Had Abraham Lincoln delivered the original address as I describe below, this photo would probably have been of a mob of people tearing him limb from limb. As it is, it is the only known photo of Lincoln at Gettysburg. The photographer - figuring that Lincoln would drone on as long as the two-hour address delivered by Edward Everett - didn't have enough time to set up his equipment before Lincoln delivered the speech and sat down. This photo captures Lincoln as he receives congratulations on the speech.
By now, you have probably heard about the newly discovered word "subjects" that Thomas Jefferson initially wrote in a draft of the Declaration of Independence - before erasing [obliterating is more like it] the word and replacing it with "citizens". If not, here goes:
For decades, historians have wondered what the hell Thomas Jefferson originally wrote initially before writing the word "citizens". It was clear from the smear in the ink that something had been written beforehand, but that Jefferson had erased it. The most common guesses were "patriots" or "residents", although Evil B has long argued that the word is "assholes".
The Library of Congress ended the mystery. Using a modified version of the kind of spectral imaging technology developed for the military and for monitoring agriculture, research scientists literally reconstructed the word that Jefferson banished in 1776 "subjects".
The Library's discovery is the first major finding attributed to these new high-tech instruments. By studying the document at different wavelengths of light, including infrared and ultraviolet, researchers detected slightly different chemical signatures in the remnant ink of the erased word than in "citizens." Those differences allowed the team to bring the erased word back to life.
But Jefferson was a wily fuck. He clearly worked hard at covering up the word, even though it was just a draft. Jefferson sought to match the lines and curves of the underlying smudged letters exactly with the new letters he wrote on top of them. The research scientists [led by Fenella France] literally spent weeks pulling out each letter out until the full word became apparent.
The erased word is on the third of the draft's four pages, in the section that describes the various ways that King George III was a royal douchebag. To be truthful, though, this is an exercise for geeks like me: the sentence is not found in the later Declaration of Independence itself. Meaning, we're not talking about a word that Jefferson removed from the final document. Just in the draft.
Still, I think finding Jefferson's erased word is pretty damned cool. Plus, there several other projects that are in progress, including Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.
That got me thinking about what mysteries are going to be revealed in the years to come. Here's a sampling of just two documents I can think of:
Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address:
"87 years ago the United States was created with the idea that all white males are the same. So how in the hell did we end up engaged in a great civil war? We have come here to these killing fields to put up a stupid marker to point out to future generations just how stubborn and obnoxious this generation was. The fact is, there is no way we can accurately and justly do this: I mean, what kind of a lunatic would run headlong into a volley of gunfire and sure death? You'd have to be a complete moron; not just obnoxious and stubborn, right? Look, nobody is gonna remember what the hell any of us say here today - certainly not the two-hour borefest this asshole [turning to Edward Everett next to him on stage] - but I hope they won't forget all this bloodshed. For those of us still breathing, we have to be here dedicated to ending this lunacy. Then and only then can we say these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom - and from stupidity — and that government of the dirty filthy masses, by less filthy and fewer masses, for the aforementioned dirty masses, ain't such a bad idea after all."
FDR's 1933 Inauguration Address:
"I am certain that many of you expect that - on my induction into the Presidency - I will walk on water and solve all of your problems. Well, first of all, I haven't walked since 1921, so get that idea right out of your head. I will, however, talk to you about this goddamned mess that this idiot [turning to Herbert Hoover on the grandstand] left me. I'm going to do something now that is rarely done by a politician - I'm going to tell you the truth. First of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing you have to fear is fear itself — very real, understandable, justified terror. Me? I'm going to be fine, I'm a millionaire, people. But, I'm pretty smart, so I am reasonably certain that I can save your asses if you'll stay the hell out of my way over the next few critical months.
True, a guy who lives on a big estate in upstate New York, who has never worked a day in his life and who has no idea what you're all going through might seem an odd choice to help you. Then again, this moron [again, turning to Hoover] didn't come from any money and look what he's done to you. Normally, when I do to a lady-friend what he's done to you, I at least buy her dinner first. This guy just went full-bore into your ass like a bull in a china shop. But I digress: they tell me that you're all suffering from tremendous losses in material things. Your savings have shrunken to hysterically funny levels; your taxes have risen; your ability to pay has fallen; none of you has any income; basically, you're all a bunch of deadbeats.
First of all: get over yourselves, people. You're not the first generation to get run over by an economic truck. It's not as though you've been stricken by a plague of locusts. Compared with the shit which our forefathers dealt with in the various wars, carnage and nasty medical procedures done without anesthesia, you people got it pretty good, so quit whining.
Truth be told, we all know who is responsible for this: the Jews. These shady, smarmy money changers have now fled from their high seats in the temple of our civilization to the dark recesses from whence they came. We may now restore that temple to an ancient truth: don't do business with the Jews. This is good. Our ability to do so will be a measure of our ability to apply social values more noble than mere monetary profit. Well, for you anyway: I still have tremendous upkeep on my various properties and such.
For you who have none, happiness lies not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of occasionally getting laid with a woman who is not your wife; in the thrill of putting your hand up an unfamiliar lady-friend's skirt. The joy and stimulation of that first ejaculation into the aforementioned lady-friend no longer must be forgotten in the mad chase of evanescent profits, which most of you will never see anyway. These dark days will be worth all they cost you if they teach you that your true destiny is not to try to be as rich as I am, but to die with a hard-on and smile on your face.
My greatest primary task is to put you people to work before you all get out of hand. This is no unsolvable problem because I am wise and ballsy. I'm going to deal with this as I would the emergency of a war. First, and quite frankly, we need to recognize that too goddamned-many of you live in the cities and slums. We've got to get as many of you out into the less-populated areas of the land. You're all packed in these cities like roaches in one of them Raid roach traps. Only you're alive. To do this, though, I've got to give you a reason to move to the country and farm lands. To do this, I will artificially jack up the price of agricultural products in an effort to get you greedy bastards onto the farms doing something useful, for God's sake. Granted, it'll be the first real work most of you have done in your miserable lives. Still, since most of you have already had your homes foreclosed on and have no jobs, what the hell else are you gonna do all day, besides annoying me by sleeping on the White House lawn?
Finally, in my progress toward a resumption of work I require two safeguards against a return of the evils of the old order: first, there must be a strict supervision of the Jews. Second, we must have a similarly strict supervision of all banking and credits, and investments, so that there will be an end to speculation with other people's money. These are the lines of attack. I shall presently urge upon a new Congress, in special session, detailed measures for their fulfillment, and I shall seek the immediate assistance of the several States.
Now, enough about the economy. In the field of world policy I would dedicate this Nation to the policy of the good neighbor — "good" being defined as the neighbor who resolutely respects himself and, because he does so, more often than not respects the rights of others — unless they interfere with what we want to do, in which case we'll crush you like the aforementioned roaches. If I read the temper of our people correctly, we now realize as we have never realized before that - for the most part - the other nations of the world are a real pain in the ass. However, our interdependence on other nations means we can't just ignore the bastards, either. This I propose to offer: I will send our troops into battle in no foreign wars. Obviously, you idiots: if we're fighting in it, then it is not a foreign war, is it? Duh.
With these pledges taken, I assume unhesitatingly the leadership of this great army of the poor, huddled, deadbeat masses dedicated to a disciplined attack upon our common problems: the Jews, the economy, and other nations. In that order, by the way. This is feasible under the form of government which we have inherited from our ancestors. Our Constitution is so simple and practical because you interpret it any damned way you see fit. Hence, it is possible always to meet extraordinary needs by changes in emphasis and arrangement without ever really changing the damned thing. That is why our constitutional system has proved itself the most superbly enduring political mechanism the world has produced - with the exception of prostitution, naturally. It has met every stress of vast expansion of territory - the Constitution, not whores; although they don't hurt, either. It has met the stress of wars, of bitter internal strife, of world relations. In a perfect world, we'd have that normal balance of Executive and legislative authority that we all say we know and love. Well, I think I've outlined for you here that this is no perfect world: so, I say to Congress: shit or get off the pot. I'm not gong to wait around while you idiots sit there with your thumbs up your asses all day. This unprecedented crisis calls for undelayed action and the hopefully [wink, wink]temporary departure from that normal balance of public procedure. Therefore, I am prepared under my constitutional duty to recommend the measures that a stricken Nation in the midst of a stricken world may require. These measures, or such other measures as come to my mind on a whim, I shall seek - within or without my constitutional authority, to bring a speedy end to this mess.
For the trust you all have reposed in me I will return the courage and the devotion that befit the time - within the confines of my daily schedule. That is: I'm not working more than 6 hours a day: I'm in a wheelchair, for Christ's sake.
I have no doubt that you will all face the arduous days that lie before you in the warm courage of national unity - providing I can come up with enough busy-work for you to do. The people of the United States have not failed - well, not all of them, anyway. In their need they have registered a mandate that they want direct, vigorous action. They have asked for discipline and direction under leadership. They have made me the present instrument of their wishes. In the spirit of the gift I take it. In this dedication of a Nation I humbly ask the blessing of God, yadda, yadda, yadda. May He protect me from each and every one of you. May He guide me in the days to come as I figure out what the hell to do with all of you."
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