Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Unremembered Dead

Anthony Esolen of Touchstone discusses the ten most famous Americans. In the eyes of many young people, certain great historical figures no longer seem to matter.
People in the old days wrote in funny long boring sentences, so none of them make the list: no Emerson or Thoreau or Hawthorne or Irving. Herman Melville may have written the greatest of all novels, if you can call Moby-Dick a novel and not a prose poem of many hundreds of pages; but Melville does not make the list. Emily Dickinson may be the greatest woman poet ever; too bad for Emily Dickinson. Walt Whitman, for the worse I think, revolutionized modern poetry and has been regarded as the quintessential poet of democracy. Too bad for Walt; he is forgotten. In fact, no men of letters make the list: no Faulkner, Hemingway, O'Neill, Frost, not even the boilerplate-writing Harriet Beecher Stowe. Religion is boring and reminds us of our duties to those who have come before us, so no religious figure makes the list: no Jonathan Edwards, the greatest theological mind America has produced, no Billy Graham, no Fulton Sheen.


Brantigny said...

The problem is simply this, There are many fine people who need to be remebered. Each person will have his own 10. my personal favorites are,
. Christopher Columbus
. Captain John Smith
. John Rolfe
. Virgina Dare
. Powhatan
. Sir William Johnson
. Isaac Jogues
. Ponce de Leon
. George Washington
. Jonas Salk
. Thomas Edison

I offer on historical figures but I also could give 10 favorite comedians, sports figures, (actually I couldnt 'cause I am not a sports fan.) Politians, authors, etc.


Anonymous said...

Notice the over-representation of "black studies" and so-called "women's studies" personages. How else can we explain Marilyn Monroe and Oprah Winfrey making the list of "greatest Americans"?

This list is a perfect illustration of how morally bankrupt our society has become, and a perfect reflection of how well the propaganda machine works on our youth.

Lord help our nation.

(whose daughter's name "Mimi" is stuck in her blogger account...long story!)