A few years back I was reading a little blurb somewhere that cataloged a set of historical “facts.” Among the facts was one that has always made my gorge rise:

“On July 4th, 1776 the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Continental Congress. That day, King George III of England wrote in his personal journal ‘Noting of importance happened.'”

Something immediately struck me as not quite right about that little factoid the first time I saw it… and it took me a few minutes of considering to figure out exactly why this “fact” was utter bullshit. I’ll tackle the less obvious reason it’s crap first: It’s pretty contrived and obviously meant to appeal to one’s sense of nationalism. One is supposed to think “That ass! No wonder we won; they totally underestimated our forefathers!” Generally if something is being rather obvious about making you feel good about yourself in a nationalistic way, it’s a lie. And this is a lie, oh baby is it a lie.

Even IF the “fact” was true, it would still be bullshit. The Declaration was signed at the beginning of July in 1776. Remember, 1776. That is important right there and I’m hoping most of you have picked out the problem with the “fact” by now. In 1776 the only way that King George III could get word that the colonies had declared independence was by messenger. A messenger that would have to travel across the Atlantic Ocean by ship. A trip that would take, with prevailing winds and an immediate departure, at least 3 weeks. So even if the “fact” is true, it would be a coincidence and nothing more. There is no way that King George III would know what had happened in the American Colony that day. He couldn’t just check a text message from any of his agents to get the low down of the situation. It was likely a month or more before he was informed of this rebellion.

So yes, coincidental facts are fun… but ultimately bullshit. And after all that, it’s a pretty trivial thing that King George III never actually kept a journal. Yup, you guessed it: the “Fact” is a bald faced lie anyway. It seems that this “fact” first appeared on the show X-Files during the finale episode of the 8th season as a fictional plot device. It has since been regurgitated as fact by people without enough brains to actually do some research of their own. Fun, yes?

-Confusion is a state of mind, or is it?

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