This week, I thought I’d treat you to a little history lesson… But wait! Don’t go run away screaming just yet. This won’t be any old history lesson – but one filtered through the medium of television. And, better still, not just any old television – but HBO television! The kind that is so impossibly magnificent that, FACT, all of television is now better than everything ever shown in a cinema (the rest by association, of course).
You see, I’ve been learning all about the Founding Fathers recently. Via the first two episodes of the HBO mini-series John Adams. Such a strange thought – only a few short days ago all I really knew about these fine fellows is that they were all men, and that the thing they founded was America (as finally freed, at least, from the oppressive shackles of mean, tax-collecting England). And now look at me: I have so much expertise on the subject that I can’t wait to share it.
Here, then, I give you… (By all means, feel free to take some notes.)
character agent of change. A great thinker, a fine public speaker, and a man of impeccable integrity. Cannot help but do the right thing – especially if that means making the law more just. Also a staunch New Englander, never happier than when engaged in fine, noble pursuits like standing outside in the cold, frowning, staying up late, and getting hands dirty while farming. Married to Abigail, a woman ready to endure any hardship in the course of being perfect (a fine thinker too, and an even better mom).
A man forever inclined to do his duty – even if that must mean, through wicked circumstance, a burden of responsibility too great for lesser men to bear. An unfailingly modest man, in spite of countless reasons not to be, and much more of a doer than a talker. Fond of wearing military apparel, even when the only one doing so.
A lovable eccentric who others will always turn to for wisdom and counsel (explains Franklin to Adams, effective diplomacy means not being rude to would-be allies in public). A self-taught cynic, but an idealist at heart. Also worldly – having spent some time in London.
Terribly clever – but only once you get to know him (claims to have no gift for oratory -while reckoning it a useful thing for public men to have – so saves all his eloquence for private penmanship instead). Like Washington, fated to have lesser men perpetually in need of his brilliant assistance, even though, again like Washington, it’s all a bit of a drag. Not just book-smart, but handy too – makes swivel chairs, portable writing desks, and other things similarly useful.
Quick to anger; indignant, a hot-head but passionate. Motivated most especially by a righteous cause, and a reflex distaste for all things overseas and foreign. A Boston man through-and-through, and a firm believer in the efficacy of rolling sleeves up – and drinking beer. A man’s man, and good for morale.
A wealthy man of influence. Not as clever as the rest – but really rather dashing.
…And if any of this is in any way inaccurate, don’t blame me – blame Tom Hooper, John Adams‘ none-more-English director. He of A King’s Speech Oscar-winning fame, and, may I add, a man who cut his teeth directing… Byker Grove. More fool America, eh, for trusting him with the story of its birth!
*as depicted by the TV show John Adams