“George Washington came first and he was perfect.”
I think Jonathan Coulton’s song sums it up pretty well. You know, we put him on our one dollar bill, we put him on our nickel, he’s half the reason we celebrate President’s Day, we have myths and picture books and stories about him—in a lot of ways, George Washington is the American rock star.
I wonder if he’d hate it.
First of all, he had a temper, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility that he would blow up at some people. Secondly, he really admired self-control, honor, and service, and strove towards those things [source]. I think he could probably be proud of the service he gave to the United States, but with those virtues, I imagine he also had some element of modesty to him.
Yes, he was pretty awesome, but as a later president would say, “Leadership consists of nothing but taking responsibility for everything that goes wrong and giving your subordinates credit for everything that goes well.” [source]
If George Washington held himself to a high moral standard, and was committed to being not only diligent but humble in service to his country, do you really think he’d approve of the fame we’ve slathered on his memory?
It is impossible to know. He is dead. He has been, for a very long time. However, I like to think that he would want his legacy to continue in our own attempts to live lives of morality and diligence, rather than idolizing his image.
For this reason, I am okay with The Adventures of George Washington.
The Adventures of George Washington comes from a Tumblr series, wherein the portraits of George Washington are captioned with dialogue—Washington’s captioned persona is flippant, impatient, forceful, and at best, unkind.
I don’t think Washington himself would fully appreciate these. After all, they are more or less making fun of his character, and I doubt he’d enjoy that kind of disgrace.
However, I do think they’re okay in principle, because over the years, we’ve forgotten that George Washington was just a man. A great man, but still a man. It’s fun to put him in anachronistic situations, and to show him using our slang—Adventures turns Washington back into a common man.
As a series, I think they’re hilarious. I love these things. I fully hope there to be many, many more in the future, because some of these are just to die for.
I shall show you my favorites, because I love them.