A Critic's Meta Review: 5/5
Twelve score and seventeen years ago, Abraham Lincoln, one of the finest orators ever to be elected president (ah, those were the days) gave what was by far his most famous speech ever. He was speaking to a squadron (a battalion? a unit? I don’t know, this is not really my lane) of Union soldiers who were getting ready to go into battle (maybe it is battalion, then) against the Confederate Army in Gettysburg, PA.
In this speech, he reminds the soldiers of the Founding Fathers’ intent in crafting the Declaration of Independence and, more broadly, the United States of America - to create an experiment in which the hypothesis that “all men are created equal” was to be tested. The Civil War, Abe suggested, was perhaps the most crucial test that this principle could ever possibly be put under.
Who knew that, even after all these years, our commitment to upholding that vision expressed by the Founders and reiterated by Lincoln would continue to be tested, time and time again? Perhaps there are some design flaws in the nature of this experiment - either that, or we are just really stupid. Einstein would probably go with the latter, and he’s a much smarter scientist than I am.
All that being said (I know that I overuse this transition phrase, but you know what they say - if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it), I have come to realize that much of the content of this speech has been so embedded into our modern-day political vernacular that it is quite difficult to truly wrap your head around just how great it is. Well, everything except for just one thing. One little tiny thing - just one word, in fact. Only five letters long.
Why “score” is still not commonly used to denote a two-decade period is beyond me. I mean, think about it - it’s just one syllable. If I told you something happened “twenty years ago” that is five syllables, and if I’ve got a mouth full of mashed potatoes, well then you can kiss your clean lenses goodbye, because I’m a-splattering. Five syllables - you could write a haiku! Why did “score” fall out of favor? What’s the deal? I want answers! You would think that, given just how influential and momentous this address was, “score” would have become as commonplace as “salt” or “shampoo”.
Alright, enough. I have to go scoop out some cat poop. It’s starting to really stink in here.