If you could talk to any historical person for advice, who would it be and why?
Hmmm… advice. Advice about what exactly? If I wanted advice on public speaking, politics or just generally how to be awesome, I’d ask Abraham Lincoln. If I wanted advice about being a totalitarian asshole who commits mass murder, I’d ask Hitler, Stalin or Pol Pot. If I wanted advice on horse betting, women or poetry, I’d ask Charles Bukowski. If I needed to know how to make a film, I’d ask Kurosawa or Kubrick. If I wanted to be a samurai, I’d talk to Musashi Miyamoto. Drunken debauchery? Peter O’Toole or King Charles II. Escaping from handcuffs? Houdini. Kung fu? Bruce Lee.
There’s that age old question: if you could invite any historical figures, living or dead, to dinner, who would you invite? I’ve never really come up with a proper answer to that. I think if I could talk to any historical figure, I might not ask them for advice. I’d probably just have a conversation with them. We’d knock back some bourbon and smoke tobacco while sitting around the table in my backyard.
I’d love to invite Abraham Lincoln over and have George W. Bush show up. They could talk about how W screwed up the works. Lincoln would sit there being charming, funny and well spoken, while W did that stupid, nervous laugh of his. I would find that entertaining, but it just might break Lincoln’s heart, so maybe not.
I’d like to invite Mark Twain over, but I have a feeling that, charming as he may be, he’s the type of person that would grate on my nerves after a while. Mark Twain versus Dan Brown might be fun, but it would probably sadden Twain to see what has become of modern fiction.
I’d invite Jesus and Glenn Beck over, but I’m afraid I couldn’t sit through Beck’s twaddle. I don’t think Jesus would enjoy it either. It would be interesting to see what Jesus had to say about all the killing, hatred and bigotry perpetrated on his behalf, but I don’t really want Glenn Beck in my house.
I’d invite Mozart and the Black Eyes Peas over. I’d play each others music for them since neither has ever heard of the other. I’d like to see Mozart’s face as he listened to “My Humps” for the first time. It would probably be the same disgusted look I had on my face when I first heard it. Then I’d kick the Black Eyes Peas to the curb and invite Beethoven, Sibelius and Tchaikovsky just so that Mozart didn’t leave entirely disheartened.
I’d invite the Wright brothers and a modern air force pilot. The conversation would be way over my head, but it would be way over the Wright brothers’ heads, too. It’d be fun to see the wondrous look on the Wrights’ faces when they saw what has become of their craft.
Michelangelo and Jackson Pollack would certainly be entertaining. They could discuss various techniques. I think Michelangelo would probably have an open mind on the subject.
Leonardo DaVinci and Ben Franklin would be interesting, but I fear that Franklin, like Twain, would probably overpower the conversation and wear on my nerves after a while. Franklin would probably do most of the talking.
Thomas Paine and Richard Dawkins would be a good conversation. The three of us could work our way through a bottle of bourbon discussing the state of modern thought, but again, it might leave Thomas Paine dejected since he would probably assume that we’d be a whole lot more enlightened by now.
So, while there’s not really anyone whose advice I might like to ask, the interesting pairings of historical figures are endless and I have plenty of bourbon.