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The Other Side forums - suitable for mature readers! _ The Issues Forum _ Greatest American?

Posted by: CommieBastard Jun 29 2005, 07:53 AM

Apparently, it's http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4631421.stm.

Now, far be it for me to cast aspersions on the honour of a man who laughed at social welfare, let businesses run roughshod over unions, renewed the stupid, worthless "War on Drugs", ignored AIDS until it became an epidemic, supported sodomy laws, and cut taxes for the rich on the basis that magical pixies would sprinkle the wealth on the rest of America like fairy dust.

No, I'm more concerned about the fact that Oprah Winfrey is America's greatest woman.

It's not even as if America has a shortage of candidates, here. Harriet Tubman? Dorothy Parker? Georgia O'Keeffe? Sojourner Truth? Emily Dickinson? Eleanor Roosevelt?

Nope. Oprah Winfrey, I guess.

At least there's a pot-smoker on the list. Ray of sunshine, there.

But now I'm rambling. Here's my question: who do you think the greatest Americans have been?

Posted by: believe Jun 29 2005, 08:10 AM

You like Dorothy Parker too? Commie, I think you're my new 'hero'. happy.gif I love Dorothy Parker.

/spam

I would vote for the civil rights activists that were willing to go down into the South and massive prejudice at the least, as well as violence and even occasionally death. People like Harriet Tubman, Robert E. Lee for maintaining honor even in the face of something as bloody as the civil war. For women its harder, but I have more respect for people like Dorothea Dix that went out and changed their corner of the world lastingly.

Posted by: Mata Jun 29 2005, 08:20 AM

Ignoring immigrants such as Einstein, I think that Dr Martin Luther King is a wise choice. There have been others, but from modern times he's certainly one of the greats.

I also had a lot of admiration for the way that Christopher Reeve lived his life after he was paralysed. I know he's not up there with some of the greats, but there are slim pickings from the last couple of decades, and I think that his efforts to educate people about the need for medical research to gain a greater understanding of advanced sciences such as the work with stem cells was astonishing considering the challenges he was facing.

Posted by: CommieBastard Jun 29 2005, 10:30 AM

QUOTE (believe @ Jun 29 2005, 09:10 AM)
You like Dorothy Parker too? Commie, I think you're my new 'hero'.  happy.gif  I love Dorothy Parker.
*


... wasn't it you who introduced me to Parker? You had a line from one of her poems as your AIM screen-name, and I asked you about it...

Posted by: depressed lonely crazy person Jun 29 2005, 12:38 PM

Well certainly not that idiot that went Iraq so he could make loads of money and got his head chopped off cos he stirred up a lot of trouble and got terrorists more media time than they deserve and started a whole trend of abductions had he not been american it wouldn't have got the news time it did.

No sports person, If you make your money kicking and throwing it shows immaturity and an inability to grow up and get beyond playing tip and chasing games.


Angelina Jolie is fairly nice to people, does a lot for charity, practices what she preaches and looks like an animated character from final fantasy so shes got a lot of brownie points.

Posted by: CommieBastard Jun 29 2005, 01:36 PM

QUOTE (depressed lonely crazy person @ Jun 29 2005, 01:38 PM)
No sports person, If you make your money kicking and throwing it shows immaturity and an inability to grow up and get beyond playing tip and chasing games.


Angelina Jolie is fairly nice to people, does a lot for charity, practices what she preaches and looks like an animated character from final fantasy so shes got a lot of brownie points.
*


Why does making your money kicking and throwing show immaturity, when making your money pretending to be a sexy archaeologist doesn't?

Posted by: arachnidoc17 Jun 29 2005, 01:40 PM

I'd actually have to agree with the pollers.

His civil policies were not so great, but if we had any less of a leader atr that time the US and most of Russia would be a nuclear wasteland.

Posted by: Feyliya Jun 29 2005, 01:45 PM

I'd be hard-pressed to choose between Benjamin Franklin and Martin Luther King Jr. for the male greatest American.

As for female, I don't know. Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth are great favorites of mine, but there were many, many other women who did equally important things....

I think I can agree that Oprah Winfrey is the past few decades' greatest American woman. But stacked against others, I don't think she'd hold up very well.

Posted by: CommieBastard Jun 29 2005, 01:50 PM

QUOTE (arachnidoc17 @ Jun 29 2005, 02:40 PM)
His civil policies were not so great, but if we had any less of a leader atr that time the US and most of Russia would be a nuclear wasteland.
*


I'm not so sure. Reagan's strategy was a risky one; the Cold War could easily have become hot under his leadership. Nor can the collapse of the Soviet Union be attributed entirely to him - it would probably have collapsed from internal struggles anyway, to say nothing of the other outside pressures facing it, like the depressed price of crude oil.

Posted by: monkey_called_narth Jun 29 2005, 03:58 PM

mary bell rolleyes.gif no... uh i would have to say sojuoner truth... how can you put down somone that not only fought for african american rights but womens rigths as well?

and... probibly martin luther king jr.

Posted by: MrTeapot Jun 29 2005, 04:13 PM

I see not many people voted for me, dispite my billion dollar advertising campaign. Curses.

Posted by: believe Jun 29 2005, 05:27 PM

QUOTE
... wasn't it you who introduced me to Parker? You had a line from one of her poems as your AIM screen-name, and I asked you about it...


My e-mail actually and very likely. I feel sheepish now, I was just going to be amazed at your stunning good taste. blush.gif

/spam

Posted by: gothictheysay Jun 29 2005, 09:16 PM

Ack! George W. Bush is SIXTH?

Excuse me while I go burn my eyes out with a red-hot poker and then ship myself to some remote island to live undisturbed by such things for the rest of my life.

On a non-spam note... I have a lot of respect for many people already mentioned, like Martin Luther King, Harriet Tubman, etc. I agree with this commenter:

QUOTE
According to the CIA world fact book, the population of the USA is 295,734,134 (July 2005 est.). So less than 1% of America voted Ronald Regan as "greatest American," and I certainly know that my vote was not included. Surely Martin Luther King Jr accomplished more, for more people, than Ronald Regan ever did.


Not that I can justify that statement or anything.

I think they should re-do the poll with a larger audience.

Posted by: Daedalus Jun 29 2005, 11:24 PM

They probably only polled real American patriots, no anti-American haters, like liberals or people with funny coloured skin.

Posted by: elphaba2 Jun 30 2005, 12:23 AM

AOL users, I believe. The poll was open every time I went to check my mail.

As a side note, on the day of Reagan's death, our school was instructed to have a moment of silence. Let me clarify--a mandatory moment of silence. Myself, I chose to spend the moment quietly informing my classmates on Reagan's economic policies, the Iran-Contra deal and other such sundry items of his overlauded presidency. But that's because I'm such a political punx roxx0r. Back on the topic of the poll.

I found it to be a frighteningly accurate reflection of the same ten people we've been taught since grade school as "great". Some truly deserve our respect- Martin Luther King Jr., for example. Others, like Oprah and our dancing orangutan president, have been in the news so often and (in the eyes of middle America, at whom I suspect this poll was aimed) are rarely critisized as anything other than great. Elvis is a reigning idol of the nostalgia circuit, so it's no surprise he turned up as well.

I imagine the popularity of presidents on the poll might also be because they are seen as the most effective leaders of change for an entire nation and are some of the most visible people in the country. It could also be due to a mere lack of imagination--people asked about Greatest Americans might only come up with a handful of historical figures and pad out the list with much-loved presidents, confident that no one will challenge it.

I don't intend to make this post a mile-long rant at the stupidity of most of my homeland, but I must question Abraham Lincoln's placement, and indeed knee-jerk respect. Often praised as one of the great liberators in the battle for slavery, Honest Abe only freed slaves in states that opposed the north, as though taking away a special priveledge. Like taking toys from naughty children. Maryland, Delaware and Tennessee were permitted to keep their slaves, as they never attmepted to secede. The issue was not about slavery; it was about secession and the Emancipation Proclamation was intended as a weapon, not as a beacon for oppressed slaves.

This post is quite wordy, I apologize!

Posted by: pgrmdave Jun 30 2005, 02:40 AM

Hmmm, who is the greatest American? A difficult question, to say the least.

My list of the greatest would include:

Taft
Woodrow Wilson
Daniel Webster
FDR
Alexander Hamilton

And I'm sure a few others, though right now I cannot think of any, although I doubt that Oprah, Lincoln, or Elvis are on it.

Posted by: zivane Jun 30 2005, 05:27 AM

There really isn't one single great American in my opinion... really, there just isn't. Some really intelligent people who don't lie their way through life should rank up highest though. Sex, drugs, and rock and roll don't make a person great... neither should being famous or a public figure at all. I totally vote for my own mother (with and without bias). ^.^ She rocks. And she can cook really well. And she's the most understanding person that I know who has been to hell and back many times. I'd also vote for my 11th grade chemistry teacher because she was really smart, really understanding, and always stood up for what she believed in. As well as my astronomy teacher this past semester. She is an amazing person.

Most public figures just aren't even real people... that deal with "I should go to Wal Mart because it's cheaper and I can't afford anything else" type situations... or have to give up a car because they can't afford the gas. But, I suppose that's why they are public figures. All they spend their time doing is thinking about really important things as if it were a child's puzzle toy.

Granted, some public figures did really amazing things to get into that eye... but I think it's the smaller things that make up the bigger things that should really count more, because the smaller things take far more effort. They are the driving forces behind the legislation that gets passed, ultimately. Legislation isn't exactly some guy in office saying "Oh, maybe I should make a bill on this because I think doing this is bad even though it's never been a part of my life"... even though it really seems that way sometimes. And lots of really evil things get passed because so many of the small people get scared into thinking a certain way. *shrug*

I'll hush and go make my cookies now.

Posted by: depressed lonely crazy person Jun 30 2005, 07:57 AM

[QUOTE]Why does making your money kicking and throwing show immaturity, when making your money pretending to be a sexy archaeologist doesn't? [QUOTE]

Because kicking and throwing is a pointless waste of time, because sport is just what happens when the same idiots that spent their lunch ohour playing tip got older and still wanted to play tip but felt they were too old and decided it would be OK so long as they made it look more difficult hence the addition of balls nets and sticks.

Besides she makes a good sexy archaeologist....who obviously isn't affected by cold like normal people.

Posted by: Overfriendly_Kitten Jun 30 2005, 02:10 PM

Lincon...

Bell or Parker...

not Raygun. at all. ever.

Posted by: Jonman Jun 30 2005, 05:31 PM

You ever watched one of those Top 10 Best Songs Ever Written, only to be dismayed when number one is The Crazy Frog ?

Yeah? Welcome to Pop Culture. The reason that none of the eminently qualified women were chosen is becuase they're all long dead, not on TV and only appear in American History Textbooks. Until there's an Entertainment Tonight Special on Eleanor Roosevelt, you can forget her ever getting into an Idiot's Pick list.

Posted by: PsychWardMike Jun 30 2005, 05:48 PM

Oprah gets nothing in my vote, but that's because I hate her. Good for her for being the first black lady with a billion bucks. Woo.

Same way I wouldn't vote for Donald Trump.

Some people up there on my list would probably include Jefferson, Edison, Franklin. There's more, but I'm not willing to think about it right now. Those three are pretty great

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