02 June 2005

Who's your Greatest American?

Up here, we just finished a show that really took the country over, called "Greatest Canadian," a show that has now been copied for the American television market that will ask the same question there (or, "here" to you guys).
Apparently, the top 100 nominees are officially out (update: but NOT visible on this "official" link-- sorry, the stupid (natch) AOL site doesn't work), so no nominating your favourite grandmother, postman, or escort girl. But there's a press release on it, at least. Scroll to the bottom, and the list is there.

SILVER SPRING, Md., April 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Who will be the Greatest American? Political giant Abraham Lincoln or Bill Clinton? Sports legend Babe Ruth or Tiger Woods? Media mogul Oprah Winfrey or Walt Disney? These remarkable people, and many more, have been named by America as some of the top 100 Greatest Americans.

By the way, in November 2004, Canadians voted Tommy Douglas the Greatest Canadian of all time following a nationwide contest. Read his profile and check out the list below of the top 10 greatest Canadians. Two guys involved in hockey, three prime ministers, one courageous, one-legged kid who tried to jog across Canada (and who's on one of our "Loonie" dollar coins), and one of the world's premiere environmentalists (number 5). See why Canadians live up here in the attic and watch, aloofly, as our American neighbours dicker over the world's most expensive healthcare and gay marriage?

Top 10 Greatest Canadians, in order of votes received:

1 Tommy Douglas / 2 Terry Fox / 3 Pierre Elliott Trudeau / 4 Sir Frederick Banting / 5 David Suzuki / 6 Lester B. Pearson / 7 Don Cherry / 8 Sir John A. Macdonald / 9 Alexander Graham Bell / 10 Wayne Gretzky

Some top Americans from the list include Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, George Washington AND George Bush (the mind reels), Howard Hughes, Hugh Hefner, Michael Jackson (whaaaaa?), and, just when you suspect the list was drawn up by Condoleeza Rice (who's also on the list), it's got Michael Moore on it, as well. And, in an amazing feat of the first post-birth siamese twins, the Wright Brothers are nominated together. Wow.

It's going to make for some interesting TV. I hope the MJ trial is over before they get to his profile. See, at least in the Canadian version, the format was that one Canadian clebrity (we had to really search to find some of them not living in the US) would choose their pick and spend the entire episode "selling" the person to the Canadian public. Worked, in some cases, and flopped, I thought, in others.

As for the greatest American, I intend to be out doing other things (like camping in the mountains this summer) instead of watching it, but, I'll check out the website and pretend I did.


Blogger Rev. Syung Myung Me said...

I never caught any of the episodes, but I remember seeing a lot of promos for The Greatest Canadian. It seemed pretty neat.

...that said, I'm thinking the US version probably won't so much be. Looking at the list, there's a _lot_ of head-scratchers. Rush Limbaugh? Dr. Phil? Sam Walton?

(And a handful of folks I wouldn't necessarily expected to see listed as American, like Einstein or Tesla, even though they moved here later. Not that they're not good contenders; those are two folks on the list I think are actually worthy, heh...)

But what about, say, Richard Feynman? I'd say he's a Greater American than about half the list. And, well, I don't get the inclusion of so many celebrities. Yeah, Oprah's been on TV for like, 20 years, and she just gave away a bunch of cards, sure, but, um, don't you think that kind of pales in comparison to, say, Abe Lincoln or Thomas Jefferson?

...and what the hell's Nixon doing on the list?

11:17 AM, June 02, 2005  
Blogger Lee H. said...

I agree, man... WAY too many celebrities. So, Brett Favre is a "Greater American" (whatever that means) than Hank Williams, or Ted Turner, or Buckminster Fuller, or Frank Lloyd Wright, or Sally Ride, or... agh! I can tell I won't be watching any of this.

1:47 PM, June 02, 2005  
Blogger Lee H. said...

As if American pop culture wasn't derivative enough (having copied Survivor from Europe, etc.)

That's all American TV- pop culture is a lot broader than that. ;)

1:54 PM, June 02, 2005  

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