The “listicle” (an article built out of a list) is something that we have to put up with. I get it. HuffPo deems it so. Cracked does too. The only folks who make money on the web seem to be those who support these alleged gems of writing.
I’ve written on this topic once before and was motivated to revisit this scourge again (i) after seeing JD Roberto’s essay on the Good Men Project, (ii) Googling and seeing someone doing a longer listicle of the Declaration of Independence, and (iii) Hearing Bob Newhart’s “Lincoln” routine on a recent WTF podcast (NSFW).
I’m sure someone did this already, and better (let me know in the comments). So, with no further adieu, the Gettysburg Address as a listicle.
1. A long time since our founding… Time to spruce it up a bit?
It’s been a around 87 years since our ancestors came to this continent and kicked ass. We were all “liberty” and “equality” and stuff. But that hasn’t always worked out as well as we’d planned. Don’t we owe it to ourselves to do it better with Nation 2.0?
2. War, what is it good for? (I’ll say it again, y’all)
We’re fighting one another, and really it is just one big test to see if we deserve to endure for any reasonable amount of time as a society. I think we do.
We’re standing right here on a what is a huge battlefield. (Literally! We were like just fighting. It is also a metaphorical battlefield too in case you missed that.) This zip code is the very resting place of a whole lot of souls who gave it all for us. So, let’s memorialize them and, you know, get our shit together and get things in perspective. Deal?
3. Those soldiers already made this place holy. Let’s honor them!
Basically, those brave men that died or who lived and now struggle, sort of made the point better than any of us can yapping away today on this dais (yadda yadda yadda). My little talk really doesn’t do their sacrifice justice. So let’s all take a deep breath and focus on what those who fought and died did that for. Okay?
Nobody is gonna remember this speech for long, but lots of folks are gonna remember what the soldiers did and what they died for. Word.
4. We owe it to the dead soldiers to help freedom to be reborn
We’re alive, they aren’t. So we have to do what they can’t.
We can’t make it so that they died in vain. Jeez, they gave their last to us! To us! Selflessly. So, by golly, if I have anything to do with it, this nation is gonna have a new birth of freedom. You’re on the bus or you’re off it. The new birth of freedom, she is a comin’.
Let’s all resolve that this nation, under God, shall have that new birth of freedom. And that our nation, which is after all is really just made just made up of us, won’t go the way of the dodo.
by Gary Dietz. Who recently wrote a book you should buy or borrow.
Note to potential employers, I am happy to write listicles if you pay me. I just think that other forms of organization can be powerful, even when short. See the original Gettysburg Address to remind yourself of that. And in case it wasn’t obvious, there was no disrespect to Lincoln or veterans of any wars here. It was HONORING them by pointing out how watered down our language has become about such sacrifices.