Upon doing some further investigation into this phenomenon, I discovered that a great many of these counterfeit Franklins now inhabit a place on the internet called “Youtube.” As I understand it, this is a sort of “channel” (in your modern terms) or “marketplace” (in my times) where it is possible to obtain practically every imaginable thing one’s heart desires…. including Ben Franklins of every size, shape, and quality.
Allow me to offer you a few examples:
- A Ben Franklin actor appearing in the TV show “The Office.”
- A Ben who takes part in “Epic Rap Battles” vs. Billy Mays.
- Numerous children from elementary schools who present their history reports in a colonial costume intended to resemble Ben Franklin.
- A Ben Franklin reincarnated in the “historical fiction action-adventure open world stealth” video game called “Assassin’s Creed,” discussing the advantages of relationships with older women.
- A Ben from 1979 who was the on-camera spokesman for a local bank.
- A Masonic Ben from Massachusetts, telling all about Freemasonry. (Yes, indeed, I was a Mason!)
- Cartoon Ben Franklins of various sorts, from a Walt Disney cartoon entitled “Ben and Me” to the PBS series “Liberty’s Kids,” produced as educational entertainment.
- Ben Franklin plumbers, all over the country. (What connection is there between Ben Franklin and plumbing, may I ask?)
- A serial killer Ben who allegedly murdered ten people and left their bodies buried under his lodgings in London. (Preposterous!)
- A Ben Franklin who blithely rambles on about diplomacy in France, while a scantily clad woman reclines in an alluring pose in the background. (It’s true I was a “ladies’ man,” but I think this depiction takes it a bit too far, into the fictional realm.)
- A number of cynics and detractors attempting to prove that my kite flying experiment never happened (Were they there? I rest my case.)
- Financial consultants espousing and explaining the principles I outlined in my essay “The Way To Wealth,” originally published in my Poor Richard’s Almanack.
- A Ben who appeared in the TV comedy “Bewitched” in the 1970s.
- Last but not least, all manner of outlandish characterizations using some of those classic portraits of me, but transforming them into distorted caricatures like “homie Ben” and “lipstick-smeared Ben.”
Perhaps it is my sense of humor that is responsible. Since they know I am a joking man myself, they jump to the conclusion that I would appreciate their own humorous parodies of me. (In truth, I do find some of them rather amusing.)
Your humble servant,