With the aid of an online poll the Discovery Channel has compiled a list of the 100 greatest Americans. In the last few years we have suffered one terrible list after another (SI’s best athletes, AFI’s best films, etc.), but this is perhaps the most absurd of them all.
Here is a sampling of names from the list: Brett Farve, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Christopher Reeve, George Lucas, Laura Bush, Michael Moore, Rush Limbaugh, Ellen DeGeneres and (I am not making this up) Dr. Phil McGraw (Oprah made the list as well).
Who didn’t make the list? Well, for starters, a couple Founding Fathers named John Adams and James Madison.
Also, few writers (despite their claims to being the “movers and shakers” of the world) made it onto the list. That’s fair enough, but the awful Maya Angelou made it, while Robert Frost, Herman Melville, Emily Dickenson, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Saul Bellow and (to the Discovery Channel’s everlasting shame) P.G. Wodehouse did not.
Jimmy Cater, Richard Nixon, and Michael Jackson are all on the list despite having done much more harm than good for the country (I should be on the list before those guys, at least I haven’t done actual damage). And James Polk, one of the most successful presidents in American History, has been left off entirely.
I think we should compile a list of America’s Worst Lists. The Discovery Channel’s Greatest American’s wouldn’t be number one, but that’s only because these stupid lists never get anything right.
(Via The Corner)