Imagining The Founding Fathers As Geeks
Today’s a very special day.
You see, dear readers, today is the 4th of July. It’s a day of celebration. A day of remembrance. A day for all of America to think about our history, how far we’ve come and how far we’ve yet to go. Today is the day we recognize a major achievement: My 100th article here on Geek Smash. It was on April 1, 2013 that I first began writing daily articles for this site, and give or take a few, that means today is my 100th. That’s quite a milestone, if I do say so myself. Almost as important as a nation celebrating its 237th anniversary of becoming a country. If only I knew a nation like that…oh that’s right, AMERICA!
Indeed, ladies and gentle-geeks, it’s the 4th of July, and the guys behind America’s independence from Britain have been on my mind of late. What would those men think of us today? Specifically, what kinds of geeky stuff would they be into? I took it upon myself to answer that question for you here. (You’re welcome.)
I’ve had Benny on the site before (“I’m Big Ben Franklin and this shan’t be pretty/Let me instruct you on how we battle in the city of Philly!”) and I think we can all agree that he was a pretty big geek. He invented bifocals, the mail and lending libraries, for goodness sake. How much geekier can you get? So when I pondered what sorts of geeky stuff he’d be into today, it hit me.
Lots of cool ideas, clever (and very aware of it), and a hit with the ladies. Am I describing Benjamin Franklin or “Doctor Who”? Exactly! Plus, I like to imagine what sorts of adventures the pair of them would get up to. (Whovians, can anyone tell me if they already hung out? I only recently got into the show so I’m only familiar with the 10th Doctor at the moment.)
Thomas Jefferson. Principal writer of the Declaration of Independence, third President of the United States of America and pretty cool dude all around. “Cool” is actually a good word for Mr. Jefferson, as well as “logical.” In fact, Jefferson created his own version of the Bible (aptly named the “Jefferson Bible“) that excluded mention of the divine, supernatural and miracles. Sure, he was a man of passion too (just ask Sally Hemings), but overall I’d say his belief in reason and rationalism defines him. Let’s see, who else can we think of who is ruled by reason and logic, but has a strong passion within him… Perhaps someone who would be good at three-dimensional chess?
Indeed, I think Thomas Jefferson and Mr. Spock of “Star Trek” have some mannerisms in common, and while I can’t be certain that the former would enjoy watching the adventures of the latter, I still think he’d learn a lot. (Now imagine how the Revolutionary War might have gone down if Jefferson knew the Vulcan Nerve Pinch.)
Finally, we have one of if not the most important of the founding fathers: George Washington. (The president, not the king.) Statesman, President, Commander-in-Chief, I’d say pretty much everybody is familiar with George Washington’s history, so that’s why my initial thought was LARPing, as the man fought in some real-life battles. He’d probably be pretty good at the make-believe kind. But then I remembered Valley Forge, and thought, “Maybe not. That’d bring up some bad memories for him.” Still, it can’t be denied that Washington used his generals well. (America did win the war, after all.) True, he lost New York and Philadelphia to British forces, but thanks to some timely assistance from the French, the U.S. eventually carried the day. So, if I had to pick a geeky thing that I think George Washington would be good at and enjoy, I’d say “Starcraft II.”
Real-time strategy is one of my favorite video game genres, and I’ve never been a real general before. Sure, there’s no way to know if his skill at inspiring his troops to charge into the face musketballs would translate into sending Terran Marines into a horde of Zerglings, and I realize that modern eSports athletes would probably kick his butt (just look at them go), but playing “Starcraft II” would allow Mr. Washington a chance to engage in battles where he gets to utilize his military skills but nobody really dies in real life. I think he’d enjoy that.
Now, I know there were a few more people involved in the founding of America than just the three I mentioned, but I really wanted to focus on Franklin, Jefferson and Washington. (The fact that these were the three mentioned in “BioShock Infinite” had nothing to do with it.)
That being said, if you can think of what the other Founding Fathers would have enjoyed about geek culture, or other things that the three I mentioned would have liked, be sure to let me know in the comments below or at @GeekSmashCom or @Colinoboyle.
Happy 4th of July, everybody!