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Who in history would you like to meet?(38 posts)

Who in history would you like to meet?Tig
Jan 19, 2002 4:22 PM
OK, I can't remember if this question was asked here about 8 months ago or not. It is like the "Who would you ride with" question, but more broad.

At the top of my list would be Mark Twain/Samuel Clemens. After watching the Ken Burns documentary about him on PBS last week, he moved up a few places past Ben Franklin. Twain was an incredible writer and a very caring person. He didn't care if people liked what he had to say as long as he knew it was the truth that needed to be revealed. He still remained the most popular person of his time, and for good reasons. Besides, anyone who said things like, "Suppose you were an idiot and suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself" CAN'T be all that bad!

I'd also like to meet a few relatives, like some past great-great grandfather. Einstein would be a hoot if he wasn't busy and was in a relaxed mood. Christ would be educational, so I could get the real stuff from the source instead of the edited, trickled down distortions found in the bible.
re: Who in history would you like to meet?IAM
Jan 19, 2002 11:47 PM
I have to start out with a disclaimer. THESE TWO ARE NOT PEOPLE THAT I LOOK UP TO OR ADMIRE.

Two that instantly came to mind are Hitler and Stalin. It is so easy for us to sit here now and see the evil but at the time so many people bought into the shit they were saying. It would be interisting to ask what the f*&% were you thinking, although getting into their heads would probably scare the hell out of most people.

For the good guys I would have to go with Martin Luther King or Walter Reuther they both were idealists with the balls to take their message to the people at a time when that wasn't necessarily appreciated by some. ( to say the least)

Last on this list but first in my heart, my Grandfather. From the stories that my Dad told me about him he sounded like a great guy. Unfortunatly he died before I was born, as my Dad did before my kids were born. They'll rely on the stories that I tell to know their Grandfather as I did mine. I hope to break that chain of events and be around for my Grandkids.
Here is a question I thought aboutWoof the dog
Jan 20, 2002 4:31 AM
If you got to meet Adolph Hitler before he came to power...and you had a possibility to savagely kill him, would you do it?

Would be interesting to hear some Answers

God eht foow
Hind sight being 20/20IAM
Jan 20, 2002 12:43 PM
Knowing history as we do I would have to say yes. The thing is, at the time he had such an incredible power and influence over people that they bought what he was saying. I watched a show a while ago and the Nazi American league had a rally in NewYork (pre WWII I believe) and they filled Madison Square Gardens. It just amazes me that so many people bought into what he was saying.

Once again the answer, yes and without remorse!
Here is a question I thought aboutmr_spin
Jan 21, 2002 9:08 AM
Killing Hitler would have had some effect on what came to be, but I'm not sure things would have been completely different. Hitler came to power because he had popular support. The people wanted a strong right wing leader to stand up the strong left. The two choices were Communism and Facism, and there was a real possibility that Communism would win.

But more important, Hitler didn't personally kill 11 million people in the concentration camps. He had a little help, from a lot of people who thought as he did. Maybe the numbers would be different, but Germany was an open wound in the 1920s-1930s. Something bad was going to happen there whether Hitler was around or not.
a slight argumentslow-ron
Jan 21, 2002 9:48 AM
Germany was definetly a country without direction after WWI and the reparations that they had to pay to France & the rest of Europe.

Hitler, however, did not have popular support from the people. After he got out of jail for his first attempt to overthrow the government he initially tried to gain power through the normal election proceedings. He and the Nazi's did make progress with the number of elected officials but Hitler never came close to gaining the popular vote for the Chancellory. After he seized control he may have had support but this was in large part because the Nazi's controlled all the newspapers and radio stations. Propaganda became the rule of the land.

If Hitler hadn't come to power history would have been much different.

Just my $.02
a slight argumentmr_spin
Jan 21, 2002 3:07 PM
Hitler probably had the same popular support that current U.S. President's do. Which is to say, of the people who bothered to vote, he received the greatest percentage. Does that represent true popular support? Maybe, maybe not. It doesn't matter. If you don't show up to vote, you can't complain about the result. Was there coercion? Sure. But there were also a great number of people who simply preferred fascism over communism. That was the choice, and it was deadly serious.

Many history books don't talk about how serious the threat of communism was all over Europe at that time. People were truly scared, which is why fascism became a popular movement, even abroad. In Spain and Italy, of course, but also England, France, and the United States. It even dragged in American icons like Charles Lindbergh and Henry Ford.

That's one reason why Hitler blamed the burning of the Reichstag on the communists. Anything to discredit them.
irony in communismslow-ron
Jan 22, 2002 6:06 AM
I'm no expert on this but to the best of my knowledge Hitler never had the highest percentage of the popular vote. He came close in the last election before he became a dictator but he had to make a deal to get into office. The people never voted him in.

George Bush also came to office without winning the popular vote. Hmm.

It's interesting that the allied forces greatly needed the Red Army to win the war. The communists became allies of the allied forces and the Red Army lost an outrageous number of soldiers. 10 or 20 million? If Hitler hadn't hated the communists so badly and continued the war after conquering most of Europe I wonder how history might have been different.

Lindberg is also a character that I wouldn't mind meeting. He had a very interesting life that has been tarnished by his visits to Germany and accusations of anti-semitism. His biography by Charles Berg is excellent.
recommended readinggtx
Jan 20, 2002 5:42 PM
if you want a good first hand account of what it was like to hang out with some of the sickest high ranking Nazis (and some of the sickest low-ranking Nazis), I recommend reading Kaputt by Curzio Malaparte. The reviews on Amazon are pretty much right on. This book pretty much puts you right there, and it's not a nice place to be.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0810113414
another recommended readingslow-ron
Jan 21, 2002 9:36 AM
I just finished "The Rise & Fall of the Third Reich" by William Shirer. Excellent book with a full perspective on how Hitler came to power and how propaganda was as powerful for the Nazi's as their armed forces. Hitler and his thugs were a political party comprised of drug addicts, murderers, pimps, thieves, tramps and sexual deviates that ended up as the leading political party in Germany. After reading this book these guys make Bin Ladel and Al Quieda look like a bunch of kindergarten kids. I can't remember all the numbers but I think the Nazi's killed something like 5 million Poles and 20 million Russians. Not to mention the millions of additional Jews living in other city/states of Europe. The Nazi's tried to starve entire city populations. Hard to believe this all happened less than 60 yrs. ago.

So yes I'd like to meet Hitler & Himmler & Goebbels & Goering and although it's purely hypothetical for this discussion, I'd love to torture every one of them.

Makes me embarrased to admit that my ancestors were from Germany.
malaparte.colker
Jan 21, 2002 5:13 PM
i readone of his novels called "the skin"(it was translated as that to portuguese). one of the best written things i've ever read. very disturbing.
he is from naples aristocracy isn't he? another italian aristocrat is Lampedusa, a sicilian. i like the gattopardo a lot. i like alberto moravia too.
malaparte.gtx
Jan 21, 2002 8:11 PM
yes, The Skin is more or less a sequel to Kaputt. Also a great book. I read The Leopard by Lampedusa many years ago in Italian. It was a bit of a struggle for me--I should try again in English.
malapartecolker
Jan 22, 2002 3:35 AM
the leopard is a great book.
your comments on heroism and film, a few threads below, were smart. it's so easy to get all emotional and naive about acts of war and very difficult to justify being supicious of them. you are an existentialist.but... do you really like dostoievsky?
malapartegtx
Jan 22, 2002 10:50 AM
well, Dostoyevksy could be a bit of a hack--often writing very quickly to pay off gambling debts. I'm not a huge fan of Crime and Punishment, but love Notes from Underground and The Brothers K. I also consider Notes from Underground, along with Flaubert's Madame Bovary, to be one of the first "modern" novels, and very influential to this day.
n.f.ucolker
Jan 22, 2002 12:55 PM
sometime a go, brad pitt would star in a film version of notes from the underground! try to picture that!
i like turguenyev
marilyn monroe on a party mood pluscolker
Jan 20, 2002 3:49 AM
raymond chandler, william shakespeare, tchecov.. people with sense of humour.can't stand big egos.
a night out with these guys sure would be fun.
a fewDog
Jan 20, 2002 3:31 PM
Moses (after receiving the Commandments), Jesus, Socrates and Plato (all western philosphy is a footnote to Plato), Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, Abe Lincoln, Einstein...

To each, one thing I'd like to do is describe the world as of 2002, and ask them what they would do differently, knowing that. I wonder if they would even want to bother doing what they did.

I have a feeling that Jesus would tell us we got almost everything all wrong; that he never intended that a church based upon his teachings would become a wealthy and dominant world political power; that a church would condemn its members for breaking its rules; that those were the things he was teaching against at the time -- that life is not about following rules, but rather simply loving God and your neighbor; that it got all out of whack, and the most important message has been lost.

Tom and Ben would probably tell us that we messed thing up, too; that the federal government was intended to take care of national defense and only a few designated issues (like coinage), and that all other powers were supposed to be left with the states. I'd like to get Abe involved in that discussion. Ben, I think, would just be cool guy to talk to. Jefferson was incredibly gifted and probably understood basic human nature as much as any human who ever lived, for he designed a government that helps to prevent any one person or small group of people from abusing power, at least too much, and helps to ensure its continuity. He was brilliant.

Einstein died thinking he'd created the means for mankind to nearly extinguish itself ("I don't know what will be used to fight WWIII, but WWIV will be fought with sticks and stones); when in fact the threat of nuclear weapons may be the means to prevent global warfare, as no one would dare start it. I'd like to hear what he thinks, now.

It would be even more interesting to speak to all of them together.

I have no interest in meeting some sicko mass murderer.

Dog
Excellent list! -NMTig
Jan 21, 2002 7:32 AM
a fewmr_spin
Jan 21, 2002 8:57 AM
Moses after receiving the Commandments? Which time?

I would think the second time would be a lot more interesting. You can imagine that God had some choice words to say!
Living in DC gives me a lot of ideas.MB1
Jan 20, 2002 5:01 PM
Still I think Hiram Bingham would be the first.

Teddy Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson and almost anyone buried in the congressional cemetary. JFK, FDR, US Grant, RE & Light Horse Harry Lee, Clare Barton, Cleopatra, Bess Truman (said to be a hoot). Anyone that worked on the C&O canal. Sitting Bull.

And all them religous guys-it would be interesting to hear what they think of the results of their ideals.

I could really go on.....
relatives and writersgtx
Jan 20, 2002 5:22 PM
Mostly I'd want to meet relatives, but I would be interested in some of the more crackpot or colorful writers, or the major geniuses. Emily Dickenson, Dostoeyevsky, Celine, Dante, Isaac Babel, Fitzgerald and his nutty wife Zelda, of course Hemingway, just to name a few...
Fitzgerald & Hemingwayjs5280
Jan 21, 2002 10:12 AM
Fitzgerald was a strange bird. I don't know much about him except what I've read in Hemingway's "A Moveable Feast" which chronicles his (Ernest) life in Paris around the 20's. Lots of interesting historical figures in the book, it was fun read.
Fitzgerald & Hemingwaygtx
Jan 21, 2002 11:26 AM
A Moveable Feast is a great read, but it's somewhat meanspirited--written by Hem in his later years, and I think half the stuff in there he made up (there are some great quotes about cycling in there, too). I recently read this book which chronicles the relationship and correspondence between Hem and Fitz. Fitz suggested many changes to The Sun Also Rises which Hem incorporated, and Hem also influenced Fitzgerald quite a bit. It was a pretty interesting relationship.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0897230531
why would you want to meet 2 career drunks? (nm)Vladamir Nabokov
Jan 22, 2002 1:54 PM
more fun than butterfly collectors! nmgtx
Jan 22, 2002 5:02 PM
good ?Birddog
Jan 20, 2002 9:32 PM
Leonardo da Vinci, Rabelais, Sam Clemons, Will Rogers, Gaudi sp (Spanish architect),Claude Monet, Louis Armstrong, Bob Wills, and Joseph Campbell. Oooops, no women, better add Dolly Madison or maybe Molly Brown.

First we'd do a metric century, and then we'd settle down for some really good barbeque and several pitchers of beer. Later we'd finish the evening with some single malt or cognac and cuban cigars as we settled into some buttery leather club chairs. My number 1 question would be to Leonardo, "why didn't you follow up on that preliminary bicycle design?" My oh my how history might have been affected if he had.
Interesting listTig
Jan 21, 2002 7:31 AM
You must have visited the cathedral in Spain that Gaudi started building to know of him. I wonder if it will ever be completed. I haven't been there in so long, I forgot what city it was in.

A nice collection of artists, but to meet such an incredible man like Joseph Campbell would be hard to top. Molly Brown would be a blast!
Yes, it's in Barcelona, The Sagrada Familia I believe.Birddog
Jan 21, 2002 10:32 AM
Actually I liked Park Guell by Gaudi the most, and his apartment is neat too. I forgot to put in Dali on my list, I was wavering between Picasso and him, but thought Dali would be more fun. I'd like to think that most of the people I selected wouldn't mind indulging in a few adult beverages and lightening up a bit. I am in total awe of Campbell, he was a great mind with a great perspective. I think he could find balance in anything. He is worthy of a thread just about him.
Joan of Ark, Cleopatra, Monica Lewenski, Jim Morrison(sober)spookyload
Jan 20, 2002 11:18 PM
Joan to see if she really was a nut ball, Cleopatra to figure out why men died for her,Jim because I want to know if it was the drugs that made him a freak , and Monica Lewenski because I haven't had a good hummer in a while. Add Genghis Kahn to the list too. I think he just got lucky with the whole Roman thing, and I think he would be man enough to tell the truth.
Hmmmmr_spin
Jan 21, 2002 8:22 AM
It's hard to think of a whole lot of people I would want to meet. Given that history tends to remember only the highlights of a person's life, I wonder how interesting it really would be to meet some characters.

Here is my list.

My grandfather - My dad's dad was a horn player and band leader in Chicago in the 1920s, and was running Broadway road companies into the 1960s. The stories he could tell about that era must be amazing. Too bad he died when I was four.

Pete Conrad - Of the 12 men who walked on the moon, he was the third, and by far the most interesting character. A good 'ole boy who liked to have a good 'ole time, but was one of the best aviators. Terry Bradshaw looks and acts a lot like Pete Conrad. Died in a motorcycle accident in 1999.

John Lennon - The guy had so much creativity, it drove him mad. Or maybe it was the other way around. Either way, I'd love to grab a guitar and just hang out with him. Actually, any of the Beatles.

Carole Lombard - One of the few actresses who could be sexy and funny at the same time. She was that way in real life, too. Plus smart, charming and athletic. A tomboy, she could hang with the guys and curse like a sailor! What more could a guy want?

Audrey Hepburn - I fell in love with her when I saw Roman Holiday. Has anyone seen this movie who hasn't? In real life it's said she was incredibly charming.
Audrey HepburnI Love Shimano
Jan 21, 2002 6:35 PM
Is absolutely the prettiest face in the universe. Roman Holiday is my all time favorite movie of hers. Sabrina was very good too. Too bad she wasn't from my era. I would really like to meet her if I could.

Other people I'd like to meet are my ancestors, a lot of them lived during the time of the Spanish occupation here in the Philippines(16-1800s).
Audrey Hepburnmr_spin
Jan 22, 2002 8:31 AM
Her performance in Roman Holiday is absolutely the most magical and charming I have ever seen, and I've seen thousands of movies from all eras. I wanted so bad to be Gregory Peck. Hell, I would settle for being Eddie Albert. I've lost count of how many times I've seen that movie. The ending is always so sad. No way Hollywood would let it end that way today.
Osama Bin Laden, Adolf HitlerTCC
Jan 21, 2002 8:51 AM
Just what were these guys thinking???
How about the Orville and Wilbur Wright?js5280
Jan 21, 2002 10:01 AM
I mean they were cyclists besides creating the first successful powered flying machine. In that vein of famous inventors, Leonardo DiVinci and Thomas Edison. Hmmm, Amelia Earhart and Susan B. Anthony would be interesting women to talk with. In the old folks category; Socrates, Aristotle, and King Tutankhamen. As far as artists; Bob Marley, Van Gogh, Michelangelo, Beethoven, and Charlie Parker.

Great writers and thinkers; Samuel Clemens as well, he's great. George Orwell, Thomas Jefferson, Machiavelli, John Locke, Thomas Hobbes, and Hemingway. My Poli Sci background shining though there. Talking to my distanct relatives who first came to America to find out why and what their opinions were of living in America. Walt Disney would be cool. Martin Luther King (fitting) and Frederick Douglass would be my leading African-Americans choices. Better throw Jesus, Buddha, and Mohammed in there w/ {insert your deity here} sitting in to get the religion thing straightened out. Sharing a beer w/ Homer Simpson at Moe's! That would be a blast! In the esoteric category, my/self/selves if we are reincarnated. The list is endless. . .
Interesting thought........Len J
Jan 21, 2002 11:33 AM
about sitting and talking to yourself as you were in a prior life (assuming reincarnation).

I never thought about this before, but it would be interesting to see what lessions I still haven't learned :-).

Len
Have to agree with you about Mark Twain ...tarwheel
Jan 21, 2002 12:16 PM
Not only was he a genius, but apparently a very funny and entertaining person as well. I have always admired Twain, and Huck Finn is one of my all-time favorite books. The PBS special was really excellent. I watched the first night and taped the second to watch later. Have you ever read Life on the Mississippi? It's an autobiographical account of his days as a river boat pilot and one of my favorite Twain writings.

My other "heroes" I would like to meet are Charles Darwin and Vincent Van Gogh. Darwin because he literally changed the way we looked at the world, and made sense of so many things. The Voyage of the Beagle is a great first-person account of how he came to develop the theory of evolution. Van Gogh was incredible because he never sold a painting (or maybe one) and yet kept working at his art because he loved it. Now his paintings are probably the most valuable in the world -- not that that matters. If you look at his early artwork, he didn't show a lot of promise. But he kept plugging away at, because he loved painting so much, and eventually developed into one of the greatest artists the world has ever known. If you've never seen any of his paintings in person, it's hard to describe -- the colors and texture are so intense, it's like they're alive.
montaigne, st. francis of azzizi, spinoza..colker
Jan 21, 2002 5:16 PM
george sand, mozart, epicuro.
Jesus Christ, Martin Luther, Newton, Einstein, Buddha, MohammedMcAndrus
Jan 30, 2002 12:59 PM
And most of all, I would dearly love to have my dad back for just one day.