Consensus "Greatest" things

I have an odd question, which I will attempt to ask as clearly as possible. What things or people, in their respective categories, are viewed as the “greatest” by a general consensus.

What do I mean by that? Well, there isn’t really any single “greatest baseball player” or “greatest movie star” or “best rock song” that a solid majority of people would agree upon.

But, even bearing in mind the fickle orneriness of public opinion, there are a few categories where almost everyone would agree on who or what “the greatest” is.

A few examples I’ve come up with:

Greatest playwright: William Shakespeare
Greatest hockey player: Wayne Gretzky
Greatest painting: Mona Lisa
Greatest late-night host: Johnny Carson
Greatest checkers player: Marion Tinsley
Greatest 20th century saintly humanitarian: Mother Theresa
Greatest fantasy movie: Lord of the Rings
Greatest mountain climber: Reinhold Messner
Greatest director of suspense movies: Alfred Hitchcock
Greatest blonde bombshell: Marilyn Monroe
Greatest rock group: The Beatles
Greatest Guy Who Fights Ignorance Through a Newspaper Column: Cecil Adams

(Note: I’m not saying that there’s no one who disagrees with the statement “Wayne Gretzky is the greatest hockey player of all time”. I’m just saying that anyone knowledgeable about the issue realizes that Wayne Gretzky is the accepted, de facto, greatest hockey player of all time, and if you hold an opposing view, you’d best be prepared to defend it…)

What other examples are there? Does anyone take issue with any of mine?

Greatest (in a bad way) dictator: Adolf Hitler

Greatest British PM: Winston Churchill

Greatest thing to come out of Israel: Natalie Portman

[sub](Worst thing to come out of Israel: Uri Geller)[/sub]

Greatest Weapon:Sword

Greatest form of Art:Music

(To name but a few)

Greatest SNL Host: Christopher Walken

The Mona Lisa is the greatest painting? I think that there would be a lot of disagreement on that.

A lot of the fans of the book The Lord of the Rings think that the movie is a distinct disappointment. I don’t think that there is any general agreement that the Jackson movie version is the greatest fantasy movie.

There are people that think Mother Theresa was not such a great person.

I found Johnny Carson to be about as funny as a scorching case of the rickets and would prefer Letterman over him in a heartbeat. Unfortunately, this one’s unwinnable for both of us due to the subjectivity of comedy.

And art.

And music.

And blonde-bombshells.

I think you’ll have as much problem with most, if not all, of these as you would with the subjects you admitted there would be no consensus about.

How can you say there can be no consensus about the greatest baseball player, but claim there will be a greatest hockey player? You’re leaving out an enormous number of players who could be considered a possibility - Why not Patrick Roy, or can it not be a goalie? Why not Mario (can’t spell the last name)? I’m not saying htat these are the greatest, just that there are plenty of people who would argue for them.

You’re not gonna get anywhere near a consensus as the beatles being the greatest rock band. I personally think they are hugely over-rated. I’d rather gouge out my eardrums than listen to more than a couple of their songs in a week whereas I could listen to Ozzy/Black Sabbath all day long.

The Mona Lisa as the greatest painting? Are you serious? It’s just a chick sitting there - and she’s not even hot…

I don’t think you could ever get a consensus on a greatest checkers player…I doubt you could get more than 2% to even name one in a random polling. As for climbers - I bet more people would name Hillary - just because they’ve heard of him before.

Greatest Phil Donahue impersonator - Darrell Hammond
Greatest Movie - Citizen Kane
Greatest Rock Song - Stairway to Heaven

I think the only consensus you can get here is the “greatest Internet message board” category.

Not even that. :slight_smile:

I suggest you check out this thread:

Can SDMB Members achieve consensus on ANYTHING?

The majority answer turns out to be “no”, but there wasn’t complete consensus about it.

And BTW, consensus doesn’t mean “solid majority”. It means “no one speaks up in opposition”. One single objection results in a failure of consensus.

Well, of all the people mentioned, only two aren’t Anglophone.

Surely, anyone knowledgeable about the issue knows that there were a whole bunch of great players/whatevers. To single out one is a bit, well, silly.

Shakespere better than Chekov? Mona Lisa better than The Raft of the Medusa or The Scream? Mother Theresa better than Alfred Schweitzer?

I wouldn’t even agree that Mother Theresa was a humanitarian of any sort, let alone the greatest. I’m sure if you search here you can find threads which outline that view.

It was my understanding that he played ice hockey, not hockey. :wink:

Yeah, he’d look silly in one of those little skirts.

Greatest brand of orange juice: Tropicana
Greatest brand of battery: Duracell
Greatest brand of paper towel: Bounty

Greatest boxing promoter: Don King

Greatest Inventions (not necesarily in this order)

Indoor plumbing.
Air conditioning and heating.

i) Greatest sauce condiment: Red/Tomato
ii) supermarket: Asda
iii) fairground ride: rollercoaster
iv) entreprenur: Richard Branson
v) utensil: Fork
vi) Letter: X or G
vii) domestic animal: Dog
viii)music format: CD or Vinyl (Too tough to call)
ix)hot drink: Tea
x)cold drink: pepsi after a sport
xi) Numbering system: Roman numerals
xii)Font - Times New Roman 12

Greatest Benchmark: Sliced Bread

  1. Greatest President of the United States
    a. Bearded: Abraham Lincoln
    b. Clean shaven: Woodrow Wilson

  2. Greatest meal: Hot dog, Chicago style

  3. Greatest car: 1969 Chevy Nova, Super Sport, blue

  4. Greatest method of Execution: Firing squad

  5. Greatest cartoon cause of death: Blow to head, anvil

  6. Greatest athlete ever to lose his title and be sentenced to federal prison for resisting the draft, only later to beat the feds in court, regain his title and become an American icon: Muhammad Ali

Greatest natural breasts – Jamie Lee Curtis :stuck_out_tongue: .