Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Back to the Terrible Ton

My apologies in advance, but I can't stay away from that blasted "100 Greatest Americans" list formulated by the pop biography, raised by ESPN and MTV, self help nation who know more of Vidal Sassoon than Gore Vidal (at the very least you can buy Sassoon's work in Wal Mart in handy 12oz bottles). Let me reiterate that there were some very worthy choices, and some that played to my own predjudices and beliefs (I'll admit to getting very emotional upon seeing Ceasar Chavez was on the list). Its the bone headed options that get me, and so this entry is a revisionist, Hitchenesque look at the frankly asinine names that made the cut.

Americans who belong on the list (with caveats in some cases):
Abraham Lincoln, Albert Einstein, Alexander Graham Bell, Alexander Hamilton, Amelia Earhart, Andrew Carnegie, Audie Murphy (at a pinch, as representative of the military conscript), Babe Ruth (representative of sports as nobody could remember the name Abner Doubleday), Benjamin Franklin, Bill Clinton (time will tell, but gets presidential default), Bill Gates (but not top 25, and no Thomas Watson?), Carl Sagan, Cesar Chavez, Charles Lindbergh (fascist), Chuck Yeager, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Eleanor Roosevelt, Elvis Presley (but not top 25 if Muddy Waters or Hank Williams didn't make the list), Frank Sinatra (representing a cultural movement and time), Franklin D. Roosevelt, Frederick Douglass, George Washington, George Washington Carver, Harriet Ross Tubman, Harry Truman, Helen Keller, Henry Ford (fascist), Howard Hughes, Jackie Robinson, Jesse Owens (no doubt pissed off Lindbergh and Ford), Jimmy Stewart (as an avatar for Ted Williams etc; giving up big career for national service, versus Ronald Reagan's approach), John Glenn, John F. Kennedy (hmmm, see Clinton), Jonas Edward Salk, Joseph Smith Jr. (if only for being so batshit crazy), Lyndon B. Johnson, Malcolm X (terrified whitey- always worth 100 points), Mark Twain (I'm surprised these spastics didn't nominate Shania) Martin Luther King Jr., Muhammad Ali (For saying "no viet cong ever called me n****r" and thus encapsulating the hypocricsy of the ol' "let freedom ring" type rhetoric), Neil Armstrong, Nikola Tesla, Ray Charles (no Dizzy? Duke? Ella?), Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan (see Clinton), Rosa Parks (again, an avatar), Sam Walton, Steve Jobs, Susan B. Anthony, Theodore Roosevelt (a man, a plan, a canal, Panama!), Thomas Edison, Thomas Jefferson, Walt Disney, Orville & Wilbur Wright.

OK, so the American public scored 55/100 there. Now for the dross:
What Were People Thinking?
Played heroes or nice guys in movies with little emprical evidence they are heroes or nice guys in real life:
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Clint Eastwood, John Wayne, Tom Cruise, Tom Hanks. Special award goes to: Mel Gibson, who is neither hero or nice guy but insane egoist and mascochist.
Had Sex With White Politician, Farted Around With Public Policy:
Barbara Bush, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (her second husband had barstools covered with whale foreskins. Meanwhile people starve), Laura Bush, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Marilyn Monroe (except she stayed away from policy).
Told Jokes Within the Last 50 Years:
Bill Cosby, Bob Hope, Johnny Carson, Lucille Ball, and with the special Mrs. Roosevelt has already got the lesbian thing covered award, Ellen DeGeneres.
Told Nixon He Hated Jews Too:
Billy Graham
Plays a Game for Money:
Brett Favre, Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, and the shit luck award winner, Pat Tillman.
Rich Men With Health Issues:
Christopher Reeve, Lance Armstrong.
First In Ethnic/Gender Does Not Excuse Craven Moral Cowardice or Intellectual Bankruptcy:
Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice.
President Ain't Enough, Died Too Young, Or Way Too Early:
George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush, Barak Obama, Jimmy Carter, John Edwards, Robert Kennedy, Rudolph W. Giuliani
Made Aliens Cute:
George Lucas, Steven Spielberg
Sherman Did It Better With Less:
George Patton
Realized Men Like Looking At Boobs:
Hugh Hefner, Madonna
Longevity Is Not Greatness:
Katharine Hepburn
Sells A Mean Bed Sheet:
Martha Stewart
Who Says People Can't Name A Poet?:
Maya Angelou
Fat Ideologues Who Probably Nominated Themselves:
Michael Moore, Rush Limbaugh
Won NAMBLA Bloc Vote:
Michael Jackson
Have Hypnotized Their TV Audiences To Do Their Bidding:
Donald Trump, Oprah Winfrey, Dr. Phil McGraw (lives off the royal jelly Oprah secretes).


Debbie said...

add these to your list;
American Thespians who have taken advantage of couch potatoes and their lack of judgment
when it comes to good TV and have become money making icons in pop culture

Urkel from Family Matters
Horshack from Welcome Back kotter (Ron Hedges?)
Punky Brewster-Soliel moon frye?
Screech from saved by the bell
Gary coleman from different strokes
I can go on. but I won't. There are too many

Jim said...

I was only joking about Michael Moore in my comment on your other post! I mean, Brendan's comment.

Rush Limbaugh is not even one of the greatest 100 Americans to ever be addicted to oxycontin.

jamie said...

Shania Twain is Canadian.

weasel said...

That was my planted test. I calculated that anyone stupid enought to actually nominate Shania wouldn't know she was Canadian...

unwellness said...

While I would not change much about your various rankings, I am troubled by the mere FIVE women on your A list. Come now, my incredibly-knowledgable-about-America British friends... aren't there any more? Personally, I have been vehemently ignoring this whole debacle.

weasel said...

Hey! Thanks for swinging by, Bri! he A list alas, is drawn only from those nominated by the general public: I had no hand in the selection of the basic 100. To my mind (and not even in the cause of gender equity but more on pure achievement) it was shocking to be that the following women didn't make the cut:
Clara Barton, Mother Jones, Susan Sontag, Emma Goldman, Sacajawea, Mary Baker Eddy, Margaret Chase Smith, Shirley Chisholm, Ella Fitzgerald, Dorothy Parker, Edith Wharton (first woman to win a Pulitzer), Sally Ride, Toni Morrison (first african-american woman to win the Nobel Prize for Lit), Abigail Adams, and Georgia O'Keefe, to name a few.

I also think that this brave soul should have made the cut:
"On October 24, 1901, Annie Edson Taylor, a schoolteacher from Michigan, becomes the first person to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel."

bri said...

Ahhh... thanks. That did my soul some good.