As American As ….

Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet. According to the song those are the definition of what makes America great. Short of owning a slave that could be the theme music of the modern Tea Party. We’ll get to that omission in a bit. After all, what’s more American than oppressing the rights and humanity of others? Anyway, back to the song. Let’s start with baseball. Nothing is more American than that, right? Gameplay centers around a number of innings, in which teams alternate at batting and fielding. A maximum of nine players are allowed to field at any time. Points are scored by the batting team when one of their players completes a circuit past four bases without being put ‘out’. Yep, that’s the game. Unfortunately those are the rules for an ancient game, played by Irish and English kids, called Rounders. You can also forget all about Abner Doubleday. He no more invented baseball than I posed for Playgirl. The real inventor of the American version of the game was a neat dude named Alexander Cartwright who published the Knickerbocker Rules of Townball (a/k/a Baseball) in 1845. So, in short order, baseball is a British sport that we adopted and perverted (at least according to the British).

Hot dogs? Homer wrote about sausages in the Odyssey so that puts their invention about 900 years before Christ was born. I guess it’s kind of a cool thought that Jesus could have had a hot dog at the Last Supper. Well, without the bun anyway. The bun wasn’t invented until 1880 by a German immigrant named Antonoine Feuchtwanger in Missouri. He put the sausages on a bun because Americans kept stealing the gloves they were given to hold their hot wieners. Yes, you can giggle at that. Just make sure you’re saddened by the fact that Americans were so immoral that 1.000’s of years of friendly traditions had to be altered to deal with their thieving nature.

Apple pie? Not even close. Invented in England, and perfected by the Dutch and the Swiss, it came to America late. The original English version in the 1300’s was made without sugar and was considered a tart treat. I should also note that those are the same three cultures who brought apples to America. The fruit is not native here. A guy named John Chapman, a/k/a Johnny Applpeseed, was primarily responsible for the spread of the popularity of apples in America.

Yes, there really was a dude named Johnny Appleseed.

Chevrolet? This is a company that was started by a failed businessman, William Crapo Durant (yes, you can giggle here too) and a Swiss guy, who raced Buicks, named Louis Chevrolet. Louis never actually had ownership of the company at any level. They just whored his name. He spent his life owning a company that made parts for Ford. So Chevy was built by a failure who screwed over his partner.

How American is that?

All of this brings us to the topic of owning people. And that will bring us to Thomas Jefferson. Here is what Americans know about him; he wrote the Declaration of Independence and was a slave owner.

The first part is 100% wrong and the second part is complicated.

Jefferson wrote “A Declaration by the Representatives of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA in General Congress assembled.” It was, and is, an explanation of the Declaration of Independence which was written by Richard Henry Lee. Here is the actual declaration in its entirety.

Resolved, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.

There were two more lines added in October.

Lee was also paranoid and was the main reason we have the Second Amendment. But that’s a story for another day. Or you can click the link and read it now.

As to slaves and Jefferson things get dicey. Jefferson was a nuevo-Christian. By that I mean he adhered to the Muslim interpretation of Jesus which holds that Jesus was a divinely inspired prophet but not divine in or of himself. He even went so far as to write his own version of the bible which removed all references to Jesus being the son of God. His preamble to that bible is one of the most famous lines ever written and sums up Jefferson’s belief in personal privacy more than anything I’ve ever read.

Say nothing of my religion. It is known to God and myself alone. Its evidence before the world is to be sought in my life: if it has been honest and dutiful to society the religion which has regulated it cannot be a bad one.

He was also morally opposed to slavery and tried to grant slaves their freedom in both his declaration and later in the Constitution. The fact that slaves were given the minimal rights they were was exclusively due to Jefferson. They were slated to be accorded none.

But, you sputter, he had a slave. Hell, according to legend he banged her like a screen door in a tornado.

You are talking about Sally Hemmings. And you’re being crude.

Sally Hemmings was the family property of Martha Wayles Skelton Jefferson, who was Jefferson’s wife until she died in 1782. Then, by law, Sally became Jefferson’s property.

He then fell in love with her and she bore him six children. Modern DNA testing has already proved that so please spare me your rants.

They spent a large part of their time together in France where interracial relationships were both legal and somewhat common. France did a lot of trading with Africa and had armies in Egypt which was, and still is, on the African continent.

Here’s why things are dicey. He could have, at any time, granted her her freedom but, and this is a huge point, had he done so he could no longer be with her. The only way to legally be with the woman he loved was to own her.

Yes, that’s about as screwed up as things can get.

Hemmings, although literate, never wrote about their relationship and Jefferson, as noted above, fiercely guarded his privacy so we have no record of what they thought but it is pretty clear that they loved each other.

Now that we’ve cleared all that up you can go back to blowing stuff up, burning perfectly good meat and meat by products and making odd noises.

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