That’s the name of a book that strikes a funny or serious or whatever vein in its readers. It’s not a new book. It was published eight or so years ago. The author is Leland Gregory, who also wrote “Stupid History.”
“Stupid American History” is billed as “tales of stupidity, strangeness and mythconceptions.” It’s a second look at that which is historical.
For instance, the first item that caught the attention of these eyes was about our Founding Fathers, those “perfect” individuals who in mind and thought brought forth a nation, rock-like in strength, visionary in freedoms, “all men are created equal” in this republic and firm in beliefs that a democratic society could be lasting.
The author wrote: “Simply by looking at the first line of the Constitution you’ll find that they (the Founding Fathers) weren’t perfect — and they especially weren’t more perfect.” The first line of the preamble to the Constitution reads, “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union . . .” If something is perfect, how can it be more perfect?
The author touched on another point that’s interesting, if not that astounding. He wrote that Americans do not believe this country has had a royal family. “But if you look at the bloodline of certain presidents, you’ll see that a number of them have something in common — each other.” The author explains: “Take, for example, the 32nd president of the United States, Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882-1945). He was a relative of William Howard Taft, Theodore Roosevelt, Benjamin Harrison, Ulysses S. Grant, Zachary Taylor, William Henry Harrison, Martin Van Buren, John Quincy Adams, James Madison, John Adams and George Washington.”
We were surprised to read this. There never was a shoot-out at the O.K. Corral. The shoot-out actually took place in a vacant lot between Harwood’s house and Fly’s Lodging House, nearly a quarter of a block away from the O.K. Corral. But it was referred to as the Shoot-Out at the O.K. Corral because
Shoot-Out by Fly’s Lodging House wasn’t considered suitable (or catchy).
Ever wonder how the donkey became the symbol of the Democratic Party? According to “Stupid American History,” it all started when Andrew Jackson ran for president in 1828 with the slogan, “Let the people rule,” and his opponents labeled him a “jackass.” Jackson turned the tables on them by using a donkey to represent his stubbornness on his campaign posters. The donkey symbol of the Democratic Party was first used in a political cartoon in 1837. Even though Jackson had left office by that time, he still thought of himself as the party’s leader. He was shown in the cartoon trying to push the donkey where he wanted it to go.
To us the title of the book is somewhat misleading. It should have been “Interesting American History.”