We have it way better than our forefathers. We've got cooler weapons, better hygiene, thousands of new drugs and Flamin' Hot Cheetos. And yet, despite our massive technological advantage and larger brains and even bigger Cheetos guts, we're still far behind our ancestors in one important category: the bitchingness of our parties.The history books prove it.
Everyone who wasn't a Nazi had reason to celebrate Germany's surrender in the Second World War. In the U.K., tens of thousands of Londoners partied in Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square like it was 1999. In the U.S., half a million people packed into Times Square until Mayor LaGuardia literally told them to go home. In Paris, the French celebrated as if winning the war was their idea all along, and in Rome, the Italians shook hands with one another as if the whole thing was just a big soccer game. Meek and mild Canada surprised everyone by pulling the old "celebrate by rioting and looting liquor stores" standby.
A literal demon lurks behind this placid facade.
But once news reached Moscow that the Soviets had just won their Lord of the Rings-esque war for survival against the Germans invaders, let's just say that they partied in a way that would have made 1999 order a cup of coffee and think very seriously about giving up the bottle. The party started when the official invitation was delivered at 1:10 a.m. on May 9, 1945, by the chief announcer of Radio Moscow.
Then Shit Got Out of Hand ...
Moscow's celebration of the surrender of Germany just might be the single largest spur-of-the-moment anything in history. Thousands of people immediately took to the streets to transform one of the largest cities on the planet into "a sea of vodka," many of them still in their nightclothes.
It was kind of a big deal.
Muscovites went on bar-crawls past the embassies of the Allied nations, which sure enough joined in the vodkafest with some of their own alcohol. By the time Joseph Stalin addressed the nation after 22 hours of partying, the entire city's liquor reservoirs were bone dry. As one reporter put it, "I was lucky to buy a liter of vodka at the train station when I arrived, because it was impossible to buy any later ... There was no vodka in Moscow on May 10, we drank it all."
That's right. That was the day Russia ran out of vodka.
They were down to chugging pesticide by the end.
6Andrew Jackson Destroys the White House. Twice.
... And one of those times involved an enormous wheel of cheese.
When Andrew Jackson assumed the presidency on March 4, 1829, his first act in office was to show everyone what was what by throwing a huge party. More than 20,000 people showed up for his inaugural open house at the White House, during which the crowd got so rowdy that Jackson was forced to sneak out a window. It wasn't until someone had the bright idea to place tubs of whiskey on the White House lawn that Jackson was able to sneak back into the house and actually start being president.
The Secret Service ruins everything.
Yet as great as it was, "Open House at the White House '29" paled in comparison to Jackson's grand finale: the Great Cheese Party of 1837.
Then Shit Got Out of Hand ...
In 1835, a Col. Thomas Meecham of New York paraded into Washington to present President Jackson with a 1,400-pound wheel of cheese, just as a reminder to everyone of how awesome the 19th century was. The cheese fermented for more than a year while Jackson took out an ad in the paper to invite the whole country to help him eat his cheese.
"PLEASE COME EAT MY CHEESE."
Once Cheese Day arrived, more than 10,000 patriotic citizens answered their call of duty. It was said that you could smell cheese from a half mile in every direction from the White House, and it took the crowd two hours to devour the enormous piece of cheese, after which Jackson was awarded a carriage made out of hickory sticks -- which frankly we didn't even know was possible.
Clearly, this was an age of miracles.
With his vendetta against whoever built the White House complete, Jackson proudly handed the keys to the nation over to the incoming president, Martin Van Buren. And he was probably glad to hightail it out of there, because thanks to the cheese thoroughly ground into the mansion's carpets, couches and tapestries, the White House stank for weeks.
To say nothing of what all that cheese did to the septic system.