RPTM Podcast Episode Fifty-Three: Ten Percent plan, Race Riots, Sand Creek, and the Freedmen’s Bureau
The Sea Beast is a 2022 computer-animated adventure film directed by Chris Williams. If you haven't seen it, don't fret. You most likely do not have young children. The film regales the viewers will a fictional society stuck in perpetual war with the beasts of the sea—and the freelance Hunters of the sea are the saints upon which the mythology of the empire is constructed. The flagship and crew are soon to be superseded by a governmental operation. If the hunters bring the massive red sea monster (i.e., Moby Dick) to the monarchs before the new agency, they will keep their governmental backing. The crew must face off and defeat the corrupt government in this mission. In the third act, it is revealed that the war is a farce that perpetuates the ruling class status quo: the beasts aren't varmints, and humans and sea monsters can co-exist with humans.
The main character is a stowaway orphan girl obsessed with the heroes of these hunter's vessels. She is fixated on the propaganda created by the empire to maintain and eternalize the myth of the forever war. Her fixation derives from a history book that celebrates the hunters of the past. After being isolated from the crew, the girl discovers the peaceful nature of these leviathans—but she can't seem to forgive that the book lied to her. She gives an elegant speech to the monarchs and citizens at the film's climax.
"Question the history books" is a critical ethical lesson. But "Which books" is a question we should ask ourselves. The protagonist announces: "Our books, our history is a lie... it was just a story. A story told by them." We need to ask ourselves who "them" is. A more common idiom is "to the victor goes the spoils," usually implying that whatever side wins a war ends up with the financial resources and riches from their conquered enemies. But as historians, we need to remember that part of the victory is laying claim to the history book. We are writing the wrongs as a means to an end.
3:03 Ten Percent Plan
6:13 Detroit Race Riot
13:03 Wade Davis Bill
18:04 Sand Creek Massacre
22:54 Chinese Workers
26:01 Freedman's Bureau
Ten percent plan
The Battle Over Reconstruction
Detroit race riot of 1863
Sand Creek massacre
Sand Creek Massacre 150th Remembrance
Building the Transcontinental Railroad: How 20,000 Chinese Immigrants Made It Happen
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Ryan Lancaster wears many hats. Dive into his website to learn about history, sports, and more!