had one job to do
just the one job but did not
get it right, come on!
Winston Churchill once said of his opponent, the right honorable Clement Attlee that, “He was a modest man.”
Then Mr. Churchill added, “He had much to be modest about.”
Mr. Churchill’s image today is that he smoked cigars, drank whisky and also decided early on, that Adolf Hitler was bad and that any and all steps to get rid of Mr. Hitler should be taken and taken sooner rather than later.
There are times when I think that that is just about right.
To be sure Mr. Churchill did much much more.
Just enter Tonypandy into the google for another side of the great man.
But lets hit those three things.
By most counts he managed to smoke, in his lifetime, over 300,000 cigars.
That comes out to about 8 a day.
One time, Franklin Roosevelt announced his plans to leave a meeting the next day early at 6AM.
Mr. Churchill announced he would say goodbye now as no sane person was up at that hour.
At 6AM as FDR was being hauled aboard his plane, a limo pulled up.
Mr. Churchill got out.
He was wearing his sleep vest pajamas (tops only say the books) a bathrobe and slippers.
Photographers came out in mass.
Mr. Churchill, smoking a cigar of course, gestured them away saying with a smile, “You simply cannot do this to me.”
Later that day he was asked what it was like to get up at 6AM and he replied it was wonderful as he had “time for another cigar.”
A word about his whisky drinking can be said by quoting Mr. Churchill’s quote that, “He had taken more out of Whisky than Whisky had taken out of him.”
“Everything in moderation” was what Mr. Churchill said.
Which led one admirer to comment, “I must say, if the way Winston drinks is ‘moderation’, then he drinks an awful lot in moderation.”
On Mr. Hitler, Mr. Churchill said simply, “If Hitler invaded hell I would make at least a favourable reference to the devil in the House of Commons.”
So why all this Churchill stuff.
For one its fun.
As a writer, he made sure he got all the best lines.
NANCY ASTOR: “Winston, if you were my husband, I would put poison in your coffee.”
WINSTON: “Nancy, if you were my wife, I would drink it.”
The other reason Mr. Churchill was on my mind is that the BBC recently produced a 6 hour documentary titled, Churchill.
What can you say?
Even Spielberg titled Lincoln, Lincoln. (and Jaws, Jaws)
This documentary promised to be in the best tradition of Ken Burns at his best, which if you read this blog, you will know I find barely above a passing grade.
Mr. Burns does quality work.
And he is smart enough to get quality people both in writing and narration to carry him along.
But in his directorial use and selection of source material, video and photographs he falls far short of the mark and in my opinion is quite the historical humbug.
I was trained in a tough school of historiography in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Historiography is the study and CRITICAL REVIEW of historical writing.
I would complain to my Professors that they were often too tough, their standards too high when they would blast a colleague on some minor error.
NO ERROR IS MINOR they would reply.
If you catch that ONE, how many did you NOT CATCH due to your lack of depth on the subject.
So I was taught.
So I hold Mr. Burns to that standard.
So when Mr. Burns uses photographs to illustrate events in the narrative THAT TOOK PLACE 10 YEARS before the photograph was taken, and knowingly crops or alters the photo so it fits into the narrative, well then.
I have to close that door.
But back to the new Churchill Documentary.
It has got some good reviews.
I told myself to give it chance.
Watch it through.
Then make up my mind on.
So was the plan.
It is on You Tube to make it easy to watch.
6 episodes at 1 hour per episode from the BBC.
I am sorry I have to announce I got through less than 30 seconds.
In the bit I saw, the narrative said, “Churchill was spending the weekend at the PM’s country estate, Chequers.
The video however showed Mr. Churchill’s country estate, Chartwell.
OH COME ON.
One job to do.
One job to do to tell the story of Winston Churchill and you can’t keep his house straight from the house of the British Prime Minister.
I shut off YouTube and reached for my blog.
I happily typed out this paean to myself and my self admitted genius.
Then I went looking for pictures of the two house to show how dumb these folks were.
THEN I checked YouTube to be sure I was right.
I had one job to do.
TO watch and comment on the passing show and be correct in my assertions.
And I blew it.
So mark this down.
I was wrong.
I admit it.
I was wrong.
This isn’t like the time in the WZZM13 Newsroom when I stood on a desk a yelled, “I WAS WRONG.”
I really did that.
I stood up and yelled, “I APOLOGIZE. WRITE TODAY DOWN. I WAS WRONG … NOT ONE OF YOU IS AS SMART AS I THOUGHT YOU WERE.”
This one is all on me.
The show was correct.
They had the right house.
I will get back to you as soon as I make up my mind to watch the show.
One job to do.
And I cannot do it.