Category Archives: F History

Four Freedoms

We are delighted to welcome back our resident historian and stalwart friend today, Mr. Paul Washington. Please take a few moments to enjoy this timely reflection, and to appreciate all those who have sacrificed on our behalf.

In January of 1941, the United States was just beginning to emerge from the throes of the decade-long Great Depression. We were aware of the burgeoning war that had begun across the Atlantic, but our young men would not be called into full-fledged battle until that terrible attack on Pearl Harbor some 11 months later.

It was against this historical backdrop that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt delivered his State of the Union Address to a joint session of Congress and, via radio broadcast, to the citizens of the United States. He closed his speech with the now-famous “Four Freedoms Discourse,” in which he espoused the four freedoms essential to all of humanity: freedom of speech and expression, freedom of religion, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.
President Roosevelt's speech inspired four paintings by Norman Rockwell.  Clockwise from upper-left: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from fear, and freedom from want.

President Roosevelt’s speech inspired four paintings by Norman Rockwell. Clockwise from upper-left: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from fear, and freedom from want.

In light of today being a day set aside to honor our Veterans, we here at The Mighty F would like to take this opportunity to dedicate our little corner of the world wide web to honor those who have fought on our behalf to secure President Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms.  The text of the Four Freedoms Discourse is below:

“In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.”

“The first is freedom of speech and expression — everywhere in the world. The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way — everywhere in the world.  The third is freedom from want, which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants — everywhere in the world.  The fourth is freedom from fear, which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor — anywhere in the world.”

“That is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a definite basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and generation. That kind of world is the very antithesis of the so-called “new order” of tyranny which the dictators seek to create with the crash of a bomb. To that new order we oppose the greater conception — the moral order. A good society is able to face schemes of world domination and foreign revolutions alike without fear. Since the beginning of our American history we have been engaged in change, in a perpetual, peaceful revolution, a revolution which goes on steadily, quietly, adjusting itself to changing conditions without the concentration camp or the quicklime in the ditch. The world order which we seek is the cooperation of free countries, working together in a friendly, civilized society. This nation has placed its destiny in the hands and heads and hearts of its millions of free men and women, and its faith in freedom under the guidance of God. Freedom means the supremacy of human rights everywhere. Our support goes to those who struggle to gain those rights and keep them. Our strength is our unity of purpose. To that high concept there can be no end save victory.”

*Paul is a proud son of Madison County, Florida, home of WWII hero Capt. Colin P. Kelly, Jr., and location of the Four Freedoms Monument, which was commissioned by President Roosevelt.

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Filed under F Commentary, F History, Fighting, Foreign Policy Fixes

Fourteen Holy Helpers

In our self-obsessed, individual-driven world of medical breakthroughs, technological wonders and incredible Hot Pocket innovations, human beings are only becoming more self-reliant, insular and independent. We are ‘masters of our fate,’ and the ‘captains of our souls.’ Many of us have no need for God or anything of the sort. We are our own helpers, our own healers.

But back in the 14th Century, when the Black Plague was mowing down everything in sight, we weren’t quite so sure of ourselves. We needed all the help we could get. In those days, the people turned to 14 Holy Helpers to deal with their many problems. Let’s have a look at this elite group and what they were called upon to help protect against.

Agathius – – Headaches

At first glance, this seems like overkill having a Heavenly Helper designated just for headaches. But then again I can’t imagine spending a day productively threshing wheat, being a blacksmith’s apprentice or cheesemongering with a pounding headache. Continue reading

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Francis (of Assisi)

Francis of Assisi is hands-down one of the greatest, most influential F’s to ever walk the earth. As the son of a wealthy merchant, he could have lived a comfortable, sumptuous life of leisure and pleasure. He could have ‘had it all’ by the world’s standards. While apparently he did indulge in his early years and ‘drank his quart of sin’ as Shane MacGowan might say, he experienced a transformation so remarkable that he is still revered, widely discussed and even lending his handle to popes to this day.

Pope Francis

Pope Francis

Growing up, Francis had everything a nice Italian boy could want: money, power, all the requisite food and drink. He probably had many nice tracksuits and one of those gold chains with a horn on it. But what he wanted was glory. Continue reading

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Fillmore, Millard

Keeping with our theme of supporting underdogs, losers, unpopular things and all-around forgettable folks, today we’re chatting up one of our least regarded presidents of all time: Fillmore, Millard. We felt it was high time we give this F legend his due.*

Did he enable a little bit of slavery here and there? You bet. Was he anti-Catholic, anti-Mason and did he generally loath immigrants? His Know Nothing party affiliation would suggest probably so. Is he almost always rated as one of the worst U.S. presidents of all time? Strike.**

But there is more to the man. As with all human beings, Fillmore was a flawed fellow who did good things and bad things. As a leader he achieved impressive victories and endured embarrassing failures.

Either way, it’s redemption time for one of our most obscure, forgotten leaders.

Fillmore fanatics rejoice! 

Continue reading

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Ferdinand Magellan Fires Up Modern-Day Portugal

Caramba.

Portugal, it’s time for a chat. I’ve just been kind of hanging out, forlornly navigating the nether realms the last 500 years, but enough is enough. Clearly you need a pep talk.

There was a time when Portugal was great. I mean truly big-time. Harlem Shake? Are you kidding me? At one point in the 16th century, a quarter of the earth’s inhabitants were doing the Lisbon Shimmy – provided they had finished their 15-hour shift of brutal forced labor and yielded sufficient production for the day.

It’s time we recapture our glorious heritage. Do you remember what that even entails? Do you remember what I did? Or to a much lesser extent what Vasco da Gama or Henry the Navigator did?

I’ll tell you what I did. I navigated the crap out of planet earth – not so much for myself or my Spanish paymasters – but for you. I captained a ship that circumnavigated the world so future generations of Portuguese meninos e meninas could have what I never got to enjoy.

I didn’t intrepidly sail around the world with a crew of rough men, eating penguin flippers, dodo bird legs and shoe leather; enduring storms, loneliness and unbelievable hardship for my own benefit. I sailed for you.

My parents died by the time I was 10, so I had to grow up fast. I spent what little time I had exploring, risking it all, advancing, and fighting; until I got speared to death on a remote Philippine island. Do you have any idea what that was like? It was awful. Yet I died a horrific death 8,000 miles from home not for my own gain, but to ensure a glorious future for mother Portugal. The last few hundred years I can’t help but question this decision.

Look at you now: a debt-ridden country bereft of overseas possessions that has had to legalize drugs because everyone is so sad. Clearly this sadness is due to a lack of maritime glory.

I feel we have lost our noble Portuguese identity. We are a land that is smaller than those bobos North Korea, or even the U.S. state of Indiana, yet we have given the world so much. The delight of sardines, the faux hawk – that was totally Cristiano Ronaldo – and Fogo de Chao? You may think of that as more of a Brazil thing, but the way I see it, the riches of Brazil, Cape Verde, Mozambique and Goa are yours, Portuguese people.

The spoils of these savage lands are your birthright. In fact, a fellow apparition just informed me that Angola now has better job prospects than our beloved motherland. So there you go. It’s all out there, you need only tap your inner navigator and set sail for a new Portuguese Golden Age.

I exhort you, Portuguese homens e mulheres, recommission the caravels and raise your masts. Plunge your padrões into foreign lands and stake new claims.

Reclaim your birthrate. Rediscover your heritage. Reclaim greatness. For Portugal, for God, for future glory.

– F. Magellan

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440s – 450s A.D.

A while back we did a post on what the world was like in 1555 A.D. That was a lot of fun and I’ve been watching those awesome “Mankind” shows on the History Channel lately, so how’s about another foray into our spicy past? This time, we’re looking at another great era for the letter F: the 440s – 450s. A.D.

What was happening then? What were we doing? Who was blading and javelin-ing whom? What sorts of fluffy, pointy hats were en vogue? Was America rockin’ it superpower-style? The mighty Atilla the Hun died how?

Come with me as we delve into these dark, dank, kinda’ depressing decades that featured decadence for few, and decapitations for many. We don’t have much patience or relevant expertise room, so we’ll just look at a couple folks who were big at the time and skim some general happenings of the day.

By 440 A.D., the world was changing fast. The glory days of the intellectual Greeks had passed, the Roman Empire had been sliced into Western and Eastern entities and was careening toward its demise in 476 (the debated but generally historically accepted date of its demise), Christianity was on the upswing. Hypatia, history’s earliest female mathematician, had been murdered, Augustine had died, the great Library of Alexandria was no more, and the world’s balance of power seemed to be tilting toward barbaric sorts. Speaking of barbarism, let’s start by discussing that perennial first-round choice in everyone’s Fantasy Bloodthirsty Warlord Draft, Atilla.

Atilla the Hun – Truly one of history’s great purveyors of warfare and wanton bloodshed, Atilla hacked his way through Europe, carving out huge swathes of territory (eventually from what is now modern-day Germany all the way to the area of modern-day Georgia [Tbilisi not Honey Boo Boo/Chipper Jones]) and raking in crazy amounts of tribute along the way. He destroyed cities without mercy and massacred their populations.

Awesome Atilla the Hun figure sporting the pointy, fluffy hat of the day.

Awesome Atilla the Hun figure sporting the pointy, fluffy hat of the day; riding a horse with an emo haircut.

After his brother Bleda died in 445 (some say he died in a hunting accident, while some say Atilla was responsible for his death – who are we kidding, let’s just presume Atilla is guilty here) Atilla became the sole Khan of his vast empire. Though he was defeated in 451 by the fantastically-named Flavius, he continued torturing what was left of the Roman Empire and invading neighbors until his comically unmanly death in 453. Continue reading

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Fifteen Fifty Five (1555 A.D.)

Today we’re going back into time… a time before electricity, aeroplanes, telephones, Cheetos and Progressive car insurance commercials. It was a time when people had to pour sweat into the earth to survive, when brave men risked all to rape, pillage, steal natural resources and exploit native peoples navigate the open seas and find mysterious knowledge at the ends of the unexplored earth. The year: 1555 A.D.

What was happening in the world 457 years ago? (Surely this was in the front of your mind when you woke up this morning?) Let’s look at a few broad topics.

Cultural Learnings – By 1555, the Renaissance had emanated across Europe. Sparked by the Italian masters named after Ninja Turtles and innovations like the printing press, Europe at this point was increasing in knowledge, improving technologies, increasing food diversity (the rich at least), and afire with vigorous religious debate (#euphemisms). The arts (literature, sculptures, music, paintings, etc.) were flourishing, China (under the Ming Dynasty) was inventing all sorts of neat gadgets, trade was becoming an increasingly global affair, and tremendous leaps were being made in various sciences. Continue reading

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Filed under F Commentary, F History, Food, Foreign Lands