Left Behinds

The anti-andrewsullivan.com. Or, the Robin Hood (Maid Marian?) of bright pink Blogger blogs.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Ten Worst Americans?

All Things Beautiful has a fun game of finding the Ten Worst Americans of all time. It's inspired by the BBC History Magazine's list of the worst Britons of each of the last 5 centuries. So far the suggestions include Jane Fonda, the Rosenbergs, and Chief Justice Warren (for authoring the decision in Brown vs. Board of Education, which outlawed racial segregation!). We can do better than that.

Here are some tentative suggestions (culled from my initial thoughts, plus early comments):


1) Barbara Bush
She sits atop this list for (in one way or another) squeezing out of her otherwise airtight cootch the most despicable political dynasty in American history.

2) Iggy [last name redacted]
Not only did he once spit in my face at a party, but after we broke up he actually sank his fangs into my arm because I wouldn't let him steal back these cute jeans he gave me for Christmas! Almost nuff said, except that it should also be noted that he continues to email me.

3) Ayn Rand
For ruining Nietzsche for everyone else and for empowering selfish, greedy, stupid, unattractive teenage boys to be even more insufferably pompous and prone to pseudo-intellectual bloviating, Ayn Rand is both burning in hell and number three on this list.

4) Oprah Winfrey
She has created her own paramilitary of self-pitying, self-obsessed whiners. As Oprah's wealth grew, so did her arrogance. Really, watching daytime television with these hideously tedious women crying about their pissant, bourgeois neuroses AS A REAL WAR GOES ON IN THEIR NAME is enough to turn someone gay.

5) Joe McCarthy
A little known fact: My grandmother went on a date with him (true story) when she was a cute Irish girl trying to land a successful boyfriend and he was a young, ambitious politico who according to her "seemed to be going places"(yeah, like straight to Hell). Apparently he was "very creepy" and "had the nerve to never call me back." He makes the list!

6) Leo Strauss
Karl Rove, William Kristol and this guy in one of my political philosophy seminars two years ago who would never stop talking all call him hero. I rest my case.

7) Woodrow Wilson
He opposed governmental checks and balances, reinstated segregation, jailed Eugene Debs, passed the Sedition Act, and got us into World War I despite having campaigned against doing so. He was, basically, the first George W. Bush.

8) J. Edgar Hoover
This was the man who fired FBI agents because they "looked like truck drivers" or had "pointy heads." If only he had come to terms with his homosexuality or the fact that he was of partial African descent, we might have been spared COINTELPRO.

9) Paris Hilton
The patron saint of shallow, materialistic, ontologically vacant bobbleheads everywhere, Paris exemplifies everything wrong with American culture at this historical moment. She is the root cause of the War on Terror (if you watched The Simple Life, you might be inspired to destroy the empire that spawned her, too).

10) James Buchanan, Roger Taney, and John Calhoun
These defenders of the "positive good, not necessary evil" of slavery precipitated the Civil War. Need I say more?


That skews very heavily toward the 20th century, but not a bad first try. Any other first thoughts?

UPDATE: If you like this list, check out the Best of Left Behinds 2005. We're a brand new blog, so we're really pleased with how much attention we're already getting. Thanks, everybody...

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48 Comments:

  • At 3:03 PM, Blogger Alexandra said…

    Solomon don't forget to weigh in, we will need some opinions from the left side!

     
  • At 3:46 PM, Blogger Antid Oto said…

    Slavery and the genocide of Native Americans are tough because it's hard to hold one individual responsible rather than the whole society.

    Andrew Jackson?

    Plus you might consider the tag-team of James Buchanan and Roger Taney, for precipitating the Civil War.

     
  • At 3:48 PM, Blogger Antid Oto said…

    And I'd second the nomination of Leo Strauss.

     
  • At 3:54 PM, Blogger Antid Oto said…

    Along with Bush, in the category of Presidents who campaigned on isolationist, stay-at-home foreign policy and then once in office immediately reversed themselves to lead the country into unnecessary, bloody, costly war with far-reaching and devastating repercussions: Woodrow Wilson.

     
  • At 5:11 PM, Blogger Dr. Dean said…

    Indeed, Leo Strauss is a very good nomination. Another first class nominee maybe is Louis Farrakhan. And don't forget David Hasselhoff (because of his music) and Rush Limbaugh (because of his noise)!

     
  • At 7:25 PM, Blogger Antid Oto said…

    and Rush Limbaugh (because of his noise)!

    If you're going to go with a big loudmouth, I think I'd nominate John McLaughlin for inspiring the "politics as 2-second-soundbite-shouting-match format" that grew into rightwing talk radio, and Fox News, and Crossfire, and innumerable other horrible outlets. But Limbaugh is not bad for his greater reach and fundamental role in demonizing anyone to the left of George Wallace.

     
  • At 7:50 PM, Blogger Solomon Grundy said…

    Bite your tongue! I love The McLaughlin Group! He's such an adorable bulldog.

    But yeah, heh, David Hasselhoff is up there right next to Hitler.

    Hm, I'm going to put my thinking cap on... These are good suggestions, although it's tough with people like Wilson whose actions had bad consequences but who in balance were not pure evil.

    Nixon would seem to be an obvious choice from the 20th century. Though was he worse than the guys at the Manhattan Project?

    Oh, or what about Jerry Falwell and all those other perverters of Christianity? I nominate the Christian Right en masse.

     
  • At 8:04 PM, Blogger Solomon Grundy said…

    I officially nominate Barbara Bush for masterminding and/or squeezing out of her otherwise airtight hooch the most despicable political dynasty of all time.

     
  • At 9:07 PM, Blogger Antid Oto said…

    In balance with what, for Wilson? He tried to found the League of Nations, but that was a miserable flop. He was also fairly pro-labor. At the same time, he was the only President that I know of who wrote a scholarly essay claiming that the Framers of the Constitution had it all wrong with that checks and balances thing. Born a Southern racist, he reinstituted segregation in the federal government for the first time since Lincoln. He openly accused all immigrants of having divided loyalties. Not coincidentally, his administration saw the return of the KKK. During WWII he passed the wildly unconstitutional Sedition Act, and following the Russian Revolution, he helped whip up hatred of Communists in the U.S. by deporting immigrant Communists and Socialists and jailing Eugene V. Debs.

     
  • At 9:21 PM, Blogger Antid Oto said…

    By the way, I totally cribbed about 80% of that from Wikipedia to round out my vague memory.

     
  • At 9:40 PM, Blogger Solomon Grundy said…

    Heh, yeah, I was like Damn, you really know your Wilson. All I remembered was "points of light" and "league of nations."

    But you've convinced me: he's on the list!

     
  • At 9:47 PM, Blogger Dhun said…

    The excellent Hadley Arkes is thought of as Straussian and he wrote a fantastic defense of Natural Rights in his book "First Things".

    I'm not so sure what's so horrible about Strauss, perhaps someone could enlighten me?

     
  • At 9:53 PM, Blogger Antid Oto said…

    If I had one vote I think I might have to go for the Buchanan-Taney tag team I mentioned earlier. But Wilson was pretty bad.

     
  • At 10:02 PM, Blogger Neda Cole said…

    What about David Duke? As vile as he is I almost don't want to give him a mention even on this list but hey...

    Daniel Pipes too. Because I just can't stand him.

    Oh and Paris Hilton. (surely no explanation is required)

     
  • At 10:29 PM, Blogger Solomon Grundy said…

    Heh so many good suggestions. America is chock full of nasties.

    In terms of Leo Strauss, in a nutshell he's influenced a few generations of ruthless politicos to be even more unscrupulous than they were already inclined to be. There might be some people called Straussian who were OK (Alan Bloom, for instance, isn't pure evil in my eyes, though I completely disagree with most of his views), but there are many other Straussians who are the worst kind of paranoid, conniving Machiavellians. Some choice Strauss quotes: "lies are the grease of politics" and "enemies are a politician's aphrodisiac."

    Here's a good article about him:

    Harper's

     
  • At 10:35 PM, Blogger Antid Oto said…

    By the way, all that stuff I mentioned about Wilson is besides the fact that he campaigned in 1916 swearing to keep America out of WWI, and then immediately proceeded to take us into the war on incredibly flimsy grounds, when there was really no good reason for us to pick one side or another.

     
  • At 11:40 PM, Blogger Neda Cole said…

    J Edgar Hoover?
    Britney Spears?

     
  • At 12:25 AM, Blogger Solomon Grundy said…

    Paris' influence is far more nefarious than La Britney's. Every vapid 20something fashion queen in New York last year could not stop saying "that's hot" and posing for imaginary cameras. She would seem like an amusing pop hiccup if she weren't the patron saint of millions of girls and boys who are at this moment desperate to be just as shallow, materialistic, and ontologically empty as she is. And I'm ashamed to say I've slept with half of them.

     
  • At 3:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

  • At 3:23 AM, Blogger Solomon Grundy said…

    Eeek! Those are links to the David Duke web forum. I hope your point is that he's pure evil. I'm convinced.

     
  • At 3:58 AM, Blogger Antid Oto said…

    We have anonymous commenters now? Bitchin.

     
  • At 4:10 AM, Blogger Solomon Grundy said…

    Word.

    Hey, what about the Rosenbergs? Not only did they pass nuclear secrets to Stalin, they discredited an entire generation of lefties who naively defended them. We won't be hearing the end of that one for like a hundred years.

     
  • At 4:40 AM, Blogger Antid Oto said…

    As if right-wing twats needed an excuse to bother us. Not good people, but they wouldn't make my top ten worst either.

     
  • At 5:54 AM, Blogger Antid Oto said…

    The only problem with your Simple-Life-as-root-cause-of-the-GWOT is that the show first aired in December 2003.

     
  • At 12:38 PM, Blogger Antid Oto said…

    Ok, I love the fact that your list now appears to be the definitive response "from the left." Best revenge against an ex ever.

     
  • At 3:10 PM, Blogger Solomon Grundy said…

    Heh heh. Maybe Iggy should have thought twice before he bit me.

    Good point about The Simple Life's debut. Paris is like eczema. Once you've become afflicted, it's hard to remember life before the constant irritation.

    Oh, and btw, didn't we switch from a GWOT to a GSAVE? Or did Karen Hughes lose that acronym battle?

     
  • At 5:13 AM, Blogger Antid Oto said…

    Bush didn't seem all that interested in figuring out the new acronym. Much more fun to say "terrah". Maybe we could have switched to a Global War on Evil, but the acronym sucks.

    In poking through some of the reference links to this post, I've noticed you spend a fair amount of time arguing with nutters on right-wing comment threads, where people obsess over the evil of John Kerry, Ted Kennedy, Jesse Jackson, and Michael Moore, all of whom clearly have great influence over the affairs of this country that I'm unaware of. Jane Fonda too. My question is this: what the hell would you do that for? My philosophy is, life is too short to argue with people who don't admit off the bat that I'm a stone genius.

     
  • At 1:09 PM, Blogger Solomon Grundy said…

    Heh, yeah, that proved to be a total waste of time. I like a good argument, but the guys on that one site were too juvenile to make it worthwhile. And it hardly even drew any traffic to LB (which makes sense, since it was a hornet's nest of paleoconservatives). What can I say, I was sleep-deprived and procrastinating. It was either that or edit business documents.

    Having said all that, I'd sincerely like to find a smart, conservative blog where the regulars don't start telling you what loony liberals like you think as soon as you say something they disagree with.

     
  • At 11:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    for your consideration:

    oprah - for being a lizard in fat woman's clothing. wealth has only inflated her arrogance, and her missions to transform america into a shape she likes make me wanna puke.

    steven spielberg - not for his films themselves, which i have mostly enjoyed but for his lasting effect on american cinema. lest it be forgotten - he invented the blockbuster.

    tupac - posh boy playing at ghetto...his nasty vile and violent posturing ended in its just desserts, but its influence lives on thru pop culture to this day.

    j-lo - has anyone in recent pop culture history ever embodied such a shallow puddle? i scrounge around to work out what the allure is but...BLANK. how has such a phenomenon evolved from so little?

     
  • At 3:44 PM, Blogger Solomon Grundy said…

    Heh, though the others are certainly not good Americans, I don't know that their influence qualifies as evil.

    For worst Americans, I like your nomination of Oprah. Maybe I'll amend my list. She has created her own paramilitary of self-pitying, self-obsessed whiners. Really, watching daytime television with these hideously tedious women crying about their pisant, miniscule problems AS A REAL WAR GOES ON IN THEIR NAME really makes me wish we could conscript every fat Oprah addict and send them to Iraq. If they're crying anyhow, at least give them a good reason.

     
  • At 10:11 PM, Blogger Thom said…

    'Kay..so I stumbled randomly across this post, and have a few names to add to your ever-growing list. Fred Phelps, leader of the Westboro Baptist Church (http://www.godhatesfags.com) and Sam Walton, founder of Wal*Mart.

    I know that corporations also have legal status as entities unto themselves in this country, so I'd also nominate Monsanto, Dow, Alcoa, and ExxonMobile.

    Thanks for being a voice, and keep on writing

     
  • At 5:22 PM, Blogger Solomon Grundy said…

    Heh, thanks.

    I really like the idea of corporations as the worst people, since they are legally persons.

     
  • At 11:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Not a bad list -- I particularly like #10 -- but I can't believe you have Oprah on the list. The woman does no harm; and while her good is not yours, it's still good. So she and her show and her fans have girl cooties? Big deal. Live with it.

    If you want to put another woman on the list, how about Phyllis Schlafly, who's made a decades-long career out of trying to keep women from having careers? Or Helen Andelin, author of Fascinating Womanhood, who's spent her life telling women that the secret to a loving, successful marriage is to act like a subservient little girl? Seriously yuckworthy, both of them.

    TNH

     
  • At 1:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    joe mccarthy was right. google the venona project... We DID have communist agents infiltrating our government.
    My vote: alan dershowitz, torture adovcate.

     
  • At 3:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Love the way you deleted my earlier comment - so much for a free speech commitment.
    to repeat: mccarthy was right - google the venona project - there WERE soviet agents (over 300) in high levels of government Dexter White, Algier Hiss, anyone??
    My vote for the worst: Alan Dershowitz, Israel first torture advocate.
    let see how long this one lasts until you delete it.

     
  • At 8:00 AM, Anonymous glossypan said…

    Karl Rove and Rush Limbo have to make the list. Maybe you could tag team Ayn Rand with Joe McCarthy. They had a regular weekly lunch along with Alan Greenspan. I would put Greenspan on that team too. Not only was he a writing co-conspirator with Rand, but more responsible for the concentration of wealth than any person but Reagan. My listed web page is an essentially non-political photo gallery. I love your work.

     
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    hey I can understand why Paris Hilton is in this list of the Ten Worst Americans, but why does Oprah Winfrey appear on that list? she has done great charity work

     
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    OK that was a 2005 list, what would be the the list for this 2011?.

     
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