On Wednesday, Jeff Woods told us all about how state Sen. Frank Niceley could not bring himself to oppose cockfighting because Abraham Lincoln had fought cocks.
Unfortunately for Niceley, Cari Wade Gervin over at the Metro Pulse was able to discover that this Lincoln cockfighting anecdote, which had such great influence on Niceley, is a myth.
A biography of Lincoln written not too long after his death claims that Lincoln did once judge a cockfight. We should note here that the cockfight was in New Salem, Ill., nowhere near the White House, and that again, Lincoln was supposedly the judge, not one of the men fighting a rooster. However, the historian writing the essay finds a contemporaneous letter describing the event that states that Lincoln heard a story about this particular cockfight in New Salem and compared a general to the losing rooster as a joke.
So, there you go. Lincoln didn't fight cocks at the White House. He heard a story about a cock-fight in New Salem. And from that overheard bit of gossip some century-and-a-half-ago comes our state legislature's unwillingness to take a stand against the barbaric practice today.
That's kind of depressing. But, on the bright side, if the standard for what should be legal is based on Lincoln gossip, wait until Republicans hear what Robert Frost said about Lincoln having "a streak of lavender, and spots soft as May violets." Following Niceley's logic, that ought to put them in full support, if not of gay marriage, at least of encouraging young male lawyers to sleep together two to a bed.