Happy Darwin/Lincoln Day!

And what a fine day it is. To think that two of the greatest men to change the world in the 19th Century would have been born on the same day in the same year; February 12 1809.

In all the hullabaloo and celebrations of both men’s lives, there’s been little if any reference in the media to this astral pairing, quite curiously. Perhaps there is fear of upsetting those who would support President Lincoln but think of Darwin as a devil of history. It’s all very suspicious.

Surely if there was ever a time when we needed to look to the great minds of the past for inspiration it is now.

I for one have celebrated all day in my own way, reading articles and debates scattered across the internet during breaks from my work. Now I intend to continue that celebration into the early hours of the morning watching films about them, as is my style.

First up is Inherit the Wind, not exactly about Darwin, but about Darwinism, and also fantastic. As a teenager it was heavily responsible for my lapse into dedicated atheism and my love for Spencer Tracy (seen around the same time I first saw Bad Day at Black Rock – who could resist?). With a Paul Bettany biopic on the way, it was either this or The Fall, which would likely raise questions about whether I know anything about Charles Darwin at all.

After that I have also rented out Young Mr. Lincoln, John Ford’s biopic with Henry Fonda. I’ve always found something disturbingly charming about Ford’s non-westerns (though that is likely to be because I am Irish), so this should be an interesting portrayal. Again, I can’t help but feel cheated that the long-promised Spielberg biopic was not delivered on time for the bicentenary. Well, not to worry.

It’s going to be a long, inspiring night.

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UPDATE: 3.30am – Damn that was some good courtroom drama!

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