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June 18, 2024 33 mins

Something like 60% of Americans have never fully read the US Constitution. How did such a short document become one of the most important pieces of writing in human history -- and why are some parts of it arguably ridiculous? Ben, Noel and Max welcome returning guest AJ Jacobs, author of "The Year of Living Constitutionally," to learn more about this world-changing work... and how later leaders butted heads fighting over amendments.

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Speaker 1 (00:00):
Ridiculous History is a production of iHeartRadio. Welcome back to

(00:27):
the show Ridiculous Historians. Thank you, as always so much
for tuning in. Let's hear it for the Man, the Myth, Legend,
our super producer, mister Max Williams.

Speaker 2 (00:37):
I don't know that I will give it up for
the Man, the Myth or the Legend, as I've just
found out that he gives us the naughty finger every
time we start recording. You know who else has been
doing that historically, Guys, Paul McCartney anytime.

Speaker 3 (00:51):
If you've seen over the many many years he's been a.

Speaker 2 (00:53):
Public figure, there's all his footage of him and interviews
being asked an uncomfortable question and he.

Speaker 3 (00:59):
Just kind of, yeah, does this what I'm doing is
a podcaw audio podcast.

Speaker 2 (01:03):
He just sort of uses his middle finger to scratch
his nose or to you know, somehow innocuously gesture. But
it is a total thing that he's doing.

Speaker 3 (01:12):
Max.

Speaker 1 (01:12):
You are you, You are Noel Brown. And what you're doing,
since we are an audio podcast, is you are lightly
caressing your furrowed brow and parts of your cheeks with
your middle finger.

Speaker 3 (01:26):
Are your right hand? Yeah?

Speaker 2 (01:28):
Doing the McCartney that's what I Max doesn't doing the McCartney.
I'm not really mad at you, Max, by the way,
I could never stay mad at you.

Speaker 1 (01:35):
I am Ben Bullen and this is of course ridiculous history.
We are immensely excited folks, listeners, friends, countrymen to be
joined with a guy we've been talking about quite a
deal to uh for some time now. Noel, it's a J.

(01:55):
Jacobs aj Bahamas Jacobs.

Speaker 2 (01:58):
Uh inexplicable n name that shall never be explicated.

Speaker 1 (02:03):
The puzzler we call him here right. He has many names.
Bahamas the puzzler.

Speaker 3 (02:08):
There's many hats. Is wearing one right now in Feetz.

Speaker 1 (02:11):
He is also known as a prolific author. He has
a new book that we have just absolutely devoured.

Speaker 3 (02:22):
A J.

Speaker 1 (02:23):
Welcome to the show.

Speaker 4 (02:28):
I am so delighted to be here. I can't even
tell you love your hat. Ben the track corn and
Noel has his own hat. It's more of a twenty
first century as opposed to an eighteenth century. But still
I appreciate I'm always the outlier. Yeah, but yeah, I
couldn't be more excited. And one of the highlights of
publishing this book is I threw a party in New

(02:51):
York a Constitution themed party at the oldest bar in
New York at Taverns, France's tavern and we all had
mydear uh and up came Ben and Nol from Atlanta
to enjoy some madeira and some musket fondling.

Speaker 3 (03:10):
I got, we got, we got muskets. Selfies. That thing
was hefty. You carried that thing around.

Speaker 2 (03:16):
You must have some pretty swoll upper body stuff going
on now because of that.

Speaker 4 (03:20):
Well yeah, no, it is. It's ten pounds. I mean
it feels heavier, but it is ten pounds. So uh yeah,
I do consider myself quite manly.

Speaker 3 (03:28):
Yes, yes, that's.

Speaker 1 (03:36):
So. The book is the Year of living Constitutionally, one
man's humble quest to follow the Constitution's original meaning.

Speaker 3 (03:46):
Uh.

Speaker 1 (03:47):
And you know, uh, Noel, Max and I have have
talked with you, like as you were creating and publishing
this book, because this is very much ridiculous history the Constitution.

Speaker 3 (04:06):
Ah.

Speaker 1 (04:07):
It's a relatively short document, right.

Speaker 4 (04:10):
Right, yeah, just four I mean there are big pages,
but four pages. So and it is. It is the
second shortest constitution in the world after Monaco. Monaco doesn't
have much to say.

Speaker 1 (04:21):
Monaco just said no taxes.

Speaker 3 (04:24):
That's a micronation too.

Speaker 2 (04:26):
I mean that would make sense that they would maybe
have a short constitution given the land mask. Yeah, man ale,
the whole of these United States, the entirety of our
constitutional you know, concepts written on such a tiny document.
That really surprised me. I guess you can't see it, right,
Like if you go to Washington, d C. No, where's

(04:46):
it on display. It's in Philadelphia.

Speaker 3 (04:48):
No, No, it is.

Speaker 4 (04:49):
I actually visited it as part of the Adventures in
my book, and it's at the at the National Archives.
And it's very it's like a cathedral. It's low lighting,
have to you have to talk in whispers, so it is.
And it's in a titanium case. Are gone gas inside
so that it doesn't so it is treated. And of

(05:11):
course the tour guides are contractually required to make a
Nicholas Cage joke, like they say even Nicholas Cage could
not And they do take the Constitution and the Declaration
and they put them in an undisclosed location overnight, so
they do go. They're like whisked away and then they
come back in the morning.

Speaker 1 (05:31):
Oh, so the heist is every night exactly.

Speaker 3 (05:35):
There's there. You know, they're sort of like mitigating the
potential heist.

Speaker 4 (05:39):
It's a government.

Speaker 3 (05:41):
Nicolas Cages of the world just can't help themselves. You know.

Speaker 2 (05:44):
They see a constitution, they got to steal it, you know,
or a.

Speaker 3 (05:48):
Declaration of independence or whatever it might be.

Speaker 2 (05:52):
The interesting thing to me about, uh, the Constitution is
this idea I guess we learned probably all learned about
in Civics class of like strict constructionism, you know, the
idea of adhering to the intent, to the original intent
of the founding fathers. And that's a big part of
what you're getting to the bottom of is what was
that intent and is it even something that is possible

(06:15):
to adhere to strictly so strictly you know, in this
our modern day exactly.

Speaker 4 (06:19):
And that was sort of the motivation for writing the book,
is because first of all, I had never read the Constitution.
Apparently sixty percent of Americans have never read it from
start to finish, and I was in that sixty percent.
But I would read every day in the news all
these headlines about how much the Constitution is shaping our

(06:40):
lives more than ever, like every day, and where we
go to school, what we can carry, what we can
say what can do you with your body? So I
was like, let me try to understand the Constitution. And
as you know, the way I like to try to
understand things is to dive in, to live them, to
immerse myself, like I did.

Speaker 1 (06:59):
That side to aj Jacob's fellow ridiculous historians also earlier
wrote a book called The Year of Living Biblically, which
was exactly a very inconvenient year at Southlake.

Speaker 4 (07:15):
Yes, that was sort of the prequel to this, And yeah,
I had to follow that literally, which meant not just
the Ten Commandments, but I couldn't.

Speaker 1 (07:24):
Show a weird fabric.

Speaker 4 (07:25):
You couldn't wear two kinds of fabrics, so no polycotton.
You couldn't shave the corners of your beard, so I
had a beard bigger than both of yours combined. I
would say not to flex, but that was the fact.
So this one was sort of in the same line,
and I did. I tried to express my constitutional rights

(07:46):
using the technology and mindset of the founders, So that
meant carrying a musket in an eighteenth century musket around
the streets of New York. And I gave up social
media in favor of writing pamphlets with a quill and ink,
which I loved, which.

Speaker 3 (08:05):
You passed out as party favorites.

Speaker 2 (08:06):
That's your book event, And I actually snagged a few
little pots of this powdered ink, which I guess just
add water and then a very very period accurate quill,
which is literally a bird feather kind of sharpened to
a point at the end. Then they're perfectly hollow, so
it makes sense the ink just kind of pools up inside,

(08:27):
and then I guess you just dip it in just
like you see in the pictures.

Speaker 4 (08:30):
Exactly, and goose quill is what they used back in
the Constitution. Although if you're super fancy, swan swan feathers
were sometimes preferred.

Speaker 1 (08:42):
Swand feathers were like the good pins.

Speaker 4 (08:44):
That was like, yeah, that was like if you were
like the Tiffany's. They also made bigger. They were if
you want to write, if you want to do the
jant John Hancock just like show.

Speaker 1 (08:55):
How So, one thing that I think stood out to
all of us as fans of ridiculous history is that
there is a lot of ridiculous stuff about the Constitution
for such a foundational document. Aj As you explain in

(09:17):
depth in the book, it is kind of weird that
there are some errors. There are some like type of
graphical you.

Speaker 4 (09:26):
Know, yeah, they're typos.

Speaker 2 (09:28):
I mean we can't have spell check. I mean, let's
give them a little, you know, a little leeway. But
what kind are we talking like, not serious foundational errors,
maybe a little bit.

Speaker 3 (09:38):
More misspellings and things like that, or how far does
it go?

Speaker 4 (09:41):
Well, you're right, I do want to give them the
benefit of the doubt because some parts of the Constitution
are so inspiring and wonderful, and they really did. I
believe that in overall did good in establishing a more
democratic nation that we keep havef to fighting to make
more democrats. That's said. I ran it through grammarly at

(10:03):
software and grammarily found over six hundred errors. So grammarly
did not like it at all. No, and they were
a little overly strict. But here are some that were
clearly even back in the eighteenth century. First of all,
the state of Pennsylvania is spelled two different ways in
the same four pages, so that there's no excuse. It's

(10:24):
pe n n in one case and pe n s
in the other. There's also you know, the classic it
apostrophe s its problem, so there is an extraneous apostrophe
in one of the itzes, which I mean, can you
imagine if social if Ben Franklin had invented social media

(10:44):
in the eighteenth cent they would have been flak. They
just would have been trolled out. So, yes, it is
not a perfect document, which I think is fine and
I think is actually instructive because it shows it was
written by humans. They were very prescient and brilliant humans,
but they were humans, and they knew it was imperfect.

(11:06):
George Washington said after the two weeks after the Constitution,
he wrote a letter to his nephew and said, I
know it's an imperfect document, but you're going to improve
it your generation and the generations after. So I am
actually fine with it having some typos or quillos. I
guess it's not type.

Speaker 1 (11:25):
Of So could we say then that George Washington himself
set a precedent for improving an imperfect document. Scalia would never.

Speaker 4 (11:39):
Well, exactly, I mean I think that they all they
recognized more than some modern people, and they did build
in they built in a way a method to change it.
Article five, which is about amending the Constitution, which was
totally new. That was another new brilliant innovation. The problem

(11:59):
is they made it so hard to amend. It is
so they didn't realize how hard it would be to amend,
because they didn't see this rigid two party system coming.
And you need two thirds of the Congress and three
quarters of the state legislatures to sign off on an amendment.
You can't get two thirds of Congress to agree on

(12:21):
on the color of an apple. You can't get them.

Speaker 1 (12:24):
We can't get a look aj Noel, Max and I
cannot agree when we're ordering pizza together. Interesting, you know
what I mean?

Speaker 2 (12:33):
Well, that's why you have the whole half situation. I
think that's very key. That was our topics. Yeah, with
the online ordering, you can even do it in fourths,
you know whatever. I think it's a it's that's the
modern autems like, I don't know about that.

Speaker 1 (12:50):
We have to take that to ridiculous history. Congress.

Speaker 2 (12:53):
You know, you know one thing that occurs to me
too that has really become more and more apparent in
our current political climate is that, you know, with the
founding fathers having this idea in mind that oh, sure
people will be able to figure this out and get
along and agree to amendments. As they seem necessary. But
how much is based on this idea of a gentleman's agreement,

(13:15):
the idea of decorum? Right, No, sure, everyone will behave themselves,
it'll be fine. The president will totally step down if
you know, they lose an election.

Speaker 3 (13:26):
That's what they do, you know.

Speaker 2 (13:28):
And we realize now with certain individuals in power, we're
not going to get to political soap oxy here.

Speaker 3 (13:33):
But all you gotta do is just be a be a.

Speaker 2 (13:37):
Pill and just ignore that decorum, and then you realize
how little of this stuff is actually codified in real law.

Speaker 4 (13:45):
Such a great point, absolutely, and they all figure. You know,
George Washington had many flaws, as we know, but he
also was considered this virtuous person who would step down
after a couple of a couple of and would not
become a dictator or a tyrant.

Speaker 1 (14:03):
And indeed rejected, rejected soft propositions for him to be
a king of Monarcha and em Burger right.

Speaker 4 (14:11):
A lot of them wanted to call him his highness,
his excellency John Adams loved that stuff, and they made
fun of him, by the way, and called him John
Adams his rotundity, which is I think fat shaming. And
I don't have a prove not a fan.

Speaker 1 (14:26):
That's like, that's like ethel read the unready, you know
like that we have we've talked about the weird styles
or hoterrifics, hoterifics that people get throughout history. The come on, man,
rotund that's just mean has.

Speaker 2 (14:46):
Met He occupied the rotunda, you know he hung out there.
That positive original lobbyists like that.

Speaker 4 (15:01):
They were a little nervous. Even then. There's a letter
that Thomas Jefferson wrote to James Madison after the Constitution
and he said, I am nervous because Thomas Jefferson wasn't there,
so he had a little fomo and he was saying,
I am quite nervous that we're going to get a
president who comes in and loses the election, the reelection

(15:24):
by a slim margin. He's going to cry foul and
claim that it was rigged and refused to leave and
try to get the States his supporters to rally behind him.
And I read that and I'm like, wow, that.

Speaker 3 (15:39):
Is that might be Russian.

Speaker 1 (15:43):
That comes to Thomas Jefferson famously kind of a pill.
He had a lot of huts, but he's the he's
the guy. If I recall correctly, who looked at the
Christian Bible and said, I have some notes.

Speaker 4 (15:59):
He edited it, he really did. He took out all
the miracles. He took out he didn't want. He just
wanted it straight ahead, no walking on water.

Speaker 3 (16:08):
A lot of slaves too, if I remember correctly.

Speaker 1 (16:10):
He was quite and has a lot of descendants.

Speaker 4 (16:14):
What's interesting is he knew he was a hippot. He
knew slavery was wrong, and that certainly doesn't make him better,
maybe it even makes him worse. But he was he
was well aware. But he said I'm too avaricious. He said,
I'm too. I'm too greedy and lazy to want to

(16:36):
give up my lifestyle in my own in my own life.

Speaker 1 (16:39):
So yeah, it led to horrible things for folks like
Sally Hemings right. Also, speaking of speaking of hypocrisy or
complicated origin stories and providence, one thing that I learned
from from your book was as a person, as one

(17:03):
of the forty percent, I read the Constitution as a kid,
and you're a good citizen. Indeed, I had okay parents.
I've found it. I found it strange. I never knew
this the Constitution. You know, of course, phrasing stuff like

(17:24):
freedom for all people quote unquote people. It is not vegan.
I had never thought about the idea of vegan constitutions.

Speaker 4 (17:37):
Oh, it is very far from vegan. Yeah, back then
it was that was not something top of mind. So
the actual Constitution is not written on paper. It's written
on parchment, and true parchment is animal skin. They and
I actually went to the place where they the only
place left in America where they still make parchment for

(17:58):
commercial use. And it is smelly and.

Speaker 3 (18:02):
Go it's like a leather almost, right, it's very.

Speaker 4 (18:04):
Similar to a leather cut. Yeah, And they got and
they put it in a stew. They take the the
Constitution's probably calf skin and they put it in a
stew made of all sorts of including urine.

Speaker 3 (18:18):
Fun.

Speaker 4 (18:19):
Yeah, good for color, right, he had exactly like that's
where the yellow comes.

Speaker 3 (18:23):
Not really, No time is what creates that.

Speaker 4 (18:27):
There you go.

Speaker 2 (18:27):
Mit, we already talked about the animal products in the
writing utensils of course, right, the ink itself. I didn't
even know this when I when I procured those pots
of powdered ink from your event, there's there's some animal
content and even the ink right.

Speaker 4 (18:44):
Right, the ink is made from the nests nests of
wasp bags. So and they crush them up and that's
where they get the black ink. So, yeah, it was.
You know, that was the time. It was very it
was it was an agricultural country, so there was Yeah,
it was. So I don't even know if I'd count
that as his hypocrisy. I will say one thing that

(19:07):
I did find interestingly hypocritical, and I feel bad saying
it because Ben Franklin is my favorite founding father. Oh
you Wildwood, Yeah, and you've done some great episodes on him.
I love you said that you didn't like his spelling reform.
I'm actually I'm like, maybe we should try it.

Speaker 1 (19:29):
You are you see Max beat me here? Uh aj?
Are you saying that you looked at Ben Franklin's wild
alphabet revisions, the part where he said some of these
letters are bullshit, and you you were on board.

Speaker 4 (19:45):
I'm semi on board with. I mean, look at look
at how crazy American spelling is, and he was just
trying to reform it. The fact that g h o
U g h can be pronounced ten different ways calls
road through enough, like it's just crazy enough.

Speaker 2 (20:04):
Enough, indeed enough already with the ridiculous spelling. Yeah, that's
a very good point.

Speaker 3 (20:10):
I do think he's an interesting guy. But you you
were gonna make a point about it.

Speaker 4 (20:14):
I was gonna give him just one little I just
wanted to needle him for one thing, which was he
arrived at the Constitutional Convention famously in a sedan chair,
which is one of those chairs carried by four people,
and the.

Speaker 3 (20:29):
Yeah, is that what? Probably? Yeah, yeah, a couple of names.

Speaker 2 (20:33):
Palaquin maybe is like almost like a carriage version of
and got an enclosure, I believe, but there's yeah, but
that's incredible, that's very kingly well.

Speaker 4 (20:43):
And it was carried by four prisoners for Philadelphia prisoners,
So that doesn't seem like if you're going to the
birth of freedom. Wow, maybe don't be carried in a sedan,
which he got the idea for Marie Antoinette because he
lived in France, and so so maybe that wasn't his
best moment, but forgive maybe.

Speaker 1 (21:05):
Also Nola is correct. Palanquin is palanquin is covered. Is
a covered sedan chair. Basically it's a human propelled carriage. Basically,
yamens are the wheels prisoner labor. Oh my gosh, this
is the first time I've learned this.

Speaker 3 (21:22):
I've never heard this before either. Age.

Speaker 2 (21:24):
I think that's incredible. Uh, do you mind if we
pop back over to amendments really quick, because you know,
you mentioned how difficult, and you know, despite their best
intentions again hoping that folks would lean on decorum and
behave themselves and get along that they thought, well, surely
this is a reasonable enough mechanism for creating amendments. And

(21:47):
the whole point of the Constitution was that it was
a living document. It could change and mold to the times.
So what was their barrier to amendments? What was the
how did they have it written in and what kind
of came of that in actual practice?

Speaker 4 (22:02):
Well, they did want to make it too easy, because yeah,
you don't want to change it every other day. But
so they made it quite quite difficult with two thirds
of Congress has to vote for it, and then it
goes to the state legislatures and you get you need
three quarters of the states to sign off of it.
There's another way to do it, but that's also difficult.
The point is we have had, thank God for amendments,

(22:26):
because some of them are you know, they gave women
the vote, They gave black people and Indigenous people to vote,
so they have been hugely crucial in making us a
better country. But as I said, it's hard. There hasn't
been a new one since nineteen ninety two. There have
been eleven thousand that have come to the floor of
the Congress, so that's like already they've gotten there, and

(22:47):
only twenty seven of those have made it. So that's
like a ninety nine point seventy four rejection rate, I think,
and some of them deserve to be rejected. There was
one in the early nineteen hundreds that said we should
change the name to the United from the United States
of America to United States of Earth because they thought

(23:09):
we're just going to take over the world, so let's
just change it now.

Speaker 3 (23:12):
Yeah, that's kind of cold war Cold war.

Speaker 4 (23:16):
So I'm glad that one didn't go through, but some
of them now. And let me tell you, actually, let
me tell you quickly about two heroes that helped pass
two of two amendments. The first, I love this woman
who's an unsung hero of America feb Byrne.

Speaker 3 (23:34):
She is.

Speaker 4 (23:35):
This was the nineteenth Amendment, so this was when nineteen
twenty women were going to get the vote or not
get the vote suffrage suffrage exactly. And they they needed
three quarters of the state's legislatures to say yes. So
they had all but one they need. It came down
to one. It came down to Tennessee. And not only that,

(23:57):
it came down to one vot vote in Tennessee because
it was deadlocked. So it had the same yes and nos.
And the one undecided guy was named Harry Byrne. So
he was a state legislature in Tennessee and he was
leaning against it. He was leaning saying no, we shouldn't

(24:18):
give women the vote. His mom, feb Byrne, wrote a
letter and stuck it in his suit, and the letter said,
be a good boy, be a good boy, and vote
for women, because that's what your mom wants to you
to do. He read the letter, he voted for the
nineteenth Amendment.

Speaker 3 (24:39):
It passed.

Speaker 4 (24:40):
Legend has it that the other legislators were so angry
at him and his mom that they chased him out
of the court of the House and he had to
run a jump from a window to escape them. That
I'm not sure it is true, but what is true
is his mom wrote this letter that changed American history.

(25:01):
So hooray huzzah.

Speaker 1 (25:03):
For us, So say we all, it's strange how such
big results can hinge on such ostensibly tiny things.

Speaker 4 (25:15):
A great yeah, be a good boy, be a good bye.

Speaker 3 (25:19):
And he.

Speaker 2 (25:26):
When I think about the idea of proposed amendments, you
know that outrageous number, and you've listed some ridiculous ones.
Some of the ones that have been proposed but never
approved are pretty common sense, like the idea of having
a balanced budget has never been approved.

Speaker 4 (25:41):
Right, And also there are a ton that I would pass,
like just in a second. I mean, first of all,
two year two terms limit for a Senate and Congress
that's been proposed dozens of times and it gets shot
down just because it's so hard to pass. But yeah,
I mean, look at the I will say the word

(26:01):
senate means old like sen esence, senate. But they didn't
mean this old like they didn't think only Ben Franklin
lived to this age, and so they didn't they didn't
imagine the average age in the Constitutional Convention. I mean,
Madison was in his thirties, and I think Ben, I
mean Hamilton was twenty eight something like that.

Speaker 1 (26:22):
Ah geez, all right, well we're doing okay, guys, we're
still doing stuff.

Speaker 3 (26:28):
Fine, it's fine.

Speaker 4 (26:30):
They did not have two hit podcasts. I will say, oh,
neither of neither of us.

Speaker 3 (26:35):
Wasn't it wasn't the thing.

Speaker 2 (26:37):
Yet they would have maybe I think, you know, I
was about to say earlier, you're talking about Ben Franklin
in social media.

Speaker 3 (26:41):
That guy would have been wicked.

Speaker 2 (26:43):
Oh wicked man destroyed us all sliced us right on
down the side. I am personally am going to cop
to still to this day, if not fully read the Constitution.
I want to just make clear a couple of the
things that I believe are defined in there, but I
want you to correct me if I'm wrong. Things like
term limits that you discussed it obviously maybe are least
something to be desired. But the qualifications for say, running

(27:07):
for presidents, that's in there, right, Yes, to some extent,
that's the thing, right, Like a lot of it's a
little meant to be vague, and now we're starting to
test the metal of what some of this stuff means.
Where it's like, you know, if you're a felon, you
can't vote, you're disenfranchised. But yet they didn't think to
put if you're a felon you can't run for presidents

(27:30):
because decorum, Because surely a felon would never be elevated
to the level where they'd be able to run for presidents.

Speaker 1 (27:37):
Well, I think let's deferred a hero in this wind.
I believe that there are quote unquote qualifications, yet they
are exceedingly they're like doctor Seuss levels.

Speaker 2 (27:53):
Well, there's a minimum age, naturalized citizen or whatever.

Speaker 1 (27:59):
Right, Yes, when Arnold Schwartz, remember when some people wanted
Arnold Schwarzenegger to be president. That was a It didn't
ever make it to Congress, but there was a great
bit of political will, yeah, or a call, if you will, uh,
to to amend the constitution such that the terminator could

(28:22):
run for president.

Speaker 2 (28:23):
Guys, can I just say to you, I think Arnold
saw whatever is is shortcomings.

Speaker 3 (28:27):
Maybe he's a pretty good good politician. I think he's
got a level head, he's a good speaker. He clearly
cares about the.

Speaker 2 (28:33):
People of California, you know, And I think he would
have extended that kind of love to the people of
the United States of Earth.

Speaker 4 (28:41):
Hell, listen if he if he runs now, I would
not be upset.

Speaker 3 (28:45):
Uh.

Speaker 4 (28:45):
Yeah, I think, yeah, you're right. They left a lot
of it. Uh, as you said, as we said, it's
only four pages, so a lot of it is implied.
It is implied, and that's that's a huge part of
the constitution, the unwritten constitution, the silent constitution. There there
are all sorts of names for it. But yeah, when
you don't write it out, that's a problem. On the

(29:07):
other hand, you having this vague language sometimes can be
super helpful. So for instance, let me give you an
example cruel and unusual punishment. Now they didn't say, here's
what's cruel and unusual, you know, like the thumbscrew, and
have a list of all of this, which is probably

(29:28):
good because back then, in the seventeen nineties, what was
cruel and unusual was very different. Flogging was fine.

Speaker 1 (29:36):
That's the pillary.

Speaker 4 (29:37):
Pillories, And I will say, as part of my adventure,
I decided to explore pillaries, so you can buy them
on Etsy. I bought a pillary. This is and this
is the wooden thing where you can put your hands
and stock gazing. The stock g exact and stocks actually
use feet as well, so the pillary is just the

(30:00):
hands in the head. So I learned that that was
still Yeah, both neither of them and they were.

Speaker 2 (30:07):
Nat It was a holdover from like the Dark Ages,
right or from the medieval times.

Speaker 4 (30:12):
But it was still used. John Jay, the first Justice
Supreme Court, he sentenced someone to an hour in the
pillory for spying and it was it was not fun
like it was. They would throw not just fruit, but
like poop at you, dead animals. Tickling. That was they
would tickle you, which just seems so.

Speaker 3 (30:35):
Usual.

Speaker 4 (30:35):
It just seems cruel and on. So I did buy one,
and the one they make pillar it was yes, and
it was more marketed towards like adult entertainment, I think,
than punishment.

Speaker 1 (30:48):
Oh wait, wait, wait, pause, we hear the diplomacy there.

Speaker 4 (30:56):
You hear that. I do not want to kink shame.
If that's what people enjoy, it's.

Speaker 3 (31:01):
Not you don't got yeah. Yeah, but the idea of the.

Speaker 1 (31:07):
Idea of cruel and unusual, it makes me imagine, uh,
it makes me imagine essentially a brainstorming session which the
Constitution kind of was, where someone someone's like, well, you
can punish people if they break these laws that we're writing.
And then someone said, yeah, but you should you know,

(31:31):
not be rude about it, or you shouldn't be cruel
about it, and then someone said what's the worst thing
that you could do to a person? And then some
and then they just pitched ideas for like twenty minutes,
and someone said, Okay, we'll just say cruel and unusual.
We have a lot of stuff to do today, so.

Speaker 4 (31:52):
Exactly, yeah, make it shorthand they don't have time to
list it otherwise it will be eight thousand pages. And
by the way, the treadmill also a big cruel and
unusual punishment Like then, yeah.

Speaker 2 (32:04):
That was in still is today, guys.

Speaker 4 (32:10):
Self inflicted. I punish myself every day on the on
the treadmill.

Speaker 1 (32:16):
Hold the phone, Wait, hold the quill.

Speaker 3 (32:18):
Uh.

Speaker 1 (32:19):
This is a two parter because we have so much
more stuff to explore. I am loving picking a j.
Bahamas Jacob's brain here.

Speaker 3 (32:29):
Oh I know, I also love the idea of picking
a brain.

Speaker 2 (32:32):
It's just whenever that expression has used, my mind immediately
turns to images of like poking at a live brain
in some sort of dish in a laboratory.

Speaker 3 (32:41):
But that's not what we're doing.

Speaker 2 (32:42):
AJ's brain is staying fully contained within his skull. And
we're really excited to continue this conversation about the year
of living constitutionally and all things ridiculous when it comes
to that that living documents m.

Speaker 1 (33:00):
Four big pages, which.

Speaker 3 (33:02):
That's in the space, very tiny text.

Speaker 1 (33:06):
Which determined the course of history and indeed the future.
Big big thanks to mister Max Williams, our super producer.

Speaker 3 (33:14):
Huge thanks to A. J.

Speaker 2 (33:15):
Mohamas, Jacobs, Jonathan Strickland the quiz He's Jeff Cots, and
Christopher osiotis.

Speaker 3 (33:20):
Here in spirit.

Speaker 1 (33:22):
Big big thanks of course, also to Abe loues Ya.
Please check out the Puzzler, where in your faithful correspondence
may make a cameo or two spoiler. We do, but
I am so excited for part two of this.

Speaker 3 (33:37):
Me too, and we will see you next time. Folks.

Speaker 2 (33:47):
For more podcasts from iHeartRadio, visit the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts,
or wherever you listen to your favorite shows.

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