Thursday, March 24, 2011

Completion: Dead White Guys Edition

Okay, you got me, they're not all dead white guys. Today I received my order from COMC, which included the last three World's Wordsmiths I needed for my set, Irving, Cervantes, and Marcus Aurelius. Yes, we do have the Shen Kuo and Confucius adding some non-white eastern flavor, but I'd argue that Topps could have made this insert set a little more diverse without ruining the perfect synchronicity between a 15-card set and a 15-slot page. And yes, I'm looking at you, John Bunyan.

If I had my way, I'd replace one of these Wordsmiths. The replacement is a no-brainer: Richard Wright. To be in this set you have to be dead. (Check, 1960.) I don't see Topps remotely leaning in the direction of adding a woman, so I'll go one step at a time. Wright's Native Son is one of the top four or five American literary works of the 20th century, and he deserves a spot here.

But whom, you ask, would I replace?
How about Milton?
Professor Dave Jennings (of Animal House fame) put it best:
"Don't write this down, but I find Milton probably as boring as you find Milton. Mrs. Milton found him boring too. He's a little bit long-winded, he doesn't translate very well into our generation, and his jokes are terrible. (...)
But that doesn't relieve you of your responsibility for this material. Now I'm waiting for reports from some of you... Listen, I'm not joking. This is my job! "

I'm open to other suggestions, but if you even think about adding Melville, you're banned for life from this blog. So who would you lose, who would you add?


hiflew said...

First for me would have to be Mark Twain. I think he is the great American author ever. I would consider adding either Hemingway or F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Marcus Aurelius, he was a brilliant man, but I think of him more as a great political mind rather than a great author (which he was).

My second to replace would be Shen Kuo simply because he was (arguably) better known for his scientific discoveries than his writings.

Mad Guru said...

Hiflew makes some good suggestions. My candidate for purging is Kuo. Not a writer. He's like the Asian DaVinci.

Don't think you could go wrong with Fitzgerald, Twain or Hemingway (which is how I'd put that trio).

For my personal set, though, I'd love to see Christopher Morley.

Chris Harris said...

In: Hunter S. Thompson

Out: Plato. Not an "author," just Socrates' stenographer.

Tony Brown said...

Going from an authorship and asthetics point of view I would get rid of Washington Irving. He looks like Andrew Johnson or any other non-bearded second half of the 19th century pres.
At the risk of sounding pretentious, and despite the fact I've never read any of his work, I'd add James Joyce. He brings to the table cook-bottle glasses, a nice 'stache, and the occassional eye-patch.

Retrofan said...

I think i'd axe Victor Hugo for writing in French. I'm borderline on who to replace him with though. If Homer and Plato can be included in this group for essentially transcribing others work, then perhaps Gutenberg should get some cardboard respect. Sun Tzu would be my alternate choice if Gutenberg is kicked for plagerism.

gcrl said...

I agree with twain, hemingway, fitzgerald and joyce (I enjoyed the dubliners immensely and am struggling through ulysses) as good choices. I hold a soft spot for steinbeck too. The others I would support would be dickens or solzhenitsyn. But if we're trying to eliminate dead white guys, wright or ralph ellison make sense.