Objectively one of the weirder things I've posted but I want to be clear that Monday June 29, 2020 is the start of America week at Barstool Chicago. So much global turmoil and domestic dissent that I really have no choice but to put my arms around the United States of America this week and bear hug the shit out of her. Sue me for loving & not leaving.
Kicking things off is this dramatic reading in Independence Hall featuring Australian born actor Mel Gibson (now cancelled) followed by Michael Douglas who was phenomenal as Hank Pym in the Marvels. Other include:
- Kathy Bates
- Kevin Spacey (cancelled)
- Whoopi Goldberg
- Ed Norton
- Renee Zelwegger (first try)
- Winona Ryder
- Benicio Del Toro
- And this guy
I don't need to look up the exact number but lots of Academy Awards and nominations floating around that room. And yet despite all that talent, we're still reading heavy from one of the most famous scripts in world history? Although to be fair this isn't exactly the kind of performance you can ad lib no matter how bad Kevin Spacey wanted to get into character.
Anyways. Some knowledge on the DOI: 5 guys got picked to put the thing together about a month before July 4th. The "Colonies" had spent the last year or so pushing themselves to all agree that they should be independent. So they get the 2nd Continental Congress going, get the Army raised in 1775 in anticipation. Blah blah blah. But they need to Formally announce a solid Fuck You to Great Britain. In that respect John Adams really lead the charge. He was the brains pushing people around and making all these bomb arguments.
But he wasn't the best writer. That went to Thomas Jefferson, who was much more reserved and less likely to speak up. Not because he wasn't smart. He just didn't have time for bullshit and wasn't looking to get in the middle of the argument. Instead he would listen to everyone then summarize the argument on paper. When it came to that, Jefferson was the absolute best of his time. He could say so much in so little yet do it so powerfully. That's why they let him author it then everyone go out of his way.
Here's the problem the history books don't tell. Adams convinced the assembly to formally announce Independence on July 2nd. Jefferson's document wasn't ratified until July 4th. So ipso facto there becomes a moment in real-time where Adams is lobbying for the country to recognize July 2nd as the date for independence. He doesn't want this to go to Jefferson's legacy on the 4th because Jefferson isn't the one making the arguments and rounding up votes. That all went to Adams and he wanted the credit. Ultimately he lost, and he knew it when he was alive. Some scholars argue this was the beginning of the fracture in the famous Adams-Jefferson relationship, but that's a different blog for a different day. Ultimately the reconciled but it wasn't until long after their political careers had ended and they were resigned to pen-paling each other. Adams wrote about 2 letters for every 1 he received from Jefferson, which is just about the best way anyone could simply describe how those two got along. Without them we might still be drinking tea.