Current anti-racism protests calling for the dismantling of American monuments representing the Confederacy reached a fever pitch in the wake of George Floyd's murder.
One of the major symbols of oppression subject to removal is the statue of General Robert E. Lee in Richmond, Virginia.
While the monument's ultimate fate is to be determined in the future, the commander of the Confederate States Army was recently given a historical makeover by a prankster on Reddit.
When Redditor Robert_E_Squee decided to troll his uncle—who was a major Civil War aficionado—by falsely portraying Lee's personal life, he realized he had crossed a boundary far beyond that of the Mason-Dixon Line.
So he admitted defeat in the "Today I F'd Up" (TIFU) subReddit and wrote:
"TIFU by enraging my civil war enthusiast Uncle by claiming I had learned that Robert E Lee was gay and fought in the Civil War due to an unrequited sexual attraction to Abraham Lincoln."
The Original Poster (OP) started his post with a description of his uncle.
"My Uncle is a self-described 'Southern Gentlemen' and has a thorough knowledge of the Civil War that is actually pretty impressive."
"Now he isn't one of the hayseeds who go around waving the Confederate flag, but he has expressed a lot of admiration for certain Confederate generals."
"I thought I would playfully troll him a little and at dinner I told him at school we had learned that Robert E Lee was a homosexual, and that he had an unrequited crush on Abraham Lincoln, and that scholars had unearthed evidence that his motivation to fight for the Confederacy was both to impress Abraham Lincoln and to 'punish' him for rejecting his sexual overtures."
"I said that Lee actually resigned his commission with the Union not because of loyalty to Virginia, but because when Lincoln offered him a command, Lee responded by asking if he could perform oral sex on the President, which Lincoln rejected."
"This so enraged Lee that he resigned and ran off to join the Confederacy."
"My Uncle was enraged by this. 'They taught you this in school?!' I said yes and that everyone knew Robert E Lee was in love with Abraham Lincoln."
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"I also told him that letters had been found confirming an ongoing affair with General Pickett, and that Pickett complained about Lee making him wear a 'Lincoln hat' during their sexual acts and complained that Lee kept calling him 'Mr President.'"
"My Uncle began to swear (he never swears) and said this 'This is the most disgraceful bullsh*t I ever done heard' and said I am 'brainwashed' if believe it."
"He stormed off and dropped a pile of books specifically about Robert E Lee on the table and said 'Try reading a real book!'"
The OP did not expect his uncle's passionate reaction and realized the prank may have gone too far south.
"I began to feel guilty when I saw he was starting to cry, that was not at all my intention. I thought it was a lighthearted prank, I didn't want to enrage anyone."
"I told him I was just clowning and he starred at me for a minute and then told me to 'get the hell home.' He then called my Dad and told him I was a 'disrespectful bastard' and I was not welcome back in his home until I write a biographical essay about Robert E Lee. (WTF??)"
"Obviously this has caused a huge problem in my family, so I may have f*ked up."
Anonymous strangers on the internet weighed in with their thoughts on the OP's depiction of Robert E. Lee's lust for Lincoln.
"That's actually pretty funny."
"To deFU the situation, I think complying with uncle's condition would be both illustrative and bonding."
"I would avoid introducing pranks this time round, though." – QuevedoDeMalVino
"If he can't take a joke, he's really not worth your time."
"Good riddance." – AaravX20
Redditors suggested what the punishment essay should be about.
"Would be better if he wrote the essay about what he told his Uncle." – gurishag
"An essay about Lee's slave ownership and attempts to reconcile it with his religious beliefs would be great." – Yeangster
"Or go all in and Chappelle style it with the punchline 'and that's why Robert E Lee blew Abe.'" – Efffro
"If you decide to write the essay, I'd encourage you to emphasize the bit where Robert E. Lee pushed against memorializing the confederacy."
"He thought it much better for the country to heal as a nation than to put up monuments to generals. He also thought the battlefields ought to be reclaimed to nature with only small plaques to honor those that had fallen." – IGotSoulBut
"Write the essay, but support your original point. Make up authors and books that don't exist. 'Lee's Languished Love,' by Phineas Oslo is a good one." – saltedfish
"Write your essay on the ability to take a joke." – Sunnydaysahead17
Some completed the assignment for him.
"Robert E Lee was rather into what could be considered smut for that time period. He was all over titles like 'General Washington punishes King George for being a naughty, naughty boy' and he rather had a thing for boxers and wrestlers, particularly big ones."
"Lincoln was well known for being a powerhouse grappler and was well over 6 feet to boot, so naturally Lee was a major fan."
"The Confederacy pumped out all sorts of propaganda about Lincoln claiming that he slept with men before fights and that he was actually into being tied and whipped like the slaves he so desperately wished to free, and Lee, perhaps hoping it was true, ended up falling for Lincoln." – fa1afel
"Let's save OP some time and write the paper for him."
"Lee was not only a southern gentleman, he also gave southern gentlemens. A colloquial term used in the Confederacy for when a man took another man from behind and generously gave him a hand job."
"It was reported of all the aspects in their relationship, Lincoln missed this the most about Lee during the war."
"Theirs was not only a passionate relationship, but an affectionate one. Lee recalled on his death bed lying in bed naked with Lincoln, admiring the log between his legs and cuddling for hours."
"Their wives understood that though they had their marital duties, to the men, their true loyalty lay with each other." – iwantbutter
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This Redditor asked for the OP to recognize the absurdity of the situation.
"Your uncle, a grown a** man, was brought to tears when you called his favorite Civil war general gay."
"I hope you see how utterly ridiculous that is and take the advice others posted of not writing it or doubling down in the prank." – bullytheboomers
"I think what you did here was accidentally highlight what a stupid bigot your uncle actually is hahaha."
"This is the funniest thing I've read on here haha." – kudosbudo
Redditors with a sense of humor sent their reinforcements.
"how does this qualify as a TIFU. This qualifies as a GOLD STAR - GREAT MOMENTS in American History."
"You did excellent work. Dont you dare think you f'ked up anything." – WhyshouldIcare515
"This is hilarious. Don't waste your time writing up some essay. Let him cool off for a few days or so, give him an apology for him taking your joke the wrong way, and move on with it."
"Sure people can get mad in the moment, but if he can't calm down and accept you were trying to make a joke he's more of a kid than you are." – herculeesjr
"I think what you did was hilarious, and his response was, too." – rls-wv
"This is absolutely hilarious. Your uncle needs to get Lincoln's log out of his a**." – ISeeTheFnords
There has been no update from the OP on whether or not he wrote the essay to get back into his uncle's good graces. But people are hoping to see a finished product that is again more fiction than fact.