Sunday, March 12, 2006

Historical Figures I'd Most Like to Have Over for Dinner

Not sure why I was thinking about this today, but I'm sure you've all heard this question before: What historical figure would you most like to have over for dinner, and why?

Here are my current top ten:

10.) Jesus*: You know, to ask him what he would do. I'm not a Christian**, but I have the feeling he wouldn't hold it against me. Might have to pick up an Aramaic phrase book beforehand, though.

9.) Sacagewea: The escaped tribal war refugee and teenage mom who helped lead an expedition halfway across a continent through unexplored foreign lands, acting as tour guide, herbalist, medic, translator and diplomat, with a nursing baby strapped to her the whole way. I think she could give me some excellent advice regarding how best to balance a fulfilling career life with motherhood.

8.) Edith Wharton: I am mostly just hoping she might give me advice on writing bitingly sarcastic, razor-sharp social commentary offering timeless insights into human relationships and human nature that will resonate with audiences for centuries to come, in the guise of popular chick lit.

7.) Jane Austen: See Edith Wharton.

6.) Albert Einstein: Well, duh.

5.) Mary Wollstonecraft: Survived an abusive, dysfunctional home to become a self-made independent woman and successful political essayist. Authored this little bombshell called A Vindication of the Rights of Woman in 1792. Hung out with a fascinating crowd of revolutionaries and Romantics. What's not to love?

4.) Jorge Luis Borges: If you don't know why I'd want to have Jorge Luis Borges over for dinner, then you'd better go out and buy his Collected Fictions RIGHT. NOW. Hop to it. THE LIBRARIAN IS WATCHING YOU!

3.) Joan of Arc: Okay, so I'd have to learn medieval French for this one, but still. How could the dinner conversation possibly bore when the guest of honor is a cross-dressing, sword-wielding teenage visionary who claims to have a direct line to celestial management?

2.) Ben Franklin: I am hoping that maybe he could give me some tips on money management, fire prevention, and international diplomacy. Also heard he's quite the expert on the proper enjoyment of beer.

And the number one historical figure I would like to invite over for dinner is:

Thomas Jefferson: The same man who wrote the words, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," also kept his own secret illegitimate biracial children as slaves. Fascinating. What a puzzle. I'd really like to know him better. I get the feeling if I understood Jefferson, I'd truly understand American politics.

So what's your list?

*This guy would rank higher on the list, except that I find the prospect of discussing the things people like the Spanish Inquisitors, the Crusaders, and Fred Phelps have done in his name since his death kind of depressing. I don't think he would like the subject at all, but at the same time something tells me he's just the sort of matryr to insist upon bringing it up.

**I should probably add, anymore. I was raised Christian, sorta. In that my father was a self-idenitfied Baptist, my paternal grandparents were German Catholics, my maternal grandparents were nondemoninational pretenders, and my mom was in a sort of New Age explore-all-religions phase during most of my childhood, and therefore did not offer much in the way of specific religious guidance. So, I've read the Bible, more than once, cover to cover, and been to Sunday school, church services, etc. But I don't ever recall being without scepticism on the subject.


Peter said...

oh my ... i think i would tell any historical person who wants to come over for dinner that the place is not in order due to little kid and that we cannot go out because the baby sitter has some exam tomorrow ...

i really have to think about that one .. i have never been that fascinated with dead people ..

maybe JFK to ask him who did it .. and M.Monroe to ask if it was really suicide ..

Jaelithe said...

Hehe I thought about that but then I realized that most of these people would probably be so fascinated by my television that they wouldn't even notice the toys on the floor ;)

Lisa said...

Great list. And I LOVE Edith W. and Jane A too.

Dawn said...

Hmmmm. Good question.
Van Gogh- was he really as crazy as the stories?
Sojourner Truth

Jaelithe said...

Ooh those are good ones too, Dawn.

I keep meaning to get this neat tapestry of Starry Night that I found online to hang in Isaac's room, because he has a moon and stars theme, but then I think, what if going to sleep every night as a toddler staring at the image of a Van Gogh painting will somehow make my child (more) insane?!?

Hehehe. said...

I always thought I'd like to have Jesus and Judas as the same meal. You know, sort of play Dr. Phil and finally help them work through any bad blood. No pun intended. said...

LOL! Whoops! The lapsed Catholic in me is showing.

I meant AT the same meal, not AS the same meal.

LOL! Talk about transubstantiation!