Writing in the Journal of Social Psychology, sociologists Jan Weisman and Peter Carrington say that while Lincoln’s unusual looks were not alarming in the mid-19th century — when “pretty much everyone looked funny, or had a lopsided face” — today, he would send children running for their mothers, and passersby would assume he was a violent sex offender.
“There’s almost no chance that Lincoln would be voted into any political office whatsoever, let alone make it to adulthood with his psyche in tact,” the article says.
Weisman and Carrington argue that the iconic sixteenth U.S. president’s troubles would begin well before adulthood.
“We can suppose that if a young Abraham Lincoln were alive today, he would be bullied and tormented by his classmates,” the article says. “They would certainly taunt him about his height, enormous ears, bad skin, unsettling gaze and even his first name.”
The authors speculate that Lincoln would be called “Abnormal Abe” or “Lanky Lincoln,” nicknames he would never be able to shake off.
“There’s a mere sliver of a chance that someone with Lincoln’s appearance could cope by becoming a rebel, growing a mohawk and joining a punk band, or something like that,” the article says. “There’s also a tiny possibility that someone with his looks could get around them with dozens of plastic surgery procedures, and only then approximate a normal-looking person.”
The article concludes that a contemporary Lincoln would probably develop severe antisocial personality disorder, start randomly assaulting people, then maybe get locked up in a psychiatric ward for ten years and, upon release, kill someone with a hatchet.