Read-America Campaign

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by Mud Flaps, Jun 5, 2005.

  1. It was right on target! Democratic values won out!

    0 vote(s)
  2. For the most part, it was good, but some things were out of whack

    0 vote(s)
  3. Meh.

    1 vote(s)
  4. It was pretty out of whack.

    0 vote(s)
  5. Americans shouldn't be allowed to vote until they know something about their country.

    7 vote(s)
  6. I didn't see it

    10 vote(s)
  1. Mud Flaps

    Mud Flaps

    Feb 3, 2003
    Norton, MA
    Rather than rant about what I just saw on the discovery channel, I decided to turn my anger into positive energy.

    I just finished watching the Discovery Channel's 100 Greatest Americans. The list was constructed by AOL by sufferers of mild to severe stupidity. To give you a little hint the kind of stuff that happened, Barbara Bush beat Alexander Hamilton, Michael Jordan beat Mark Twain, Helen Keller beat Abraham Lincoln, Madonna beat Thomas Jefferson, etc.

    The one thing I found most disturbing (besides things that would get this thread closed for sure) was the lack of authors.

    In its extremely short history, American authors have created masterpieces which rival the works France, Germany, and even England.

    Some great American authors of prose are Herman Melville, Eudora Welty, Mark Twain, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, Toni Morrison, Richard Wright, Nathanial Hawthorne, John Steinbeck, etc.

    Some great American philosophical-prose writers are Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Walt Whitman, W. E. B. DuBois, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Breecher Stowe, Harriet Jacobs, Thomas Paine, Adam Smith, etc.

    Some great American poets are Emily Dickinson, Edgar Allen Poe, E. E. Cummings (sucks in my opinion, sorry), Walt Whitman, Robert Frost, William Carlos Williams, Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, Claude McKay, Robert Penn Warren, etc.

    My favorite American books are Herman Melville's Moby Dick, William Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury and William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying.

    What are your favorite American literary works? Do you need a recommendation of what to read next by the learned TB community?
  2. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    I skipped it because I knew it would annoy me. Looks like I was right.
  3. I feel sorry for you. I was a bit older when I realized that the general public is generally stupid. You, my friend, have learned this at too young an age. I'm glad it angers you, though. It should.

    Every election year (regardless of political leanings), I'm infuriated when I hear people discussing the election without actually using facts. This kind of ignorance carries over into everyday life and these people could sooner relate the last person Paris Hilton knew (in the Biblical sense) than they could any date in U.S. history.

  4. Ericman197


    Feb 23, 2004
    Do you have the full list or an article about it? I didn't see the show and I can't really base a response on the original post.
  5. Against Will

    Against Will Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2003
    Big Sound Central
    Interesting that the more TV/Movie exposure people have gotten, the more importantly they are ranked (Helen Keller did have her own movie after all. Not to mention plenty of pretty weak jokes.)

    For modern authors: Paul Auster, Ray Bradbury and Phillip K. Dick. Kurt Vonnegut is always a crowd-pleaser.

    Poetry?: Laura Riding

    For economic reading: Robert Frank, Paul Krugman, Thorstein Veblen.

    Other?: Lewis Hyde (Get "Trickster makes this world" good stuff.)
  6. That's because the discovery channel sucks.

    I'd like to see the History channel do something similar though...they produce a surprising number of stuff that doesn't suck. Unheard of for your basic cable station.
  7. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    + 1

    IMO, it's time to get back to basics.

    All this "spin" is entirely out of control.

    You go Mike! :)
  8. Marlat


    Sep 17, 2002
    London UK
    There's 100?

    :bag: :D
  9. Folmeister

    Folmeister Knowledge is Good - Emile Faber Supporting Member

    May 7, 2003
    Tomball, Texas
    The problem lies in the fact that we are so short-lived that we can't see past out own century. Lowenthal said it best, the past is a foreign country and the majority of Americans don't speak the language and don't have a map. We are ephemeral creatures that share the popular events of our immediate environment.. . . .and they're stupid cows that should have to wear bells around their necks.
  10. Mike Money

    Mike Money Banned

    Mar 18, 2003
    Bakersfield California
    Avatar Speakers Endorsing Hooligan
    I hate Helen Keller...

    From elementary to high school, she is shoved down our throats like she is some sort of god.

    In reality, she was just a psyco stalin-supporter that happened to be blind and deaf.
  11. kserg


    Feb 20, 2004
    London, UK
    Adam Smith... a great american economist??? was Marx great American too?
  12. Gia


    Feb 28, 2001
    Thomas Paine was English.
  13. Vorago

    Vorago (((o)))

    Jul 17, 2003
    Antwerp, Belgium
    Here in Belgium there was a similar contest (well, it's still going) and don't think people should vote unless they have some historical background, or at least know what has been going on!
    There were 100 candidates, and people could add another 11 via radio and email. This resulted in the guy who started up "" being elected as one of the "greatest Belgians ever". All the old folks (65+) voted en masse for this guy, result, a 19 year old internet geek is up there between kings, writers and philosophers... :meh:
  14. Brad Barker

    Brad Barker Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2001
    berkeley, ca
    fixed. ;)
  15. probably not :bag:
  16. Depends on your definition...but let's not quibble, let's consult an authourity:!!!! And here's the delivery:

    Paine, Thomas. 1737-1809.

    British-born American writer and Revolutionary leader who wrote the pamphlet Common Sense (1776) arguing for American independence from Britain. In England he published The Rights of Man (1791-1792), a defense of the French Revolution.

  17. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Well, sad fact is more people can sing Material Girl in it's entirety than can get the opening line of the Gettysburg adress correct. More people know Michael Jordan's lines from Space Jam by heart than know who Mark Twain IS, let alone able to name any books other than Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn.
  18. He wrote other books???

  19. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Yeah, "The Grapes of Wrath" and "Great Expectations," among others.

    "Great Expectations, huh? Any good?"
    "It's not all I'd hoped."
  20. :D