The next ultimate "where were you?" question?
January 30, 2001 9:33 AM   Subscribe

The next ultimate "where were you?" question? According to Tecumseh’s Curse, every U.S. President elected in a year ending in zero will die in office from natural causes or otherwise. This beg's the question "Where will you be when Bush dies?"[via cam]
posted by DragonBoy (17 comments total)
Eek. I'd be careful about answering this one. The secret service does not take kindly to speculation about presidential deaths.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 9:37 AM on January 30, 2001

I believe that you have to include presidents that were targets of assassination attempts, too. Otherwise Reagan would be an exception.
posted by thebigpoop at 9:43 AM on January 30, 2001

I don't take issue with the political bent of many of the posters to Metafilter, but this sort of thread seems a silly trivialization of political violence, which is not a good thing. I dislike Bush as much as anyone here, but he has as much chance of dying in office as any other president.

"Tecumseh’s Curse" is a racist myth; not all US presidents elected in a year ending in zero died in office, with Reagan being the most recent exception. There were also two attempts on Ford and one on Truman. Do native curses have "exceptions" or "almosts?"

The supposed "twenty-year cycle" is a coincidence and, for DragonBoy, wishful thinking.
posted by tranquileye at 9:49 AM on January 30, 2001

This was known as "The Zero Factor" before Reagan was elected. (Un)Fortunatly, he survived for two terms and ruined the pattern.

Also, Lincoln had a secretary named Kennedy!!!!

*cue scary music*

posted by bondcliff at 9:51 AM on January 30, 2001

Two points:

  • Bush wasn't elected in a year ending in 0. He was appointed, so he should be safe.

  • Why hasn't Reagan's survival in office put this goofy 20-year-curse to rest?
    posted by rcade at 9:53 AM on January 30, 2001

  • OK, three points:

  • If the recounts in Florida show conclusively that Al Gore won, will he be threatened by the curse instead of Bush? The way Gore's luck is running these days ...
    posted by rcade at 9:55 AM on January 30, 2001

  • I hate to be a pedantic ass, Dragonboy, but maybe you should take a look at this.
    posted by Doug at 9:58 AM on January 30, 2001

    I agree with the above posts. This is nonsense and wishing death on people you may or may not like is above MF. At last check we are all going to die. The Death Clock even tells us when.
    posted by brent at 9:59 AM on January 30, 2001

    The article also has a glaring error. The prophecy was given by Tecumseh's brother, The Prophet. He foretold a great many things and because of greed, power envy and a large amount of alcohol, ruined any chances of a united Indian nation. Had the Prophet not taken military action on his own, the USA may have ended at the Mississippi.

    posted by StormBear at 10:25 AM on January 30, 2001

    I'll be home, watching Taxi Driver, over and over and over...
    posted by ritualdevice at 10:39 AM on January 30, 2001

    Jeez... no one's wishing death on anyone, as far as I can tell. It's just an odd set of coincidences that gets trotted out every time the big 0 rolls around.
    posted by sudama at 11:56 AM on January 30, 2001

    I'll be up on the grassy knoll.
    posted by sonofsamiam at 12:08 PM on January 30, 2001

    Hey, hands off, Jedgar Jr.! It was a joke! Ow! Stop! Help! SS! gag muffle, struggle...drag, drag, drag...
    posted by sonofsamiam at 12:12 PM on January 30, 2001

    OK, I am not wishing death on anyone. I just found the link interesting and based on the Challenger discussion earlier in the day, relevant. It is good fun though, to have a curse on the presidency. I do not think that any other country has such a curse attached to its head of state.

    Also, I will reserve a big huge "I told you so" in the event that this curse continues (skipping Reagan of course).
    posted by DragonBoy at 12:25 PM on January 30, 2001

    tranquileye, a "racist" myth? I dunno, it's a myth, but it's simply one of questionable origin, and contains within it an indictment of Indian genocide. Keep in mind it goes back to the days of "Tippecanoe" Harrison's presidency, and may have had some circulation even prior to that (which supports its legitimacy as an utterance, at least). Stormy, whoever uttered it, and the Prophet seems more likely, it's still legitimate to name it the Curse of Tecumseh, since he was the one killed. (Generally that's how curses work, check out The Mummy.) Call it a curse by proxy.

    [My skeptical mind is inclined to believe that a) the Prophet said something mean about the President or future Presidents, but b) it probably wasn't nearly this complicated. Zero-year presidents?! C'mon.]

    When I blogged the Yowusa item (some time ago, before it was circulated to heck and back), I said something about the math here. It's really bogus to suggest, as this page does, the chance of the 2000-elected President's death based on the number of previous 0-year-presidents' deaths.

    What we really need to determine how bone-chilling this prophecy may be is the odds that, of the number of deaths that have occurred, as many as have, occurred in a 0-year-president's term. That is to say, we've had X number of deaths, and Y presidencies. It's natural that there would be some regression toward the mean, that these deaths would occur with a normal distribution. Is it "normal" for almost all of the deaths to occur in the terms of 0-year presidents? Just like some cancer clusters, or a basketball player's hot streak, it is probably just a statistical anomaly. At the moment, I can't work out the math.

    I don't want to spoil anyone's fun; whatever your political persuasion this is an amusing trifle. You could say that Reagan only survived by modern medical technology (or as it may have appeared to Tecumseh, or even Harrison's own doctor, "magic"). All in all, though, Hinckley came awfully close to fulfilling the curse.
    posted by dhartung at 3:42 PM on January 30, 2001

    Doesn't brain death count? What did Reagan do in office after he got shot? Could he even form his own sentences? I always figured Bush took over the country while Nancy took care of the animatronics.
    posted by valintin23 at 7:44 PM on January 30, 2001

    Why hasn't Reagan's survival in office put this goofy 20-year-curse to rest?

    Cause now it applies to Bush, and we don't like him.

    Wasn't that clear enough, Rogers? :-)
    posted by baylink at 7:54 PM on January 30, 2001

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