On May 14, Bro Jackson began, in the same mold as our previous pop culture fantasy drafts (Best Song Ever, Bro Knows Film, Bro Knows TV), a fantasy draft of historical figures. It didn’t finish for a month. A MONTH. Two things dragged us down.
1. Someone broke the draft–fourth-round-kicker-style–by choosing Johnny Manziel in the third round and the commissioner let it stand, at which point, we all stopped caring.
2. There was a requirement that we choose four women, which was met by much derision, many misogynist one-liners and some really heroic stoicism from the two ladies drafting.
Considering the draft was broken and that we ran out of women, our Post-Manziel picks were still (almost) all on point. When the final pick was revealed (Kanye West), we were all relieved to have it over with. And now, a month later, it’s time to share the results, listed here in draft order, along with the drafters’ comments.
While J. Christ is clearly the right pick to go 1.01 in a fantasy draft of historical figures (he’s a five-tool guy: longevity, enduring legacy, mega-widespread influence, best-selling book, miracles, and using his powers for good and not evil), it was the less obvious choices that were the more fun to noodle. Upon looking over my list, the lesser choices fall into a couple of buckets.
Sea Changers: Truman, Sanger, Robinson, Thatcher. These four inspired dramatic, profound paradigm shifts, true sea changes that transformed everything in their chosen geographic or demographic area, which for the historically underrated Truman spanned the entire globe and touched every person who watched the news.
Would make an amazing Netflix series or Lifetime movie: Peron, Jones, Angelou, Nero, Ford. You might think that Gerald Ford might not belong on this list, but you’d be wrong. In his fascinating book “Shadow: Five Presidents and the Legacy of Watergate,” Bob Woodward goes into some really juicy detail about how Gerald Ford never wanted to be POTUS, and that he certainly didn’t want to be POTUS during the paradoxically tumultuous and delicate time when he was. Every day for Ford was full of pain and dread, and he was just counting the hours until he could pass the torch. NETFLIX, GET ON THIS.
And then there’s Neil Degrasse Tyson: This pick was a stretch, I admit it. But I strongly believe Tyson has the chance to un-derail the curve of American cultural degeneration with his in-your-face mainstream appeal. People used to want to be Americans because America was the place to get the best education in the world (no more), create the best industrial innovation (no more, with the exception of Silicon Valley), and have the highest-quality of life (the division between our haves and have nots is so STARK now as to render this one way less appealing). Now America leads the world in categories like boy bands and murder but we have very little to show in the way of truly innovative science or engineering (Silicon Valley excepted again). Tyson makes those areas accessible again and has captured the imagination of a new generation. Good on him, and I hope he proves my choice right. America needs me to be right.
Editor’s Notes in the absence of Deion Moskal’s draft comment: Moskal’s picks are clearly direct reactions to Kat Gotsick’s picks. Kat chooses the Christian icon? Moskal chooses the Muslim counter. Kat chooses Truman, the guy who destroyed a nation (Japan)? Moskal chooses Eisenhower, the guy who built a nation (see Interstate System, American). Kat chooses the Iron Lady, Margaret Thatcher? Moskal chooses the Steely Bavarian Babe, Angela Merkel. Kat chooses iconic VP Gerald Ford, Moskal chooses Agnew, the man Ford replaced after he was run out of town in shame. Jonas Salk is probably a better choice in science than Neil Degrasse Tyson though. So there’s that.
I attempted to start my team (Team Name: HERstory Draft) with the definitive power pick: Eve, mother of all. After being denied this choice after lengthy debate about the draft’s line on the provable existence of religious figures, I knew I had to salvage my team with the big names. And I did: I started out with women who defined eras through their leadership, whether they were directly leading the country or running it behind the scenes. (I challenge anyone to argue that Eleanor Roosevelt or Abigail Adams were not as influential to the office of President than if they had held the post themselves.) I filled out the middle with the workers, women who were actually getting out there and doing little things like, oh, inventing the field of modern nursing and leading thousands out of slavery and into safety and freedom and winning Nobel Prizes for discovering artificial radiation. Mary Baker Eddy turned the power of positive thinking into a religious movement, but she also started a newspaper, The Christian Science Monitor, that has won seven Pulitzers. NO BIG. You round it out with the woman who controlled the Qing dynasty for almost 50 years and the woman who started out by exposing the treatment of Playboy bunnies and went on to speak out and define an entire movement – that’s a powerhouse team. These aren’t just women who did enormously notable things throughout history, these are people who did enormously notable things through all points of history, without regard to gender (well, I mean, except for Gloria Steinem, but still.) And perhaps their contributions are even more remarkable because they did it all despite being considered the “fairer sex.”
I’m in the drop like JFK / They trynna push my top back like JFK
So I J.F.K. — Joined Forces with the Kings — and we ate all day.
— The Prophet Rick Ross
Hitler is a power hitter you just cant ignore at No. 4 overall. John F. Kennedy was basically Ernest Hemingway as a young man and then became the first Catholic in the White House. Queen Victoria watched the throne for 63 years, the longest tenure for a British Monarch, during an wild wave of peace and prosperity. John Lennon was at the heart of the greatest band of all time, was assassinated for it. LBJ is underrated: Civil Rights Act, Great Society, bringing electricity to Johnson City, Texas on the low. Miguel Hidalgo is the revolutionary father of Mexico. Ann Lee gave us Shakers. Barbara McClintock runs the cytogenetics jewels and is a Nobel Peace winner. Tupac wrote Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory. Boudicca led an uprising against the Roman Empire–her forces killed like 80,000 Romans, and drove them out of modern day London. Johnny Football was a maybe a reach, but you gotta understand way back in May we thought he was Drew Brees with crazy legs and not the backup quarterback of the Cleveland Browns.
The best way to appreciate my team is by imagining them as guests at a fabulous dinner party. I’m talking about one of those giant Oprah Legend’s parties with overstuffed gift bags. You walk in and there’s Abe Lincoln wearing the same ladies shawl Daniel Day Lewis sported. Lincoln is holding court with Ronald Reagan and Winston Churchill. They are discussing the good old days of the GOP, and the benefits of log cabins. The only awkward part is when Reagan tries to explain the concept of jellybeans to Honest Abe. Across the room Steve Jobs is complaining to Leonardo Da Vinci that his work lacked a cohesive vision. Da Vinci grabs a napkin and draws a gorgeous portrait of Jobs to show the beauty of art. Jobs rips an iPhone out of his pocket and waves it in response to Da Vinci’s work. Everyone at the party is of course rolling their eyes at Mobutu Sese Seko, who has told the same “Rumble in the Jungle” stories to anyone who will listen. Seko is on his third Cosmopolitan and his leopard hat is wet after falling into the toilet. It’s a very tough room. Tammy Faye Baker leaves the party in tears when Charles Darwin begins to point out that her eye shadow is proof of evolution. Darwin then tries to talk with Hillary Clinton, but she’s surrounded by Secret Service protection, and deep in thought on her Blackberry. To top it all off, Golda Meir and Dr. Sally Ride bring the house down with a 2 a.m. karaoke performance of “I Got You, Babe”. It’s that type of party. I’m sure that other teams have some big name people, but no one matches me in overall “House Party 3” levels of awesomeness. Come for the chance to meet the greatest collection of people in history, and stay for the chance of doing a body shot off of Golda Meir’s boob.
Napoleon is about as sure-fire of a history pick as you can get. For reference, see “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.” Isaac Newton and Mark Twain are heavy hitters who I’d put head-to-head with anyone from their respective classes. From there, things get skewed, largely because of the arbitrary female requirement (that’s how you end up Wikipedia-ing “women presidents” and select a Liberian woman). I reached for Sacagawea, but am proud of the diversity she brings to the squad along with Texas lawmaker Barbara Jordan. And with the Cesar Chavez pick I achieved a personal goal of owning two figures who are immortalized in statues on the University of Texas campus. Question Diamond Joe Biden’s worthiness? You can leave the goddamn country.
I will be completely honest with you, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who has peeled back the curtain in this regard. I lost interest in this draft after the fourth round. I had a big board, with tiers and everything; there was a strategy in place. And then there was a nine-day lull in between picks. A NINE-DAY LULL. Do you know what happened nine days ago?
That’s right. NEITHER DO I BECAUSE I DON’T LIVE IN THE PAST.
I think it’s clear that my team is full of people who shaped history. Do you like Big Macs? How about just having an affinity for terrible food served quickly? Because without Ray Kroc, that shit doesn’t exist. Enjoy being Jewish (granted, that’s a nice question)? How’s the Father of The Jews, Moses sound? Where are you reading this article? Is it on the Internet? Think that exists without Al Gore? HE INVENTED THE INTERNET.
Or let’s talk about George Washington. Chopped down a cherry tree, just won an epic rap battle with William Wallace, crossed the Delaware, had both the capital of our country and the first state to legalize marijuana named after him. Maybe you really enjoyed cheering for our country in the World Cup? Do you remember cheering wildly for the country that George Washington was elected the first leader of? Do you remember chanting “USA” at the top of your lungs as we headed our way past Ghana and lostwon to Germany courtesy of Cristiano Ronaldo? That doesn’t happen without the leader of my team and the father of our country, but you probably don’t remember. Because you don’t live in the past either.
I would argue that almost all of the important things that have ever happened are probably inventions. I can’t rate political actions as important because almost all of them, even things which seem rare like genocide, have happened before and will happen again. History is circular in that regard.
Yet inventions actually do seem to propel us forward and make it so that the thing that we’re experiencing is unlike anything that humans have experienced in history. When the printing press was invented it led to education on a scale that hadn’t been seen before. When the atom bomb was invented it created a new threat to civilization that hadn’t existed. These developments are totally separate and exist on their own in a way that political actions can’t.
This is an argument that hope and change (and other marketing slogans) do not exist. Or rather, that they only exist because their opposites also exist in the human spirit. Any progress made by the Ghandis of the world will be undone by the Hitlers, and vice versa.
But inventions are changes that we can really believe in. This is a long-winded way of saying that perhaps Al Gore should have gone at 1.01.
Editor’s Notes in the absence of Patrick’s draft comment: Patrick’s middle round picks were good enough to make us all raise our eyebrows, check Wikipedia and then berate ourselves through gritted teeth. I mean, what the hell is Mitochondrial Eve? This is Mitochondrial Eve. And his fifth-round pick, Nintendo pioneer Shigeru Miyamoto, was particularly well met by this nerd herd. And somehow his sixth-round pick, father of the modern Green movement Norman Borlaug managed to make all his smartest picks even smarter, hipper, and more relevant. Well played, Patrick Caldwell. Well played.
First off, I had issue with the rules. The requirement for women was fine but we could’ve cut that in half and stipulate we draft at least a couple of people of color. That not only made it easier to pick deserving women, but added additional layers of diversity. But I digress. My team rocks and made our mascot, Mr. Peabody, proud.
Teddy Roosevelt’s the greatest U.S. President for my money. How many people can claim being a politician, soldier, cowboy, writer, naturalist and police commissioner? How many can claim doing them all very well? Yeah didn’t think so. Being President was the icing on his life as one of the most well-rounded Americans we’ve seen.
Charles Dickens is the greatest writer post-Shakespeare. Social commentary, child heroes, Christmas fables, the reason most of us have a soft spot for Victorian London. That’s all him. And he got paid by the word which makes him an even bigger G-worthy of his stature.[ref]Sorry Evan, that’s a myth–check http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Was_Charles_Dickens_paid_by_the_word[/ref] Vladimir Lenin is the most influential leader post World War I. Thank him for modern Communism and the Soviet Union, which indirectly means thank him for the Cold War and every shady U.S. military coup since WWII out of fear of it. Cleopatra’s simply the most famous queen ever and The Jewel of the Nile trumps almost anybody you want to compare her against. And that’s just my FIRST four, y’all.
Pope John Paul II, the greatest modern pope. Rosalind Franklin, the mother of discovering DNA who died before getting her proper due. You love CSI? You owe Franklin some thanks for her role in figuring out the double helix. Malcolm X, a man who needs no intro for how he inspired millions in America and the world to see their self-worth. And finally, I had to begrudgingly take one of the world’s worst dictators in Chile’s Augusto Pinochet, the man behind another famous 9/11 in world history.
We also have two women were ahead of their time and used their voices to inspire future greatness – Mary Wollstonecraft and her famous treatise spoke of feminism long before Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton started plotting for voting rights. She also gets points being the mother of early-round pick Mary Shelley. Phillis Wheatley’s the first Black female poet in American history, which makes her my Big Five domino because she paved the way for future American writers and writers of color to share their stories long before the British Romantics inspired Ralph Emerson and his New England poets.
Throw in Vice-President Henry Wallace, a progressive liberal under FDR who supported the New Deal, labor unions and ending segregation, and you not only have a juggernaut, but a well-rounded one from different eras with far-reaching influences.
Let’s face it. Some folks have bigger names. Some people I would’ve wished to have on my team. But ain’t nobody messing with my clique in terms of impacting the world to this day.
If this draft were judged by the spoken or written word, after the first three rounds I would’ve been declared the champion of history. Have you ever listened to King’s “I Have a Dream” speech and not want to run into the street and start a revolution? It’s the sort of flowing and beautiful language that Shakespeare coined, but with the philosophical chutzpah of a Nietzschean epode. I’d take my first three picks over any others in this drafts. After this the strategy became grabbing the best women in fields I needed to cover. Carson is an underrated pick, a woman before her time at the forefront of environmental issues. Pol Pot is probably the despot-steal of the draft, but maybe I’m viewing the world through rouge-colored glasses. I kept with the poetical theme by grabbing Ali, one of my favorite orators ever. As for presidents and vice presidents, they are pretty much the kickers and defenses of this draft—they’re all essentially the same. Looking this over, I’m proud of my squad. I just hope Pol Pot doesn’t massacre the lot of them before we get a chance to compete.
I know this is supposed to be about MY team but I’m going to start by pointing out the major flaw in Kat’s first pick. I mean… JESUS CHRIST KAT… Jay-Cee is classic top pick bust potential. His stock has peaked, he’s got nowhere to go but down pal. You’ll end up wishing you selected Ryan Leaf when you see the tirade Jesus Christ is going to launch at those reporters after your first loss.
My first pick on the other hand? Genius. Hailed by Fantasy Douche as the “highest VORP” historical figure, Marie Curie is a landmark woman in a draft full of reaches based on a gender requirement. One of the few in a history that has been unkind to her sex, her accomplishments stood out in a man’s world.
If you think I couldn’t possibly find value like that moving forward, you are fucking wrong pal. I swung a deal with all my unconscious fellow drafters in the early part of the second round.
They: don’t take good people
I: take FDR and Rosa Parks back to back
Both those studs were huge parts of social changes to what many have still fooled themselves into believing is the very best country in the world. I did that, yeah. Oh and it’s worth noting that Rosa Parks is another slam dunk lady. Think Lisa Leslie, but with more historical significance.
If Kat gets any praise for scooping up Jesus Christ at the first spot, I’d like some kudos for nabbing Constantine fifty-seven picks later. It could be argued that his swapping of Roman religions is the only damn reason Jay-Cee is arguably a worthy number one pick. (Side note: did you notice the backhanded slap at Kat’s pick again?)
I followed up my stellar first half with the man who started World War I, one of the founders of the Universal Negro Improvement Association who is also seen by many as a prophet in the Rastafari movement, the single most important figure in the study of primates who ALSO happens to be a woman, a man who managed to start a new religion in a time when printing presses existed, and George Bush’s dad.
It’s also worth noting that 148 picks after Jesus went off the board, I snagged the most influential cartoonist in history. Walt Disney started an empire that has influenced the world’s children for decades, and will almost surely do so for many more.
If this draft were a Baskin Robbin’s shop, I walked in and grabbed a scoop of every damn flavor they had. Except the vanilla, I left that for the other drafters.
Being the new guy, I felt a lot of pressure to prove myself. To show that I could hang with this group of smart, culturally aware commentators. That I belonged. Then Johnny Manziel got picked, and all my worries disappeared.
The draft was already three picks in by the time I joined in, so there wasn’t really time to plot out a grand strategy. Mainly, I took to heart something Kat said when she welcomed me to the party: diversity is welcome. So I led off with Africa’s greatest leader (Nelson Mandela), moved on to a legendary Chinese philosopher (Confucius), and then brought in the woman who turned Russia into a great power (Catherine the Great). Go global–big part of my approach.
My most important pick–that pick in any draft that you want so badly that you don’t care if you could get it in a later round because if someone else gets it first you’ll be a miserable wretch–was The Wright Brothers. I love these guys. They invented flight by themselves in the back of a bicycle shop, and utterly changed the world in every which way. Which I guess says a lot about the other major element of my draft strategy: science! Wilbur & Orville are joined by Lise Meitner discovering nuclear fission, Louis Pasteur conquering disease, and Hypatia confronting sexism, anti-intellectualism, and religious extremism simultaneously. Political achievements can be undone by a determined opposition, and conquerors are forgotten, their borders erased over time. But science and invention change the world irrevocably.
(On that note, Norman Borlaug wins the coveted award for Best Selection I Wish Had Been on My Board. As soon as I saw Patrick’s pick, this was my complete and entire thought process: “Well, damn.”)
I also benefitted from some late-round bargains. It was truly lucky to see Andrew Jackson still sitting on the board in Round 10, when I could have been stuck trying to talk myself into the greatness of William Howard Taft. (“Well, he improved the postal service…”) And Julius Caesar was just too great a figure not to take when he was available in a middle round, even if Augustus might have been the more impactful Caesar.
A quick note about the gender equity requirement: I had no problem with it. If even the Astros get to have an All-Star (and I’m in the camp that thinks they should), then it’s hardly too much to ask that women, who make up more than half the population, should get a little over one-third’s representation in our draft. I happen to think the women on my team are exceptional figures from history, and to anyone still complaining about it, I kindly offer as rebuttal the works of my Arts selection, Georgia O’Keeffe: big, proud, blossoming, reproductive, estrogen-infused, femininity-personified floral vaginas. History!
Also, please be on the lookout for my 3,500-word Slate pitch wherein I justify my contention that Chester A. Arthur is the most underrated president in American history. It’s a barnburner.
While many people will question several selections in this draft (even the brilliant ones I made) it is important to consider position depth and value, just like you would in a fantasy football draft. I employed a strategy that has become very popular in fantasy in the past few years: the Late Round QB. In this case, the president/VP position act as the QB position. Like a Peyton Manning or Aaron Rodgers, unless you can obtain a top tier president like Abraham Lincoln or George Washington, there is no point wasting your top picks on a reach like Ronald Reagan. Many of my other picks are pretty self explanatory. For instance, my father would have ironically beat me in the most violent fashion if I didn’t take Gandhi. And although Princess Diana, Marilyn Monroe and Marie Antoinette may have not made the greatest historical impact, it’s always nice to have some eye candy on your team for the voters.
Imagine how LeBron James would’ve felt on draft night if the Heat didn’t land Shabazz Napier, now multiply that by infinity and that’s how I felt when the “Eve Rule” was put into effect, declaring that a figure “must have 100 precent existed across all religious platforms,” to quote rule maker Ramon Ramirez.
This jolted me from taking my main man Moses, but forced me into a place of enlightenment, leading to the strategy that I wanted renaissance men and women. I wanted people who made my life today as glorious as it is, and there were no two better people to start chasing that goal with than the inventor of electricity in Benjamin Franklin, and the first human being to teach logic in Aristotle.
Then came the Rock-N-Jock 25 point basket, as I snatched THE FUCKING FOUNDER OF AMERICA with my third round pick, as I welcomed Christopher Columbus and all of his diseases to my team. Few people embody every single form along the spectrum of good and evil of the American Dream quite like CC, and adding him to the squad was a game changer.
I got stuck with average at best Presidents and Vice Presidents with Woodrow Wilson and Walter Mondale. This was where the draft turned ugly for me, as I wollowed in sorrow for giving into peer pressure by drafting Woody – all of the good presidents were flying off the board, I had to – with my fourth pick, as I thought Golda Meir would absolutely be available for my next pick. Besides being of the Jewish faith, there’s a (relatively crappy) hand-painting of Meir in my place of work, and for the longest time I thought it was Steven Seagal. With that said, Meir’s about as bad-ass of a Jewish pick as you can get, and since I wasn’t able to select Moses, I needed her on my team. I didn’t get her, but I did land David, the Goliath beater, which wasn’t such a terrible compromise.
Back to my strategy of taking renaissance people, I think I stole Oprah Winfrey and Michael Jackson from my opponents, not to mention Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin, who’s responsible for the confirmation of the discovery of penicillin. I’d be lying if I said Mirabai wasn’t a total reach for my religious pick, but Eleanor of Aquitaine was one of my sleepers, as not many women can post that they’ve been both French and British royalty. She’s a bawse.
You ever write 400 words and feel like Billy Madison after explaining the meaning of the Industrial Revolution by comparing it to “The Puppy Who Lost his Way?” Me neither.
Look up there, at that beautiful team. It’s got the 20th Century’s biggest bogeyman. It’s got the father of Europe, the father of History, and the mother of Christ. It’s got the fucking Buddha.
And it’s worthless. Complete bullshit, top to bottom. I quit. I’m sorry.
It’s not their fault. Hedy Lamarr didn’t do anything to anyone except be good at acting and create Wi-Fi. Homer gave us the template upon which we invented our greatest heroes; he did not slap my mom or kick my dog. The problem, in other words, does not lie with my team. Neither does it lie with this draft, in either structure or execution–not even the uproariously contentious “4 Ladies 4 My Ladies” rule.
No, the problem lies with history itself.
Twenty-first-century Americans are a moving target. It started off when we beat the Soviets and became the single model for how Civilized Society ought to behave, and ever since then, we’ve been off to the races. You’re born running downhill, grabbing at whatever you can to keep yourself ahead of the rest of the world, and when you have offspring of your own, you throw them as hard as you can ahead of you and hope they don’t trip when they hit the pavement. Here, have a color TV. Here, have a second phone line. Get cable. Get a computer. Get on the Internet. Buy a smartphone. But whatever you do, keep fucking running.
We do this because being one step ahead is the best position to be in when you want to look backward, and we look backward because it’s the easiest way to find something to feel superior to. And we don’t just look back at people who are different than us — though we love doing that — but also at people who used to be us before we got to where we are now. “Mad Men” exists so that we, the viewing audience, can feel haughtily smug watching all those casual misogynists giving themselves lung cancer and liver problems in the ’60s. “12 Years A Slave” was a hit because it made all the white people in the audience sigh with relief at How Far We’ve Come. It’s a shitty, lizard-brained response to the world, but if the only alternative to looking back on how primitive and savage we used to be is looking forward and realizing how primitive and savage we all still are, well, only one of those options gets us all to bed without the help of Ambien.
But here’s the thing: History itself is catching up with us now, too. We don’t have to look so far back to find things to be superior to; whatever happened yesterday while we were busy staring at Twitter instead of working will suffice. Daniel Tosh made an entire career exploiting this. The History Channel started running “Pawn Stars” instead of documentaries. VH1, realizing it was slipping behind the cultural curve, took the extreme measure of unfreezing a bewildered, upsetting Hal Sparks from his cryogenic prison to give us “I Love The 2000s” only four years after the 2000s stopped happening.
With history’s encroachment, there’s only one solution that allows us to keep our collective sanity AND maintain our oh-so-precious bubble of exceptionalism: Start pretending that history is right now. Immortalize the present before the future has a chance to denigrate it. Build a pedestal so goddamn big and ostentatious that 200 years from now, when our great-great-great grandchildren look back at where we are today, they’ll be blinded to our crass, idiotic opinions on love and war and faith and art and science by the thousand-watt beacon of the One Thing We Got Right. They had to have gotten that thing right, right? Otherwise the pedestal wouldn’t have been so big?
So here we are, managing the nifty trick of both moving as fast as we can and laying the cornerstone for the pedestal upon which we will hoist the god of the future. This god must perform a trick of his own, transcending time and space to look both forward and back while anchoring himself to the right now so nobody in the future forgets where he came from. This is a god of GIFs, Vines, Instagrams. He’s a god to every sanctimonious hot take artist who’s ever appeared on cable TV, every flavor-of-the-second meme and every overnight Twitter trend. And most importantly, most American of all, he’s a god of football.
We have created our own god, and his name is Johnny Manziel.
Congrats to Ramon on winning this draft. Amen.
Katherine Gotsick edited this together, and unfortunately, she did it wrong. Our team was supposed to be limited to just 11 picks, but I knew that my final pick would be the equalizer. Any good team is about bench depth, and I needed a utility man to fill all the roles.
With the last pick in our history draft, I selected Kanye West, which Katherine incorrectly labeled as a Wild Card. There are many things Kanye West is, but a Wild Card – he is not. According to Mr. West, he is: Andy Warhol, Shakespeare, Axl Rose, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, Willy Wonka, Michael Jordan, an angel (not sure which one), Jesus Christ “in the flesh”, a blowfish, Marina Abramovic, Bruce Springsteen, Howard Hughes, Leonardo da Vinci, Ralph Lauren, Muhammad Ali, Michael Jackson, Anna Wintour … and many more I’m sure I missed. I’m not sure how someone didn’t realize his schizophrenic historical ability, and figure him as the ultimate FLEX. He’s the only person in our draft who believes he can fill your QB, RB1, RB2, WR1, WR2, TE, D, K… I mean, fuck it. I hope it’s a PPR league. He’s going to catch every pass, because he’ll be throwing to himself.
I should also note something else: After a few rounds, I noticed that the draft was fundamentally flawed. Why in the hell should I draft a U.S. Vice President? The rules were jingoistic and misogynist from the outset. U.S. Vice Presidents just don’t hold that sort of influence, and the ones who do usually go on to be President anyway. A U.S. VP is automatically is a man (never a woman), and someone of limited value. It’s not even like drafting a kicker – it’s like drafting the backup kicker. Literally.
The United States wasn’t even a major superpower until the early 1900s, and barely even then. We didn’t hit our stride until the Roaring 20s, and it took World War II for us to ascend to our position of prominence. When talking about the scope of history, requiring two U.S. leaders be chosen is asinine. Sorry, but not sorry. Giving two slots to American men in the past 100 years is stupid. That’s why I took President James Buchanan; he was the only President to stay single through his entire tenure. If he was on Tinder right now, his profile would have been the easiest hookup, ever. “Jimmy, 65, Leader of the free world. DTF in the White House.”
I mocked all religion, as a personal rule. Religious figures have value to some people – but not me. I picked up Heaven’s Gate cult leader Marshall Applewhite, because his story was easily the most creative. A few nights ago I got brilliantly drunk and high, then sat on my couch explaining why I wanted to be God. (Hear me out.) He was God, albeit to a limited number of people. Just selling that idea though, and being God to 39 people would still be fun and impressive. He led a mass suicide, convincing his cult that their death would lead them to an alien spacecraft behind the Hale-Bopp Comet. Touche, Mr. Applewhite. Bonus points for taking the “die now, but live eternally with aliens somewhere I can’t really see or define” agenda, and putting a modern spin on it.
Kim Jong Il was an easy pick for the Dicator slot. I would tend to argue, that in the age of modern communication on the internet, North Korea’s leader was influential beyond the bounds of most U.S. Presidents. The death camps he set up are notoriously evil, and the work he had to do in order to seal off his private country … just … astounding. He stepped into his father’s shoes, and became a Supreme Leader, a figure of literally God-like proportions, to roughly 40 million people. In fact, I’d wager Kim Jong Il, now deceased, could be a nice FLEX for religious figure, in a pinch. As a technicality, he’s immortalized as a God in his country, and people still worship him.
My draft really favored scientists: Albert Einstein, Nikola Tesla, and Carl Sagan. I believe that, through the course of history, Einstein and Tesla’s work will hold much longer lasting influence than most world leaders ever will. Tesla was probably the most underrated scientist of his time, pioneering alternating current electrical technology (not Edison), radar, radio transmitters (not Marconi), x-rays (not Roentgen), hydro-electric dams, electrical generators, etc. He also spoke eight languages, and held the patents that basically built modern computers. Seriously – he’s the guy who thought up transistor technology, that allowed microchips to exist.
Einstein, in case you were wondering, is the most important physicist of all time. ALL TIME. (Kanye West runs on stage: “Hey Albert, I’mma let you finish, but Beyonc…”) Truly, we haven’t even seen the end of Einstein’s work, because so much of what he conjectured is still being proven with the Large Hadron Collider. It will be the work of future physicists solving the problems of the modern world, using his ideas as a backbone. What Einstein did for physics will last for tens of thousands of years–therefore, his upside is almost unlimited. Unlike people taking Jesus and The Prophet Muhammad in the first round, Einstein is still on his way up. Religious figures are the equivalent of drafting Manning in a keeper league. I’m taking Russell Wilson, because I see his upside.
Now, let’s talk about my women; “Morris’ Harem”, if you will. I picked Mary Shelley because she wrote my favorite book – “Frankenstein”. It is a story about the struggle of the middle class existence, cast through the eye of a created monster, bodged together by the hands of a misguided upper-class scientist. It is easily the most quotable book I have ever read, and I have read it once a year since I was 22.
Sojourner Truth existed before modern media, yet, had she existed in modern times, should would have been hailed as a hero. Every feminist owes her a great debt, as well as all minorities. She was a rare crossover of racial equality and gender equality. A dual threat –much like Colin Kaepernick is. Running or passing, Sojourner Truth can beat you in multiple ways. Had Truth been eligible in her era, she easily could have filled a U.S. President role. If California can elect the Terminator as Governor, then the United States could have elected Truth. A modern Truth likely would have been a strong follow up to President Obama, as a black woman, pushing for equality among women, minorities, and judging by her proclivities–likely LGBT rights as well.
Jackie Joyner-Kersee was another Wild Card, but really, since I bucked all the rules, I might as well finish strong. She was voted by Sports Illustrated as the top female athlete of the 20th Century. That’s nothing to scoff at–and while sports and athletics have limited longevity, historically speaking, I think she earned a spot for not getting embroiled in steroids, scandals, etc.
My team, while breaking all the rules, is stronger than any other team in this draft.