Sins of Omission

David Crockett

“Watch what people are cynical about,” said General Patton, “and one can often discover what they lack.”  Since the 1960’s I’ve been watching what are often called revisionist historians trying to destroy the American heroes I grew up admiring.  At first I couldn’t understand why such historians would be so hell-bent on tearing down figures the rest of us honored, until it dawned on me they saw in those figures qualities they didn’t have, could never have.  It was necessary for them to protect their own psyches by denying the courage and honor possessed by our cherished historical figures.  Their denial also relieved them of the duty of trying their best to live up to such standards.

Coming in for his share of attacks during the last several decades is David Crockett.  Evidently inspired by the devaluation of Crockett, John Lee Hancock, the director and one of the writers of the movie The Alamo (2004), said he wanted to make certain his Crockett did not remind anyone of earlier movie versions.  Hancock’s Crockett is full of self-doubt, tortured by his past, and bedeviled by his image.  He is not the charismatic frontiersman who inspired the loyalty and courage of those around him.  Reflecting revisionist attacks on Crockett, the movie suggests Crockett never did much of anything.  Instead, his derring-do was a creation of early...

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