The Shocking Lack of Historical Knowledge in Today’s America

 

This is a verbatim transcript of a conversation at work last night:

Colleague: Dennis Rodman is going to meet with ISIS. [This was a rumor going around the internet]

Me: Didn’t he go meet with Kim Jong Un?

Colleague: Yeah.

Me: He’s a regular Jimmy Carter. Someone should throw a rabbit at him.

Colleague: …What!?

It followed — as morning follows malaise — that he hadn’t heard of the Jimmy Carter Rabbit Incident. Neither had anyone else in the conversation.

As I walked the factory the rest of the night, I asked people if they knew President Carter had been attacked by a swamp rabbit. I asked intelligent people; I asked well-informed people; I asked people old enough to hear and remember it at the time. Not a single person to whom I posed the question could remember the incident. Excuses were paltry:

“I never knew rabbits could swim.”

“I wasn’t alive at the time.”

Well, neither was I, but you don’t hear me forgetting one of the funniest events in American History.

I ask you, dear Ricochetti, what is this world coming to?

Image courtesy of the Jimmy Carter Library via Wikipedia.

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  1. Pony Convertible Inactive
    Pony Convertible
    @PonyConvertible

    I remember.  The political cartoons about it were great!

    • #1
  2. Jimmy Carter Member
    Jimmy Carter
    @JimmyCarter

    Uh, what rabbit?

    • #2
  3. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    I only learned about it when, years later, biologists confirmed the existence of giant, potentially violent, swamp rabbits, and it turned out that Carter was probably right to be a wee bit concerned when he saw one coming at him.

    • #3
  4. user_1029039 Member
    user_1029039
    @JasonRudert

    Maybe you can help me with another one, Hank. Was it Carter or JFK who was speaking at a National Prayer Breakfast when the lectern burst into flames right in front of him?

    I can’t find the book where I first read this and the Internet is a little fuzzy about it. Also, is there any video of it?

    • #4
  5. user_352043 Moderator
    user_352043
    @AmySchley

    • #5
  6. user_536317 Inactive
    user_536317
    @JimW

    “There’s a rabbit in the woods…”

    • #6
  7. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty
    @BasilFawlty

    If nobody else is going to do it, I guess I’ll have to.

    • #7
  8. user_494971 Contributor
    user_494971
    @HankRhody

    Thanks, Amy. I was going to lead off with that comic but Ricochet tends to break (for me, a least) whenever someone posts an image wider than the post.

    Mr. Rudert, I am sorry, I can’t help you with your search. Would really like to see it though.

    • #8
  9. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty
    @BasilFawlty

    Jason Rudert:Maybe you can help me with another one, Hank. Was it Carter or JFK who was speaking at a National Prayer Breakfast when the lectern burst into flames right in front of him?

    I can’t find the book where I first read this and the Internet is a little fuzzy about it. Also, is there any video of it?

    Sure you’re not thinking of the JFK inauguration when the podium started smoking during Cardinal Cushing’s invocation?

    • #9
  10. user_352043 Moderator
    user_352043
    @AmySchley

    Hank Rhody: Thanks, Amy. I was going to lead off with that comic but Ricochet tends to break (for me, a least) whenever someone posts an image wider than the post.

    It’s okay … some kind editor put it in because I couldn’t figure out how to put in the image without breaking Ricochet either.

    It’s XKCD #204, not my own creation, by the way.  The alt-text on his site says “The younger readers think I’m joking about this.”  I’ll admit, until I came across this comic (thanks James of England!) I had never heard about it either.

    • #10
  11. user_1029039 Member
    user_1029039
    @JasonRudert

    Basil, I guess that must be it.

    • #11
  12. PHCheese Inactive
    PHCheese
    @PHCheese

    Yes that was a. Very bunny incident .

    • #12
  13. jmelvin Member
    jmelvin
    @jmelvin

    I’ll admit I knew nothing of this grand historical event, but I am too young to know about it as well.  That said, it seems that it is, at best a triviality, a very humorous triviality though.

    • #13
  14. user_352043 Moderator
    user_352043
    @AmySchley

    Jimmy Carter:Uh, what rabbit?

    Maybe we should get you a pair of these so you remember …

    python_killer_bunny_slipper

    Yes, my favorite part of the killer rabbit sketch from Search for the Holy Grail is that it was based on a real event …

    • #14
  15. Jimmy Carter Member
    Jimmy Carter
    @JimmyCarter

    Jimmy Carter:Uh, what rabbit?

    Maybe we should get you a pair of these so you remember …

    python_killer_bunny_slipper

    Yes, my favorite part of the killer rabbit sketch from Search for the Holy Grail is that it was based on a real event …

    [Flashback]

    NO! NO! THE HORROR!

    [curls into fetal position; left eye twitchin’]

    • #15
  16. user_138562 Moderator
    user_138562
    @RandyWeivoda

    I don’t remember hearing about the attack when it happened but I’ve heard about it several times over the years.  I’m not surprised though, that most people have no knowledge or memory of it.

    • #16
  17. Tom Meyer Contributor
    Tom Meyer
    @tommeyer

    Hank Rhody: I ask you, dear Ricochetti, what is this world coming to?

    Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

    • #17
  18. Casey Inactive
    Casey
    @Casey

    I only learned of it after joining Ricochet and I would be concerned for America if this was the sort of historical event the average citizen focused on.

    Oh wait… I am concerned.

    • #18
  19. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Tom Meyer, Ed.:

    Hank Rhody: I ask you, dear Ricochetti, what is this world coming to?

    Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

    Rampant swamp rabbit attacks?

    • #19
  20. Foxman Inactive
    Foxman
    @Foxman

    Hey, there are many who believe that GW Bush started a war in Iraq.

    • #20
  21. Tom Meyer Contributor
    Tom Meyer
    @tommeyer

    Misthiocracy:

    Tom Meyer, Ed.:

    Hank Rhody: I ask you, dear Ricochetti, what is this world coming to?

    Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

    Rampant swamp rabbit attacks?

    What, are you going to say they’re “just the J.V. team?” ;)

    • #21
  22. Johnny Dubya Inactive
    Johnny Dubya
    @JohnnyDubya

    Let’s get something straight:  There is no shame in being attacked by a rabbit.  Even Chuck Norris could be attacked by a rabbit.  Of course, he would swat the little lagomorph away with the back of his hand (even if he were battling a grizzly bear at the time).  But it would still be counted as an attack.

    Jimmy Carter felt threatened by a rabbit.  That is indeed worthy of shame.

    • #22
  23. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Johnny Dubya:Let’s get something straight: There is no shame in being attacked by a rabbit. Even Chuck Norris could be attacked by a rabbit. Of course, he would swat the little lagomorph away with the back of his hand (even if he were battling a grizzly bear at the time). But it would still be counted as an attack.

    Jimmy Carter felt threatened by a rabbit. That is indeed worthy of shame.


    That’s a pretty big rabbit. If I saw one of those things swimming at me in a panic, I’d be pretty freaked out, and I feel so shame admitting such.

    • #23
  24. user_1938 Member
    user_1938
    @AaronMiller

    Amy Schley: Yes, my favorite part of the killer rabbit sketch from Search for the Holy Grail is that it was based on a real event …

    You know, I’ve been a Monty Python fan all my life and never made that connection.

    Johnny Dubya: Jimmy Carter felt threatened by a rabbit.  That is indeed worthy of shame.

    I’ve been to Carter’s home “town” in Georgia. That’s farm country. So his fright of a rabbit — even a deadly Hell-spawned swamp rabbit — is strange indeed.

    • #24
  25. user_1938 Member
    user_1938
    @AaronMiller

    Misthiocracy: That’s a pretty big rabbit. If I saw one of those things swimming at me in a panic, I’d be pretty freaked out, and I feel so shame admitting such.

    There’s not a lot of difference between that hopping rat and nutria, to be honest. You don’t want to be bit by anything in a swamp.

    What I want to know is: Who took the picture? Who stands in the trees taking pictures of a man fishing on the river? This must have been a political photo op gone wrong.

    • #25
  26. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty
    @BasilFawlty

    Aaron Miller:

    Amy Schley: Yes, my favorite part of the killer rabbit sketch from Search for the Holy Grail is that it was based on a real event …

    You know, I’ve been a Monty Python fan all my life and never made that connection.

    Grail was made four years before the rabbit attack.  It’s more likely that Carter saw the movie and feared there was going to be a reenactment.

    • #26
  27. Whiskey Sam Inactive
    Whiskey Sam
    @WhiskeySam

    This is the sole reason keeping Obama from being the worst President in history: Nature itself hasn’t yet turned on him.

    • #27
  28. user_352043 Moderator
    user_352043
    @AmySchley

    Basil Fawlty:

    Aaron Miller:

    Amy Schley: Yes, my favorite part of the killer rabbit sketch from Search for the Holy Grail is that it was based on a real event …

    You know, I’ve been a Monty Python fan all my life and never made that connection.

    Grail was made four years before the rabbit attack. It’s more likely that Carter saw the movie and feared there was going to be a reenactment.

    Anyone have some milk?

    When you get egg on your face, make an omelet!

    • #28
  29. Albert Arthur Coolidge
    Albert Arthur
    @AlbertArthur

    Basil Fawlty:

    Aaron Miller:

    Amy Schley: Yes, my favorite part of the killer rabbit sketch from Search for the Holy Grail is that it was based on a real event …

    You know, I’ve been a Monty Python fan all my life and never made that connection.

    Grail was made four years before the rabbit attack. It’s more likely that Carter saw the movie and feared there was going to be a reenactment.

    Oh, yeah?! And what would you know about Monty Python? Huh? Oh….

    • #29
  30. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty
    @BasilFawlty

    Albert Arthur:

    Basil Fawlty:

    Aaron Miller:

    Amy Schley: Yes, my favorite part of the killer rabbit sketch from Search for the Holy Grail is that it was based on a real event …

    You know, I’ve been a Monty Python fan all my life and never made that connection.

    Grail was made four years before the rabbit attack. It’s more likely that Carter saw the movie and feared there was going to be a reenactment.

    Oh, yeah?! And what would you know about Monty Python? Huh? Oh….

    I claim no expertise beyond that of grumpy hotelier.

    • #30

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