Ken Burns, the King of Talking-and-Pictures Documentaries, has a new show on PBS about the sweet American dynasty that helped to shape our once-sweet country. It’s actually really interesting, which is sort of what I always say about Ken Burns documentaries–you expect them to be boring, I mean, here are some panning shots of STILL PICTURES and then here are some talking heads of historians. Bore snore. But actually it’s awesome because history, it turns out, is STILL RELEVANT TODAY. Who knew? Anyway, The Roosevelts: An Intimate History, is sort of blowing my mind and teaching me all kinds of stuff the American education system failed to teach me. You should watch it yourself but because I know you probably won’t, you’re too busy watching Dating Naked, let me school you with some crazy Roosevelt-based knowledge.
1. In the old days, everybody was dying all the goddamn time. Eleanor Roosevelt’s dad went on a bender and died of a seizure after he jumped out a window when he was detoxing. He was in his 30’s. Her mom died too, before Eleanor was 10, of diphtheria and not too long after that her brother also died of diphtheria. Teddy Roosevelt’s wife and mom died on the same day, WHICH JUST HAPPENED TO BE THE DAY HIS FIRST DAUGHTER WAS BORN.
2. The “speak softly and carry a big stick” thing is actually a West African proverb. EARLY CULTURAL APPROPRIATION ALERT.
3. FDR was a cheerleader in college.
4. Teddy probably had ADD. He was totally bananas. He read a book a day and wrestled with adult guests to the White House. He took up jujitsu after he decided he was too old for boxing.
5. Alice Roosevelt, Teddy’s oldest daughter, was a bad-ass. She once wore a snake and she liked to smoke cigarettes and ride alone in cars with men.
6. Teddy Roosevelt was a full on killer. He LOVED murder, he loved war and one time, after he and his girlfriend broke up, he shot a dog. Nowadays, he’d be put in jail probably because he was kind of a psycho.
This stuff I learned from the FIRST TWO segments and there at least seven online. Watch them you fools!