The Trivialization of Abraham Lincoln

B. Nash with cardboard Lincoln standee

B. Nash with cardboard Lincoln standee

Abraham Lincoln: loved, hated, dismissed, trivialized. He was once godlike. Statues and monuments commemorated his greatness. Slowly and over time he became part of popular culture. He is still admired by many (myself included, of course). But something got lost in perspectives on Lincoln. I’m not necessarily against the trivialization of Mr. Lincoln. I think he would count it as a fancy. In other words, I don’t think he’d mind. He had a great sense of humor and didn’t take himself too seriously.  So today we have Lincoln in TV commercials for insurance companies and Mountain Dew. His image is everywhere, in fact. Do you have a Lincoln smurf in your collection? It’s worth at least fifty bucks if you do:
 
Lincoln smurf

Lincoln smurf

 
  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Of course, no collection is complete without a set of Lincoln earrings:
 
Lincoln earrings

Lincoln earrings

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
And remember your Mad magazine days as a kid? Lincoln was there too:
 
MAD Magazine featuring Lincoln getting snowballed

MAD Magazine featuring Lincoln getting snowballed

There’s much more. I have tons of interesting Lincoln items myself. To me it’s fun-and demonstrates the powerful influence Lincoln has had on the culture and the world. I am looking at my set of Lincoln pencil toppers as I write this. Wonder what would happen if my grandson put one on his pencil and used it in school?
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2 Responses to “The Trivialization of Abraham Lincoln”

  1. B. Nash says:

    I agree totally with you.

  2. Chris says:

    I think the most important thing is that Lincoln wanted to be remembered – and these kinds of things show that he is. As long as it respects his memory, I tend to embrace it and not think of it so much as “trivialization” but as admiration. The fact that he continues to appear in popular culture indicates that he is still admired and remembered.

    It’s always been one of the things my T-shirts are about – a way for me (and others) to express admiration for Lincoln, and to promote him and his legacy, through artistic designs that bring Lincoln into the 21st century and keep him relevant to today.

    If Lincoln was only talked about in history books, he’d end up like other historical figures like Washington that seem relegated to their time and place these days. That can’t happen to a figure like Lincoln that did (and said) so much to shape our modern world and that still has relevance to today.

    I have all sorts of Lincoln trinkets myself, I should probably make my own blog post about this kind of thing.

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