A small but vocal corner of the internet has recently become quite upset at Lizzo. While onstage at a concert in Washington, D.C., earlier this week, the Houston pop star played two notes on a 1813 crystal flute once owned by James Madison, the fourth U.S. president. That was, apparently, a terrible thing to do to an artifact no one knew existed until Lizzo brought it to their attention.
The crystal flute was loaned to Lizzo (for, like, thirty seconds total) by the Library of Congress, which has a surprisingly large collection of the slender woodwinds that rarely get played. This particular beauty is such a treasured piece of American history, that when the LOC created an exhibit literally called “Madison’s Treasures” they didn’t even include it. Nevertheless, the haters are going to hate, especially online, and this outrage is further supported by another time-tested truth: that self-proclaimed “history buffs” must show off what they (think they) know. To save everybody some time, here are other sacred LOC artifacts that you can start caring about as soon as someone you don’t like touches them.
- The very first mass-produced Christmas card, from Britain in 1843, a precursor to the Hallmark empire that would go on to produce such invaluable works of American art as A Shoe Addict’s Christmas and Mingle All the Way.
- This lithograph of French balloonist Marie-Madeleine-Sophie Armand Blanchard from 1811, which proves that women have always belonged in balloons.
- A bunch of Valentines cards from the 1860s, you know, the good old days, back when men were men, etc.
- Some 1890 invention called a pantograph punch card, which used electricity to tabulate census data and is considered to be the “birth of data processing.” Kim Kardashian better not even think about wearing this to the Met Ball.
- Almost as impressive as the LOC’s flute collection is its archive of famous human hair. Imagine how mad you could get if an iconic pop star played with James Madison’s hair onstage.
- A photograph of body builder Gene Jantzen and family, in which eleven-month-old Kent Jantzen appears to be doing a chin up. Taken by none other than Stanley Kubrick in 1947, aka the good old days, back when men were men, and babies were also men.
- An 1878 photo of Sigmund Freud and his family, with his mother Amalia right at the center of everything and it’s like oh my god man, we get it.
- A print of Amelia Earhart’s palm made by celebrity palm reader Nellie Simmons Meier on June 28, 1933, just four years before Earhart disappeared over the South Pacific. I feel like Meier could’ve at least given her a heads up.
- The pre-Monopoly board game from the Parker Brothers called “The Office Boy.” Players move up the imaginary corporate ladder from “stock boy” to “junior partner.” Land on the “intemperance” spot and you could get sent all the way back to “reprimand,” though hopefully you get to “advance to prosperity.” Best part? Girls can’t play.