Sunday, February 6, 2011

Sunday Question for Everyone

Oh, why not: following up on the questions earlier today and several interesting comments: suppose that coins and currency are opened up to people outside the current group, which is limited to what the treasury, for currency, calls "famous deceased American statesmen." Hmmm....let's say that they were to open up three slots for great Americans whose achievements are in culture, science, business, medicine..whatever, it's open. Who would you select? Twain? Babe Ruth? Louis Armstrong? Neil Armstrong?


  1. Barnum, Melville, Twain, Morse, Edison, Louis Armstrong, Carrie Nation, Whistler, Wegee, WPA Artists (I'd defend Diego Rivera and Georgia O'Keefe), Steinbeck, Langston Hughes, Saul Bellow, Toni Morrison (only posthumously), William Manchester/Norman Mailer. Walter Reuther, Norma Rae, Presley and Dylan. Who am I missing?

  2. Neil Armstrong.
    Mark Twain.
    Albert Einstein.
    Jonas Salk.

    Sadly, we'd have to consider a bunch of folks who made impacts who are, shall we say, not such good people. Henry Ford. William Randolph Hearst. Andrew Carnegie. JD Rockefeller. The list could go on.

  3. No Henry Ford. I think I'd be willing to settle for Carnegie as the acceptable industrialist/philanthropist. The Rockefellers, still being a going concern and a political one, can suck eggs before getting on currency.

    What is the acceptable ratio of monstrosity to awesome in order to get on currency? I'm firmly against adding slaveowners and human rights violators, so that lops off a lot of antebellum US leadership and everyone who fought in the Indian Wars (ish) but that seems a bit excessive, as I'd also nominate all the first-tier folks from the Manhattan Project and a couple NASA scientists. That's a rather ghoulish bunch.

    (putting Nazis on your currency is BAD)

  4. I'll throw out a few more that haven't been mentioned:

    Nikola Tesla
    Walt Disney
    Bill Gates
    Amelia Earhart
    Alfred Hitchcock
    Ernest Hemingway
    William Faulkner
    Tennessee Williams

  5. Disney was a creepy racist goober, with pseudo-fascist pretensions, so, no. Bill Gates has to wait til he's been dead for 50-100 years.

    Hemingway was a lout and a drunk, so, I feel like we should go for someone else entirely from that period. Dos Passos? Theodore Dreiser? Saul Bellow?

    If we're gonna add Faulkner, Bankhead, Flannery O'Connor, or Gertrude Stein-Alice Tonklas are all probably worth mixing in. God, we're going to end up with Rock Hudson singles...

  6. Harvey Milk
    Fred Korematsu
    Emmet Till
    The Lovings
    Elijah Lovejoy
    Anthony Benezet
    Fannie Lou Hamer
    Standing Bear

  7. Easy. Norman Borlaug.

  8. @Bill: if you want a white abolitionist (to join Tubman/Douglass and not replace them I hope), my vote goes to Henry Ward Beecher, who ran "the Grand Central Terminal of the Underground Railroad," or Charles Sumner on martyr points.


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