November 26, 2007

Was Lincoln already dying of cancer when he was assassinated?

Dr. John G. Sotos thinks so, based in part on the theory that Lincoln suffered from MEN 2B:
He thinks the diagnosis not only accounts for Lincoln's great height, which has been the subject of most medical speculation over the years, but also for many of the president's other reported ailments and behaviors.

He also suspects Lincoln was dying of cancer at the time he was assassinated, and was unlikely to have survived a year. He thinks cancer -- an inevitable element of MEN 2B -- killed at least one of Lincoln's four sons, three of whom died before reaching age 20.
Another doctor disagrees, however, because the patients he treats who have this disease usually "have massively enlarged colons that bulge visibly, gurgle audibly and produce large amounts of gas," and who among has heard — or even thought — of Lincoln farting?

The truth could be ascertained through DNA testing of the fragments of Lincoln's body or the bloodstained clothes and bedding that have been preserved, however, these fragments are considered relics:
Tim Clarke Jr., spokesman for the [National Museum of Health], said curators in the past decided that "destroying nonrenewable, historically significant material is not in the public's interest," but added that "as technology changes and the social and ethical environment changes, it could be addressed" again.
Isn't our interest in actual historical information more significant than having relics to look at? 

In fact, why don't we question the display of a dead President's body parts and bloody pillows?

57 comments:

rhhardin said...

If the National Museum of Health wants to display Lincoln body parts, let them bid for them on eBay like everybody else.

vet66 said...

Anyone who writes as well as Lincoln can fart all he wants. I challenge the current crop of gas-passers to speak and write as eloquently as the old log splitter himself.

Winston Churchill had a few interesting quirks when in no way diminished that extraordinary stateman.

George said...

For more, see Manhunt, a great recent book on the assassination.

A few little-known facts....

Booth was as famous in his day as a major movie star is today...The assassination occurred on Good Friday (or 'Black Friday' as people referred to it after the murder)...It was all the more shocking because D.C. was in the midst of huge celebrations...Booth had wanted to kidnap Lincoln, but that plan didn't come off....Grant was supposed to have been in the theatre box with Lincoln that night...Most bizarre, the soldier who shot Booth was disobeying orders and should not have been in the army because he had intentionally castrated himself!

Believe It Or Not...

Sloanasaurus said...

The idea that Lincoln was dying of cancer sounds like confederate propaganda.

Today democrats make similar arguments - such as that Iraq violence is down because the Sunnis changed sides rather than because of anything the U.S. military did.

Hmm...

ricpic said...

War Whiffs

Lincoln farted,
The Union shook;
Passed gas ignited:
That's all it took.

dave™© said...

So I see Blithering Misogynist Idiot had another alcoholic meltdown due to a woman with bigger, nicer tits than she has over the holiday weekend.

Speaking of items that should be forwarded to a law school! No wonder the University of Bumfuck canned your pathetic, crazy ass.

Delete away, O Blithering One! Or are you gonna call the Blogger Police?

Zeb Quinn said...

Other than being an interesting little factoid, why would it be all that important to learn the truth of it?

rhhardin said...

Lincoln had a lot more quips than, say, Polk. Was his disease responsible for this? Genius comes from miswiring.

An administration of decent quips is in fact what you'd look for from Giuliani and not Hillary. That's what we need today.

Frank Rich would never survive it.

A Quip Department is probably too much to hope for, co-equal to the State Department, for foreign policy action, but it could easily set off satisfying world-wide Muslim rage.

Ron said...

They display Lincoln's chair from Ford's Theater (with the blood stains on it!) in the Henry Ford Museum...why? Ugh!

Doesn't that 'had disease X, would have been dead within a year' stuff sound like the stuff written about Hitler in the Bunker?

mcg said...

The more important question is when the heck dave™© is going to be banned for good.

But to address the actual topic, I'd say I'm with the National Museum of Health on this one. I actually think that advances in sensing technology will one day allow such analysis to be performed in a far less destructive fashion. I think that answers to questions like these can wait.

Trooper York said...

Let's hope they do the test so we can prove that President Lincoln did not father George Gipps love child.

MadisonMan said...

What zeb Quinn said.

I am surprised that people spend their time speculating about whether a historic figure did or did not have cancer when they died from something else. It seems like a complete waste to me, but to each his own, I suppose.

Trooper York said...

It has long been established by noted historians that William Howard Taft passed the most and the worst smelling gas of any US President. In fact he often used his olfactory talents in questioning Filipino insurgents in an early form of water boarding.

Pogo said...

Alternate future speculation is such a bore; it was interesting ...when I was 10 and it was in Superman comics. Not so great since then though.

Historical medicine of this purely theoretical style is also crushingly dull.

Historical gay "outing" is the same.

The desire to create personal fame based on the rightfully famous work of others is somewhat like modern rap music sampling better songs without credit, creating something mostly lesser and ignorable.

paul a'barge said...

Doesn't Andrew Sullivan suffer from MEN 2B?

Trooper York said...

It is generally agreed that President James Buchanan had the smoothest colon functions for reasons best left unexplored.

Ron said...

In Sullivan's case isn't MEN not 2B? That is the question.

Trooper York said...

Jimmy Carter had a habit of letting off silent but deadly ones and blaming it on Roslyn when he was President. Of course now when he cuts the cheese, he blames it on the Jews.

John Z. said...

The reason why such tests should not be allowed is that every few years someone else comes along with another theory. Are we as a society obliged to give every one the benefit of the doubt? If so, then in a few generations there will be nothing left to test.

Cedarford said...

Agree with Pogo. There is a sub-breed of doctors and all too common "historical investigators" (conspiracy nuts) that regularly pop up in the media proposing we did up the remains of this or that famous politician or celebrity because they could have died of nefarious means or some exotic disease that - Would Change Our Understanding of History!

So, all the fanfare and news and book publicity such hawkers get is....umm...incidental. And not a motive..

Pogo is right that in most cases it either simply fulfills the idle curiosity of the bob-bon munchers on the true cause of Anna Nicile Smiths posible eating disorder or then allows postulation and speculation of an alternate history that didn't happen.

The reality is the Cult of Celebrity is already too big, and people are so ignorant of actual history that it is a jerk-off parlor game to pretend that "what-if" pretend history is in any way a valuable use of time.

"What if Lincoln hadn't been shot but instead died of cancer in 1867?" Could the Universe have changed. And what if Lincoln had survived knowing positively now he didn't have MEN-2 but Marfan and he had gone on to either marry a descendent of Sally Hemmings or advocate for the rights of CHinese railroad workers to stay here.

Boy, that would have significantly altered history and likely not only prevented the election of Grover Cleveland but could have changed views on multiracial marriage and launched Marilyn on an alternate career requiring movie history to be rewritten...And speaking of Marilyn, her corpse has to be dug up too so we can check out the possibility the Kennedy Brothers had her strangled, which would also rewrite history!"

It's all ET Tonight schlock...

Same with gay outings of historical figures, feminist theory of Caesar's conquest of Gaul, and historical figure psychoanalysis. Bottom line, its all bread and butter for Critical Theory and Foucault scholars justifying their jobs and seeking tenure at universities in belief that Queer Studies, Psycobabble Historical and Literary Analysis, and gender deconstruction of Caesar are all academically valuable pusuits.
Or for feeding conspiratists and Truthers. Let us have Vince Foster's body! Dig up 9/11 victim's remains and analyze them for traces of explosives Mossad favors. THE PEOPLE HAVE A RIGHT TO KNOW.

No they don't.
Tinfoil is for tenting a turkey while it bastes, not for making hats out of.

Trooper York said...

Bill Clinton has testified under oath that he never broke wind for the entire eight years of his presidency, not even one time. However he did qualify his statement by noting “It all depends on what you definition of fart is.” Since laundry has played such an important role in his historical legacy, it is understandable that all of his presidential linens will be held in a safe deposit box at his Presidential library until twenty years after his death. This will of course definitely answer the eternal questions: Boxers or Briefs, Stained or Unstained.

Kevin said...

dave™© said.. that Mary said: Anyway, for a fuller explanation, please read what I've written this morning over there at 8:30am, before it gets deleted.

So y'all nutty folks have a separate site where you discuss this site?

Seems a little... weird.

Trooper York said...

George Washington was noted for having the first wooden colon. It is currently on display at Fraunces Tavern on Pearl and Broad Streets in downtown Manhattan. His wooden penis is on the display in the Betsy Ross House at 239 Arch St
Philadelphia, PA for reasons that are unclear to this very day.

Luckyoldson said...

Sloanasaurus said..."The idea that Lincoln was dying of cancer sounds like confederate propaganda."

You can always count on Sloan to enter the fray, dragging along his own personal brand of insanity.

And then he adds this:

"Today democrats make similar arguments - such as that Iraq violence is down because the Sunnis changed sides rather than because of anything the U.S. military did."

Okay, got that?

Lincoln may have had cancer, but he thinks it was really just confederate "propaganda"...and the Democrats are wrong about the violence in Iraq.

Can everybody see the connection?

Luckyoldson said...

Kevin said..."So y'all nutty folks have a separate site where you discuss this site? Seems a little... weird."

Sure does...and please don't include me in the "nutty folks" grouping.

There's more than enough "weird" here to last a lifetime.

Trooper York said...

Chester A. Arthur was justly renowned for his famous muttonchops side burns and luxuriant moustache. Historians now speculate that it was not a fashion statement, but due to the fact that he had herpes, which he contracted from a tryst with Calamity Jane when viewing Buffalo Bills Wild West Show.

Luckyoldson said...

A few other little known facts about Abe:

*He smuggled a jumbo sized pack of Milk Duds, 2 cans of Bud and a ziplock full of salted peanuts into the theater in Mary's purse.

*He didn't turn off his cell phone.

*He was shushed for jabbering throughout the portion of the play he got to see.

*And strangely enough, he drove a Cadillac.

*Oh, and he was against the invasion of Iraq.

reader_iam said...

Speaking answers to history-exam questions.

reader_iam said...

I like the lend-lease part myself.

Trooper York said...

Franklin Pierce invented the pastime of “piercing” by having decorative pieces of whalebone scrimshaw inserted through the skin of several orifices. A tragic attempt at an anal piercing led to life long pain that he self-medicated through alcohol which led to his death from cirrhosis in 1869.

Palladian said...

"*Oh, and he was against the invasion of Iraq."

Iraq didn't exist in Abraham Lincoln's lifetime.

READ A BOOK!!!1

reader_iam said...

*And strangely enough, he drove a Cadillac.

But only because John Wilkes Booth had commandeered the envelope.

reader_iam said...

OT: Trent Lott's resigning.

"Mississippi Sen. Trent Lott's decision to retire from the U.S. Senate by year's end shocked Washington Monday, catching lawmakers and lobbyists alike off guard."

Interesting, the way that lede is constructed.

/OT

Peter Palladas said...

"and who among [us] has heard — or even thought — of Lincoln farting?"

A certain knight once let rip at the court of Queen Elizabeth I. Mortified, he fled the country spending a decade or more abroad earning great wealth to bestow upon his Monarch.

Finally, an old and a broken man, he returned to England and once more took his place just forward of the Royal arras.

Turning to him, Good Queen Bess remarked "Welcome home dear Lord X. You have been sorely missed. I had quite forgot the fart."

Lord X died later that day.

Lawgiver said...

Lucy scratched her ass with her right hand, sniffed her fingers and continued typing. She mumbled the words as she pounded the keyboard, “Where do all you idiots come from? What about the 400,000 people Bush has murdered in Iraq and the uninsured immigrants he is killing right here in America? Why are you talking about Lincoln?” Why these morons didn’t focus on Bush like she did was beyond her comprehension. Mining her nose with her right pinky she deposited a fat booger on the GWB poster next to her computer desk. She hated Bush and the 62 million people who had voted for him. She hated most everything except the Clintons. Recently someone had called her Clinton’s buttsniffer and she really hated it. The Clinton’s were gods to Lucy and if she could indeed sniff their butts she was sure it would smell like scented Lilac water. But she was nobody’s buttsniffer.

From Chapter Twenty-One of “Hate Me, Hate You, A Tale of Despair and Loathing in The 21stCentury.)

Freder Frederson said...

Tinfoil is for tenting a turkey while it bastes, not for making hats out of.

Whether Lincoln had cancer or not--a worthless piece of trivia.

This statement coming from Cedarford, who blames everything on the Jews and thinks the interstate highway system is a socialist plot foisted on us by the Nazis (also a Jewish conspiracy btw)--PRICELESS

Now if you can show that the Jews gave Lincoln cancer, I bet Cedarford would sit up and take notice.

Trooper York said...

It is a well know fact that two out of three dentists agree that Jimmy Carter believes that the Jews gave him gingivitis.

Luckyoldson said...

Palladian said..."Iraq didn't exist in Abraham Lincoln's lifetime."

Oh, right.

What about the Milk Duds?

Good lord...

Freder Frederson said...

*He didn't turn off his cell phone.

This really shouldn't have bothered anyone since nobody could have called him for at least another 11 years.

Luckyoldson said...

lawgiver,
I'm starting to really get into your novella about "Lucy."

What I personally find most interesting about it is this:

The only Lucy I'm really familiar with is my long time girlfriend from "Peanuts," so I hope that's the character I'm fashioned after.

*You know...pushy, opinionated, tough, a crab-ass, cynical...just like ME.

From the time I was a little boy I spent many, many hours reading Peanuts with my dad (he died in 1982), and for whatever reason we both enjoyed Lucy the most, probably because she always added an edge to the overall daily travails of Charlie and the rest of the gang...especially as we waited with bated breath...wondering if she would ever let the poor kid finally kick that damn football.

And keep in mind, Lucy also did the neighborhood a public service with her little psychiatric booth, giving out sage advice (just like me here), and doing her best to drive the others completely out of their minds (Fen, Sloan, Pogo, etc.)

I don't know if you're aware of this, but Lucy's booth was considered by many as one of the more intellectual aspects of Mr. Schulz's strip, with the kind of humor emanating from Lucy, generally directed more to the "adults" who followed along every day.

Well, anyway I hope this makes you feel better, because that's what I'm here for.

And...if it's not that "Lucy"...I have absolutely no idea what the hell you're trying to say...unless of course, your keyboard has no letter "k."

Oh, I almost forgot...5 cents please.

save_the_rustbelt said...

Due to a number of conspiracy theories, Lincoln was removed from his tomb in (I think) 1912 and it was verified that he was really buried there.

If memory serves me correctly his casket was resealed in multi-layers of vault and concrete, so digging him up would be impossible.

Strange but true (really strange).

save_the_rustbelt said...

Make that 1901.

And legend has it that Lincoln's son ordered 10 feet of concrete poured on top of the vault to end various grave robbing rumors for good.

Trooper York said...

President Johnson was famous for his bathroom habits. He often had aides accompany him to the bathroom and discuss strategy while he was on the can. This seemed to be a good idea until the last two years of his presidency when he experienced a terrible bout of constipation. His aide Bill Moyers has stated that Johnson could “Neither evacuate Vietnam nor his bowels. It was God’s judgement upon him.” President Johnson blamed it on the Kennedy’s.

jeff said...

"have massively enlarged colons that bulge visibly, gurgle audibly and produce large amounts of gas,"

Oh hell. So all my buddies I watched football with on Thanksgiving after the meal all have cancer? Man, that sucks.

jeff said...

Ah Peanuts. What a nice little cartoon that was. Remember when Lucy advised Peppermint Patty to "just do what he says. Yeah it might hurt, but he is a famous director."
Good times.

Luckyoldson said...

From Wikipedia:

Swiftboating is American political jargon that is used (primarily) as a strong pejorative description of some kind of attack that the speaker considers unfair—for example, an ad hominem attack or a smear campaign.

Well, considering ad hominem is defined as "appealing to feelings or prejudices rather than intellect" or "marked by or being an attack on an opponent's character rather than by an answer to the contentions made"

AND

Smear is defined as "a usually unsubstantiated charge or accusation against a person or organization"...

...you could say the Swiftboat people weren't "lying."

GFL

Luckyoldson said...

jeff,
Why would you want to do something like that to Mr. Shulz?

Stick to me.

Christy said...

Regarding info over relics - I'd vote for holding off on testing until we have non-destructive tests to determine the truth.

jeff said...

"Ah Peanuts. What a nice little cartoon that was. Remember when Lucy advised Peppermint Patty to "just do what he says. Yeah it might hurt, but he is a famous director."
Good times.

"jeff,
Why would you want to do something like that to Mr. Shulz?

Stick to me."

No idea how you get from here to there. Is it just a matter of poor reading comprehension?

Luckyoldson said...

Jeff,
Why would you use your personal attack on me...to disparage Mr. Shulz and his creation?

Can you understand that...??

You're quite the creepy guy.

Trooper York said...

John Fitzgerald Kennedy had many health problems. As a child, had contracted scarlet fever, whooping cough, chicken pox, chronic bronchitis and jaundice. He was also diagnosed with Addison’s disease and severe back problems due to his service in the Pacific. Although he was diagnosed with severe spastic colitis when he was in the Navy, he generally did not have a problem going to the bathroom except for the constant necessity to remove Arthur Schlesinger nose.

downtownlad said...

Lincoln was gay.

Trooper York said...

Actually he was often quite melancholy.

reader_iam said...

In fact, why don't we question the display of a dead President's body parts and bloody pillows?

Because it's not like we're Marilyn Manson! This is venerable because it's institutional. Those bits belong to us. "We" makes all the difference.

reader_iam said...

Btw: I really don't think it matters, not one bit, whether President Lincoln might have died of cancer had he not been assassinated. He might have been trampled by a runaway horse, had he not been assassinated, and even if he were cancerous. Or not. Or whatever. The fact is that he died via assassination, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Jeez. Like there's not still plenty to debate about President Lincoln's actual presidency, and especially given our experiences of the past decade and/or decades. We can't seem to really sort all of that out, which has some bearing in these our times, but yet we should seriously concern ourselves as to what President Lincoln might have died of--remember, we're talking "natural" causes, not poisoning or something--had he not been murdered?

All that said, if we feel we must pin this down, then I say: OK--but wait, by all means! Let technology catch up with your (oh-so-available) limited material, so that it is limited no further. In this case, it's not like the knowledge will, practically speaking, change a damn thing. The trump card, after all, was played by a different hand.

Matt C said...

It seems a reasonable compromise for these biologically-themed historical questions could be best addressed by a one-time sacrifice of material to sequence Lincoln etc.'s entire genome. That way, historians could mull the data in perpetuity without resorting to destroying more sample every time they get a new genetic hunch about what happend to this figure or that.

Trooper York said...

In the spirit of a prior thread, I have inserted all of the aforementioned presidential intestinal attributes into their respective wikipedia biographical listings. Isn't history fun!