Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Ten People Who Must be Resurrected by Science or Magick...

Let us turn our hearts of stone away from the pressing matters of the day.  Today I finished watching the fantastic miniseries Cosmos: A Personal Voyage by the incomparably brilliant Carl Sagan.  I truly believe that if everyone on this planet were to watch Cosmos with an open mind, the world would be an infinitely brighter and more peaceful place.  Sagan's main goal through Cosmos was to make people wonder at the universe around them - to inspire us to think about not only ourselves, but for our posterity.  It is essentially a warning that the escalating Cold War would inevitably lead to the Earth's death in nuclear fire.  Though the Cold War has ended, only slightly outdating his message, and though some of the elements of cosmology have been explained more thoroughly thanks to scientific breakthroughs in the subsequent decades since Cosmos's release, the message is still strong.  Still today we worry about North Korea's nuclear proliferation.  And the United States still sits upon a ludicrously large stockpile of thermonuclear weapons.  Sagan's ability to make science and cosmology accessible to the average viewer shows the depths of his genius.  He died at the age of 62 from myelodysplasia.  As far as I'm concerned, he was not on this planet nearly long enough for a man of his intellect with such a fantastic message.  So I got to thinking - who are the people that must be brought back from the dead by either science or magick?  Mind you, when I say that I want these people back from the dead, I want them back in pristine condition; not as a decaying zombie corpse.  Yeesh... that would be awful.  I here present, in no particular order:

The Ten People Who Must Be Resurrected By Science or Magick

Nikola Tesla*

I lied about this list being in no particular order.  Now, there is a very good reason that I decided to bring back Nikola Tesla first.  All evidence suggests that Tesla was actually a time traveler from the future.  How else could you explain how someone invented long range energy transfer, the vacuum tube, the x-ray, fluorescent lighting AND THE GODDAMNED DEATH RAY, all before his death in 1943.  Imagine what Tesla could have done if he were born in the modern era!  There's no reason we wouldn't already have moon bases, flying cars and teleportation if Tesla were around in the 80s.  And I've chosen to resurrect him simply because with his extraterrestrial scientific powers, he could easily invent a machine that help me to corporeally resurrects all the others on this list.

Dr. Carl Sagan

I've already discussed Sagan's genius.  There's tale that modern day crank cum cosmologist Neil DeGrasse Tyson will be piloting a modernized series of Cosmos with updated knowledge of life, the universe, and everything.  I can guarantee that NO ONE will watch this series if Dr. Tyson doesn't wear a burgundy turtleneck and brown corduroy jacket.


Hypatia was the first renowned woman in the field of mathematics, and she happened to be the last Librarian of the Library of Alexandria.  Because she was a woman, she was a natural target in the entirely male-dominated world of antiquity.  As the guardian of all ancient knowledge, she also became a target from the Catholic Church, whose adherents at the time viewed all scientific learning as magic.  Hypatia was no doubt seen as a witch in her time, and the Bishop of Alexandria, Cyril, was her greatest enemy.  On her way to work during Lent in the year 415 AD, she was beset upon by a mob of Cyril's disciples.  They dragged her through the street until she was dead, flayed the flesh from her body either by abalone shells or the tiles from the Caesareum, and was burned.  Hypatia is largely forgotten and Cyril was made a Saint.  There's something awfully revolting about that.  I wonder how the history of women might be different if Hypatia were allowed to live a peaceful, natural life.  

 President Abraham Lincoln

This blog entry would have been finished about three days ago if it weren't for the man ponderously posing for the above portrait.  I knew that I had to resurrect a single President, and I struggled to decide upon a single one.  I thought about Polk, for his ability to create and agenda and fulfill it in just four years.  Then I thought about the fiery Jackson, but deemed him too controversial a figure to return to the mortal realm.  The Roosevelt family produced two fabulous Presidents, and I considered cheating and using science to create a genetic hybrid of Theodore and Franklin that would encapsulate all the incredible things of both the Republican AND Democratic Parties!  But in the end, it was Abraham Lincoln who eventually earned the privilege of a date with the Tesla Concentrated Aether Resurrect-o-Matic Device!  Why?  Is it his gift for parsimonious, elegaic prose?  Is it the steadfastness and resolve (not to mention disregard for the Constitution) he exhibited in effort to keep the United States united?  Yes.  Lincoln  is the one President that I think this Country unanimously admires and wishes back from the dead.  Of course, the moonshine producing, backwood hick counties of the scourged, carpet-bagger ridden South are exempt from this statement.

Mark Twain

I wonder how the country might be different if Mark Twain were to go on a speaking tour through the modern United States.  Perhaps his crankiness and wit would become a widespread epidemic, infecting people all over the nation until everyone develops the propensity for writing brilliant American odysseys, sitting in rocking chairs, smoking cigars, and complaining about Theodore Roosevelt not letting angry women into the White House.  I believe that Mark Twain perfectly encapsulates what America ought to be: angry, sarcastic, intelligent, cranky, self-reflecting, and poorly groomed.

Ludwig van Beethoven

In lieu of writing a lengthy defense of Beethoven's resurrection, I instead offer the following piece of music.  Tell me that this man shouldn't live another thousand years and bring such beauty to the world.

Julia Child

Julia Child continues to inspire the common person to venture into his or her own kitchen and make something for themselves.  Modern "food television" can't even hold a candle to this Valkyrie of the gastronomic world.  Talentless hacks like Rachael Ray, Guy Fieri, Paula Deen, Sandra Lee, get away with teaching Americans how to mindlessly drool in front of a television and occasionally make Neanderthalic grunts.  Julia Child taught you how to ROAST A GODDAMNED CHICKEN.  Julia Child taught you how to BAKE A GODDAMNED SOUFFLÉ!  Julia Child taught you how to HANDLE A GODDAMNED KITCHEN KNIFE!  Julia Child taught me and several generations of home cooks that even the most complicated of techniques are possible with study, patience, and bold curiosity.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Perhaps no other American showed such eloquence and power with the English language as did Dr. King.  With his pen and his tongue and the lessons of other peaceful protesters, Dr. King sought to change this country.  He highlighted the hypocrisy of a country that fought a war against Jewish racism in Europe, but refused to allow black men and women to drink from the same water fountains or attend the same schools as whites.  Who knows how depraved and oppressive the country may still have been if it weren't for what this man did for the nation.  And perhaps no speech given in America is as well remembered and quoted as the one he gave on August 28, 1963.

I can't help but wonder how Dr. King might inspire and change the country today if he were still alive.

Amelia Earhart

A renaissance woman if ever one existed.  Earhart dared the country to think differently about women.  The sad fact is that girl nowadays really don't have people to look up to.  DO NOT GET ME WRONG.  In the modern era, there is a deluge of fantastically brilliant women that girls OUGHT to look up to.  Hillary Clinton, Madeline Albright, Michelle Obama, Angela Merkel populate this list.  But honestly, they lack a certain something that young girls want to aspire to be.  Instead the media forces upon them the likes of Snooki, Bratz dolls, Katy Perry, and Rihanna (young girls really ought to know that it's NOT okay to return to an abusive boyfriend).  Amelia Earhart is someone that today's young girls can really marvel at: smart, nonconformist, brave, daring, badass, fearless and not to mention fashionable!  Hell, not only young girls should look up to and try to emulate her.  If she were alive today, I've no doubt she'd be gunning to be the first woman - hell the first PERSON - to set foot on Mars.  We need more daredevils like her.


Benjamin Franklin

Dr. Franklin was a goddamned wizard.  If you have any arguments to the contrary, you are wrong.  Look at what this man did:
  • Invented the Franklin stove, bifocals, the lightning rod, an improved rocking chair, a glass armonica &c...
  • Created the first free lending library in America
  • Established fire departments in America
  • Founded the University of Pennsylvania
  • Was the first Postmaster General
  • Ambassador to England and Minister to France
  • Printed several newspapers under various pseudonyms
  • Created some of the first public works programs including street lighting and paved roads
  • Wrote treatises on the nature of electricity
The list just goes on and on.  Benjamin Franklin might not be the polymath the world wants, but he's the polymath that the world needs.


So there you have it.  These are the 10 people that I'd bring back to the mortal coil.  Oh!  I forgot to bring up a couple of honorable mentions...

Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan

This should go without saying.

*Tho. Edison

Now, I definitely wouldn't bring this awful bastard back from the dead.  Lord knows I'll never forgive him for electrocuting an elephant just to prove how much awesomer his direct current was than Nikola Tesla's alternating current.  I just have a feeling that the resurrected Tesla couldn't help himself BUT to bring Edison back from the dead, if only to engage the Braggart of Menlo Park in a science match to the DEATH.  We all know who would win in that fight.

Discussion: I took great pains in choosing just 10 people that I would resurrect from the dead in order to save this world.  And after all the thought I put into it, I can't help but feel embarrassed by a few remarks about the chosen people that cannot be ignored.  First and foremost, I noticed that the list is overwhelmingly American.  This I attribute to my own American-centric view of the world.  It's been instilled in me since the very beginnings of my education, and I apologize for not being able to look beyond it.  
Second, the list is overwhelmingly male.  This I wrestled with and asked my wife about repeatedly - but she was too busy not caring about my awesome blog to give any insight beyond, "There aren't many women on your list."  Thanks hon.  How do I write off this obvious oversight on my part?  Once again I blame history.  While I did major in history, I did not major in women's history, or as some ridiculous academics like to call it - herstory.  Honestly, women are often given secondary or tertiary roles in historical anecdotes.  Only now in the modern era are we approaching a time when awesome women are getting their due respect.  Perhaps in 20 years when I look back on this blog, I will have a list comprising 7 women and 3 men!  Unfortunately, it's not 20 years from now, and I once again apologize for my own current shortcomings.
Thirdly, the list is overwhelmingly white.  Once again I blame my education and the limited time I've spent on multicultural studies.  I just don't know enough about heroes and legendary eccentrics from Africa, Asia or Latin America.  So once again I blame the culture I was raised in and beg forgiveness.
For anyone so outraged by my list that they see fit to correct my oversights, please provide your own list of resurrection candidates replete with persons of a more mixed variety of sexes and cultures!


  1. This is entirely classical and philosophic on my part, but goddamned if I wouldn't want to sit down and have a conversation with Socrates sometime.

    Also, I can no longer even see a mention of Lincoln without thinking of "broadswords in a pit" which is itself a fantastic story and worth googling.

  2. You're going to be super excited to hear that on July 10th I will be hosting a lecture about one Nikola Tesla for the West Hempstead Library to celebrate the anniversary of his birth! Good first choice!