historical reenactment

The New War of 1812

Today is the 200th birthday of the War of 1812. I wasn’t quite sure what to buy it, I mean, what do you get for something that’s 200 years old? A sweatshirt that reads “200 Years Young!” (never)

I’m not sure if this is the official day the United States decided to kick some British fanny. Why are British readers laughing? We kicked some fanny all day long and then we discovered Utah.


Let me be upfront about something: I don’t know fanny about the War of 1812, and in this case I’m using the British meaning for fanny. Many of us US of Aers are in this know-nothing boat. We get all apple-piey over the Revolutionary War, and some of us even dress up as Union and Confederate soldiers and reenact significant battles of the U.S. Civil War and then go home and watch our flatscreen TVs just like Ulysses S. Grant.

But the War of 1812? Borrriinnggggggggg.

Why is it so boring?

I don’t know because I don’t know anything about it. And it’s almost as if my brain steadfastly refuses to retain information about it because it spends too much time trying to track down car keys.

NPR devoted a whole hour to it. Some Canadian guy called and was saying how important it was for Canada, and for the life me, I cannot tell you why. It’s like when he started to talk, my brain heard “Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz”. The war also did … something important and launched somebody big to the White House, and people were like “damn” or “tally-ho” which is more representative of the American-speak of that time. Dolly Madison made her first snack cakes and saved a portrait of George Washington because she was totally into him, and that pissed off James Madison like you wouldn’t believe. The British stole some American sailors, and we liked France so much that Congress passed a resolution naming the fried potatoes in the Capitol cafeteria “French Fries.”

Some of this may not have happened.

I think the main problem is the lack of a hook. You know how the Revolutionary War had all that bedazzle? People were throwing tea into the river and people were yelling really cool stuff like “Give me liberty, yo” and it was all about Freedomy™ freedom.

The War of 1812 had to do with something about trade restrictions, according to the first few sentences of Wikipedia, and then I just tuned out the rest. No hook to rest my brain cap:

But isn’t America all about reinventing itself, and its people about picking and choosing events from history to support their worldview?

Hellz yesz, says all those people who believe the founding fathers wanted the Bible to be our constitution.

So can’t we twinge the War of 1812 and make it a little more spectacular? Like instead of *yawn* trade restrictions, can’t it be something like British Admiral Fitzsimmons Jackhole kidnapped Uncle Sam right before he was about to marry Betsy Ross. And then James Madison got together a super-fighting squad of former rebels and they flew on bald eagles over to Europe and just annihilated the feces outta of em, incidentally with eagle feces. And then Lee Greenwood’s great-great-great-great-great grandfather wrote “Proud to be an eagle-flying American”. Or something

And then on the anniversary, we can unite as Americans by getting drunk as #$!%$ and wearing synthetic eagle feathers made in China.

That is a hook.

Wouldn’t it be fantastic?

Well, maybe not for everyone.