Historically Hardcore

Monday, March 21st, 2011

The Smithsonian declares itself historically hardcore with this ad comparing and contrasting rapper 50 Cent and adventurer-politician Theodore Roosevelt:

50 Cent got shot and still whines about it on stage. Teddy Roosevelt got shot mid-speech and didn’t leave the stage until he finished.

“Fiddy” got shot through the face — and eight other places — while “Teddy” got shot through, well, some other things:

While Roosevelt was campaigning in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on October 14, 1912, a saloonkeeper named John Schrank shot him, but the bullet lodged in his chest only after penetrating his steel eyeglass case and passing through a thick (50 pages) single-folded copy of the speech he was carrying in his jacket.

Roosevelt, as an experienced hunter and anatomist, correctly concluded that since he wasn’t coughing blood, the bullet had not completely penetrated the chest wall to his lung, and so declined suggestions he go to the hospital immediately. Instead, he delivered his scheduled speech with blood seeping into his shirt. He spoke for 90 minutes. His opening comments to the gathered crowd were, “Ladies and gentlemen, I don’t know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot; but it takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose.”

Afterwards, probes and x-ray showed that the bullet had traversed three inches (76 mm) of tissue and lodged in Roosevelt’s chest muscle but did not penetrate the pleura, and it would be more dangerous to attempt to remove the bullet than to leave it in place. Roosevelt carried it with him for the rest of his life.

If Roosevelt had died then, rather than a decade later — of the malaria he soon contracted in the Brazilian jungle — Wilson might never have become President.

Addendum: The Smithsonian has asked the commercial art students behind the work to remove the Smithsonian logo.

Leave a Reply