I have just learned of one of your modern-day actresses, Julia Louis-Dreyfuss, who has made it into the news reports today. From what was divulged to me, this Ms. Dreyfuss was photographed in the altogether, and her back tattooed with the first page of text of the Constitution of the United States.
This picture was then used as the cover portrait for one of the popular magazines, “Rolling Stone.”
The only thing is, the tattoo artist thought of adding an extra flourish by including a signature at the bottom of the text. And whom did he choose for that honor? Why, John Hancock, of course! His was the famous signature that was bigger and bolder than all the rest of the patriots, “in order that King George would be able to read his name without his spectacles!”
But here is the problem: John Hancock was not one of the signers of the Constitution. He was not part of that committee. Hancock was one of the leaders behind the creation of our Declaration of Independence!
So this particular “Rolling Stone” publication now has a glaring error, right there on its front page.
This publisher's perspective
As a printer and newspaper publisher myself – one who actually took pride in accuracy, correct spelling, fact-checking, and so forth – I can understand how this may have happened. Some of my rival publishers were guilty of it quite often. And I delighted in pointing out their mistakes, which helped my own newspaper’s good reputation to grow.
In the case of this Rolling Stone cover, I have mixed feelings. Part of me wants to laugh at the incident, since it betrays a major lack of historical knowledge (someone did not learn their American History lessons!). And, at the same time, I am somewhat mortified and disappointed, that such an important document in the creation of these United States could be so flippantly misused and misrepresented, by this ill-informed act of tattooing.
Yet, I also do understand that here in this future world of the 21st century, there is now far less reverence for such things as historical documents, acts of heroism in fighting for independence, et cetera.
Perhaps, with that in mind, I should follow suit and be similarly irreverent. After all, I do that rather well – and I have a reputation to uphold when it comes to satire and humor.
So here is my plan: I will contract with a skilled and reputable tattoo artist to put the first page of one of my documents, “Poor Richard’s Almanack,” upon my bare front side. My ample girth may give the tattooer a fairly large canvas to work with, but on the other hand, it will not be as attractive as Ms. Dreyfuss’ back, by any means.
Now, the only question that remains is, whose signature shall I have the tattooer affix to the bottom of this document? I could have my own name there, for it has a fairly nice flourish to it. Or, I could use the name Richard Saunders, which is the pseudonym under which I wrote the Poor Richard’s Almanack (hence the name, Poor Richard).
In either case, both would be historically correct, which is more than I can say about the Rolling Stone’s front cover with Ms. Dreyfuss.
Your humble servant,