Armchair Quarterbacks

As a historian, one of my major pet peeves is armchair quarterbacks who like to use the benefit of hindsight to criticize historical figures, taking their actions out of context and denigrating their accomplishments using a modern lens. One of the most popular examples of this is how people like to hate on Columbus. It is now trendy to lay a host of vicious labels upon him while somehow failing to realize the hypocrisy of doing so while benefiting in every single way from his little “accident.” I’m not going to write a full rant on that because it’s pretty needless when this guy says it all and more. Another irritating example is fools who try to discount Jefferson or the work of many of our other founding fathers because they’re “racists” or slave-owners or blah blah blah.

Y’all. Stop it. You’re not “woke.” You’re not “edgy.” You’re not “original.”
You’re only displaying your own historical ignorance by parading your myopic inability to place the viewpoints and accomplishments of these men IN CONTEXT.

What precipitated this rant? An article from some stupid clickbait website that I don’t even want to link, because they don’t deserve clicks. I screen capped it below so you can see what annoyed me so badly.

That’s “wright” (Sorry for the pun. I know. I’m grounded.) I mean that’s right: this sophomoric excuse for a writer actually included the Wright Flyer in the list of the “worst planes ever built.”

Are you fracking kidding me?

“They forgot to mention that the flight lasted only 59 seconds.”

Hey genius, that was 59 seconds longer than any human had ever been airborne before! What’s next – are you going to write an article about the worst explorers in human history, and include Neil Armstrong for “only” walking a few steps on the moon? How about worst inventors, and include Edison for failing hundreds of times to invent the light bulb? What part of “firsts” do you not understand? Or when you were a toddler did you skip the whole “falling on your ass a million times” part and go straight to running marathons? You’re not edgy. You’re an idiot.

Most of this article was spent ripping innovations. Yet out of all 40 plus aerocraft listed, this individual still failed to include the most famous failure of all, the Spruce Goose? Lame.

Actually called the Hughes H-4 Hercules, the Goose’s one and only flight took place on November 2nd, 1947. It was built of wood due to wartime regulations on aluminum.

Praise these so-called “failures” for the vision that created them, or the courage required to take a chance in the first place. You may not stand on the shoulders of giants and criticize the view – only use what you learn from way up there to create a better tomorrow. If you can do better, then DO. Otherwise sit down and shut up.

End rant.

E.L. Akin

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