The Big Debate
The Historical George W Bush
It was the year 3742, and several world wars had decimated the population of
earth. Very few historical records from the 20th and 21st centuries had
survived, so historians made a good living piecing together these fascinating
periods of human history. A particularly fierce debate between rival historians
raged over a popular but enigmatic 21st century figure:
Ed: Hi, I'm Ed, and welcome to 'History Tomorrow', where we discuss
the latest developments in historical research. This week we look at the
enigmatic George W Bush, traditionally thought to have been the president of the
United States at the start of the 21st century. The guests on tonight's show are
Phonias J Futz, a member of the controversial 'Bush Seminar' - a group of
scholars whose latest research and conclusions on George W Bush has created a
storm in the scholarly community. We also have Professor Nathan Wright, former
head of 21st century at Harvard and staunch defender of the traditional history
of George W Bush.
Wright: Good evening.
Ed: So, Mr Futz,
who was George W Bush?
Futz: Basically, he was a Charismatic comedian
and social commentator, who clearly had a large media following and attracted
lots of fans.
Ed: So he wasn't the president of the United
Futz: We can be pretty sure he wasn't, in fact the office of
'president' never existed - it's pure legend. The United States were governed
mainly by a monarchy.
Ed: Professor Wright, what do you think of
Wright: That's just silly. We have plenty of evidence to show
that the United States were governed by presidents for many years and that
George W Bush was one of them. There is no new evidence to refute this solid
Ed: OK, Mr Futz, what have been the findings of
the latest historical research on George W Bush? And what evidence do you have
to back up such controversial conclusions?
Futz: Well, Ed, in my new
book 'Meeting Dubya again for the first time', I draw a number of conclusions:
firstly, that the traditionally accepted documents written about Bush, which are
kind of shortish biographies, are flawed in several ways, being written nearly
fifty years after Bush's death, and colored with urban legend and hidden
political agendas. Although they contain key facts and true statements made by
Bush, it has been important to weed out some of the untrue material.
Such as what?
Futz: Well, for example parts where people refer to
Bush as 'Mr President' and where Bush shows his 'presidential power' - these are
Ed: So how have you decided what is real and unreal?
Is this where the 'Z' document comes in?
Futz: Spot on Ed. Z has been
ignored for so long, that not a lot of people know about it. Basically, Z is an
early, accurate biography of George W Bush that the other four documents drew
factual information from, before adding various false material.
This is ridiculous! Z was written in 2102, over 90 years later, and it's a
badly written piece of propaganda that happens to quote the earlier accurate
biographies! There is no evidence to show that it was written any time before
this - it just fits nicely into you theory, so you are prepared to ignore 75
years of historical research just to make your incoherent argument sound more
Futz: I'm sorry Mr. Wright, but modern historical and
archaeological scholarship has moved on since your day - the methods used to
recreate the past are changing all the time, and theories evolve with it. You
need to keep up with the latest research!
Ed: Ok, let's go back to
your book, Mr Futz, I hear you are particularly dismissive of one of the
Futz: That's right Ed, one of them is written
by a guy called John Smith - it is so full of false information and fabricated
stories and myths that we have had to label the whole document a fake.
What sort of stuff does it contain which is particularly bad?
Well, Bush explicitly claims to be the president of the United States for a
start - the document even records him making a presidential address to the
nation! Obviously fictitious!
Wright: That's crazy! There is no reason
for you to reject these accounts other than for the fact that they disagree with
Futz: Oh come on, John Smith's biography was the last
one to be written of the 4, so it was probably about 60-70 years after Bush's
death - it is also the most explicitly presidential document. In Mark Jones'
account, Bush was merely a powerful man, with political sway - in Smith's
account; he is the most powerful man in the world! You can see the development
of Bush's legendary status!
Wright: The biographies are merely telling
the story from a different angle!
Futz: Really, Nathan - this is
simple historical criticism - and you claim to be an expert on such issues!?
Also, how do you explain some of the famous quotes Bush came out with? Sure, he
made some stirring speeches, which is why he is still so popular and quotable
today, but what about 'It's time for the human race to enter the solar system'?
This is one of my favorite ancient jokes, but it's not something a president
Ed: Ok, Professor Wright, in a recent newspaper article you
pointed to Bush's death as the best piece of evidence that he was the president
of the United States.
Wright: That's right - George W Bush was given
one of the greatest send offs in history - it's recorded in Luke Williams'
account. Over 10,000 people attended the funeral. He was given a 250-gun salute,
and there was a national day of mourning.
Futz: Now there is no real
reason to accept this account, it's written in Williams' flawed biography and
it's obviously an exaggeration and shows all the signs of being legendary -
nobody would be important or be popular enough for this kind of
Ed: So what do you think happened to George W
Futz: Well, after using the latest objective scholarly
techniques we at the Bush Seminar have come to the conclusion that his body was
eaten by dogs.
Ed: What kind of dogs, Phonias?
Probably a pack of wild ones.
Wright: (laughing) This is quite
ridiculous - you haven't bought up a single piece of factual evidence yet - the
truth is that we have four historical records saying clearly that George W Bush
was the president of the United States, and nothing that contradicts it except a
fake account written nearly 90 years later, which vaguely tries to reinvent
Bush. There are no reasons to disbelieve any of these accounts unless you
presuppose that George W Bush was not president of the United States, and reject
any evidence that happens to contradict what you blindly believe. You are
slurring the name of George Bush and making a mockery of the history of the
Futz: Please calm down Nathan, I think you
misunderstand me - I believe George W Bush was a great man, and we can learn a
lot from him, I just think that the Bush of legend and the historical Bush need
to be separated, so we can have a George Bush for the 25th century. The danger
at the moment is that many people are pointing to Bush's patriotism, politics
and faith and using them as an example for today's generation! This traditional
image of Bush is then used as an icon by certain out of date politicians who
want to turn America back into a democratic free market society!
That is exactly my point. You are trying to create a politically correct
George Bush, rather than letting the historical facts speak for themselves. In
your book, you openly admit that a lot of people are uncomfortable with Bush's
patriotism, his conservative politics and his religion, and that your version of
Bush is more culturally relevant. I mean, why bother having to deal with
difficult historical evidence and awkward historical figures, why not just
invent your own history?
Futz: Well that's a nice little conspiracy
theory you have going but you well know that historical scholarship is just not
as simple as that. Facts don't just speak for themselves - they have to be
interpreted in a framework. I'd say your arguments are those of a desperate man
- the average American no longer believes in the legendary President Bush
Ed: And a recent poll would tend to back up what you say, Phonias. 70%
of the general public now believe that George W Bush was never the President of
the United States.
Sadly, that's all we've got time for this week, so thanks
to Phonias J. Futz and Professor Wright.