAM both call for all snow and run something more than 5 inches.  OK, now the reason why I may be jumping the shark with Colonel Klink. 

12Z NAM called for over 4 inches of snow

The storm coming has some similarities to the one  a few days ago in that we have a southern and northern stream somewhat in sync.  The southern system though is farther south and it is driving the warmer air farther north.  Graphically, almost every model almost every run since last Wednesday has put the 500mb to 100omb thickness line south of the area, but close at times. Yet, numerically, the past several days both the GFS and NAM were insisting on some snow followed by rain and then closing with snow.  But, the 12Z run of both models both kept Louisville as all snow and both came in with an excess of 5 inches.  Now, the 18Z NAM is backing off with just under 3 inches.  I’ve been thinking all along that we would get all snow but the rain/snow line will be close…say around E’town and that’s not far from Louisville. 

18Z NAM Snow backed off to about 3 inches

So, I say the same thing I’ve said all along. Plan on snow beginning after midnight early Tuesday morning and continuing with perhaps 3-4 inches.  Then, things should back off but then pick up again lightly for Tuesday night into the first part of Wednesday as the northern system behaves more as an upper low to the parent southern low; again very similar to last week.  I would think that this secondary guy may bring an additional inch or so.  An obvious fly in the ointment would be if that rain/snow line drifts just a shade farther north.  The earth is 25, 000 miles around and so a difference of just 30 miles is a small fraction of the world’s surface but is a huge difference regarding snow totals.  If we do in fact get a little rain between periods of snow.  Not only will Colonel Klink have egg on his face but also the driving conditions will be more difficult as icing may become an issue. 

Chuck Knows Snow, but he's not tellin'

The other potential problem with a 5-6 inch snow would be in the event we stay all snow but there are big thunderstorms along the Gulf Coast, that may serve to limit some of the moisture coming up from the South.  And you know what?  The  Storm Prediction Center does indeed call for possible thunderstorms from East Texas to south Mississippi through Tuesday morning.  So, it’s not that far fetched.  They don’t have a severe risk but I’m telling you, some decent storms are possible and I would have concern that it messes up our snow potential even if the rain snow line behaves itself and stays south.  Now, if those storms don’t materialize (the probably will to some degree) and we do stay all snow, then maybe we’d get more than 5 inches…but I doubt that will happen.  The other issue is temperatures.  I’ve seen some national forecasts call for highs above freezing on Friday through the weekend.  I don’t get it.  Well, I suppose that they are coming around and have lowered that high on Friday to 32 but they have teens for Friday morning then mid 30’s for highs through the weekend. I still don’t get it.  I just don’t see how we get above freezing through Sunday.  And, I’ll tell you what…the Wednesday winds should have backed off by Friday morning and if we get clearing for that night..even partial clearing…it will be colder than the teens.

Regardless, its still a very difficult forecast and there will be great differences in snow totals between the southern part of Kentuckiana and the northern part.  Somewhere in between is the rain snow line and to say for certain exactly where it will be is above my pay grade and I believe above that of any human….except maybe Chuck Heston and he’s not tellin’.

11 Responses

  1. What? Are you saying that us Kentuckians aren’t “Sons of The South”??? What blasphemy! I’m kidding. Actually one of the knicknames for Louisville is “The Gateway to the South”. I think that’s probably a more accurate description of Kentucky as a whole. I’ve lived in Louisville all of my life and I can see a big change in the “feel” of the city. When I was a lad it used to be much more laid back and felt a lot more southern than it does today. But I think all of them Yankees came to Louisville to work at Ford and GE and messed it all up!

  2. Good to hear you made it back in one piece. I trust you had no travel issues. When you go to Dixie, they don’t think of Louisville as the South. In fact, it was funny when Kim got married to a guy from Louisville, they said “I guess we can handle her marrying a yankee.” Its people from Chicago or New York that call Louisville the South. You should read my article. I find that Louisville is difficult to pinpoint culturally and geographically for much of the same reason it is so difficult to forecast the weather. Its not really north, but its not south and its not east and its not the midwest. That is also the reason for its existance. It is a perfect location for manufacturing as you can easily reach many areas. Hence, Ford plants are here and UPS is here. In the mid to late 19th century, Louisville was not just the national leader but the world leader in manufacturing of stuff like plows, pipes, tobacco warehousing and whiskey warehousing. Louisville was the 11th largest city in the nation in 1855 and the mayor didn’t have to move the city limits sign out to the county line to gain that distinction. It was beyond the scope of my research but I speculate that the business elite who worked to make Louisville a growing industrialized city died by the turn of the century and those who replaced them in the 20th century looked inward, did not welcome outside investment and did not necessarily see the vision of their forefathers and so the city stopped its advancement. It wasn’t until the last part of the 20th century that Louisville political and business leaders looked to expand so thats how we got the revitalization of the riverfront, which became seen more as an asset. While the city’s leaders do not seem to have quite the motivation for growth that they had in the 1880’s, it is still more aggressive than say in the 1950’s.

  3. Actually, I’m stuck in Cleveland! Chicago did me in. My flight got cancelled. The Cleveland airport is open and Louisville is open but Chicago is closed! I’m routing through St. Louis early tomorrow so here’s hoping that I make it home!

  4. Oh no. I didn’t know that they had their snow start soon enough on Monday to mess you up. I can only go back to 11pm on Monday and it looks like to me that the snow didn’t start until Tuesday at about 1 AM. I thought that you traveled on Monday.

  5. I left on Monday and was supposed to come back early Tuesday afternoon. Unfortunately, Chicago got hit pretty hard on Tuesday so our flight got cancelled. No biggy. I got the first flight out of Cleveland this morning and went through St. Louis. No problems, thankfully.

  6. ooohh….I thought it was Monday you were returning, which is why I said you would be fine. Wouldn’t have made a difference because it was going to do what it was going to do but at least I could have warned you. Sorry about that, Chief.

  7. A friend (and local) once described Louisville to me as “Yankee South”. That probably would best describe it today. Nevertheless, it ignores the strong cultural link Louisville had with the Deep South in that Kentucky was a slave-holding state until the Civil War and Jim Crow laws were in effect in Louisville until the 1960s. Viewed in this context, Louisville definitely was a much more Southern city than it is now, despite its geographical proximity and economic ties to the north.

    Most from the Old South would hate to admit it, but they desperately needed the border states, economically speaking, from antebellum to the mid 20th century. During this time, Louisville, Baltimore and New Orleans were not only her largest cities but her principal ports. Louisville and Baltimore connected the Old South with the north and New Orleans with the Gulf, Atlantic and Pacific (via Panama Canal). The largest interior cities, Atlanta and Nashville were commercial backwaters during this time.

    Another interesting twist for Louisville, again making it more northern in flavor, is that it is primarily a union (organized labor) town in a state that is primarily right-to-work. High combined local and state taxes further define this image. If they were laying the original tracks for the L&N today, I suspect it probably would be named the N&L.

  8. I disagree. Louisville’s ties were with the North in many regards. The “Kentucky Colonel” was largely a myth created to help support the notion that Loiusville was with the South all the time and so therefore the south should use Louisville for its manufacturing needs as it rebuilt after the war. That was the point of my research and was based on my own experience and what people in the South think of the Louisville, which is it is not in the South, as well as a saying I found at the Filson Club: In 1865 Louisville was a Northern City and by 1900 it was a Southern City. Confederate General Braxton Bragg thought that Kentuckians would join him when he invaded the state. Not only did the KY legislature ask for Union troops to defend against Confederate forces at the outset of the war, but Kentuckians themselves did not join Bragg, leaving Bragg to refer to Kentuckians as “shuffling middlemen.” At Perrysville, it is said that the people of that town buried the Union dead and left the Confederates out to rot. Louisivlle was the home of the Union’s Army of the Ohio and had 16 forts around the city to defend it from invasion. That doesn’t sound like a state with “strong ties to the deep south.” All of that myth was created after the war and continues today. They didn’t burn books, they just didn’t write the whole truth; only what they want you to know. That is why you don’t hear of the National Industrial Exposition that went on for 10 years but you do hear about the Southern Exposition that only existed for 5 years. That is why my work was published. No one knew of the 65th Birthday or Ulysses S. Grant that was organized and started in Louisville Kentucky. Other northern cities followed suit and it was a national Holiday. There is a plaque on Grant’s Tomb to commemorate the event. In Cincinnati, the paper said it would rank with Washington’s Birthday in American history. Yet…no one wrote about it or preserved any history. It marked Louisville’s last glance to the North as it made itself part of the South on April 27, 1885.

    For pragmatic purposes, none of this makes any difference, but it is interesting how freedom loving peoples can shape history to fit their purposes.

  9. I think your thesis does make a difference. Problem is, too many don’t study history (or pay heed to it) as they should. We are witness to this every day is so many situations. The exception would be those of us reading your column, of course!

    Another huge problem is the shaping of history to suit current tastes, as you abundantly illustrate. I had no idea this practice was as prevalent “then” as we know it to be now.

    My comment was only intended to illustrate how the cultural impacts, and at times trumps, the historical. It’s all fascinating to me, all the same. Thanks for sharing from your fount of knowledge, as always.

  10. It is very interesting. When I moved here I realized that I had never lived in the north since I was a kid. Then people tried to tell me this was the South. Then I met people from New York and Chicago and they said it was the South. Then Kim gets married and her family from Huntsville AL say its okay with them for her to marry a “yankee” who is a Louisville native. In Georgia, the woman who was the tourguide, when told that I was from Louisville, said that “you yankees have a strange way of looking at things.” I’ve concluded that only people from Louisville and points north think that Louisville is in the South. But, the same reasons that make it hard to pinpoint culturally and geographically is the same reason why it is very difficult to forecast for, especially in the winter. Oh…here’s one more. St. Louis was a major city in a slave holding union state. It is exactly due west of Louisville. If one calls Louisville the South, the to be consistent, then one must say that St. Louis is a Southern City because the characteristic Louisville that are generally the argument for Louisville being a southern city are identical to the characterisitcs of St. Louis.

  11. St. Louis suffers the same identity complex as Louisville, but I sensed to a much lesser degree. While a college student there, I often heard it described it as “Northern charm with Southern efficiency”. As for it being the “Gateway to the West”, folks in Kansas City (Missour-ah) disagreed, claiming that distinction as their own and dubbing St. Louis the “Exit to the East”. Most St. Louisans did not disagree with this sentiment. All Missourians generally agreed that once you crossed the Mississippi River, you were no longer in the East. How far west (middle west?) was always the debate.

    Consequently, St. Louisans tended to describe their town as a Midwestern city first before anything else. Geographically it isn’t a hard sell with four thoroughly midwestern states surrounding it on three sides (Ill., Ia., Nebr., and Kans.). As for the two southwestern states (Ark., Okla.) and one southern state (Ky.) bordering Missouri, there is obviously some debate. Spend some time in New Madrid, Sikeston, or Malden and you definitely will feel closer to the South whether or not you are there geographically.

    Local boosters always tried to play the Chicago “connection” to St. Louis, however dubious it seemed. Louisville, as you noted, really comes closest in terms of similarities to St. Louis, except for size.

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