July 02, 2005

Other: Great(est) Stuff!

Several countries have had a little popularity contest asking who people thought was the greatest representative of their nations. Now, I have two people I consider personal heroes in my life: Terry Fox and Tommy Douglas. So I can't say I am unbiased in my attitude towards who ended up on top of the listing in Canada.

But with the United States just finishing their own similar show, I thought I'd take a look at those nations who have elected a "top ten", and perhaps mention someone who may get consideration from the rest of the world:

Tommy Douglas, a politician who never became the national leader but is quite possibly responsible for improving the lives of more Canadians than any other person. Canada chose 3 Prime Ministers, 3 scientists, 1 celebrity, 2 activists and one athelete for their top ten.

Fredrick Banting would probably get the most attention internationally, though Lester Pearson is a strong arguement.

Great Britian:
Sir Winston Churchill, the WWII wartime Prime Minister. Great Britian had a lot of history to chose from, and ended up with an engineer, 2 scientists, 2 celebrities, 1 war hero, 3 national leaders and one writer.

Internationally? Oh good lord; who to choose? I'll go with Sir Issac Newton, but it's close.

United States:
Ronald Regan was chosen the first of several Presidents. The U.S. went with no fewer than 6 Presidents, as well as 2 celebrities, 1 scientist, and one philosopher/activist.

Bill Clinton would be most likely to draw votes from around the world.

Konrad Adenauer, who was West Germanys first Chancellor, won. Germany's another nation with a deep and well-documented past, so there was a lot of variety here: 3 Chancellors, 1 scientist, 1 writer, 1 composer, 2 philosophers, a brother and sister who publicly and peacefully resisted the Nazis, and an inventor made the list.

My vote (and those of every other geek) would go to Johannes Gutenberg.

India decided to keep Mahatma Ghandi out of the running, so Mother Teresa took the crown. Interestingly, two businessmen were in the Indian Top Ten, along with 3 Prime Ministers, 3 other politicians, one activist and one athelete.

Around the world, Ghandi would take this one. Well, unless the Catholics vote en masse.


C.G.E. Mannerheim, the post-WWII President was the top man. Three other Presidents were named, 2 authors, 1 composer, a doctor, a philosopher and a war hero. Like India and the United States, the current national leader made the list.

Composer Jean Sibelius could be their most recognizable figure.

Czech Republic:
The oldest number one, Emperor Charles IV founded the Czech state, and the Czechs like their political "firsts": the #2 guy, Tomas Garrigue Masaryk, was the first President of Czechoslovakia, while #3 was Vaclav Havel, their first non-Communist President. There were also two philosophers, a composer, two writers (including a grandaddy of S-F, Karel Capek), one celebrity and a war hero.

Any educated leader in the so-called Dark Ages has my respect; I agree with the Czechs.

Pim Fortuyn won in one of the more contreversial of these shows: he was a nationalist leader who had strong views against Muslim immigration, and was assassinated in 2002. There were two national leaders, 1 other politician, 1 war hero, 1 scientist, 1 philosopher, 1 athelete, 2 painters, and Anne Frank, who officially died a "stateless citizen".

Anne's tragic and all, but Rembrandt moves my soul.

No surprise here; Charles de Gaulle emerged the winner. *sigh* This, from a country that produced Decartes and Moliere and Sartre. What, too much of a good thing? Well, why not: the U.S. only have one lousy scientist in their top ten... Bitterness aside: there were 2 writers, 2 scientists, an explorer, 3 celebrities and one activist accompanying M. de Gaulle on the list.

Again, lots of choices here. I'm going to bet on literacy and say Victor Hugo.

Interesting to compare, don't you think? What was the tenor of the times when each vote was held, and what does that say about those countries?


posted by Thursday at 5:42 pm


Post a Comment

<< Home