Nothing Important Happened Today

I believe this story has value, that something can be learned from it, but not enough to perpetuate a falsehood for all these years. Is it good old fashioned racism against the British that keeps this story going, and every villain in old American movies have a faux British accent? Does America still need to look down on this country over a war they won over two hundred years ago?
Well, they wouldn’t be human if they didn’t, would they. On the other side of the coin, I live in a country that still chants “Two world wars, and one world cup” whenever facing Germany at football. These morons celebrate events that happened before they were born, with the most recent being their one victory at a sport 43 years ago against people they still viewed as enemies eleven years after the war had ended.

It seems that people need enemies in order to define themselves. Without someone evil to be against, how can you say that you’re a good person? How can you know that what you’re doing is right without someone doing the wrong thing?

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

So begins the Declaration of Independence. On the fourth of July 1776 as America declared independence from Britain, King George III wrote a simple four word entry in his diary, supposedly a response to the declaration – “Nothing Important Happened Today”. This is an established fact, taught in many American history classes (if only as an anecdote to show how the declaration was received by the British tyrants of that time), featuring in a two part X Files storyline and having dozens of websites pass the story on into infinity. There’s something very important that we can learn from that story. Even kings can miss something monumental if they aren’t paying attention. You can be the greatest mind in the world, but if you’re looking the other way then how can you tell that the world has changed?

I could dispute all this simply by pointing out that the internet obviously didn’t exist back then and it would have taken weeks for George to have learned about the Americas declaring independence, meaning that from his point of view nothing important had happened. I could point out that the guy suffered from severe bouts of mental illness (not the last insane George that America would have to deal with) during his reign. Or I could simply point out that out of all the many papers left behind by George the third, a diary isn’t one of them nor known to exist. Yeah, I think I’ll take that route. Whether started as propaganda against the British or created to illustrate a point, the story is false. Why does it enjoy being told so much? I talk a little about that in the boxout to the right.

The odd thing is that a better lesson can be learned from finding out that the story isn’t true, albeit a very similar one. One tiny fact can change reality. The simple fact that George didn’t leave a diary behind immediately marks this story as false, but reinforces the message behind the story. Anybody can miss anything if they’re not looking in the right place at the right time. So many who’ve heard this story will continue to believe in it’s truth, mainly because they’ve never researched it and have just accepted it as fact. They’ve never looked in to the claims they’ve heard, never actively sought the truth, just accepted what they were told by others without question.

We hold these truths to be self-evident…

Today Americans will be celebrating their independence and the freedoms they’ve gained since that time, 233 years ago. One of those freedoms is the freedom to ask questions about anything you’ve previously just accepted on blind faith. I encourage all of my readers, American or not, to do just that, and not just today but every day of your lives. After all, what good is independence if you shackle your mind?

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16 thoughts on “Nothing Important Happened Today

  1. Now I didn't know that anecdote was false. :left:.But you're right, it's my fault for not researching it. :awww:.

  2. I`ve never heard about this anecdote before :left:For me, USA Independence day has no such meaning as for people in USA or for people in Great Britain. For me it has the same meaning as, for instance, Independence day of Angola, November 11th. My country didn`t have significant relations to that. On the other hand, Serbia was a regional super-power during rule of tzar Dušan and it was in 14th century while Great Britain held half of the known world for a few centuries. But there is one sentence you wrote that I can relate very much:"It seems that people need enemies in order to define themselves."Really strong nations and countries define themselves upon their history and strength of the will of their citizens. The weak ones define themselves upon weaknesses of their defeated enemy. After the war was over, independent country must turn toward future to make a better society for their people. But politicians find it easier to remaind their nation about their enemy and how they deeated them, over and over, year after year.Then one day, a truth slap you over the face.

  3. Without someone evil to be against, how can you say that you're a good person?

    But… what does it mean if I don't have someone evil to be against? 😮

  4. You are talking on racism against British? Pah, for years all vilains in CSI have german names. As soon as the guys interview someone with a german name, be sure that he is the killer. I blame it to the – of course completely fictive – story that the Bush-family comes from Germany.:) Indeed they can only be from Austria.

  5. The UK has nothing. What does St George's Day mean, historically? We've got no Independence Day or Bastille Day or anything like that, probably because half the world's national holiday seems to be celebrating being free of us :p

  6. St George's day is the anniversary of the sacred day when George of England killed Roseanne Barr with a lance made of Slimfast. :up:

  7. Originally the fact that he was caught. But, well, we are free to modify anything to the needs of the 21st century, aren't we?

  8. Guy Fawkes day is the day of the year that all those who moan about the government get together and celebrate the execution of the last guy who tried to actually do something about it. :irked:

  9. Anonymous writes:I hate to beat a dead horse WAY too late, however… It was France, and the storming of the Bastille, so the entire anecdote is not entirely false, just misappropriated.

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