There's an interesting challenge that has been issued by Alexandra at All Things Beautiful -- it seems that British historians have put together a list of the ten worst Britons in the last 1000 years, one for each Century, for the BBC History Magazine. Since one good list deserves another, Alexandra decided to issue A Challenge To The Blogosphere: 'The Ten Worst Americans' List:
It is very interesting how a few names are emerging as a constant. On everyone's lips and the number one favorite is Benedict Arnold, very closely followed by Jimmy Carter, Joseph McCarthy, Richard Nixon, George Soros, Aaron Burr, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg (no particular order). Jane Fonda has appeared on quite a few lists, and so has George Bush, J. E. Hoover, John Kerry, Lyndon Johnson and Alger Hiss.Given my lack of proper attention to anything meaningful in my decadent youth, I defer the nomination of historical figures to, well, those bloggers who read something other than science fiction in high school (I'm trying to catch up; at least I read Atlas Shrugged when I was 15!.). It's kind of fun to peruse the thoughts of bloggers coming up with names -- sometimes of folks I would not have necessarily thought of as among the "worst." The lovely Atlas, for example, listed Robert E Lee ("His military genius actually prolonged the agony of the Civil War") and John Sherman ("author of the >Sherman Anti-Trust Act, 15 U.S.C. Crucial turning point in the descent of the American economy was the passing of anti-trust laws").
From a purely contemporary standpoint, I nominate Arthur O. Sulzberger, Jr., publisher and chairman of the New York Times. Since the time I was old enough to read the paper, the "Gray Lady" has steadily been given over to the mad rantings of the far left in this country. A sane man would have long ago sent MoDo and Krugman packing, to follow Howell Raines into obscurity. By extension, I would have to state that the majority of these folks should be nominated to round out my "bottom 10," especially Gail Collins, the editorial page editor. The shrill, anti-American, anti-anything-positive-about-Bush/GOP, heavily Democratic Party-biased nature of the editorials have led many to follow the advice of a friend of mine: "I read the NY Times editorial page just to find out how far left the Democratic party will lean this week."
On the other hand, I'd like to name Will Shortz, the crossword puzzle editor at the NY Times, as a personal fave --- I can't get through the week without a challenging Sunday Times crossword.
UPDATE: Perhaps even the NY Times' public editor might agree with me (just a little bit). Hugh Hewitt may as well:
Perhaps by January 2, 2007 the New York Times will have gotten around to admitting that its reputation as a reliable reporter of facts was lost long before Jason Blair and has never been recovered, that Maureen Dowd and Paul Krugman are jokes among most center-right Americans and a good portion of the left as well, that Valerie Plame has always been a non-story, that leaking of top secret surveillance programs of al Qaeda conducting surveillance on it sagents in America etc etc etc was the problem, not the rise of a new information network.