As a child, the only list I had ever heard about was the FBI Ten Most Wanted. Then a lady who wrote about fashion—Eugenia Sheppard, I believe—made a list of the ten best-dressed women in the universe, and the dam was broken. Everyone started making lists. Lists appeared listing the best and worst lists, and the craze even traveled to Europe, where the Almanach de Gotha codifies and names the true aristocracy but does not list them in order of importance.
So, for no other reason than subjectivity itself, I offer Takimag readers a few lists of my own, at times listing as many as ten, others as few as one.
The two most disgusting celebrity couples in the world are: Kanye West and Kim Kardashian, Jay Z and Beyoncé.
The ten sexiest women during my lifetime are: Ava Gardner, Jane Greer, Cyd Charisse, Betty Grable, Keira Knightley, Dorothy Paley, Mimi d’Arcangues, Anne-Marie de Rougemont, Jessica Raine, Kiki Wittgenstein.
The five worst journalists in America are: William Kristol, Norman Podhoretz, Max Boot, Nicholas Kristof, Charles Blow.
The five greatest American presidents are: George Washington, Calvin Coolidge, Richard Nixon, Dwight Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan.
The ten greatest military men are: Robert E. Lee, Hasso von Manteuffel, George Patton, Heinz Guderian, Erwin Rommel, Stonewall Jackson, Michel Ney, Leonidas of Sparta, Napoleon Bonaparte.
The five greatest living American statesmen are: Henry Kissinger, Henry Kissinger, Henry Kissinger, Henry Kissinger, Henry Kissinger.
The ten greatest characters in a novel are: Dick Diver in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender Is the Night; Jake Barnes in Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises; Prince Andrei in Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace; Pierre in Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace; Raskolnikov in Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment; Steven Rojack in Norman Mailer’s An American Dream; Holden Caulfield in J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye; Lieutenant Rinaldi in Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms; Howard Roark in Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead; Philip Marlowe in Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep.
The ten best male movie actors of all time are: Burt Lancaster, William Holden, John Wayne, Robert Mitchum, Tyrone Power, Montgomery Clift, Mickey Rooney, William Powell, Gary Cooper, Clark Gable.
The three most useless institutions ever are: the League of Nations, the United Nations, the European Union.
The three greatest horses in history are: Napoleon’s Marengo, Robert E. Lee’s Traveller, Roy Rogers’ Trigger.
The ten most fun restaurant-nightclubs of all time are: El Morocco, The Stork Club, Jimmy’z, L’Elephant Blanc, Nell’s, Elaine’s, Mortimer’s, Maxim’s, Loulou’s, Annabel’s.
The ten greatest New York Yankees are: Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, Billy Martin, Allie Reynolds, Whitey Ford, Yogi Berra, Casey Stengel, Hank Bauer, Don Mattingly, Thurman Munson.
The five greatest newspapers ever are: the New York Herald Tribune, the New York Post, The Daily Telegraph, the Daily Mail, The Sydney Morning Herald.
The worst newspaper ever is: The New York Times.
The five most beautiful buildings are: Rockefeller Center, the Chrysler Building, the Empire State Building, L’Opera, Les Invalides.
The five most overrated painters are: Lucian Freud, David Hockney, Francis Bacon, Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol.
The five most catastrophic leaders of the past quarter century are: George W. Bush, Tony Blair, Angela Merkel, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama.
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