The titanic clash between Bristol Palin and elite America reminded me of this delicious moment from the end of the 20th century.
ISTANBUL, Turkey, Nov. 27— It is a truism here that Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, was the greatest statesman of the 20th century, if not of all time. But now millions of Turks are claiming that he was also a more brilliant scientist than Einstein and a better singer than Elvis.
Ataturk, who died in 1938, is worshiped here as a near-deity by the great majority of Turks who see him as a symbol of this country’s Western and secular principles. The latest frenzy of adulation, however, has pushed him to a new level.
It began several months ago, when Time magazine announced a plan to publish special issues celebrating the century’s outstanding figures in five broad categories. The magazine invited people from all over the world to submit nominations.
In most countries the invitation passed unnoticed. But Turks, many of whom believe that the world does not appreciate them, have responded with a pro-Ataturk deluge.
Major newspapers have published front-page appeals urging readers to show their patriotism by swamping the Time office in New York with votes for Ataturk. Internet providers send clients to a web site through which they can vote with a few clicks. Tallies are published regularly to show where Ataturk stands in relation to other nominees
Turks have embraced the campaign with a fervor that reflects the intensity of their emotion on this issue as on many others. The latest results issued by Time show Ataturk ahead in the ”warriors and statesmen” category with more than seven million votes.
But Turks have been unwilling to stop there.
At various times during the campaign, Ataturk has led in every category. In the latest results he leads in just two. He narrowly leads Winston Churchill in votes for the century’s greatest statesman. And in the ”heroes and adventurers” category, he is far ahead of Nelson Mandela and the astronaut Yuri Gagarin.
The Watergate conspirator G. Gordon Liddy is in fourth place, with more than 80,000 votes, suggesting that Turks are not the only ones having fun with the voting.
At one point Ataturk led Elvis, Madonna and Bob Dylan as the century’s greatest entertainer, was far ahead of Einstein and Marie Curie as the greatest scientist, and outpolled Henry Ford and Frank Lloyd Wright as the greatest among ”builders and titans.”
The only other nation that seems to have taken the Time poll seriously is Greece, Turkey’s eternal rival — in part because the two peoples are so much alike. Alarmed that Ataturk might win the poll and thereby score some propaganda points for Turkey, thousands of Greeks have banded together to support Churchill, the only figure with an apparent prospect of defeating him.
All emphasis above was added. For fun, I’ve edited the last sentence above, by making a few word substitutions, to fit today’s excitement.
AtaturkBristol Palin might win the poll and thereby score some propaganda points for Turkey, Sarah Palin, thousands of Greeks?????? have banded together to support Churchill, Jennifer Grey from “Dirty Dancing,” the only figure with an apparent prospect of defeating him.
You know, apparently there’s a third dancer in the DWTS finals, some fellow from Disney. Yet, the Palin-haters are gravitating to…Jennifer Grey? What do the Democrats have against Walt Disney? Aren’t there enough OrganizingForAmerica/Code Pink/Raging Grannies/Ivy League alumni out there to make the Disney dancer a viable challenger to Darth Bristol?
Go to it, Tucson! You each have five votes. Make your voices heard!
Strength and honor.