Thursday, November 27, 2008

" surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature..."

Ranking the Presidents, Part Ten: The Greats

See also:
part one, part two, part three, part four, part five, part six, part seven , part eight, part nine

So far:

42. James Buchanan
41. Warren Harding

40. William Henry Harrison
39. Franklin Pierce
38. George W. Bush
37. Andrew Johnson
36. Millard Fillmore

35. John Tyler
34. James A. Garfield
33. Zachary Taylor
32. Ulysses S. Grant
31. Richard Nixon
30. Herbert Hoover
29. Benjamin Harrison
28. Jimmy Carter
27. Chester A. Arthur
26. Rutherford B. Hayes
25. Gerald Ford
24. Martin Van Buren
23. Calvin Coolidge
22. John Quincy Adams
21. William Howard Taft
20. Ronald Reagan
19. Bill Clinton

18. George Bush
17. William McKinley
16. Grover Cleveland
15. John Adams
14. Dwight Eisenhower
13. John F. Kennedy
12. James K. Polk
11. James Madison
10. James Monroe
9. Andrew Jackson
8. Lyndon Johnson
7. George Washington
6. Thomas Jefferson
5. Harry Truman

Staggering to the finish line...

Here we go. The four greats:

4. Woodrow Wilson (1913 - 1921)

High Points/Accomplishments:
(1) economic reform (Federal Reserve Act of 1913, the Federal Trade Commission of 1914, and the Clayton Anti-Trust Act of 1914). (2) On balance, did a great job leading America during WW1. And...that seems really short, doesn't it? Well...I could (but won't) go on and on about his work during the war. Just trust me.

Low Points: (1) a bit of a doucher. This played a not insignificant role in Wilson flaming out* so spectacularly during the Paris Peace Conference, since he arrived there with a sense of entitlement that vastly outweighed his own nation's contribution to the war effort (and that contribution was sizeable, just to put the ego thing in perspective). Of course, his douchiness extends to other things, too, including his unfortunate stance on black people (against them) and his policy banning them from White House positions.

* = please don't construe this as me bagging on the Fourteen Points, which, for the most part, I admire immensely. It's just that it was hopelessly naive to believe that he could introduce this platform during negotiations without irrevocably damaging relations with the French and the British. (And, oh by the way, did you know that Wilson won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1919 for the aforementioned points? I did not.)

(2) Prohibition happened on his watch.

(3) The CPI--Committee on Public Information--in its sedulous attempts to influence American public opinion (in favor or against Germany? Guesses??) did some baddddd shit. (There's a great chapter about this in America in the Great War (1994) by Ronald Schaffer).

(4) The Sedition Act of 1918. Terrified that low morale would drag the country down, Congress passed this amendment (at Wilson's urging), which (from Wikipedia):
"made it a crime to utter, print, write or publish any disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language about the United States' form of government."
Good times! Basically, it was the second coming of Adams' Alien and Sedition Act (even, unimaginatively, sharing the same name) and it was a goddamn travesty. (Thankfully, it was repealed in 1920.)

Fun Facts:
(1) Bit of backstory here: Wilson's first wife (Ellen Axson Wilson) died in August, 1914 as a result of complications from Bright's Disease. In true insensitive Presidential fashion (see also: every other President whose spouse died while he was in office), Wilson began dating again before the year was out and was re-married in 1915. (In fairness, I'm being uncharitable, since Wilson was said to be so devastated by his wife's death that he confided to aides that he hoped to be assassinated.) During the courtship of his soon-to-be new wife (Edith Bolling Galt), Wilson took her to the theatre, which led to this truly outstanding typographical error in the Washington Post:
"rather than paying attention to the play the president spent much of the evening entering Mrs. Galt." [Emphasis added]
Of course, it was supposed to read "entertaining." Editors caught the mistake, but not before thousands of copies hit the streets. Alas, try as I might, I couldn't find a link to the actual uncorrected article.

(2) Convinced he was going to lose his bid for re-election in 1916, Wilson--his private papers revealed years later--so concerned about the gap between election day and inauguration day (then: nearly 140 days) was prepared to appoint his Republican opponent, Charles Evans Hughes, Secretary of State, at which point Wilson and his VP (the incredibly obscure Thomas Marshall of Indiana) would step down and Hughes would become President. Anyway, despite everyone and their mother predicting that WW was on his way out, he ended up winning, so this bizarre, 24-esque, ultra-extra-legal scenario never came to fruition.

(3) Officially made the second Sunday in May Mother's Day in 1914 (no truth to the rumor that he was a minority shareholder in FTD).

In Writing:
(though I ran out of superlatives for these books about five posts ago) August Heckscher's Woodrow Wilson (1991) is outstanding. Inexplicably, it's barely in print now (though readily available from the library). The section on Wilson's stroke is especially exemplary, as you see how the First Lady and Colonel House scrambled to conceal the fact that the President was totally incapacitated and that they were running the White House practically all by themselves. Basically, it makes Bartlet's MS cover-up look like a parking ticket. Riveting stuff.

In Popular Culture: (1) Bart uses his name (and Gordie Howe's photo!) for Mrs. Krabappel's fake-boyfriend.

Test of Time: Always in the top seven (the exception being the two WSJ polls conducted in the last five years--where he's finished 11th both times--for reasons that aren't entirely clear to me, since even if those polls place more of an emphasis on economic issues, WW still looks pretty good. Something tells me the Journal polls place an even greater emphasis on "rich guy economics" in which case WW fares much worse)--although rarely this high. My sense is his reputation only improves with time.

3. Teddy Roosevelt (1902 - 1909)

High Points/Accomplishments: largely responsible for the building of the Panama Canal (note: this would be in a different category were I Colombian); the Roosevelt Corollary (if only because it introduced "corollary"--an awfully fun word to say--into everyone's vocabulary); strengthened anti-trust laws; successfully negotiated a treaty between Russia and Japan, earning himself the Nobel Peace Prize in the process (the first American to do so); successfully navigated the U.S. through the Panic of 1907, shoring up banks to restore consumer confidence; great improved unsanitary conditions in the meatpacking industry, as well as food and drug reforms; the Great White Fleet (though they probably should've workshopped the name just a little bit more); appointed Oliver Wendell Holmes to the Supreme Court (arguably the best non-CJ justice in the Courts history); during a coal strike in 1902 when mill owners refused to negotiate with the union (imagine that!), TR threatened to seize the mills. This move brought both parties to the negotiating table, and the matter was quickly resolved. (Let the record show this is what distinguishes TR, a great President, from Truman, a nearly great President. The former acted as if was going to seize the mills, while the latter--rashly--actually attempted to go through with it). Also: just an absolute giant in conservation circles (I'd almost go as far to say that, for all intents and purposes, he created conservation).

Low Points: he loses a couple of points for trying to back out of a promise not to run for a second term (briefly: sometime after assuming the presidency post-assassination, TR announced--totally unprompted--that he was counting this as his first term and that he wouldn't serve more than two terms. He was elected in '04, and, still popular in the lead-up to '08, came to regret his promise. Nevertheless, he abided by it, and personally groomed Taft, the eventual winner.) Anyway, come 1912--now furious with Taft--TR really regretted his promise, and eventually decided to run again. (although his explanation--Asked how this didn't conflict with his promise not to run more than once, he said, I swear, "well, I meant I wouldn't run twice in a row"--was pretty hilarious and/or inventive).

Fun Facts:
(1) If it weren't for Jefferson, TR would be the undisputed Renaissance President. Alas, we can't ignore TJ, so TR will have to settle for a still-very-impressive #2. Hobbies included: boxing, jujitsu, horseback riding, swimming naked in the Potomac (again with this!?!), tennis, hiking, hunting, bird watching, reading and writing history, being shot, and poetry.

(2) According to John Hodgman in The Areas of My Expertise (at 201), TR had a hook for a hand. Hodgman further notes:
first draft: speak slowly and pierce their eyes with a golden hook.
(3) Nearly banned college football during his first term. While this seems especially objectionable to me today, it should be noted that players died so routinely at the turn of the century that they nearly resorted to including "Casualties" as a stat category in the box scores.

(4) Plenty of POTUS firsts: first to ride in a car; first to ride in a submarine (!); first (only?) to study judo; first to have a toy named after him (teddy bear); first sitting President to visit another country (Panama--and really, though, how the hell did we lose this contest to Panama? Is it because we burned down the White House?).

(5) According to Wikipedia (though I must admit this sounds like bullshit) he coined the Maxwell House slogan "good to the last drop," having blurted that out in the Maxwell House Hotel in Tennessee. I told you: Renaissance Man!

(6) Great quote about his unruly daughter, Alice:
"I can be President of the United States, or I can control Alice. I cannot possibly do both."
She, in turn, retorted with one that's arguably even better, stating that TR:
"wanted to be the bride at every wedding and the corpse at every funeral."
In Writing: I highly recommend T.R.: The Last Romantic by H.W. Brands. In particular, the part after the death of TR's first wife (which prompted him to go out and live in the wilderness) is beautifully written. David McCullough's Mornings on Horseback is supposed to be quite good too, but I've yet to read it.

In Popular Culture: (1) In "King-Size Homer" (the one where Homer deliberately gains weight so that he can go on disability and work from home), Mr. Burns, while leading Power Plant employees through calisthenics, urges them on by saying:
"I want to see more Teddy Roosevelts and less Franklin Roosevelts!"
(2) Courtesy of Shuk (I couldn't find the quote, whereas he simply memorizes full episodes), from "The Front" (aka "the one where Bart and Lisa write Itchy and Scratchy sketches under Grandpa's name):
[as he's accepting an Emmy award for writing] Grandpa: Thank you for this award. It is a tribute to this great country that a man who once took a shot at Teddy Roosevelt could win back your trust.
(3) Is going to be played be Leonardo DiCaprio (wtf?) in Scorcese's recently announced project, "The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt" (scheduled release date: 2010). Look, I love Leo, but if he's playing TR past the age of, say, 30, there's going to be trouble (unless DiCaprio elects to wear a fat suit--in which case I assume it'll be a comedy). That said, it can't possibly be worse that Robin Williams playing Roosevelt in Night at the Museum. (The good news is that Scorcese's pic is based on Edmund Morris's work--he wrote The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt and Theodore Rex). We'll see.

Test of Time: A top five guy, to be sure. Not much else to say, actually. Frankly, this category is pretty redundant now that we're covering the greats...

OK, onto the top two...

Now, I should note that this was very close, since both these guys are personal heroes of mine. While both men led America through incredibly trying crises, I give the edge to Lincoln, since--had he failed--there was a very real chance there wouldn't be an America (or, at least, not an America we recognize). Overly dramatic? Sure...but not entirely off-base, either. (Hey, that should be the blog's slogan!) On that note:

2. Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1933 - 1945)

High Points/Accomplishments: to go grab a sandwich before you start this one: the hundred days; restored consumer confidence in the banks; the Civilian Conservation Corps (18-25s paid to build roads, plants trees, work on flood control, and loads of other things in exchange for food, shelter, and a $1 a day in wages--of which a certain percentage was required to be sent home. Such an elegant solution to unemployment. Note: when Carrie was unable to work due to visa regulations, and we had to wait countless months--because there were too many applications to process--for her work permit to come through, I suggested to anyone that would listen that Immigration should hire immigrants to process Immigration forms...and was met, without fail, with blank stares or rolled eyes. Not that I'm bitter or anything...); farm reform, the Tennessee Valley Authority; the National Industrial Recovery Act, the Public Works Administration; the National Housing Act; the Securities and Exchange Commission; the Wagner Act (established labour's right to organize and bargain collectively), the Social Security Act; repealed Prohibition.

Oh...and oversaw probably the most impressive rapid build-up of a nation's military in the past 100 years...and capably led the U.S. during WW2.

Low Points: This section is probably more expansive than most would prefer for someone ranked as the 2nd greatest President of all time, but there's no sense hiding it: he made his fair share of mistakes (actually, since he served 12 years versus the previous high of eight, he committed his fair share plus 50% of someone else's share. But I digress...). Five things jump out:

(1) You could certainly make the argument (and many have) that, despite its good intentions, the New Deal never succeeded in ending the Great Depression (WW2 gets the credit there) and that, on the whole, it was incredibly wasteful. Truth be told, I am not one of those people. True, some things didn't really work the way they were supposed to (the National Recovery Administration), were unconstitutional (the original AAA), were counter-intuitive (again: the AAA, which, in its original form, advocated the destruction of crops and/or paid farmers not to grow things, at a time when famine was a very real national issue), and were incredibly expensive (um...all of it), but at least FDR was willing to try new things and gave people a chance to make an honest living. And if that seems like me taking the easy way out, please do remember how America plunged into despair between 1929 and 1933 in no small part due to government inactivity. The opportunity to do something (anything) to support their families was welcomed with open arms. If the administration exceeded its reach, so be it. It was worth it.

(2) Court packing (tired that that the Supreme Court kept vetoing New Deal legislation, FDR tried to pass a bill that would allow him to appoint one new associate justice--up to six--for every sitting judge that was 70 or older and had 10+ years experience on the bench). Not so much illegal (there's nothing in the Constitution that says there has to be nine justices) as ill-advised. This cost him a fair bit of political capital.

(3) slow to react re: the Holocaust. David M. Kennedy--who, for the most part doesn't hesitate to criticize FDR in Freedom From Fear--goes inexplicably soft on him when it comes to the U.S. dragging its heels here, concluding the three page section (in a 936 page book--but that's another issue altogether) by saying (at 797):
Americans had been fortunate in the war, singularly fortunate in a world that inflicted unspeakable punishments on so many millions of others. But good fortune could be the father of innocence, and the world the war was making would be no place for the innocent, no matter how very much of it they seemed poised to inherit.
To paraphrase Toby Ziegler (been watching a lot of West Wing repeats lately) in "The Two Bartlets": "I've read this six times and I still don't know what it means" (to which David Kennedy, no doubt, would respond, "I'm being purposefully non-specific.") I think he's trying to say that the U.S. was too timid or that U.S. officials were simply incapable of comprehending the scope of the Nazis' plan, but it's incredibly vague and lets FDR off the hook far more than he actually should be.

Fair is fair: if we're going to call the current Bush admin out for not acting on a memo that read "Bin Ladin [sic] determined to strike in U.S.", then we should at least do the same for the Roosevelt admin, which received, in January, 1944, a memo reading "Report to the Secretary [of the Treasury] on the Acquiescence by This Government in the Murder of the Jews" and still chose to wring its hands for over a year (and a extra big fuck you to the War Department--Assistant Secretary of War John J. McCloy, in particular--for making the repeated requests for the bombing of the railways leading to Auschwitz seem practically impossible when it was anything but). Incredibly disappointing, not to mention tragic beyond belief.

(4) The detention of Japanese-Americans. Apologists will point to other people leading the way on this issue--General DeWitt, McCloy, Attorney General Francis That's on FDR. Whether he fully supported this decision or didn't feel strongly about (and went along to get along) is completely immaterial to me. It's on him...and it's totally indefensible. That it took 40+ years (and it was Reagan of all people!) for an official apology to be issued from the U.S. government (because that makes it all better, right?) is positively galling.

(5) Yalta was a bit of a gong show. (FDR's private concession to an aide--"I didn't say the result was good. I said it was the best I could do"--is about right.)

Fun Facts: (1) Had an affair with Lucy Mercer that nearly destroyed his marriage (accounts vary, but either FDR's mom said "stop seeing this girl or I'll cut you off" or Eleanor said "stop seeing this girl or I'll cut it off.") At any rate, I've always found the following passage--which Ward (at 415 in A First-Class Temperament) culled from a piece by Murray Kempton, and which speculates what would've happened had he rejected Eleanor's ultimatum and stayed with Mercer--quite moving:
Somehow, though, cruel as it is to think of an American deprived of Eleanor Roosevelt, there is a fugitive fantasy that together he and Lucy Mercer had sacrificed her immortal soul and his own high destiny. There these two will endure in the imagination, growing old together, say near Newburgh, he languidly farming and dimly drawing wills and litigating country quarrels and she stealing now and then into the dreary little church to grieve a while for the spiritual loss that had bought their happiness. The Depression is hard on him; but, when he dies, he has managed to recoup by selling his remaining acres for a postwar housing development. His obituary is exactly the size the Times metes out for former assistant secretaries of the Navy who had been nominated for vice president of the United States in a bad year for their party.

She lives a long while afterward, is restored to the Church, and works in the Library and always thinks of him tenderly. They would, we may be certain, have brought it all off far better than the Windsors, and hardly anyone would have known they had.
(Bonus fun fact: Lucy Mercer was actually with FDR when he died in '45--although she was, wisely, hastily escorted off the premises before Eleanor arrived at the scene.)

(2) Again, according to Hodgman (at 201), had a hook for hand, though, as Hodgman observes:
note: his hook was actually a wheelchair.
And, to go along with that, let's throw in the meanest (though undeniably funny) thing in America: The Book. It works best as a visual aid, so click here.

(4) It's a bit of an unfortunate portrait, isn't it? Inadvertently makes him look like the Bay Harbour Butcher...

In Writing: Geoffrey C. Ward's A First-Class Temperament (just mentioned above) is one of my favorite books ever (as chronicled here), so obviously I'm going to recommend that, but there are dozens (more like hundreds, surely) of great FDR resources. I'll mention three: Before the Trumpet (also by Ward and covering FDR's first 25 years), Doris Kearns Goodwin's No Ordinary Time (lots of good FDR-Churchill stuff), and David Kennedy's Freedom From Fear (which I've shit on a couple of times today, but is actually, on the whole, tremendous).

In Popular Culture: (1) In "A Star is Burns" (the film festival episode), he's played by Krusty in "Sunrise at Campobello" (a real play dealing with FDR adjusting to being in a wheelchair).

(2) Again according to The Simpsons, FDR had the first Social Security number (Burns is #2).

(3) Jumps out of his wheelchair and beats up Hitler with Itchy and Scratchy in the "Itchy and
Scratchy: The Movie" episode.

(4) Kramer's friend in the backwards episode (the one who wishes he drop dead) is FDR--Franklin Delano Romanosky. I've always liked that.

Test of Time: A perennial top three guy.

But, here's a question: could FDR ever surpass Lincoln as the consensus best POTUS of all-time? Interestingly, it's happened four times in the last twenty-five years: The 1982, 1990, 1994, and 2002 Siena polls (besting TJ--the hell?--in '82, and Lincoln the other three times). Lincoln and FDR have finished 1-2 three other times (Chicago Trib in '82, Murray-Blessing in '82, Ridings-McIver in '96, and C-SPAN in '99), and 2-3 (to Washington!) in the WSJ polls. So...what to make of this? I'm tempted to say that the Siena polls (comprised entirely of professors) reveal that FDR has the academia demographic cornered, but then all of these polls include historians, so it can't be that. (Best guess: practicing history professors have a bit of a liberal bend to them, thus giving FDR the edge). What else? Well...I think that the Depression and WW2 can, more or less, be put on equal footing with the Civil War (though, again, the continuation of America seemed far less secure in, say, 1863 than 1943, so slight edge to Lincoln). FDR was more prodigous on the legislative front (though the quality/historic significance of Lincoln's decision may even this out). That said, Roosevelt's errors were more grievous. Anyway, since I'm blathering at this point, I think we can probably agree that the two are very close (a point I made in roughly 200 fewer words several paragraphs ago), but what puts (and keeps) Lincoln over the top--and taking nothing away from the magnitude of Roosevelt's Fireside Chats and his first two Inaugurals--are his words. Their brilliance propel him to the top. And this means that FDR should probably get used to being a very respectable #2.

And while I think this isn't terribly profound, I think the tie-breaker is their writing.

1. Abraham Lincoln (1861 - 1865)

High Points/Accomplishments:
Made sure there was still an America after 1865. Too high concept? OK. How about: capably managed a 2+ front war despite having approximately 55 seconds of military experience (Black Hawk War of 1832); the Emancipation Proclamation (not necessarily as expansive as is assumed/as one would like, but still--obviously--a profoundly important moment in the nation's history); the Homestead Act (a massive federal land grant largely responsible for the rapid post-1865 settlement of central America); the Morrill Act (government granting states, in proportion to their representation in Congress, which helped create dozens of schools, including Michigan State, Kansas State, and Rutgers); this (from the Gettysburg Address):

...But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate…we cannot consecrate…we cannot hallow…this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us, the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us…that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion; that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom; and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.;

and--come on, indulge me!--this (Inaugural Two):

On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. All dreaded it, all sought to avert it. While the inaugural address was being delivered from this place, devoted altogether to saving the Union without war, insurgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it without war—seeking to dissolve the Union and divide effects by negotiation. Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish. And the war came.

Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said 'the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether'

With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan – to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.

And finally (Inaugural One):

I am loath to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.

Possibly the most gorgeous paragraph in the history of speechwriting/making. TJ ain't got nothin' on Lincoln.

Low Points: Suspending habeas corpus? Not cool, Lincoln. Not cool.

Fun Facts:
(1) tallest President (6'4").

(2) By all accounts, did not have an ideal marriage, largely (again, by all accounts) due to the fact his wife was a hopeless shrew. Lincoln bios are replete with tales of Mary Todd screaming at him over minor matters. Lincoln's response was always to walk away.

(3) This is from my best man speech at Misha's wedding:

Before becoming President, Abraham Lincoln ran a tiny law practice with his friend William Herndon. Together, the two of them shared an office not much bigger than this dais for nineteen years. In early 1861, as he was about to make the long trek from Springfield, Illinois to Washington, D.C., he came by the office to say goodbye to his partner. Herndon, who staying back to maintain the practice, asked Lincoln what he wanted to do with the sign out front which read, as it always did, “Lincoln and Herndon, Attorneys at Law.” Lincoln, who, as you might imagine, had about three million things on his mind—mainly, one presumes, the nation he was elected to lead tearing itself apart—thought about it for a moment, then replied “keep the sign up, Willy. If I survive this, I’ll come back here, and we’ll pick things up as if nothing has changed.” With that, he said his goodbyes, and left, (as we now know) never to return.

Seriously, how can you not love Lincoln?

In Writing: (Hey, I went four for four in this post! About damn time.) Gotta go with David Herbert Donald's Lincoln (which I can't seem to stop shilling for). Doris Kearns Goodwin's Team of Rivals is solid. And, if you're feeling really motivated, seek out Richard Hofstadter's tremendous 1948 essay on Lincoln in The American Political Tradition.

In Popular Culture:
(1) Has the best memorial--by far--of all the Presidents. I refuse to argue about this.

(2) To be played by Liam Neeson in the eagerly anticipated (by me at least) Spielberg directed Lincoln (2010 release). I'm excited to see how they cast this one, though, aside from Lincoln (and disregarding my "Clay Aiken as James Buchanan" disinformation campaign), the only name I've heard is Sally Field as Mary Todd.

(3) Voiced by Will Forte on Clone High (I'm told it's a great show, though I still haven't gotten around to watching it--sorry, RT).

(4) Replaced by an ape President in the Planet of the Apes remake. (Although, oddly, if the Ape Lincoln Memorial plaque is to believed, in this alternate reality, the U.S. still went through a North-South civil war, which seems, I don't know, improbable...though I'm open to the possibility it was North and South vs. the Apes.)

(5) What's more disturbing: that Lincoln was played by Matthew McConaughey in Boys on the Side (the hell? do I have a female reader--or a moderately to especially gay male reader--to explain this one to me?), that he was voiced by Hulk Hogan in an episode of Robot Chicken, or that he was played by Les Moonves's daughter in an episode of Full House? Comments welcome.

Test of Time:
See above. He's Lincoln! I think his legacy is pretty secure.

And we're out. (That was abrupt.) Thanks, everyone, for your feedback on these posts. It's been a lot of fun.


Jesse said...


Fernando said...

Impressive, good stuff.

Now can we please get the Wire vs Sopranos post lol.

Question Mark said...

A truly brilliant series, Kyle. Turn it into a book!