Great Americans

GREAT AMERICANS….Stephen Bainbridge is unhappy with the Discovery Channel’s “Greatest Americans” show, which follows cheerfully in the populist call-in tradition of both the BBC’s “Greatest Britons” show and the CBC’s “Greatest Canadians” show, previously blogged in this space. The complete list of 100 nominations is below the fold.

All the expected atrocities are on the list, plus some unexpected super-duper atrocities. Prof B ably points them out and adds some of the more obvious omissions (along with a few atrocities of his own, I might add). Some miscellaneous observations:

  • Albert Einstein? Sure, he became a U.S. citizen late in life, but he’s no more a “Greatest American” than Alexander Graham Bell was a “Greatest Canadian.” Come on, guys.

  • B is unhappy with the inclusion of Babe Ruth and Michael Jordan among the nominees, but I don’t see why. If you accept that sporting figures belong on the list at all, Babe Ruth certainly deserves to be there, and probably Michael Jordan too. If anything, the list is surprisingly free of sports stars. No Dale Earnhardt!

  • Who’s the least deserving person on the list? Needless to say, it’s a tough call, but I think I’ll go with Dr. Phil. This is likely to be a very hard fought contest, so place your vote in comments soon.

  • Even though the list is a popularity contest, I’m surprised at the literary omissions. Mark Twain is there, but that’s it. No Hemingway, no Faulkner, no Steinbeck, no Poe, no Hawthorne, no Cather, no Cooper. Hell, doesn’t anybody play Authors anymore?

  • No other artists either, except for contemporary movie stars and rock singers. No Whistler, no Armstrong, no Joplin, no Stuart, no Gershwin, no Warhol, no Wright, no Griffith, etc. etc.

OK, that’s enough griping. Comments are open for your vote in the “Least Deserving” category, as well as whatever personal griping happens to seize you. There will be a special award for the funniest comment.

Abraham Lincoln
Albert Einstein
Alexander Graham Bell
Alexander Hamilton
Amelia Earhart
Andrew Carnegie
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Audie Murphy
Babe Ruth
Barack Obama
Barbara Bush
Benjamin Franklin
Bill Clinton
Bill Cosby (William Henry Cosby, Jr.)
Bill Gates
Billy Graham
Bob Hope
Brett Favre
Carl Sagan
Cesar Chavez
Charles Lindbergh
Christopher Reeve
Chuck Yeager
Clint Eastwood
Colin Powell
Condoleezza Rice
Donald Trump
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Eleanor Roosevelt (Anna Eleanor Roosevelt)
Ellen DeGeneres
Elvis Presley
Frank Sinatra
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Frederick Douglass
George H. W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Lucas
George Patton
George Washington
George Washington Carver
Harriet Ross Tubman
Harry Truman
Helen Keller
Henry Ford
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Howard Hughes
Hugh Hefner
Jackie Robinson (Jack Roosevelt Robinson)
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
Jesse Owens
Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Stewart
John Edwards
John Glenn
John F. Kennedy
John Wayne
Johnny Carson (John William Carson)
Jonas Edward Salk
Joseph Smith Jr.
Katharine Hepburn
Lance Armstrong
Laura Bush
Lucille Ball
Lyndon B. Johnson
Madonna (Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone)
Malcolm X (Malcolm Little)
Marilyn Monroe
Mark Twain (Samuel Langhorne Clemens)
Martha Stewart
Martin Luther King Jr.
Maya Angelou
Mel Gibson
Michael Jackson
Michael Jordan
Michael Moore
Muhammad Ali (Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr.)
Neil Alden Armstrong
Nikola Tesla
Oprah Winfrey
Pat Tillman
Dr. Phil McGraw
Ray Charles
Richard Nixon
Robert Kennedy
Ronald Reagan
Rosa Parks
Rudolph W. Giuliani
Rush Limbaugh
Sam Walton
Steve Jobs
Steven Spielberg
Susan B. Anthony
Theodore Roosevelt
Thomas Edison
Thomas Jefferson
Tiger Woods
Tom Cruise
Tom Hanks
Walt Disney
Wright Brothers (Orville & Wilbur Wright)