I’ve been hanging out at the beach today, cruising around some internet sites, and I decided to word search hero, since the idea of the hero has always interested me. I came across some list by some maniac that listed his top 100 heroes who “changed the world” from biblical times up until modern times. It was mostly a list of American military figures and American presidents, so I can only imagine where the list maker was from and what his or her criteria was. There were also links to pages entitled “World Religious Map”, “Bible Questions Answered”, “Bible Study” and “How to Lose Weight Fast.” The dumbest thing about the criteria was the “changed the world” part. I can think of plenty of people who have changed the world…Genghis Kahn, Napoleon Bonaparte, Adolph Hitler, any number of corrupt Popes, Al Capone, atomic bomb makers and droppers, Eugene McCarthy, 9-11 attack mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and Osama bin Laden. That’s an awfully abbreviated list. And, all of these people were or are Heroes to millions of Some Bodies, at Some Time, Some Where.
After seeing what other subject matter was available on this site I was not surprised a bit to find Ronald Reagan and George Bush among this lister’s heroes of recorded history…and I was a bit baffled, but not surprised at their placement, considering the company.
Ronald Reagan was placed at number 5, and George Bush at number 15. What the…? I had thought this muscular Christian had gone too far even considering them for his top 100, but placing them both in the top 15? Need I even go on? Why not?
Feeling a bit dismayed after my search for heroes, I considered who would be considered influential. Time magazine does one of these lists every year, and if you can’t trust Time who can you trust?
Let’s see…in 2010 Sarah Palin, Conan O’Brian, Lady Gaga, Elton John, Ashton Kutcher, and Taylor Swift were on the list. Good grief ! Are people really so daft? In 2011 Prince William and Katherine Middleton were on the list, as was Pope Benedict XVI…but one of them is getting out of town while the getting is good, and if you know who these people are, then you probably know which one is getting gone before the offal falls. Alright, this is why Time is no longer a relevant source of anything but gossip and sensationalistic pap. I’m beginning to feel like a Robinson Crusoe, but even Friday won’t hang with someone who lacks the influence of Ashton Kutcher or a Pope who is slipping out the back door.
I tried the 1oo most influential song list, hoping for some sort of cultural connection. The first site I tried couldn’t load…the second warned it would load my computer with cookies…and the third loaded but then locked up on me. I couldn’t even form a technological connection.
Alright, I thought…how about the world’s most popular serial killers, or movie villains, or – Books ! Influential books…I can do that.
I had to get to number 57 before I found a book I had read and own, Candide by Voltaire. Common Sense by Thomas Paine, Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau, The Trial by Kafka, Nineteen Eighty-Four by Orwell…and that was it. Five books out of one hundred…five percent. It seems that I’m not going to be in with any in crowd. I need to form a pompous superiority complex, or maybe cultivate a crippling inferiority complex…how about both – “My inferiority complex is better than yours!”
What to do? Is there a 100 Greatest Losers list? How about a 100 Greatest Nerds list? Let me…
Screw it… Back to the Robinson Crusoe bit – I could find a big rock, put it in my pocket, walk down to the Pacific, then…yeah, I know – Virginia Woolf. Derivative. Time to log off and lay in the sand of a big beach near a small town and enjoy the sun shining on my face.