By Aaron Boyes and Sean Graham
After three weeks, hundreds of votes, and some excruciatingly tough matchups, it’s time to determine the most important event of 1922. But before we do that, we have some business to attend to from last week’s Final Four.
Ottoman Empire Collapses defeats Japan Launches First Purpose Built Aircraft Carrier (22-13)
Vitamin D Isolated ties TV Receiver Patented (10-10)
For the first time ever, we have a tie! Now, we don’t actually have an established tiebreaker procedure, but not having a clear plan has never stopped us before.
After debating for hours, and creating a tie-breaking procedure so convoluted that even the NHL was impressed by its complexity, we asked Aaron’s 6 year-old to pick the winner. And just like the NHL, the fans are likely to be unhappy with the result.
Editor’s note: I finally got off the plane and made Sean and Aaron actually discuss each event and come up with a way to determine a winner. Ultimately, we decided to go with the total cumulative votes received over the previous two rounds. As a result, TV Receiver Patented is moving on the final.
We submit to you our thoughts, but ultimately the decision is yours. So submit your vote in the poll at the end of the post or add a comment stating which of these events you think deserves to be crowned the most important event of 1922.
Enrico Palazzo Pre-Memorial Championship Game
TV Receiver Patented
Ottoman Empire Collapses
Aaron: The people have spoken, and they have picked two rather important events. I think both events are deserving of being in the Final, and both have a strong case for being crowned the most important event of 1922. While the winner will be decided by the readers, here is my case for what I think should win.
The collapse of the Ottoman Empire, when all things are considered, I believe, is the most important event of 1922. We have discussed in rounds One, Two, and Three, during its more than 600-year history, the Ottoman Empire was one of history’s greatest in terms of geographic reach, economic output, military power, intellectual development, religious diversity, etc. It rivaled the European powers – which considered themselves the most dominant and looked down on the Ottomans for racial reasons – and influenced world development in considerable ways. But the Ottoman Empire was not intimidated by the Europeans, and was successful in meeting European challenges. By the 20th century, however, its influence was waning. During WWI it was “The Sick Man” of Europe; its defeat in the First World World helped to hasten its demise. The collapse in 1922 created a new modern state – Turkey – and left a power vacuum in the Middle East, which the European powers exploited – once again as they are wont to do. Finally, much of the unrest in the Middle East since 1922 can be linked back to the Ottoman Empire’s collapse. It’s for all of these reasons that I think the Ottoman Empire collapse should win. I hope this is enough to convince our very smart readers.
Sean: There is absolutely no question that the fall of the Ottoman Empire is a monumental moment in global history. For centuries it shaped the global economy and international relationships. At the same time, though, they did put their feet up a lot.
Let’s look at the other side of things. The first television receiver put into motion what was (arguably) the most important cultural development of the 20th century. The power of the teevee brought the world together in ways that had never been possible. From major sporting events to tragedies to the triumph of walking on the moon, television brought an immediacy where you could see the event with your own eyes – a significant departure from hearing about it over the airwaves or having it described to you the next day through the lens of a newspaper reporter. This created a powerful new way to create shared experiences and bring people together.
Let’s also not sleep on the entertainment value of teevee. What would we do without Sammy Davis Jr kissing Archie Bunker? Or the reveal of Who Shot J.R.? Or Fonzie jumping the shark? I mean, he jumped a shark. That’s just one example of the incredible cultural impact of television – and that’s just in a North American context. Around the world there are similar cultural touchstones that come from humble patent filed in 1922.
Think about your own life, Dr. Boyes. I know you’ve spent hours talking about, and quoting, television shows. When was the last time you casually chatted about the Ottoman Empire?
Aaron: I certainly do not dispute the cultural importance of television; but the event that we are discussing here is US patent #1544156A, not television as a whole. As such, I feel like the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in 1922 was more significant to more people, which is what we are trying to determine here. The collapse of the Ottoman Empire had an instant global impact in 1922, which has reverberated through the twentieth century and into the twenty-first. To use an argument that you presented with Vitamin D – other TV patents previously existed before Jenkins submitted his application. What Jenkins did was take another important step toward what we know TV to be in 2022. Wider impact on a global scale, the demise of the Ottoman Empire is more significant than a single patent.
Sean: Way to dodge the question…when was the last time you casually chatted about the Ottoman Empire?
Aaron: What do you want from me?
Aaron: I’ll answer the question. You want answers?
Sean: I think I’m entitled!
Aaron: You want answers!?!
Sean: I want the truth!!
Aaron: You can’t handle the truth! Dr. Graham, we live in a world that has walls and those walls have to be guarded by men who discuss the Ottoman Empire. Who’s gonna do it? You? The absentee editor? I have a greater responsibility than you could possibly fathom. You weep for TV and you curse the Empire. You have that luxury, you have the luxury of not knowing what I know, that the Ottoman Empire, while bringing suffering to millions and key cultural developments, probably influenced more lives. And while its existence, while contested and incomprehensible to you, continues to influence lives. You don’t want the truth because deep down in places you don’t talk about at the curling club, you want the Ottoman Empire’s collapse to win. You need the Ottoman Empire’s collapse to win. I use words like matchup, bracket, and Year in Review. I use these words as the backbone of a tradition spent defending something. You use them as a punch line. I have neither the time nor the inclination to a man who rises and sleeps under the very knowledge that I provide and then questions the manner in which I provide it. I would rather you just said thank you and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you pick up a book and start reading. Either way, I don’t give a damn what you think you are entitled to.
Sean: Did you casually chat about the Ottoman Empire?
Aaron: You’re damn right I did!!
It's time for the Final in the Year in Review (100 Years Later). So cast your votes for the most important event of 1922
— Sean Graham (@theseangraham) December 16, 2022
We will announce the winner on Tuesday!
1910: Binder Clip Patented
1913: Zipper Patent
1917: Russian Revolution
1918: Spanish Flu Pandemic
Winners at War: Women’s Suffrage in the Kingdom of Denmark
1920: Toaster Patent
1921: Discovery of Insulin
Aaron Boyes has a PhD from the University of Ottawa
Sean Graham is host of What’s Old is News and a contributing editor with Activehistory.ca