27 March 2011

Spin done well

When Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D Nebraska) learned from a very distant relative that their common ancestor, Senator Reid's great-great uncle Remus, had been hanged as a horse thief, the senator promptly replied with a tongue-in-cheek (oh sorry, I forgot - Americans don't do irony, do they?) demonstration of how even the most unpromising material can be - shall we say - presented in the most flattering light.

Here's the unpromising material on the back of the photograph:
Remus Reid, horse thief, sent to Montana Territorial Prison 1883, escaped 1887, robbed the Montana Flyer six times. Caught by Pinkerton detectives, convicted and hanged in 1889.
Here's the spin:
Remus Reid was a famous cowboy in the Montana Territory. His business empire grew to include acquisition of valuable equestrian assets and intimate dealings with the Montana railroad. Beginning in 1883, he devoted several years of his life to government service, finally taking leave to resume his dealings with the railroad. In 1887, he was a key player in a vital investigation run by the renowned Pinkerton Detective Agency. In 1889, Remus passed away during an important civic function held in his honor when the platform upon which he was standing collapsed.
Hat-tip genealogist Judy Wallman via Jill

No comments:

Post a Comment