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    Robert Wuhls Assume the Position 101 and 201 HD
    [school bell rings]
    (Robert Wuhl)
    I want to welcome everyone
    to Assume the Position.
    I like that title.
    [audience laughing]
    And, this is going to be a different way
    to look at history. Tolstoy said,
    History is a wonderful thing,
    if only it were true.
    [audience laughing]
    And thats what the course is.
    Its the stories that made up America,
    and the stories that America made up.
    Im going to assume the position,
    right off the bat,
    that history is pop culture.
    Now, when I say pop culture,
    what comes to your mind?
    Whowhocomes to your mind?
    Anybody in particular?
    (male student #1)
    Brittney Spears.
    [audience laughing]
    Brittney Spears! Never fails!
    Never, never fails! Anybody else?
    (male student #2)
    Paris Hilton.
    Paris Hilton, Britney Spears,
    you think back
    I think Christopher Columbus.
    [audience laughing]
    Behind me are three interpretations
    of Christopher Columbus.
    I say interpretations, because Chris
    never sat for a portrait
    during his entire lifetime.
    So nobody really knows
    what this guy looks like.
    You can have a Paul Giamatti Columbus
    [audience laughing]
    the Sting Columbus
    [audience laughing]
    or, the John Malckovich Columbus.
    [audience laughing]
    Now, there are very few
    universal truths in the world.
    One is, food always tastes better,
    when somebody else is paying for it.
    Universal truth. The other is that
    everybody in this room was taught
    the story of how Columbus went
    before Queen Isabella of Spain,
    and he was going to prove to her
    that the world was
    (Audience) Round.
    Do you know Queen Isabella of Spain?
    Pretty smart woman, I gotta believe,
    wouldve said to Christopher Columbus
    when he laid this line on her, he would,
    she would look at him and go,
    Chris, Aristotle figured out the world
    was round 2,000 years ago! This is 1492,
    the year they invented . . . the globe.
    [audience laughing]
    So, this world is round story,
    is a 100% bullshit.
    Its total fiction, yet, how
    did our grandparents learn this?
    We learned this, our grandchildren
    are probably going to learn this.
    How come?
    Because, history is pop culture.
    And, the early 1800s, the biggest
    pop culture figure in America
    decided he was going to tell the story.
    His nameWashington Irving.
    This is Washington Irving, and he
    is our nations first American idol.
    [audience chuckling]
    Now, we gotta remember,
    what is media in the early 1800s?
    What is media, then? Ah, um,
    you got a town crier,
    so his circulation is what50 yards?
    [audience laughing]
    You got newspapers, and theyre local.
    And, you have books. Books are everything.
    And, when it came to books,
    this guy becomes Stephen King,
    Steven Tyler, and Steven Spielberg
    rolled up into one,
    starting with his first book,
    The Knickerbocker Tales.
    Now, how popular was this book?
    The New York Knicks, to this day,
    get their name from the Knickerbockers.
    How popular was this book?
    Because Mr. Knickerbocker
    wore his pants below the knee,
    we came up with knickers.
    OK, so this guys hot. Hes like
    Quentin Tarantino at the Pulp Fiction.
    Whats he gonna follow up with?
    What could possibly beat the first one?
    How about a little thing called,
    Rip Van Winkle?
    You remember Rip Van Winkle?
    A story about a man with a nagging wife,
    he gets drunk, goes to sleep
    for twenty years,
    wakes up, his wife is dead,
    and he lives happily ever after.
    [audience laughing]
    Thats the story of Rip Van Winkle!
    OK, so now hes two for two, right?
    Hes like outcast following Ms. Jackson
    with, Hay ya!
    What could he possibly come up with next?
    A little something called,
    The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.
    How popular was this book?
    Two hundred years later,
    Johnny Depp wanted in.
    [audience laughing]
    So now, Washington Irving
    is now Americas first
    internationally known author.
    He has got a worldwide audience,
    so he wants to write
    a worldwide best seller.
    And, what does he come up with?
    The Life and Voyages
    of Christopher Columbus.
    This becomes the biggest hit
    in American publishing history
    at least until, Volume 2.
    [audience laughing]
    OKI threw in the
    Fellowship of the Ships.
    [audience laughing]
    This becomes the biggest hit
    in publishing only until . . .
    Volume 3. Sequelsnothing is new.
    They had em then,
    theyll have em forever. OK?
    But, whats more important
    is that here is where the world is round
    stories come from. Its not out of fact;
    its totally out of his fiction.
    You know, Napoleon once said,
    History is a myth
    that men agree to believe.
    Well, so many people have read this myth
    that it creates what I have to call,
    The Liberty Valance Effect.
    There is a great old western,
    if you havent seen it, its called,
    The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.
    It stars Jimmy Stewart and John Wayne,
    and it was directed by...
    (male student)
    John Fuller
    Awwww . . . only two film students
    came up with that? Shame on you!
    Shame on you! Orson Wells,
    when once asked, who are the three
    greatest American directors replied,
    John Ford, John Ford, and John Ford.
    John Ford has four academy awards.
    Four! Not that the Academy awards
    is a be all and end all of everything.
    I mean, Ben Afflecks got a fuckin
    Oscar for God sakes.
    [audience laughing]
    You know, lets put things
    in perspective a little bit here.
    But, in this movie, Jimmy Stewart
    plays a man who rides to become
    a hero, because hes credited
    with killing the notorious outlaw,
    Liberty Valance.
    At the end of the movie, however,
    Jimmy Stewart confesses to his biographer
    that he really didnt kill Liberty Valance.
    John Wayne did. Hearing this,
    his biographer takes his notes,
    and tears them all up. And Jimmy goes,
    W-w-w-what, youre not gonna use that?
    The biographist says,
    No. This is a western.
    When the legend becomes fact,
    print the legend.
    This is what happened
    with Washington Irving and Columbus.
    He has created a Columbus legend,
    the legend has become fact,
    and we believe the legend.
    Now, you can say this
    is some isolated incident,
    and I would say, Contraire mon Frere.
    How about this guy?
    1775, Boston Massachusetts,
    a British postal worker, 23 years old,
    a postal rider, hears that the British
    are invading.
    He gets on a horse and rides 350 miles
    to warn the colonists. And, his name is
    Paul Revere.
    His name is Israel Bissell.
    [audience laughing]
    Israel Bissell.
    Now, did Paul Revere ride?
    Absolutely. He went a goodooh19 miles.
    Nineteen miles. He went
    from Boston to Cambridge.
    [audience laughing]
    The only person he couldve warned
    was the Dean of Harvard.
    [audience laughing]
    Israel Bissell, on the other hand,
    goes from Boston, across Massachusetts,
    down through Rhode Island,
    across Connecticut, down into New York,
    across New Jersey, to Philadelphia.
    Guys, how chafed are Bissells balls
    at this point I want to tell ya?
    I mean hes on a horse.
    This is a long ride on Amtrak!
    [audience laughing]
    The question is, how come
    we never heard of Israel Bissell,
    but everybody knows Paul Revere?
    How come?
    Because, pop culture is history,
    and in the 1860s, the biggest pop culture
    of that time decided HE
    was going to tell the story.
    His name, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
    Now, I would say Longfellow
    was probably the Jerry Bruckheimer
    of romantic culture.
    He writes these big, action-packed,
    story sagas, these epic length poems,
    starting with one you may have heard
    called Evangeline.
    Do you--everyone know about Evangeline?
    Has one of the great, great dramatic
    opening lines of all time.
    It went like this,
    This is the forest primeval.
    Caw, caw, caw, caw.
    [audience laughing]
    You like that little Shamalade
    I threw in there, eh?
    Ok, he follows that with not one,
    but two blockbusters
    The Courtship of Miles Standish.
    And, he follows that up with,
    The Song of Hiawatha.
    You know the song of Hiawatha?
    [drumming noises]
    By the shores of Gitche Gumee,
    by the shining Big-Sea-Waters,
    so the wigwam of nakomis,
    and I dont know any mora.
    [audience laughing]
    He is Americas most popular poet
    til this day!
    But, along comes 1860,
    and whats about to happen in 1860?
    Civil War.
    Civil Wars about to happen.
    Now, Longfellow considers
    himself a patriot.
    And, hell do anything to keep
    the country from splitting apart.
    So, he wants to write this stirring saga
    that will inspire patriotism in everyone,
    except, hes got a problem.
    Hes like Jerry Bruckheimer.
    He needs a name, and Israel Bissell
    isnt inspiring anybody with his name.
    Israel Bissell sounds like
    a Jewish vacuum cleaner.
    [audience laughing]
    So instead, he turns on the guy
    who went 19 miles and creates a hero,
    because, Listen my children,
    and you shall hear of the midnight ride
    of Paul Revere.
    Sounds a whole hell of a lot better than,
    Come along kiddies!
    Daddys gonna whistle
    while he tells you all the story
    about Israel Bissell!
    We cast our heroes. We always have.
    We always will. And lets face facts.
    Paul Revere is better casting
    than Israel Bissell, right?
    So instead he creates
    the Legend of Paul Revere.
    And once again, this creates
    the Liberty Valance Effect.
    When the legend becomes fact,
    print the legend.
    So, assume the position
    that pop culture is history.
    A hundred years from now,
    when the Longfellow or the Irving of 2105
    decides he wants to tell his story his way,
    history may very well show
    that Al Gore didnt invent the internet,
    that George W. Bush
    was the most articulate statesman
    the world has ever known,
    and that Michael Jackson
    was the only normal one among us all.
    [audience laughing]
    (Tucker Carlson, MSNBC)
    In my view, history isis is an air,
    is a morality tale, passion play.
    (Sarah Vowell, Author)
    I dont know what history is,
    but I know what it isnt,
    and it isnt the good old days,
    a more innocent time when people
    were more good, and less beholden
    to their pocketbooks and their genitalia.
    (Jeff Greenfield, CNN)
    II think history turns on a dime;
    it turns on a plugged nickel.
    (Tucker Carlson, MSNBC)
    History has a purpose. Its not a random
    series of events and facts.
    It tells a story, and its used
    by every generation
    to tell stories they find useful.
    (Sarah Vowell, Author)
    I mean everyone loves a good story,
    and Im just as susceptible to it
    as the next guy.
    (Jeff Greenfield, CNN)
    I do remember a junior high school
    teacher of mine explaining that a lot
    of the founding fathers were smugglers,
    and thats why they were so opposed
    to the British control of
    thats how they got around
    the British imports and taxes,
    and I thought, Really? Smugglers. Hmmm.
    Im going to take it forgranted
    that everybody here loves their country.
    Now, everybody loves their country
    in a little bit different way.
    [For] some people,
    its a love or leave it type of thing.
    And, for those of us who have been
    married for twenty-plus years,
    its more of a,
    Sure she pisses me off at times.
    What the fuck am I gonna do, ya know?
    [audience laughing]
    But, all Ive been hearing about lately
    is how great the founding fathers were!
    How smart these guys were!
    Well, they may have been smart.
    They may have been geniuses,
    but I know one thing for sure
    they were human.
    And, humans make mistakes.
    Like in the ohsay the
    first sentence of the Constitution.
    [audience chuckling]
    Right? Say it with me. We the People
    (audience and Wuhl)
    of the United States, in order form
    a more perfect union
    A what?
    a more
    (Robert Wuhl)
    A what? A what? A what?
    [audience laughing]
    There is no such thing as more perfect.
    Youre either perfect or youre not.
    So, right off the bat, our country
    is based upon a grammatical fuck up.
    [audience laughing]
    Who are these founding fathers?
    Are they the common man?
    Are they the working man?
    Hell, no! Theyre rich white men
    that didnt want to pay taxes.
    Who the hellthings have changed!
    [audience laughing]
    By the way, you know why?
    You know why they wore all that stuff?
    There was a way to show wealth.
    The more material you had on,
    you could show off how wealthy you were,
    how upper class it was.
    If two people wanted to hook up,
    what did they have to take off, ok?
    [audience laughing]
    For example, a womana woman
    would have to take off her cap,
    a heavily embroidered, brocade gown,
    laced down the back with 26 grommets,
    under that a petticoat with dozens
    of hooks lacing up the back, right?
    She has a farmingdale.
    Thats a wide thing
    it has clothes with 19I tell ya,
    this is the only time it paid
    to be a peasant.
    They had no rules to worry.
    They just went ahead and just did
    what they had to do.
    [audience laughing]
    He has to wear a tricorn hat,
    a perry wig, a heavily embroidered
    brocade coat with 32 gold buttons,
    flared sleeves and laced sleeves,
    a brocaded vest
    with more than 20 buttons.
    The kneelI think its safe
    to assume the position
    that there was no such thing
    as a colonial quickie.
    [audience laughing and applauding]
    You didnt think you were going
    to have show-and-tell, did you?
    [audience laughing]
    I call this, As American as Apple Pie.
    Now, this refers to something
    that we think is a recent phenomenon,
    but II assume the position
    that its been around forever.
    Tonights topic will be Star Fucking.
    [audience laughing]
    Now, I gotta tell you I have
    no political agenda whatsoever.
    My dad was a republican,
    my mom was a democrat,
    so I kind of see both sides
    of every issue.
    That said, my wife
    is to the left of Lenin.
    [audience laughing]
    I mean, she sees this guy.
    She goes berserk.
    How did this guy get to be governor?
    This guy? Hes a celebrity!
    It shouldnt be a popularity contest.
    And I look at her and I go,
    What? Are you out of your mind?
    All elections are popularity contests,
    since the beginning of time.
    I dont care if its the prom queen,
    class president,
    or President of the United States.
    Whoever wins is the most
    popular person at that time.
    Who are our first celebrities?
    The war heroes, right?
    Lets start with um, our old buddy here,
    George Washington.
    [audience laughing]
    He was the hero of the revolution.
    Do you know how many battles he fought?
    Nine. You know how many he actually won?
    (male student)
    (Robert Wuhl)
    Three. Three. Zero, we wouldnt be here,
    if he won zero.
    [audience laughing]
    But actually, he won three,
    so that makes his record three and six.
    Three and six?
    Three and six doesnt get you
    into the Gator Bowl,
    leave alone the White House, right?
    But, we elected George Washington. Why?
    Because he was a star, and star fucking is
    (audience in unison)
    as American as apple pie.
    How about our next guy, Andrew Jackson,
    hero of the Battle of New Orleans
    during the War of 1812.
    Ahh, by the way, we dont hear much
    about the war of 1812, do we?
    You think its because
    we got our ass kicked?
    [audience and Robert Wuhl laughs]
    Missed that one, huh?
    Actually, one of the few battles
    we win is the Battle of New Orleans,
    and, does anybody know
    wheres my history majors?
    What makes the Battle of New Orleans
    (Male Student)
    The war is over.
    (Female Student)
    (Robert Wuhl)
    Its fought when the war is over.
    You know, Ive always found
    that when one side says,
    You know, lets go home,
    and the other guy goes, Attack!
    That side usually wins.
    [audience laughing]
    But, we elect Andrew Jackson. Why?
    Because Jacksons a star
    and star fucking is
    as American as apple pie.
    The next guy up--the most popular man
    of the 19th century, more popular
    than Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant,
    hero of the Civil War,
    and one of the great
    all-time American drunks.
    [audience laughing]
    I said drunk--not an alcoholic.
    You know the old joke between
    whats the difference between
    a drunk and an alcoholic?
    Drunks dont have to go
    to those meetings!
    [audience laughing]
    But, America elects Grant,
    because Grants a star,
    and star fucking is
    as American as apple pie.
    In the 20th century, media changes.
    So, now we got more than
    just newspapers and war heroes.
    Now, we have media heroes.
    We have actors, we have TV,
    we have radio.
    So, its not uncommon to see
    celebrities become politicians.
    I mean forI mean, I dunno
    its likeof course,
    we had Ronald Reagan,
    we had an actor, become a politician.
    We also had a basketball player,
    a wrestler, a gopher,
    a non-alcoholic beverage.
    [audience laughing]
    So, if sayAlec Baldwin
    decides to run for office,
    its not the exception. Its the norm.
    In the 1800s, the biggest star
    in America was Edwin Booth.
    He may have had political aspirations,
    but unfortunately, his brother,
    John Wilkes, put the kibosh on that.
    [single gunshot]
    So, if I were Alec Baldwin,
    personally, Id be on the lookout
    for Steven Baldwin.
    [audience laughing]
    Ill tell you something else
    thats American as apple pie.
    [rhythm of We Will Rock You]
    Youre at the stadium. Everybody
    [rhythm of We Will Rock You]
    OK. No matter what the score is,
    everybody gets into this, right?
    Theyre all unified.
    (Female Singer)
    Buddy youre a boy
    (Wuhl joins in)
    make a big noise, playin in the street,
    gonna be a big man someday.
    Everybody, cmon! You got mud
    on yo face, you big disgrace,
    (class joins in)
    kickin your can all over the place.
    Singin, we will we will rock you.
    Yeah, everybody! Everybody together!
    We will we will rock you.
    We got a battle cry!
    Well follow you, man!
    And, who are we following?
    Who we gonna follow?
    Were following Freddie Mercury, man!
    [audience laughing]
    Thats who were following.
    I guarantee you, 90% of the people
    in that stadium wouldnt follow
    Freddie Mercury into their own home.
    But, right now, well follow him to hell.
    How come? Because, hes created
    a gay battle cry.
    [audience chuckling]
    A gay battle cry unites the crowd.
    Now, you might think this is a
    totally unique situation,
    but I would assume the position
    that gay battle cries are
    (Wuhl and audience)
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    as American as apple pie.
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    [audience laughing]
    Now, I know what youre thinking.
    Mr. Wuhl, now youve gone too far.
    I would say, look no farther for proof
    than the quintessential American
    sing-along song. It used to go
    something like this.
    [Yankee Doodle song]
    Yankee Doodle went to town,
    riding on a pony. Everyone!
    Stuck a feather in his hat
    and called it macaroni.
    OK, raise your hand if you ever wondered
    why the hell he called it macaroni.
    [audience laughing]
    Why call it macaroni?
    During the 1700s, in London,
    which is where this song originated,
    there was a very, very, very, very,
    notorious club known as
    the Macaroni Club.
    The Macaroni Club consisted of a feet,
    dandy, foppish, young men
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    who would gather together
    to discuss the latest in fashion,
    culture, and cuisine.
    Basically, we are talking
    ye old queer eye.
    [audience laughing]
    Now, the word yankee actually comes
    from the Dutch word, yok,
    which means like a rube, a hick, a hillbilly.
    So, what the upper-class Brits
    were actually saying is,
    here comes this yankee into town,
    this yankee doodle, and hes probably
    gonna wind up at the old Macaroni Club.
    [audience laughing]
    I have no idea where he put the feather.
    [audience laughing]
    But, the only thing that the Brits
    hated worse than the poofs in London,
    were these asshole American colonists
    across the pond causing trouble.
    So, they decide to insult all of us
    by calling all of us yankee doodles
    and doing this song.
    Now, we dont know anything
    about a Macaroni Club, but we knew
    a good tune when we heard one.
    [audience laughing]
    So, we ran with it!
    So, the next time you hear,
    We Will Rock You,
    you think of Yankee Doodle,
    because gay battle cries are
    as American as apple pie.
    [Yankee Doodle song]
    (Tucker Carlson, MSNBC)
    Personal favorite historicyeah,
    Teddy Roosevelt was a complete
    bad ass, total bad ass.
    Swam every day in Rock Creek,
    naked, played squash every day,
    invited heads of state, foreign heads
    of state over to the White House
    and then challenged them
    to boxing matches.
    (Sarah Vowell, Author)
    I guess Louis Armstrong.
    He waswhen I was a little girl,
    I wanted to be Louis Armstrong.
    And uh, I was a trumpet player.
    In fact, Im just
    a failed trumpet player.
    (David Cross, Humorist)
    You know, a lot of things I think
    about historically probably
    have to do with art or literature.
    Ah, umI dunnowho did
    the first umporn on VHS?
    (Jeff Greenfield, CNN)
    You know, Alexander Hamilton
    was the first Secretary of the Treasury,
    but he was also thethe protagonist
    of Americas first sex scandal.
    Um, its a wonderful story.
    He was accused by his republican/
    democratic opponents of um
    paying somebody off for some kind
    of economic gain, and he wrote this
    he published this long thing.
    He said, No, no, no.
    No, they were blackmailing me,
    because I was sleeping with his wife.
    [writing: I Shit You Not]
    (Robert Wuhl) I shit you not.
    [audience laughing]
    Theres a sort of history vice
    such asthis is the great racehorse,
    Man of War.
    Between 1919 and 1920,
    Man of War raced twenty-one times.
    You know how many times it won?
    Twenty. Won twenty, lost one.
    Lost to a horse named Upset.
    Now, whats interesting about this
    is up to this point, upset meant,
    Im very upset with you,
    or I have an upset stomach.
    But, from this moment forward,
    anytime the underdog beat a favorite,
    he was said to have pulled an
    And thats where the term comes from.
    I shit you not.
    This is George Grant, son of slaves.
    In 1870, George Grant becomes
    the first African-American graduate
    of Harvard Dental School.
    He then goes on to develop
    the first device for cleft-palate patients.
    But then, he invents something that
    revolutionizes every doctors practice
    the golf tee.
    [audience laughing]
    Thereby cementing his place
    in American Medical History.
    Dr. George Grant,
    inventor of the golf tee.
    I shit you not.
    [audience laughing]
    According to the Guinness Book
    of World Records, the book most often
    stolen from libraries every year is
    The Guinness Book of World Records.
    [audience laughing]
    I shit you not.
    Alfred Nobel. We know Alfred Nobel,
    founder of the great
    Alfred Nobel foundation.
    Who can tell me, where did Alfred Nobel
    make all his money from?
    He invented dynamite! Dynamite!
    This son of a bitch blew up half the world--
    has the balls to get a peace prize.
    [audience laughing]
    Edward Hyde, cousin of Queen Anne.
    Edward Hyde becomes Lord Cornbury,
    and becomes the colonial governor
    of New York and New Jersey
    in the early 1700s.
    He becomes a man that was so corrupt
    that it is said that he did more
    than any other single individual
    to unite the colonies against Britain.
    Oh, by the way, he had one other quirk
    that pissed people off.
    This is the actual portrait of him
    that hangs in the New York
    Historical Society.
    Lord Cornbury, Americas
    first transvestite governor.
    I shit you not.
    [audience laughing]
    Ben Affleck has an Oscar.
    I shit you not.
    [audience laughing and applauding]
    The Hundred Years War
    lasted a hundred sixteen years.
    [audience laughing]
    Who was the Hundred Years War
    fought between?
    (Male Student)
    French and English
    Ahhhhh. One person. One person!
    French and English, this is amazing,
    hundred sixteen years war,
    and only one person remembers?
    You know how long
    a hundred sixteen years is?
    Thats fromah1890 til next May.
    [audience laughing]
    One person remembered,
    but I guarantee ya everybody in this room
    remembers something that came out of it.
    Yes, first of all, it was fought
    between the English and the French.
    The reason was, because Britain believed
    that France belonged to them.
    Now, historically, Britain always believes
    that everything belongs to them.
    [audience chuckling]]
    But something happens during this war.
    First of all, the first great piece
    of long-range artillery is introduced
    during this war.
    It is the English longbow.
    Uh, known as the machine gun of its time,
    it was made from the English yew tree.
    Y-E-Wvery strong tree, and you would
    and what you would do is you pull back
    with your middle finger, you would
    pull back on the bow, and pluck.
    This was known as plucking the yew.
    You could hit targets from 250 yards away
    with the long bow.
    The French hated the long bow
    and feared it so much that whenever
    they would capture a British soldier,
    they would chop off their middle finger
    making them unable to shoot.
    Look there, bligh there, mate!
    I cant pluck me yew!
    [audience chuckling]
    I cant pluck me yew!
    I got no middle finger!
    But, the tide turns
    at the Battle of Agincourt
    where 20,000 Frenchmen
    have 5,000 Englishmen surrounded.
    They are so overconfident
    that the night before,
    they had this victory party.
    They had the croissants,
    a little pate, a little wine
    [Wuhl sings La Vie En Rose]
    Meanwhile, the English rally
    and, who do they rally around?
    Henry Vthis is the Henry V
    battle of Agincourt where Henry
    rallies everyone and says,
    Once more into the breach,
    ye men, ye merry men,
    ye band of brothers!
    And, the greatest upset since David,
    the British defeat the French.
    Not only do they defeat the French,
    but to taunt the French,
    they would hold up their middle finger
    and say, Hey! Froggy,
    I still got me middle finger!
    I can still pluck you!
    I can still pluck you!
    The pl became anglocized to f,
    and thats where you get,
    I can fuck you.
    [audience laughing]
    And thats the legend of where
    giving the finger comes from.
    Is it true? It doesnt matter!
    Its the legend.
    And, when the legend becomes fact
    print the legend.
    I want to thank everyone
    for attending class today.
    I really appreciate it. Class dismissed!
    [audience cheering and applauding]
    (Sarah Vowell, Author)
    When I was a little kid, my parents
    had this record in their record collection
    called, History Repeats Itself.
    And it was this little list of
    assassination coincidences.
    [Sarah hums to America the Beautiful
    while Wuhl speaks]
    Lincoln has a secretary named Kennedy.
    Kennedy has a secretary named Lincoln.
    Ahhboth were shot in front of their wives.
    Uh huh.
    Ahhh John Wilkes Booth
    I got tired of humming.
    OK. Ja -w-w-w-k-do you have-OK
    John Wilkes Booth
    and Lee Harvey Oswald
    had the same amount
    of letters in their names.
    Right, and ah, Oswald shoots Kennedy
    and runs to a theater
    Oh, Oswald shoots Kennedy
    in a warehouse and runs to a theater,
    Booth shoots Lincoln in a theater
    and runs to a warehouse,
    which is actually a barn, but
    OK. Lincoln is born in a log cabin.
    Kennedy once spilled
    Lob Cabin syrup in his dads Lincoln.
    [Sarah and Wuhl laugh]
    (Robert Wuhl)
    I wanna welcome everybody
    to Assume the Position 201.
    [audience applauding]
    I want to thank everyone
    for attending class,
    which once again are the stories
    that made up America.
    The stories that America made up.
    Today, I am going to assume the position
    that history is based on a true story.
    [audience laughing]
    And the story Im going to tell you
    about today is about our most exclusive
    country clubour Chief Executives.
    Talk about members only.
    [audience laughing]
    In 218 years, only 42 of em.
    And, I gotta say, for a country
    thats been built upon diversity
    [audience laughing]
    Not a whole lotta hell of it up there,
    is there?
    In fact, the only diversity
    I see up there is facial hair. Thats it!
    First 15 presidents before Lincoln
    no facial hair.
    Next 7 out of 8facial hair.
    [audience laughing]
    And the only reason Andrew Johnson
    doesnt have any is, because
    Lincoln got shot, and he didnt have
    enough time to grow a beard.
    [audience laughing]
    Now, in my lifetime, there have been
    10 different presidents.
    Some good, some not so good,
    all of them clean shaven,
    and none of them could get rid of Castro.
    [audience laughing]
    His secret? Facial hair!
    [audience laughing]
    But, for the first time
    in this upcoming election,
    there is a very real possibility
    that a white male may NOT be elected
    to our nations highest office.
    In fact, there is a real chance
    that we could have a white woman
    and a black man running
    on the same national party ticket.
    Thats groundbreaking. Thats monumental.
    This has never happened
    in the history of our country since 1872.
    [audience laughing]
    In 1872, this was the presidential ticket
    for the Equal Rights Party.
    The vice-presidential candidate
    was the abolitionist, Frederick Douglass,
    a former slave who later became
    the leading orator of his time.
    And the presidential candidate
    was the, oh, so controversial
    Victoria Woodhull,who despite
    the fact that women wont have the right
    to vote for almost another 50 years,
    becomes the first woman
    to run for president.
    Along with Susan B. Anthony
    and Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    Woodhull is the superstar
    of the Womens Suffrage Movement.
    But, what makes her controversial
    is she not only believes
    in a womans right to vote, she believes
    in a womans right for free love.
    And, by free love, she means sex.
    She means sex with who she wants,
    when she wants, where she wants.
    [audience laughing]
    Personally, Id rather party with Vicky.
    [audience laughing]
    Look at her. Shes got a little ah
    Maggie Gyllenhaal thing
    going on there, doesnt she?
    [audience laughing]
    But, the fact that she wants
    to comemeans shes gotta go!
    [audience laughing]
    In fact, shes so controversial,
    even her own two buddies
    kick her off The View.
    [audience laughing]
    The thought of Victoria Woodhull
    becoming president obviously
    frightened a lot of people.
    Me? Im an equal rights guy. I believe
    that women should have every right
    to be just as incompetent as men.
    [audience laughing]
    I mean in retrospect, could she possibly
    have been any worse than this guy?
    Franklin Pierce, in 1852, little known
    rich kid Senator Franklin Pierce
    wakes up one morning and says,
    You know? Im clean shaven;
    Im gonna run for president.
    However, hes got obstacles.
    His two rivals
    to the democratic nomination
    are Steven Douglas
    who stood an imposing 46
    [audience laughing]
    and James Buchannan,
    a lifelong bachelor who many thought
    led an alternative lifestyle.
    OK, this is not the toughest competition
    in the world, right? This is like
    beating Mini-Me and Lance Bass.
    [audience laughing]
    OK, so Pierce gets the nomination,
    but still, nationally,
    hes not very well known.
    So, hes gotta get out the word,
    and how dya get out the word?
    The same way you do now.
    You gotta use the media.
    But, what is media back then in 1852?
    Theres no radio,
    theres no TV, theres no webcast,
    theres no podcast, theres no outcast.
    [audience laughing]
    No, what you have is books.
    Books are everything.
    So, he puts out a book,
    but the question is, OK,
    its one thing to put out a book.
    Its another thing
    to get people to read it.
    It all comes down to whos telling
    the story.
    And whos telling Pierces story?
    None other than his old college
    drinking buddy by the name
    of Nathaniel Hawthorne.
    Thats his college buddy.
    Only the biggest pop culture figure
    of his time, right?
    He has just written
    back-to-back best sellers.
    First, The Scarlet Letter,
    a love triangle about adultery
    its sort of the original Greys Anatomy.
    [audience laughing]
    Then he follows that with
    The House of the Seven Gables.
    Thats the original, romantic,
    haunted house story.
    Its sort of a cross between
    The Notebook and Saw.
    [buzzing saw, audience laughs]
    So, Hawthornes now two for two.
    Hes like J.T. Follow Me
    and Cry Me a River sexy bath.
    [audience laughing]
    Everybody wants to know
    whats Hawthorne going to write next.
    What story is Hawthorne
    going to tell next?
    And, what story is he going to tell next?
    Well, hes going to tell the story
    of his good buddy, Franklin Pierce.
    Now, think about this.
    Hawthorne putting his brand
    on somebodys biography
    would be like Tom Clancy
    writing The Hunt for Mitt Romney.
    [audience laughing]
    Or, J.K. Rowling
    writing Dennis Kucinich
    and A Cold Day in Hell.
    [audience laughing]
    But, the fact is, millions of people
    would read those books.
    And millions of people read Hawthornes,
    The Life of Franklin Pierce.
    And this is what we would call today,
    based on a true story.
    Now, when we hear the term,
    based on a true story today,
    we generally dont think
    about books, do we?
    We usually think about it in movies.
    For example, this movie,
    A Beautiful Mind.
    It told the inspiring story
    of mathematician, John Nash,
    who went from schizophrenia,
    to the Nobel Prize,
    into the arms
    of a woman he loved. The end.
    Now, the filmmakers did leave out
    a few details of Nashs life.
    They left out the fact
    that John Nash fathered a child
    out of wedlock and was a deadbeat dad.
    They left out the fact that John Nash,
    when delusional,
    went on anti semitic rants
    that would have make Mel Gibson go,
    Holy Fuck!
    [audience laughing]
    And they left out the fact that previously,
    John Nash had unusual interests in men,
    away from the arms of the woman he loved.
    [audience laughing]
    Leaving out these details
    changes the story a little bit, doesnt it?
    I mean, to me,
    this would be like making OJ.
    He went from junior college
    to the Heisman trophy
    into the arms of the woman he loved.
    The end!
    [audience laughing]
    Coming soon
    Simpson, based on a true story.
    [audience laughing]
    You know Oscar Wilde once said,
    Anybody can make history,
    but it takes a great man to write it.
    And, Hawthornes a pretty great writer,
    neglecting the fact that Franklin Pierce
    is a pro-slavery, raging alcoholic,
    he paints him as Americas savior,
    a cross between Mother Teresa
    and James Bond.
    [audience softly laughs]
    In August, Hawthornes book
    comes outin August.
    And, because of this book,
    by November, this little known
    dark horse candidate carries 27
    out of the 31 states in the country
    and becomes our 14th President
    of the United States,
    based on a true story.
    And you know what happens?
    Pierce really sucks.
    [audience softly laughs]
    As Shakespeare wrote,
    He doth really suck!
    How bad was Franklin Pierce?
    Because of his pro-slavery actions,
    he did more than
    any other single individual
    to hasten the outbreak of the Civil War.
    How bad was Franklin Pierce?
    To this day, he remains the only
    incumbent president in our history
    not to get his own partys nomination
    for a second term.
    [audience softly laughs]
    How does he respond?
    Pierce later gets drunk, gets on a horse,
    and drives over a woman
    becoming the first president with a DUI.
    [horse neighing, female student
    in audience screams]
    But, you know the funny thing?
    We got through it.
    See, thats the thing about Americans.
    Were tough. Were resilient.
    Well get through it.
    Which brings me to my next point,
    well get through it.
    [audience laughing and applauding]
    Im an optimist. I really am.
    Im a positive person.
    I always look at the bong as half full.
    [audience laughing]
    And, by the way,
    I have no political agenda.
    My dad was a republican,
    my mom was a democrat,
    so I respect both points of view.
    Now that said, my wife,
    Ms. Lefty Pinko Capelli herself
    looks at Old W here and says,
    George W. Bush is the worst
    president in the history
    of the United States!
    And, I go, The worst?
    Holy hyperbole Batman.
    [audience chuckling]
    You know, weve had some
    really lousy leaders in this country.
    In fact, Im going to assume the position
    that lousy leaders
    are as American as apple pie.
    [audience cheers and applauses]
    Starting with Aaron Burr.
    Aaron Burr. Aaron Burr.
    We all know Aaron Burr
    from the Got Milk commercial,
    you know. Aaron Burr
    [saying Aaron Burr but with a slur,
    audience laughs]
    This is our 3rd presidential election,
    Aaron Burr actually tied Thomas Jefferson
    in electoral college
    and only became vice-president,
    because his old nemesis,
    Alexander Hamilton, used his influence
    to elect Jefferson.
    Uh, Burr, a less than gracious loser,
    responds by shooting Alexander Hamilton
    [single gunshot]
    thereby becoming our first vice-president
    to shoot somebody.
    [single gunshot]
    [audience laughing]
    He is later arraigned for treason,
    not once, not twice, not three times
    how many times, Aaron?
    [ding from cash register]
    Four times! Four times!
    Talk about a lousy leader.
    But, you know what?
    We got through it,
    because lousy leaders are
    as American as apple pie.
    Oh, lets keep going.
    [audience laughing]
    William Henry Harrison,
    hero of the Mexican War.
    On his inauguration day,
    March 4th, 1841. Its raining,
    its freezing, its windy,
    but Mr. macho war hero
    doesnt want anybody
    to think hes a pussy.
    [audience chuckling]
    So, he stands and gives
    his inauguration address without a hat,
    without a coat, without his gloves.
    Well, didnt your mother tell ya,
    if ya didnt cover up,
    youd catch pneumonia?
    Well, guess what? He catches
    March 4th, hes making history;
    April 4th, he is history.
    [audience chuckling]
    One monthone month!
    His administration lasted
    less than Lindsay Lohans last rehab.
    [audience laughing]
    Now, you gotta remember
    this was the first time a president
    had ever died in office.
    But, fortunately,
    we had John Tyler of Virginia.
    How committed to the United States
    was this guy?
    When hes not reelected,
    this mother fucker switches sides!
    [audience laughing]
    Then, there was Millard Fillmore.
    He put the I in anti-immigration.
    He not only wanted to keep anymore
    Irish Catholics from entering the country,
    he wants to kick out the ones
    that are already here.
    [audience laughing]
    Then there was Warren G. Harding.
    How bad was this guy?
    He once actually lost
    the White House china in a poker game.
    [audience laughing]
    Which brings me to Calvin Coolidge,
    who on a summer vacation, 1927,
    goes fishing in South Dakota,
    and catches so many fish
    in South Dakota
    that he decides to stay for 3 months!
    Three months the President stays away.
    Washingtons at a standstill.
    Cals catchin fish.
    [audience laughing]
    Now, just prior to this,
    America has suffered
    its greatest natural disaster.
    The Mississippi River overflows
    flooding 6 states. Cals catchin fish.
    I mean, can you imagine
    the president being that insensitive
    during a natural disaster? Inconceivable!
    [audience laughs loudly]
    But the real story isnt just that
    Cals catching fish,
    its why hes catching so many fish.
    Because, unbeknownst to Cal,
    South Dakotas state officials
    have chicken-wired the lake,
    and every night are restocking
    it with thousands of fish. Why?
    Because they need Cal
    to fall in love with South Dakota.
    Why? Because, they need
    to generate income in South Dakota.
    Why? Because South Dakota
    is in the middle of east bum fuck America!
    [audience chuckling]
    Theres only 8 people
    living there per square mile!
    [audience laughing]
    Thats only 8 more people
    living there than there are on Mars!
    They need tourism dollars,
    and they need Cals help to finance
    their new tourist attraction. And,
    what is their new tourist attraction?
    That mountain.
    They needed tourism dollars
    so they create Mt
    Mt. Rushmore was totally created
    as a tourist trap.
    And, you know what? It works.
    It works completely just weeks
    before the attack on Pearl Harbor.
    Mt. Rushmore becomes
    an instant national shrine
    and a quintessential American image.
    But tell the truth. Doesnt it look
    like the poster for The Departed?
    [gunshots, audience laughing]
    Now, my point is,
    although Calvin Coolidge
    may have been hoodwinked
    into paying for Mt. Rushmore,
    without his help, it never gets made
    which only goes to prove that
    no matter how lousy a leader one may be,
    you gotta give props where props are due.
    So, regardless of what you think
    of Ws legacy,
    you gotta give him the following
    first, he can throw strikes.
    [audience laughing]
    He is the best ever
    at throwing out the first pitch.
    [audience laughing]
    And, secondly, he is his mothers son.
    And, by that by the way,
    I mean no disrespect whatsoever
    to Barbara Bush.
    In fact, Ill have ya know,
    back in the day
    Barbara Bush is a little bit of a hottie.
    No, I say he is his mothers son,
    because before she was Barbara Bush,
    she was born Barbara Pierce.
    And, she is a direct descendent
    of none other than
    old fuck up himself, Franklin Pierce,
    which brings us full circle and explains
    how things got to where we are today.
    And, you know what?
    Well get through it, again.
    [audience laughing]
    Why? Because lousy leaders are
    (audience joined by Wuhl)
    as American as apple pie.
    You betcha!
    (Male 1)
    Now, theres apparently room for one more
    face on Mt. Rushmore, and it seems
    to me its pretty obvious who it is.
    (Black Male)
    Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
    (Black Woman)
    Martin Luther King
    (Sarah Vowell, Author)
    Meryl Streep
    (Male 2)
    Is Roosevelt on there already?
    (Male 1)
    Uhits Franklin Roosevelt.
    (Black Male)
    Franklin D. Roosevelt
    (Male 2)
    Is he already on? No? Maybe Roosevelt.
    (Black Male)
    And perhaps
    (Sarah Vowell, Author)
    Francis Coppola?
    (Black Woman)
    Tony Morrison
    (Black Male)
    Ronald Reagan
    (Male Comedian)
    If there was a Canadian Mt. Rushmore,
    it would be all people who are on SETV.
    (Black Male) Cough, cough, sorry
    (Sarah Vowell, Author)
    No, I cant even get through
    that with a straight face?
    [Sarah laughs]
  • Not Synced
    I call this next segment
    I shit you not.
    [audience chuckling]
    A little history story, little fun facts
    here we go.
    One wonders if Ramses is really
    the proper name for a condom,
    when you consider its named
    after the great pharaoh, Ramses,
    who fathered over 110 kids
    during his life. I shit you not.
    [audience laughing]
    In the dining room of the Titanic,
    they actually served iceberg lettuce.
    [audience laughing]
    I shit you not. On April 9th,
    Playboy magazine founder
    and sexual liberator,
    Hugh Hefner, turned 81.
    He was then given a birthday party
    by the three women who love him
    whose combined age is 81!
    [audience laughing]
    I shit you not!
    The croissant was introduced
    into what country?
    (Male in Audience)
    Correct! Austria!
    [audience laughing]
    To celebrate their victory
    over the Battle of Vienna,
    Austrian bakers decided
    to create a pastry in the crescent
    on the Ottoman flag. Crescent
    and, in fact, the croissant does not
    arrive into France until
    a hundred years later
    when its brought over
    by a 16-year old Austrian princess
    by the name of Kirsten Dunst.
    [audience laughing]
    In 1990, Pfizer Labs is experimenting
    with sildenaphil, which is a drug
    to treat heart patients.
    Well, after doing a lot of testing,
    nobodys blood pressure goes down,
    but everybodys dick goes up.
    [audience laughing]
    Well, so long sildenaphil, hello Viagra!
    [audience laughing]
    And, speaking on behalf
    of all the middle-aged men
    whod been married to the same woman
    for 24 years,
    this is one of the great moments
    in American history. I shit you not!
    [audience laughing]
    Now, Im sure many of you
    dismissed Ms. Spears
    as some exhibitionist,
    club-hopping bimbo. But, not me!
    No, I got Britneys back.
    [audience chuckling]
    Because, as my father used to say,
    judge slowly.
    Behind me, this is the first nude scene
    in motion picture history.
    In the 1933 Czech film, Ecstasy,
    20-year old Hedy Lamarr shocks the world
    by becoming the first woman
    to bare her breasts on camera,
    thus becoming the original Girl Gone Wild!
    [audience laughing]
    Her outrageous behavior makes her
    an international film star
    and a pop-culture icon who once said,
    Any woman can become glamorous.
    All she has to do is stand still,
    and look stupid.
    [audience chuckling]
    Ahhhhhbut early in 1941,
    shortly after WWII begins,
    Hedy is out partying.
    Concerned about the Nazis
    jamming allied radio signals,
    Hedy takes out a cocktail napkin,
    and on the back of it, draws up a plan
    that will become known
    as frequency hopping.
    This is a way to make
    jamming radio signals impossible.
    I mean, look at it.
    This is Hedys actual patent
    for frequency hopping.
    And, this isnt a handbag
    or cosmetics line shes putting
    her name on, right?
    This is impressive stuff.
    So, who many thought
    was an exhibitionist, club-hopping, bimbo
    of her time invents a revolutionary
    defense system that has been used
    in everything from
    the Cuban Missile Crisis,
    to wi-fi, to cell phones.
    Well, stand still and look stupidmy ass!
    [audience chuckling]
    Which brings me back to my girl, Britney.
    [audience chuckling]
    And, once again, I say judge slowly,
    because in the future,
    we may very well learn
    that Britney went into that car
    with underwear on!
    [audience laughing]
    And the reason they came off
    may someday change history.
    [audience laughing]
    I shit you not.
    [audience laughs and applauses]
    In the first half of the 20th century,
    the most popular woman in America
    was First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt.
    However you may be surprised
    the second most popular woman
    in America was this woman right here.
    Anybody know who she is?
    (random voices)
    That is Betty Crocker.
    (random voices) Oh, yeah.
    The spokeswoman for Gold Medal Flour
    and Bisquick, she was the media superstar
    of the first half of the 20th century.
    How big was Betty Crocker?
    In the countryone-third the population
    that it is now, her weekly radio shows
    drew the same sized audience
    as American Idol.
    Betty Crocker got 4,000 letters a day.
    A day--I get 10 emailsIm wiggin out.
    [audience laughing]
    She was the woman that American women
    turned to and trusted.
    But then, in 1945, in a shocking expose,
    Betty Crocker is outed.
    Fortune magazine reveals that no,
    shes not gay.
    [audience chuckling]
    Shes not straight.
    They reveal Betty Crocker is not real.
    America is shocked to find out
    that Betty Crocker is a fictional character
    created by General Mills, who by the way,
    is not a real general.
    [audience laughing]
    People were crushed.
    I mean this would be like
    finding out that Oprah is CGI.
    [audience laughing]
    So I got to thinkin who else?
    Who else besides Betty
    have we mislaid our trust to?
    Who else have we given our hearts
    and our stomachs to?
    So with the publics interest in mind,
    it is time to play Real or No Real.
    Hi Ladies!
    Hi Mr. Wuhl!
    Are you ready to play Real or No Real?
    Hell, yeah!
    Are you ready to play Real or No Real?
    Hell, yeah!
    [audience laughing]
    Well then lets play Real or No Real
    starting with Chef Boyardee.
    We all know Chef Boyardee,
    but was he Real or No Real?
    (Several in Audience)
    Chef Boyardee was
    (Female 1)
    [audience cheering and applauding]
    In 1926, Hector Boiardi
    opens Giardino dItalia,
    a restaurant in Cleveland, Ohio.
    There, his spaghetti sauce
    became so popular, he decides
    to market it nationally,
    spelling his name phonetically
    [audience chuckling]
    and thereby introduces much of America
    to authentic, Italian cuisine.
    Although, my Italian mother-in-law
    wants to know what part of Italy
    did beefaroni come from?
    [audience laughing]
    Next, little Debbie,
    we all know little Debbie,
    but was she real or no real?
    [audience hollers out mixed answers]
    Little Debbie was
    (Female 2)
    [audience cheering and applauding]
    In 1960, O.D. McKee is looking
    for a logo for his new snack cake,
    and he decides to use a picture
    of his little granddaughter, Debbie;
    however, O.D. does so without telling
    little Debbies parents.
    In fact, Debbies parents dont find out
    about this until the product
    is almost on the shelves!
    So, needless to say,
    little Debbies parents are POed O.D.
    for exploiting their daughter,
    at least until their daughter
    started making big bucks.
    [audience laughing]
    Next, Jose Cuervo.
    We all know Jose Cuervo.
    Sometimes, we wake up and wish
    we didnt know Jose Cuervo.
    [audience laughing]
    But, was he real or no real?
    (Audience) (mostly real, yes!)
    Jose Cuervo was
    (Female 3)
    [audience cheering and applauding]
    In 1756, Jose Cuervo gets a license
    to produce mezcal wine,
    and opens the first Mexican distillery
    in the village of..of
    [audience laughing]
    Take a shot, babe.
    [gulping noise] [audience laughing]
    Next, Aunt Jemima!
    We all know Aunt Jemima,
    but was she real or no real?
    [audience shouts out differing answers]
    Aunt Jemima was
    (Female 4)
    No real!
    Aunt Jemima is not real;
    however, Nancy Green was.
    In 1893, the Chicago Worlds Fair opens.
    Millions of people came
    from around the world
    to visit America and to see
    their new technology and products.
    Electricity is first introduced
    at the Chicagos Worlds Fair.
    Ferris introduces his wheel
    at the Chicago Worlds Fair.
    But the biggest hit
    may have been Nancy Green,
    a former slave who becomes
    our nations first African-American
    spokeswoman when she introduces
    a new pancake mix based
    on of all things,
    a hit pop song of its time.
    Singing songs,
    giving cooking demonstrations,
    and telling stories, Nancy Green
    became such a sensation
    that Aunt Jemima executives
    make her their spokeswoman for life!
    And, for the next 30 years,
    she tours across America
    as a pancake rockstar!
    [audience laughing]
    Until sadly, shes run over
    by a car in 1923.
    No truth however to the rumor
    its driven by Mrs. Butterworth.
    [screeching car, audience laughing]
    So, in summation,
    there was a Baskin and a Robbins,
    a Ben and a Jerry,
    but no Haagen, No Dazs
    (All Deal or No Deal Females)
    No queen of the dairy.
    [audience laughing]
    Dr. Scholl made us walk,
    Jack Daniel made us crawl,
    there is a Paul Newman
    (Deal or No Deal Females)
    and there was a Mrs. Paul.
    [ripping paper, audience laughs, Real or No Real Females clap as Wuhl chants]
    There was a Pontiac, a Cadillac,
    a Buick and an Olds.
    A Dodge and a Chevrolet, a
    (Deal or No Deal Females and Wuhl)
    Royce never Rolls.
    There was a Dr. Pepper
    (Deal or No Deal Females and Wuhl)
    there aint no Mr. Pibb.
    But, Pepperidge Farm and Maxwell House
    were once somebodys crib.
    Im only going to do one more,
    and then Ill say goodbye,
    and thats Marie Calendar, who made the
    (Deal or No Deal Females and Wuhl)
    mother fuckin pie!
    [audience laughing and applauding]
    I wanna thank everybody
    for attending todayI appreciate it!
    Class dismissed!
    [school bell rings]
    [audience cheering and applauding]
    Thank you! Hope you enjoyed it. Thank you!
    (Jeff Greenfield)
    OK. Whaddaya wanna know?
    (Patricia Williams)
    My favorite invention?
    Well, my public answer would be
    the, uh, printing press.
    (Patricia Williams)
    Its the computer. I just cannot believe
    that I was lucky enough to be born
    in the age of computers.
    My private answer would be caller ID.
    (Seth Rogen)
    Satellite television.
    (Jeff Greenfield)
    Video on demand.
    (Louis C.K.)
    Yeah, I have to take this.
    (Seth Rogen)
    I did enjoy history class
    very much growing up.
    (Louis C.K.)
    I loved it. I flunked it, but I loved it.
    (Patricia Williams)
    I guess history is a great battlefield,
    and thats simply
    in the sense of warriors.
    (Manning Marable)
    It boils down to this.
    Whos telling the story?
    Whose story is it?
    (Jeff Greenfield)
    The more you learn
    about these people,
    the more you learn about ambiguity.
    (Manning Marable)
    Historical memory is always selective.
    (Jeff Greenfield)
    If there were one test
    I could give to a president,
    a potential president,
    it would be how much history
    does he or she know.
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