- Marionville mayor ‘kind of agreed’ with Kansas City shooter’s views
- Rev. Al Sharpton’s Easter message: Politically ‘crucified’ Obama has risen again
- Supreme Court to weigh challenge to ban on campaign lies
- UNICEF launches ‘Mr. Poo’ mascot in India to curb public defecation
- Teen taking selfie by train: ‘Wow, that guy just kicked me in the head’
- Goodbye, Afghanistan — hello, Africa: Air Force to shift as U.S. exits Middle East
- Iran mulls ban on vasectomies, decrease on abortions to bolster population
- CNN op-ed claims right-wingers ‘more deadly than jihadists’
- Classes resume at high school rocked by stabbings
- ABC News accuses Center for Public Integrity of stealing Pulitzer-winning work
Weird presidential novelties
It’s one thing to read about Monicagate. It’s quite another to see the sex scandal that rocked the leader of the free world depicted on a novelty T-shirt.
As part of his class on the American presidency, Villanova University political science professor David Barrett hands out presidential souvenirs - the odder, the better. “The pieces represent a certain time and say something - a lot of times something amusing - about a particular president,” Mr. Barrett said.
Here are some of his favorites:
Washington beer can
Item: A 1970s bicentennial tribute to our first commander in chief, courtesy of an aluminum suds container - because sometimes a giant obelisk, the name of the capital city and your mug on the $1 bill just aren’t enough.
Fun fact: Text on the can reads, “I cannot tell a lie.” “Of course, George Washington never really said that,” Mr. Barrett said.
FDR match case
Item: A matchbook with a drawing of a sailboat; the drawing contains the letters “f-d-r.”
Fun fact: The New Deal champion loved to smoke, sail and - who knew? - draw. “This was for use in FDR’s home,” Mr. Barrett said. “Friends could have them. Something like this reminds students that presidents are people, too. They can have talent.”
JFK trading cards
Item: Think baseball cards - only with smiling sluggers and copious statistics replaced by Lee Harvey Oswald, J. Edgar Hoover, mafia leaders and everything else remotely linked to John F. Kennedy’s death.
Fun fact: Each card contains text that adds up to a wide-ranging conspiracy theory. “The text is very historically unreliable,” Mr. Barrett said.
Right. That’s what they want you to believe.
Bill Clinton T-shirt
Item: A T-shirt created by a Mexican restaurant in Texas. It features a caricature of Mr. Clinton with a caption that reads, “I did not have Tex-Mex with that woman.”
Fun fact: “For my current students, Clinton is the first president that they can remember,” Mr. Barrett said. “So I actually have to explain to them what the joke means.”
Great - now we feel old.
Item: A commemorative plate featuring Lyndon B. Johnson and short text references to issues of his era, including the Vietnam War, the civil rights movement and the war on poverty.
Fun fact: Mr. Barrett seldom brings this item to class. The reason? “I put this one up on the wall in my bathroom, because LBJ would conduct business anywhere,” he said. “Including, famously, in the White House bathroom.”
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Patrick Hruby is an award-winning journalist who holds degrees from Georgetown and Northwestern. He also contributes to ESPN.com and The Atlantic Online, and his work has been featured in The Best American Sports Writing. Follow him on Twitter (@patrick_hruby) and contact him at PatrickHruby.net.
- Taking to Twitter: Everybody's Oscar night in 140 characters
- Glenn Beck, Michelle Malkin cry foul at WWE Tea Party stereotypes
- Oscar Pistorius and the 'roid rage' defense: It's no Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free card
- Spatial media: Astronaut Chris Hadfield live chats from 220 miles above earth
- Hero-worship for a cold-blooded killer: The cult of Christopher Dorner
TWT Video Picks
By John R. Bolton
Reality calls for attaching Gaza to Egypt and the West Bank to Jordan
- 'Culture of intimidation' seen in Nevada ranch standoff
- Rand and Ron Paul ride to the rescue for Bundy in Nevada standoff with feds
- Atheists rush to stage Easter display: 'Jesus Christ is a myth'
- Removal of military gear limits options for U.S., NATO in Ukraine
- CNN op-ed claims right-wingers 'more deadly than jihadists'
- U.S. Navy to turn seawater into jet fuel
- Army goes to war with National Guard, seizes Apache attack helicopters
- Nevada Bundy ranch standoff could leave dirt on Harry Reid reputation
- CARSON: Recovering Tocqueville's vision of American exceptionalism
- GOP writes legislation to deny Attorney General Eric Holder his salary
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.