Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Pompe Stevens, Enslaved Artisan

I have a new article up at Common-place, exploring the history of enslaved artisans like Pompe Stevens. The main argument is that modern museums (particularly those in Northern cities like New York, Philadelphia, and Boston) can expand their interpretation of early African-American art by re-contextualizing decorative arts objects that were made in workshops that employed skilled slaves.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Cambridge's Un-Churchyard

Last week, the Cambridge Historical Commission re-installed a long-lost granite marker at the location of Cambridge's first meeting house. The marker was discovered during some construction and returned to its place near the corner of Dunster and Mt. Auburn Streets.

I visited the spot a couple of days ago and took the opportunity to reflect on the distance between the meeting house and Cambridge's old burying ground. Unlike graveyards in England, which were formally consecrated ground and usually located immediately adjacent to a church (hence the term "churchyard"), the burying grounds of early Massachusetts were neither formally sacred nor adjacent to a meeting houses. Prior to 1670, most burying grounds were separated from local meeting houses by a distance of a quarter mile or more. That might not seem like a considerable distance, but in the context of early settlements, it was a real separation. You can see the distance on this 1635 map of Cambridge — the "Burying Place" is in the upper left corner, the meeting house is near the middle of the settlement, at the corner of Spring and Water Streets, marked MH.
map from the Cambridge Historical Commission

As you can see, the distance is quite significant relative to the overall pattern of settlement. The creation of geographical distance was just one of the ways that the emigrant generation overturned the legal and doctrinal traditions governing graveyards in England. Massachusetts "burying places" were really burying places, not churchyards in any sense of the word.

But, if you visit Cambridge's old burying ground today, you could be forgiven for seeing it as a churchyard. After all, it is flanked on one side by Christ Church and on the other by the First Parish Church of Cambridge. It is important to note that the landscape as it exists today is a creation of the 18th and 19th centuries, not the 17th century.

The following map shows the development of the modern landscape. "The Old Burying Ground" is clearly marked in the upper left, just across Mass Ave from the oldest part of Harvard Yard. The red circle marked "1" indicates the location of the original meeting house, built in 1632. In 1652, a new meeting house was erected at the site of modern-day Lehman Hall, at the elbow of Mass Ave (the blue circle marked "2"). It was closer to the burying place, but still not quite enough to make a churchyard.

In 1759, the Church of England built Christ Church adjacent to the burying place. In doing so, they created a churchyard, not by burying people near a church, but by dropping a church on a pre-existing graveyard. This is exactly what happened in Boston in 1686, when Governor Edmund Andros seized a corner of the Ancient Burying Ground in order to build King's Chapel. If you have ever wondered why on earth John Winthrop and John Cotton are buried next to the flagship Anglican church in colonial Massachusetts, that's why. They were long dead and long buried when King's Chapel was built. In my dissertation, I argue that Andros deliberately chose the burying ground over several other possible sites as an affront to Congregationalist Bostonians who objected to the of building King's Chapel anywhere in Boston. Samuel Sewall, who had inherited some of John Cotton's original homestead refused to sell Andros a tract of that land, arguing that it would have been an affront to Cotton, so Andros dropped the church on Cotton's grave instead. Charming.

The blue circle marked "4" is the current location of the First Parish in Cambridge (now Unitarian Universalist). It was built in 1833 and reinforced the illusion that the old burying ground had been built as a churchyard.

All of this is a long way to say that historic landscapes change over time. The "preserved" landscapes we encounter in the present day are vastly different from past landscapes. In this case, the modern appearance of Cambridge's old burying ground masks the original reforms enacted by the emigrant generation and creates the very thing they undid — a churchyard.

Monday, May 6, 2013

The Excommunication of Tamerlan Tsarnaev

In 1704, Judge Samuel Sewall presided over the funeral of John Lambert, a convicted pirate who had been executed for his crimes. While murderers and victims of suicide were routinely excluded from Massachusetts burying grounds, Sewall took pity on Lambert's family:
By my Order, the diggers of Mm Paiges Tomb Dugg a Grave for Lambert, where he was laid in the Old burying place Friday night about midnight near some of his Relations: Body was given to his Widow. Son and others made suit to me.
This was not a flashy, public funeral. Sewall buried the pirate at midnight, preventing any sort of spectacle that might have dignified the proceedings. But he did bury him.

When the Winthrop Fleet arrived in Massachusetts in 1630, one of the first legal reforms implemented by the emigrants concerned the establishment and administration of "burying places." At the time, all active graveyards in England were churchyards — consecrated spaces owned by the Church of England and governed by canon law.* Religious dissenters would establish independent burying grounds in the 1660s, but, in 1630, all English subjects could expect to be buried in a churchyard. According to the most recent iteration of canon law (1604), “No minister shall refuse or delay . . . to bury any corpse that is brought to the Church or Churchyard.” Even people who had “lived and died most profanely, more like a very atheist and a gross infidel, than like any Christian at all,” were afforded sacramental burial, though Church officials permitted ministers to use their “wisdom and discretion” in tempering some of the more effusive prayers in the Common Prayer burial service.

They did allow an exception: churchyards should refuse to bury people who had been excommunicated for "some grievous and notorious crime." This usually meant suicide or murder. But it also applied to obnoxious and outspoken dissenters like the Baptist minister Samuel Howe. When Howe died in 1640, no churchyard would take his body, so “his Friends were forced to lay his Body in the High-way, as one which was numbred amongst the Transgressors.” It was an ignominious end, but the only one available to people who could not be admitted to the Church of England's sacred churchyards.

Unlike the churchyards they had known in England, graveyards in Massachusetts were municipally owned and operated. They were not formally consecrated and ministers did not lead funeral services, nor say prayers at the graveside. This rejection of the English churchyard was part of a larger effort by the emigrant generation to purge elements of Church practice that smacked of vestigial Catholicism, including sacramental marriage, burial, the practice of appointing godparents, and the custom of "churching" women after childbirth.

Massachusetts graveyards continued to exclude executed criminals and victims of suicide. This was not true 100% of the time — I have written before about Samuel Sewall's involvement with burying people who died under these circumstances.  Where the churchyard implied that the entire community belonged to the established Church, the municipal burying ground made no distinctions based on denomination (or race, or even religion, necessarily), accepting all members of the civic community. Exclusion from the common burying ground was exclusion from the body politic, not from the church membership.

It is with this history in mind that I have been reading accounts of the Tsarnaev family's difficulty in finding a cemetery to accept the body of Boston bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev. While they have found a philanthropic funeral home director in Peter Stefan of Worcester, they have not yet been able to find a cemetery — public or private — that is willing to bury Tsarnaev. Cambridge City Manager Robert W. Healy has announced that he will not permit Tsarnaev to be buried in Cambridge's municipal cemetery:
The difficult and stressful efforts of the residents of the City of Cambridge to return to a peaceful life, would be adversely impacted by the turmoil, protests and wide spread media presence at such an interment . . . The families of loved ones interred in the Cambridge Cemetery also deserve to have their deceased family members rest in peace.
In a city like ours, where the residents share no single language, religion, or ethnic background, it seems that exclusion from municipal burial is the last way we have to excommunicate someone.

I understand Healy's reasoning. But, at the same time, the thing that stands out to me in these press accounts has been the compassion of Peter Stefan. He has dedicated his professional life to burying society's outcasts — people who are homeless or destitute or drug-addicted or criminals or otherwise civilly excommunicated. In the present situation, he has decided to take Tsarnaev's case because someone has to do it. ‘‘My problem here is trying to find a gravesite. A lot of people don’t want to do it. They don’t want to be involved with this,’’he told reporters, noting that he took an oath to bury all of the dead with dignity. It's understandable that others do not want to get involved — Stefan's funeral home has been inundated with angry protesters.

The impulse to excommunicate is strong. It's the last way we can condemn someone who has injured our community. But in focusing on whether Tamerlan Tsarnaev deserves a dignified burial, the protesters outside Peter Stefan's office are missing the Grace of his response. He's not burying Tsarnaev because Tsarnaev deserves it, but because Stefan is giving him the free gift of dignity that he extends to everyone. I'm not Catholic anymore, but I was raised Catholic, and I would like to see some Catholic cemetery somewhere offer to bury Tsarnaev, not because he deserves it, but because it is a powerful statement of the forgiveness that Catholics believe is an absolute mandate from God.

Samuel Sewall hated Catholics. He feared them so much that he once snuck out of a meeting because he was afraid that the others present might adjourn in order to attend a funeral where the Book of Common Prayer and its Catholic-lite prayers would be read, and he didn't want to be swept along to such an affair. But Samuel Sewall also buried John Lambert, the pirate. In the dark, in secret, but he buried him all the same. Sewall is not remembered for his role in burying Lambert — if anyone remembers his name today, it is usually because he was one of the judges who presided over the Salem Witch Trials. He was also the only one to issue a public apology, standing before the congregation of Old South Church and humbling himself for his role in perpetrating injustice. There are worse footsteps to follow.

*There was a medieval Jewish cemetery in London, but since England had expelled Jews from the country in 1290 and would not re-admit them until 1656, it was not officially recognized as an active burying place in the pre-Civil War era. There were a few non-parochial churchyards, like "New Churchyard" on the grounds of Bedlam Hospital, but these were still formally consecrated and subject to canon law.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Smithsonian: Jamestown Colonists Engaged in Cannibalism

There's probably no gravestone for this:
Douglas Owsley, the division head for physical anthropology at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, presented today a forensic analysis of 17th-century human remains proving that survival cannibalism took place in historic Jamestown. The findings answer a long-standing question among historians about the occurrence of cannibalism at Jamestown during the deadly winter of 1609–1610 known as the “starving time”—a period during which about 80 percent of the colonists died.
The Jamestown Rediscovery project has been doing awesome work excavating and reconstructing the Jamestown site. They post lots of updates and field reports for anyone who is interested. I have used some of their discoveries in my own work, particularly their excavation of four grave shafts located in the chancel of the 1608 Church, which shows continuities between burial practices in 17th-century England and Virginia that were not replicated in New England.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

101 Ways, Part 119: Took His Exit

For a brief intro to the "101 Ways to Say 'Died'" series, click here.
John Tyler Mann, Wrentham, MA, 1792

Here is deposited the body of
he was born the 5th, Octr. 1791.
he took his exit 24th, Novr, 1792.
Son of Doct. James & Mrs Patty Mann
Sweet lovely boy, twas thine, with myriads more,
To close the opening eye, soon after birth;
How happy they, whose toils so soon are o're, 
How blest the babe, consign'd to parent earth.
This reason whispers, thus religion cries,
Their voice in unison, proclaims thee blest;
But still the trickling tears, and heavy sighs,
Speaks the sad sorrows of a mothers breast.
Say, does religion blame the gentle tear?
Can reason condemn the heartfelt sigh of woe?
Impossible! our Jesus wandring here
Wept o're his friends nor chek'd afflictions flow.

Similar to #62: Made His Exit

As far as I can tell, the verse is original.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Gravestone of the Day: Dinah

Dinah, 1762, Newport Common Burying Ground

June 12th, 1762
died Dinah aged
28 Years Servt.
to John Tweedy
Wife of Haman
Servt. to
James Tanner

This stone neatly encapsulates the nested dependency of enslaved women in colonial New England. Marriages among slaves were sometimes recognized as legal in Rhode Island, but married slaves were not permitted to form independent households. I always think of stones like this whenever I read debates over whether women should change their surnames at marriage. What did a surname mean to Dinah? I choose to call her Dinah, rather than Dinah Tweedy or Dinah Tanner because I just can't answer that question definitively.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Also His Wife's Arm

carving by John Bull, Newport Common Burying Ground, Newport, RI
It's been a while. Between dissertation-babies and actual babies, I have sort of abandoned this blog lately. But now that the weather's getting better, I'm hoping to get back out on the road with the camera and update this space with more odds and ends of memorial culture.

So help me, I will find a way to mention this gravestone in my dissertation:

WAIT daughtr. of
died April 24th
1780 Aged 10
Mo. 10 days.
their Son
died March
17th 1784 Aged
22 Mo.
Also his Wife's
Arm Amputated Feby. 20th 1786.

Carved by John Bull — runaway apprentice, mutineer, and innovative carver — of Newport, RI.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Women Named America in the 1850 Census

More than 5,000 women named America are listed in the 1850 Federal census. These are the best of them:

America Bacon, Tattnall, GA, b. 1847

America Bell, Nevins, IN, b. 1838

America Best, Screven, GA, b. 1825

America Bragg, Macon, IL, b. 1826

America Bully, Perry, TN, b. 1807

America Church, Wilkes, NC, b. 1844

America Cupp, New Madrid, MO, b. 1839

America Eden, Wooford, KY, b. 1824

America England, Lindsey, MO, b. 1845

America Fortune, Greene, AL, b. 1803

America Freeman, Smyth, VA. b. 1849

America Funk, Clinton, OH, b. 1810

America Goforth, Johnson, MO, b. 1837

America Golden, Sonora, IL, b. 1847

America Hell, Eel River, IN, b. 1841

America Justice, Nottoway, VA, b. 1822

America King, Buckeystown, MD, b. 1825

America A. Land, Saline, MO, b. 1805

America Law, Chambers, AL, b. 1837

America McDonald, Robertson, TN, b. 1837

America Marvel, Lawrence, IL, b. 1850

America Nations, Greene, IN, b. 1847

America Noble, Farmersville, NY, b. 1809

America Peace, Henry, TN, b. 1848

America Queen, Somerville, AL, b. 1832

America Southern, Hardin, KY, b. 1830

America Vice, Jackson, IN, b. 1834

America Weekly, Wyoming, WI, b. 1841

America West, Halifax, VA, b. 1822

America Right, Campbell, VA, b. 1820

Honorable mention goes to:

North America Ashley, Gallatin, MS, b. 1827

North America Humphrey, Muhlenberg, KY, b. 1848

And a special certificate of achievement for adding just a little extra specificity goes to:

Anglo America Roe, Telfair, GA, b. 1836

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Cracking Roger Williams's Code

Congrats to the team at Brown on cracking Roger Williams's onerous shorthand and revealing a new text! I know we're all clamoring for more treatises on the evils of infant baptism, but this is actually pretty exciting. I'm looking forward to seeing the full translation, especially the bits where Williams discusses the shortcomings of Indian conversions.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Word on Anna Wintour

I know, Anna Wintour is not usually my beat, but bear with me a moment.

Some news outlets are reporting rumors that President Obama is considering Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue, for the post of Ambassador to either the UK or France. This may or may not be true, but the reaction from my conservative friends is noteworthy.

The immediate response in my Facebook feed is outrage. There's lots of "R.I.P. Chris Stevens" and complaints that Wintour is ridiculous by definition. She's only being considered because she's a big fundraiser!!!

Spare me. Who among our recent ambassadors to the UK or France has not been a major fundraiser for the president who appointed him? What made someone like William S. Farish a great choice for the job? His vast experience raising thoroughbred horses?

But Anna Wintour is a woman and the editor of a fashion magazine, so she is obviously frivolous. She's not a leading businesswoman with tremendous organizational skill and an impressive network of influential European friends. Woman. Fashion. Luxury. Vice.

Seriously, reading these freakouts is like being transported to the 18th century. Let's just make John Adams ambassador to France. Because that was such a rousing success the first time around.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Here's a Stumper

Stephen Pinker, writing for the New York Times Opinionator wonders, "Why Are States So Red and Blue?"

Yes, of course, red states and blue states have different ideas about government and vastly different social values, but "why do ideology and geography cluster so predictably?"

Words not appearing in this article: slavery, slaves, nullification, secession, Civil War, Reconstruction, Civil Rights, race, patriarchy.

Yes, the fundamental differences in our conception of government, personal autonomy, and commonweal that erupted into a Civil War along geographical lines a few generations ago linger on. Go figure.

It's somewhat amazing to me that someone can frame a thesis about the South's "culture of honor" without mentioning the white supremacist and patriarchal foundations of that culture, specifically as they align with modern political issues from women's sovereignty over their bodies to the "moochers vs. makers" mindset. I am equally floored by his wilderness/frontier/civilizing framework. I mean, I know historians have had a hard time communicating to the general public, but I thought that we could probably get the Harvard professors of social science to pay some attention to some of the major works written in the past 30-odd years. A short reading list for Professor Pinker might include Stephanie McCurry's Masters of Small Worlds, Daniel Walker Howe's What Hath God Wrought, and Patricia Limerick's Legacy of Conquest.

I mention this article mostly as a note to myself to bring it up to my advisor next time I see her. At a recent meeting, she told me that it was unsporting to go after Albion's Seed with knives drawn because it is hopelessly dated and has been thoroughly debunked and discarded. True though that may be, this is the second time in a week I've seen it used in a major media outlet, so it clearly needs a bit more hammering.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Family Annihilators

Tragic news from Virginia today — a man named Albert Peterson killed his family and himself because he "felt that our God-given rights were being taken away." Family friends are also telling the press that Peterson feared that government spending would "be on the backs of his boys."

The whole incident has me thinking about family annihilators in the Early Republic, who were also faced with a profound shift in political power during their lifetimes. Like Americans in the Early Republic, modern Americans are seeing traditional structures of patriarchal power crumble, and some of them are reacting with violence. I'm reposting a piece I wrote several years ago on the deaths of the Beadle family of Wethersfield, CT:

For a brief intro to the "101 Ways to Say 'Died'" series, click here.

On December 11, 1782, William Beadle of Wethersfield, CT attacked his family with a knife and an axe, killing his wife and all four (or five?) of his children. He then committed suicide by shooting himself with a pistol. The family's maid was the only survivor of the household — William sent her to bring a letter to a neighbor just before the attack. The letter turned out to be a confession, but by the time the neighbors arrived at the house, it was too late.

William Beadle was not the only 18th-century American to murder his family. Many modern readers will be familiar with the Purrinton murders, a case publicized by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich in her Pulitzer Prize-winning A Midwife's Tale. Between 1780 and 1840, at least seven American men committed acts of familicide, crimes that were widely publicized in sensational (and very popular) pamphlets. Daniel Cohen, author of "Homicidal Compulsion and the Conditions of Freedom," argues that family annhilators "were profoundly traumatized by the radical new 'conditions of freedom' experienced by common Americans in the early republic, particularly the new geographic mobility, economic instability, and religious liberty."

Most of the family annihilators, like Beadle, committed suicide and were not given "decent" burials. I'm not sure whether they were denied the honors of burial in consecrated ground because they were murderers or because they committed suicide. Here's the Connecticut Journal (12/12/1782) on the subject:
I have not been to the graveyard in Whethersfield, so I don't have a picture of Lydia Beadle's grave. I don't want to steal other people's photos, but I will link to them (here and here).

Here lie interred Mrs. Lydia
Beadle Age 32 Years
Ansell Lothrop Elizabeth Lydia & Mary
Beadle her Children: the eldest aged
11 and the youngest 6 years Who
on the morning of the 11th day of Decr AD 1782
Fell by the hands of William Beadle
an infatuated Man who closed the
horrid sacrifice of his Wife
& Children with his own destruction.
Pale round their grassy tombs bedew's with tears,
Flit the thin forms of sorrow and of fears;
Soft sighs responsive swell to plaintive chords,
And Indignations half unsheath their swords.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Bless You, Thomas Lechford

That's probably not something that has been said very often. Thomas Lechford was a lawyer in 17th-century England (so maligned right off the bat). He was exiled to America around 1637 for some vaguely Nonconformist views on church government. He spent 3 or 4 years in New England, but was driven out of Massachusetts Bay for . . . nonconformist views on church government. As far as I can tell, he did not have many friends.

But bless him anyway. When he returned to England in 1641, Lechford wrote a book called Plaine Dealing or Newes from New-England, which detailed all of the new and dangerous ideas being practiced in the colonies. There are hundred of inscrutable treatises on church government from the early 17th century, but Plaine Dealing lives up to its name as the most straightforward of any of them. Not only is language colloquial (hallelujah!) and uncluttered (miraculous!), Lechford writes with the exasperation of a reasonable person whose life has been upended by the ceaseless demands of religious fanatics who are fundamentally beyond appeasement. Here is how he describes the feeling of being caught in the ever-shifting tide of Puritan grievances as expressed in congregational church government:
Some have well compared the humour of the people in this kind, to a merry relation of an old man and his sonne, passing through the streets of a City, with one horse between them: First, the old man rode, then the people found fault with his unkindnesse, in that he did not cause his son to ride with him: then the young man gets up too, now the people say they are both unmercifull to the beast: downe comes the old man, then the young man is unmannerly to ride, and his father walk on foote: at last downe goes the young man also, and leads the horse, and neither of them to ride. Well, but alter the inconstant vulgar will; if so, God grant it be for the better. But then consider stories, one alteration follows another; some have altered sixe times, before they were setled againe, and ever the people have paid for it both money and bloude.
This is, by the way, the grand finale of Plaine Dealing. And it was written in 1641, when the "money and bloude" of the Wars of the Three Kingdoms were just beginning to flow.

So bless you, Thomas Lechford. I don't think you'd like modern democracy very much, but I admire your commitment to calling out everyone around you for making unreasonable demands. And for writing clearly. Mostly the writing clearly.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

1812 Girl

There's a new American Girl doll, and she's from . . .

. . . the War of 1812?

Ok. Wevs.

Apparently, her father owns a shipyard on Lake Ontario and there will be some Great Lakes naval battles in her books. Which is kind of awesome? And unexpected.

Look, I know there are a lot of problems with the American Girl dolls and their stories. They argue that childhood is ahistorical, with the same storylines iterated with minimal alterations for girls living in four different centuries. But I also loved those dolls and read every one of their books 100 times when I was in elementary school. Anything that gets girls interested in history is a good starting point, even if it is pretty bad history in the long run. At the very least, they're better than the Elsie Dinsmore dolls and books.

And there is also the small matter of my now being able to purchase these teeny shield back chairs and federal-style table. Well played, Pleasant Company. Well played.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Name of the Day

Peacock Bigger

He was a merchant, brazier, and distiller in Philadelphia in the 1730s-1740s.

Not kidding. Look him up.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Name of the Day

I've been working with some probate records at the Mass State Archives this week. I try to be productive, but sometimes it's difficult to avoid the lure of just flipping through the probate index for funny names. It's difficult to concentrate on wills when I know the index is full of these:

Sewall Swallow

Guardianship (1891), Suffolk County Probate #86860)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Kids These Days

New Haven Colony, 1642:
Samuel Hoskins and Elizabeth Cleverly being desirous to join together in the state of marriage, and not being able to make proof of their parent's [sic] consent, but seeing they both affirm they have the consent of their parents, and withall having entered into contract, and sinfully and wickedly made themselves both unfit for any other, and for which they have both received Publique correction, upon these considerations granted them the liberty to marry.

Friday, July 20, 2012

"The Worst Mass Shooting in US History"

Update: This is the CNN homepage on Saturday afternoon at 2:30

It's late, so I'll make this quick:

I really wish that all of these news outlets would stop calling today's mass murder in Colorado the "worst mass shooting in US history." It is not. It may be "the worst mass shooting involving a single shooter or pair of shooters since World War II," but US history does not begin in 1945.

The criterion being used by CNN seems to be the total number of people shot (killed + wounded), thus elevating today's events over more deadly shootings like Columbine and the Virginia Tech massacre in service of whipping up ratings. I suppose they can use whatever criteria they want, but calling it the "worst mass shooting in US history" is inaccurate and misleading.

I suppose that you could make the case that mass shootings by soldiers should not count, even if they are shooting civilian strikers, children, or prisoners of war. But still, today's shooting is not even the worst incident of civilian-on-civilian gun violence in American history — more than 100 people were killed in the Colfax Massacre of 1873. I suppose you can quibble about whether people shot with a cannon are victims of "shootings," but these are all firearm deaths.

I find many things troubling about this framing, but here are the big three:
  • It erases state violence against civilians. The worst mass shootings have been perpetrated by groups of heavily armed men in officially sanctioned killings of civilians.
  • It erases violence against Native Americans and African Americans. Most of those military massacres targeted people of color. Not that white civilians didn't massacre their black neighbors with great vigor (again, I direct you to the Colfax Massacre).
  • It makes it sound like America is getting more violent over time. Not true. Don't let people think the past was all petticoats and flag waving. The violence of the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries was horrific.
So please, ABC, add some qualifiers into your sensational reports.