Playing With History

I feel a little uneasy linking to Huffington Post. From time to time my sister sends me links to the site and each time I'm left with one eyebrow raised. Sometimes two.

They really need to ban Kool-Aid.

Anyway. This article in particular left me utterly unsatisfied. I have a degree in History and so it's hard for me to take it too seriously.

It seems rather puerile to say nothing of being a pointless exercise. The "Marconi v. Tesla' thing in particular is mistreated. Not that the facts presented were necessarily wrong. It's just how it's applied I wonder about.

Aside from the fact I'm not really a fan of creating"over rated" lists for historical figures (history in the wrong hands can turn ugly), it would be interesting to learn what his criteria was to settle on these eight since it can hardly be an exhaustive list.

You can make a case for many, many, many people to join the list. People think The Beatles and Wayne Gretzky are over rated. You know?

This being a liberal site, notice the insertion of Reagan.

*Rolls eyes*

On this subject, I appeal to readers and their thoughts. Is it a puff piece?


  1. Considering how few people think Reagan did a good job, it's hard to argue he's over-rated. For those who do worship at the shrine of Ronnie: how much coke were you on in the 80s? Be honest...

    I'm more confused by the addition of a fictional character to the list. Why King Arthur? What about Hercules? Or Paul Bunyon? Oh oh, I know: Santa Claus. That guy has been taking credit for the hard work of parents everywhere! That jolly bastard!

    Columbus still deserves a lot of credit, even though he represented what is clearly the third or fourth or even fifth to reach America. Maybe if the Vikings had gone back and bothered to tell anyone, we might be speaking Icelandic or something. But he didn't. If you discover something and don't bother to share it, you didn't do much.

    Also disagree on Gandhi. Thoreau was nothing but a tax evading dead beat, Gandhi was standing up to Imperialism. Gandhi's campaign ended with his country's freedom, Buddha came up with a religion that enslaves all who believe it. Big differences.

  2. You proved my point about how pointless it is to compile such lists.

    Perhaps true about Reagan, but two things there: Many people think opposite of what you said and second, Presidential historians rank him highly as well.

    As for coke in the 80s, I missed that boat. I was busy pretending I could make it as a pro soccer player and being all jock.

    Thoreau a tax evading dead beat? Geez, I'm sure he has plenty of company. Now you made me feel guilty of buying 'Walden.'

  3. I stole Walden. No joke.

    Anyway, the only "presidential historians" who are ranking Reagan highly are conservative plants. Regardless of your ideology, I can prove to you that you ought to hate Ronald Reagan.

    I'll assume if you're liberal, you have all the reasons you need.

    Suppose you're conservative. Well, the whole national debt? That's Reagan. We ran surpluses and had balanced budgets before we were subjected to Reagnomics. Reagan also armed everyone we are fighting against today, from Sadam's Iraq to Osama's Al Qaeda. Reagan negotiated with terrorists, trading weapons for hostages. Reagan also backed down when threatened, something I think was a good political move (as it prevented strained ties with Lebanon and several other nations in the Middle East), but is a Neocon no-no today. His aide, who was shot during his assassination attempt, is also the Brady of the famous Brady gun laws which restricted gun ownership more than any bill in US history and paved the way for background checks. And if you hate homeless people... thank Reagan, because he closed mental hospitals across the country, spilling America's deranged onto the streets, increasing crime and making panhandling and public masturbation a staple of American culture.

    I can give you more, if you would like. I'll sleep on it and check back in the morning.

  4. Never assume.

    To be honest, I have no idea where I lie. It's something that keeps me up at night. All I know is I'm definitely conservative in my demeanour and my philosophy on money. I certainly have a libertarian impulse when it comes to freedom of choice - or at least to the extent on issues where I don't think the government is welcomed or particularly useful - like throwing red-tape in front of small businesses with bull shit permits. It's all a grease game that crap.

    I also don't believe in redistribution of anything. Sports show you EXACTLY how it becomes stupid whether it's the salary cap or revenue sharing. Teams hoard the cash that's not there's to begin with while not committing to winning and then turn around, with sad puppy eyes, and paint the Yankees and Red Sox and Dodgers as "evil." F-you. You're just masking you're own damn incompetence.

    Granted, not all teams do that, I respect the Twins and A's, but something tells me with their management team and philosophy, they'd probably still be good without all these rules.

    Salary caps mostly protect the inefficient and keep in place guys in decision making in place longer than they have to be.

    Other than that, open game on me.

    As for Reagan, Christ, a couple of months ago I read a 900 page book on the history of the Presidency (by the way, on the list of Pres. historians, many seem more liberal to me), and you know what I came away with? You can mould and distort perception and reality all you want to make it fit a world view. What you just wrote about Reagan, while likely all factual, can be applied to most if not all Presidents.

    F-me, Jefferson's tenure foamed with contradictions!

    That's politics I reckon.

  5. "Not theirs" to begin with.

    I beat you to the correction.

  6. You'd love to know then that Reagan did nothing for the small business owner. For all his talk of how evil government is, the guy was a shill for big business. And what's more, he took up the banner of the drug war where Nixon left off, and left us with a legacy of racist crack cocaine legislation that punished black people for cheap drugs and let off white people doing real cocaine with lighter sentencing, a legacy only now disappearing thanks to parity laws passed under Democrats and signed by Obama. *starts running a bath*

    I'm not defending any presidents except Teddy Roosevelt, Eisenhower, and maybe aspects of FDR. They are more or less responsible for elevating the US to its place of prominence, and all the other presidents have basically been substitute teachers filling in aimlessly. Jefferson in particular reminds me of a Reagan or Obama type: all talk, no action. Jefferson's ideas were downright noble, but the guy governed with an iron fist and expanded federal powers.

    The sports stuff doesn't really apply, because closed luxury economies don't operate like a normal market. Progressive taxes built this nation into what it is, and I defy you to prove that Eisenhower's 92% tax on the highest income bracket hurt the economy.

  7. Well, when were they introduced? And wasn't the 1950s marked with recessions and downturns?

    I have to check on that.

    And at what point do you reckon "making America where it is" took place exactly? I thought it was, say, the 1880s to 1950s period and I'm pretty sure there were no progressive taxes in the first 40 years of that period.

    Again, off the top of my head as I have to go bring my kid to school - late.


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