Tuesday, April 17, 2007

They'll preserve wherever Lincoln slept, but not where Kennedy slept with Marilyn? That's a double standard

A recent news story I heard yesterday reminded me of one of my pet peeves. Why is it that just because someone famous slept in a particular building or room now justifies the preservation of said place for all eternity? I mean, considering how many hotel rooms I’ve slept in since I started work, and how many houses I’ve lived* this is going to create a serious problem with respect to the sheer volume of buildings that will require historical preservation.

The story that got this in my head was the announcement that a house in Sterling, Illinois where Lincoln slept once is going to be turned into a museum. This seems to border on lunacy, I mean, he stayed there one time! How does that provide enough material to develop an entire museum? “Here’s where he ate dinner, over there’s where he washed his face, there’s where he went to the toilet, and here is the grand finale – the bed where he lay unconscious for almost eight hours!”

Sounds gripping, indeed. Surely the children of Sterling must not be deprived of such a culturally enriching experience…

Maybe it’s just a Lincoln thing. I mean, take the Lincoln Bedroom** in the White House, for example – Why is that the only room named after a president? Why not the Jefferson Bathroom, the Van Buren Kitchen Pantry, and (of course) the Washington Laundry room***.

Maybe it’s because Van Buren doesn’t haunt the kitchen pantry.

* 12 before graduating high school (plus one other that’s since been demolished) plus an additional 4 since I’ve graduated college.
** For the record, when I read about the “holograph copy of the Gettysburg Address”, yes, I did initially think to myself “They have a hologram of it? Cool! But why? It’s not like it’s in 3D or anything…”
*** As in “Boy, I’ve got a *ton* of washing to do this weekend!” I know, roll with me anyway…

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