Much ado has been made lately about The Intimate World of Abraham Lincoln, a soon-to-be-released book written by psychologist and sex researcher C.A. Tripp shortly before his death. Taking into account Lincoln’s dearth of close friends and his icy marriage to Mary Todd, Intimate World arrives at the conclusion that one of Lincoln’s favorite pastimes was smoking a little stovepipe (if you know what I mean). It’ s certainly not a new rumor; in 1978, Lincoln was tenuously referenced in the name of the Log Cabin Republicans, who sought to provide a voice for gay Republicans by distancing themselves from the label as much as possible.
I first heard about Tripp’s book — and the resulting controversy — while watching two talking heads duke it out on CNBC.
After enduring ten minutes of this verbal ping-pong match, I had only one question: who cares? Isn’t there a war going on somewhere, or at least people engaging in fights to the death over DVD players at Wal-Mart?
Sadly, plenty care, and Uncle Abe isn’t the only one whose bed habits are being debated seven score and four years after the fact. Americans have a long and storied tradition of posthumously outing historical figures, foisting the honor upon such influential people as Plato, Shakespeare, Alexander the Great, Virgil and three of the four Ninja Turtles’ namesakes (apparently Raphael was the only one tempted by April’s pneumatic figure).