Tuesday, July 01, 2008

all presidents

Here’s a review of a little thought rampage the Eleven had in the car yesterday. If you must know, it was driven by my somewhat middling description to her of the Continental Congress functioning depicted in John Adams (HBO) that I’m watching on DVD these here days. The first thing I asked was this: if you ask a bunch of Americans who was our greatest President, how would the voting break down? I originally asked X what three would mostly likely be named. She immediately guffawed at my asking for three, thinking I was mentally unstable, and pointed out that there would only be two that anyone would consider: Washington and Lincoln. (Washington is prominent in the first and second parts of John Adams and we’ve already spent time on the Hilltop discussing his personality and position.) This sort of rolled into how many people we thought would recognize a picture or either if we held up just one 8 x 10 glossy and said “Who is this?” The summary seems to be that in the greatest President debate it would probably lean to Lincoln by some margin; though I might be willing to see something very close to a 50-50 draw. As far as recognition is concerned, we seem to think Lincoln is probably the most recognizable person in all of American history. The second little nugget was the drafting of the Declaration of Independence by Thomas Jefferson. I hadn’t realized he’d written almost the entire document - I’d assumed it was more of a team effort. What came to my mind next was more of a curse than a political view: that bastard John Hancock. I’m going on record as saying that if you asked around about who wrote the Declaration of Independence you’d get a ton of responses saying, “why, John Hancock, of course.” I know he was president of the Congress and all, but his big, overwrought, “look at me” signature covering half the spare space at the bottom is gauche. Just because you get to sign first doesn’t mean you have to be so damn grand. We still have people referring to “John Hancock” when they ask you to sign something; we don’t even know who John Hancock was, really. I guess he must have written the thing.

It is what it is.


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