August 17, 2017

President Trump argued Thursday in favor of the beauty of parks with Confederate monuments (needless to say, a questionable perspective), tweeting that "you can't change history, but you can learn from it. Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson — who's next, Washington, Jefferson? So foolish!"

Despite Trump's claims that "you can't change history," a short trip down memory lane lands us at that one time Trump erected a monument at his golf course in honor of a completely made up Civil War battle:

Even though there's a monument and plaque commemorating "casualties [that] were so great the water would turn red and thus became known as 'The River of Blood'" [at Trump's National Golf Club on Lowes Island in Sterling, Virginia], all the local historians reached by The New York Times denied anything of the sort ever happened in the area.

"No. Uh-uh. No way. Nothing like that ever happened there," Richard Gillespie, the executive director of the Mosby Heritage Area Association, the region's historical preservation group, said. Alana Blumenthal, who curates the Loudoun Museum in nearby Leesburg, agreed there had never been a battle at or near the site, as did another expert who chose not to be named.

When told about the historians' denial of the so-called River of Blood massacre, Trump replied, "How would they know that? Were they there?" [The Week]

Trump told the Times that "if people are crossing the river, and you happen to be in a civil war, I would say that people were shot — a lot of them," which unfortunately isn't how history works. Read the full story at The New York Times, and check out the inscription on Trump's statue below. Jeva Lange

April 6, 2017

President Donald Trump was inaugurated almost exactly 11 weeks ago, on Jan. 20. But he's either been working so hard he hasn't stopped to check a calendar, or he thinks the passage of time is fake news, because he's pretty sure it's been longer:

As for the claim about being off to one of the "most successful" starts in presidential history, well, that might be up for debate too. Kimberly Alters

September 25, 2014
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Another True Detective has reportedly entered the fold. Variety reports that HBO has formally offered one of the lead roles in True Detective's second season to Rachel McAdams. McAdams has long been rumored as one of the top choices for the role, on a short list that also included actresses like Elisabeth Moss, Malin Ackerman, and Jessica Biel.

If she accepts, McAdams will join a cast that includes Colin Farrell and onetime Wedding Crashers co-star Vince Vaughn. HBO hasn't formally described the role she'd be taking, but previous leaks about the story for True Detective's second season described the female protagonist as "Ani Bezzrides, a tough, no-nonsense Monterey sheriff whose troubled upbringing has driven her to gambling and alcohol." Scott Meslow

August 21, 2014

Bad news, True Detective fans: at the Edinburgh TV Festival, HBO programming director Michael Lombardo revealed that the acclaimed drama won't air its highly anticipated second season anytime soon.

"We're going to start shooting it in September for it to air next summer," said Lombardo. He also confirmed several rumored details about season 2, including a California setting and three main characters — one of whom is female.

Widespread rumors claim those main characters will be played by Colin Farrell, Taylor Kitsch, and Elisabeth Moss, with Vince Vaughn rumored for a supporting role. Lombardo didn't confirm any of those names, but added, "we'll probably be announcing casting soon." Scott Meslow

August 5, 2014
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

True Detective's impressive ratings and critical acclaim came, in no small part, from Matthew McConaughey's performance as protagonist Rust Cohle. The character's pessimistic philosophical monologues are one of True Detective's most memorable trademarks, and they'll probably earn McConaughey a Best Actor Emmy later this month.

But as series creator Nic Pizzolatto prepares True Detective's second season, some viewers are accusing him of plagiarizing the very monologues that put his HBO drama on the map. Mike Davis, the editor of The Lovecraft eZine, collaborated with Thomas Ligotti Online founder Jon Padgett to track down similarities between Rust Cohle's dialogue in True Detective and a Thomas Ligotti book called The Conspiracy Against the Human Race. The duo found nearly a dozen instances in which Cohle's dialogue seemed to be cribbed from Ligotti; you can compare them for yourself at The Lovecraft eZine.

"As I reviewed Jon's research, and did more of my own, any doubts I had about plagiarism disappeared," Davis writes. "It became obvious to me that Pizzolatto had plagiarized Thomas Ligotti and others — in some places using exact quotes, and in others changing a word here and there, paraphrasing in much the same way that a high school student will cheat on an essay by copying someone else's work and substituting a few words of their own."

Pizzolatto hasn't responded to the accusations, but he has occasionally acknowledged Ligotti's influence on the show. "I read The Conspiracy Against the Human Race and found it incredibly powerful writing," he said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. "For me as a reader, it was less impactful as philosophy than as one writer's ultimate confessional: an absolute horror story, where the self is the monster. In episode one [of True Detective] there are two lines in particular (and it would have been nothing to re-word them) that were specifically phrased in such a way as to signal Ligotti admirers." Consider them signaled. Scott Meslow

August 5, 2014
Jason Merritt/Getty Images

After months of speculation and countless #TrueDetectiveSeason2 hashtags, story details for the HBO crime drama's second season have begun to emerge.

The Wrap, which obtained a breakdown of the second season, reveals that the story will focus on the murder of Ben Caspar, a corrupt city manager whose body is uncovered with satanic symbols carved into it. Caspar's death threatens to derail a revolutionary California transportation plan that would "forever change freeway gridlock in the state." Three detectives are assigned to the case:

— Ray Velcoro, a man "damaged by years of turmoil in his personal and professional lives"

— Paul Woodrugh, a "28-year-old military veteran who has seen has own share of violence and destruction"

— Ani Bezzrides, "a tough, no-nonsense Monterey sheriff whose troubled upbringing has driven her to gambling and alcohol."

In addition to previously rumored stars Colin Farrell and Taylor Kitsch, The Wrap adds that Elisabeth Moss is being eyed to play the female lead, who sounds a lot like the tough, no-nonsense detective she played on SundanceTV's Top of the Lake. Time is a flat circle, etc etc. Scott Meslow

August 4, 2014
Jason Merritt/Getty Images

TV Line reports that Vince Vaughn "is in preliminary talks to play one of the three leads" in HBO drama True Detective's second season. Colin Farrell and Taylor Kitsch have also been widely rumored for roles, though HBO hasn't confirmed any of the second season's lead actors yet.

Vaughn, whose recent credits include comedy flops like Delivery Man and The Internship, might not seem like the most obvious choice for the popular HBO drama — but five years ago, would you have been excited about a cop show with Ghost of Girlfriends Past star Matthew McConaughey in the lead role? Scott Meslow

May 27, 2014

The first season of HBO's True Detective hinged on the fascinating, prickly chemistry between Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, who played reluctant partners attempting to solve a bizarre cult murder. But in a recent interview on the radio program "To the Best of Our Knowledge," series creator Nic Pizzolatto revealed a curveball: True Detective's second season will actually feature three protagonists.

"We're working with three leads," said Pizzolatto. "It takes place in California — not Los Angeles, but some of the much lesser known venues of California — and we're going to try to capture a certain psychosphere ambiance of the place, much like we did in season one."

Pizzolatto's revelation instantly rendered months of #TrueDetectiveSeason2 jokes obsolete — but countless Twitter users are already hard at work to make up for it. --Scott Meslow