Posts Tagged ‘This Day in Revisionist History’

This Day in Revisionist History

December  8:

“Yeah, well, it applies to the Immaculate Conception and this, so end of conversation.” – Pope Pius IX, speaking on the doctrine of infallibility to the College of Cardinals, as they debated what to order for lunch and Pius found himself the lone advocate of fish sticks.

The Immaculate Conception holds that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was born without original sin and blessed instead with the sanctifying grace of God. It was formally defined and declared by Pope Pius IX on December 8, 1854, under the doctrine of infallibility, meaning that the Immaculate Conception became a part of the Catholic dogma.

The doctrine of infallibility has often been misunderstood as meaning that the Pope can do or say no wrong, which it certainly does not mean. In an effort to prevent the further propagation of that falsehood, Pope Pius IX had always been very insistent that, as a man and not God, his infallibility was not constant, and often deferred to other leaders in the Church as a demonstration of his humanity. Continue reading

This Day in Revisionist History

This is a Wednesday column, so why is it running on Thursday? Well, while on assignment in the Middle East, Jake was captured by Afghanis. They have since released him after he quickly volunteered a few national secrets (don’t worry–not our national secrets…stupid terrorists.) But enough already. Let’s leave the revising of events to the column itself:

December 1

“Oh, come on…is that an actual rule?”

–Delaware Congressman Louis McLane, after learning that because none of the candidates had won a majority of electoral votes, the 1824 presidential election would be decided by the House of Representatives.

The 12th amendment has never been very popular, and its only saving grace has been the persistence of the two-party system in the United States. But know that on this day in 1824, due to the dissolution of a unified Federalist party, there was only one party, which had distributed its electoral support among four candidates. Although Andrew Jackson received the highest number of votes, he did not receive a majority, which required what today we would call a run-off, in which the top three candidates would vie for votes in a House of Representatives election. Continue reading

This Day in Revisionist History

November 24:

“Wait, you mean that wasn’t John F. Kennedy?”

–Jack Ruby, upon learning that he had been beaten to the punch by the man he had just fatally shot.

Jack Ruby had already been laying low for weeks when Lee Harvey Oswald shot John F. Kennedy in the head, and as a result had never heard the news of the President’s death. In later interviews he revealed that he had been hiding out in a log cabin in the northern part of Florida, where he mostly shot at squirrels for target practice. Of course, because he had opted to use a pistol, simulating a realistic assassination typically meant trying to walk right up to a squirrel and shoot it at point blank range, and as such Ruby does not recall actually harming any squirrels. Continue reading

This Day in Revisionist History

*This Day in Revisionist History: A new feature where Jake talks about something that could be cool or whatever if it happened in history.

(Editor’s note: In case you missed our historic introduction of Jake earlier today, this is a classic from Jake’s archive. Tune in next week for the current edition!)

October 18:

“Wait, was that a bear? No dude, I’m not kidding, I think I just saw a f*cking grizzly bear!”

–General Lovell Rousseau on the morning of October 18, 1867, shortly after accepting the transfer of the Alaskan territory from Russia on behalf of the United States.

Nowadays almost everyone knows Alaska has bears, but as they say: Hindsight is 20/20. Now granted, this doesn’t make sense, because 20/20 is just the de facto standard; recent studies have suggested that optimal visual acuity occurs at about 20/8. But hey, when they came up with that expression, they didn’t have the benefit of…okay, you see where I’m going with this (and that’s called foresight, which strangely enough no one measures, not even metaphorically).

In any case, William Seward certainly didn’t know that the winter wonderland he had purchased in the spring of that year was overflowing with more bears than present day New York City has people, and so it was with great confidence that he signed the treaty with Russia’s minister to the United States, Baron Edouard de Stoeckl, who had risen to prominence in Russia despite his Turkish birth after developing what many industry experts now recognize as the most approximate precursor to the toaster strudel. Continue reading