Thursday, February 19, 2009

Comment From Author John Sotos, MD

I just finished watching the "Stealing Lincoln's Body" documentary. It was really eerie seeing images of the moving Lincoln. They were wholly convincing: my congratulations to you and your team for amazing work.

It is particularly impressive that you took the challenge of showing him walking. Gait is an incredibly complicated neurological task. There are a hundred things to watch when people walk. One of my professors said that sitting on a bench in a park, watching people walk, was the best way to learn neurology. That's only somewhat exaggerated!

So I noticed (only) two things about the sequence near the end, where Lincoln is walking down the street. First, Lincoln had a flat-footed gait. Ward Lamon [personal friend of Lincoln and self appointed body guard] says Lincoln's shoes wore out evenly across the sole, not heel-first, as in most people. (This is a brilliant observation -- one of my favorites in all the Lincoln canon.) Second, Lincoln's arms tended to swing passively when he walked, as if they were hanging like limp spaguetti. (Of course, the sequence has Lincoln using his arm to greet people.)

After the show I was wondering if your sequences affected other people the way they got to me. Then I saw the "Making Of" short on the web, and heard your comment about Lincoln walking down the street. Question answered.

I appreciated your comments on Lincoln's facial asymmetry to Wired Magazine. I recently had the opportunity to discuss his asymmetries with a group of geneticists, and they agreed with the diagnosis of Lincoln's cranial malformation that's in "The Physical Lincoln" (LSFP = left synostotic frontal plagiocephaly).

I hope you get a chance to continue your re-creative efforts with Lincoln. No actor, or Lincoln presenter, can ever be made up to look the way Lincoln really did. Your efforts are the best ever.