Most Fascinating Person of the Year

Barbara Walters names Barack Obama the most fascinating person of the year in her special tonight.

In 2005, she named Camilla Parker Bowles. In 2006, she named Nancy Pelosi and in 2007, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling.

Also on Walters' list tonight, Rush Limbaugh, a man who got pregnant, Tom Cruise, Will Smith and actor Frank Langella who plays Richard Nixon in the new movie Frost/Nixon.

I changed the channel when she named Sarah Palin.

Who would you have named?

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    A case of misreading. (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by GOPmurderedconscience on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 10:45:16 PM EST
    At first glance, I read Rush Limbaugh, a man who got pregnant. I thought he must have ballooned the size of a whale due to his drug abuse.

    Besides Obama, I would say "The Blogger" as a collective unit.

    my nominations: (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by cpinva on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 11:14:09 PM EST
    franklin roosevelt and abraham lincoln, two presidents who made huge comebacks this year.

    john maynard keanes would be my third runner-up.

    Most fascinating person? (5.00 / 6) (#7)
    by jackfkntwist on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 11:30:44 PM EST
    Hillary Clinton, hands down.

    ok, (none / 0) (#52)
    by cpinva on Fri Dec 05, 2008 at 12:22:43 PM EST
    but only because she's still alive!

    Hillary Clinton, hands down.

    Well (5.00 / 4) (#8)
    by Steve M on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 11:32:40 PM EST
    We may not all be Sarah Palin fans, but I don't think there's any question that she was objectively one of the most fascinating people in the news this year.  That's not to say I am personally fascinated by her.

    Rush Limbaugh, on the other hand, is simply a baffling pick.  What exactly is Rush doing except bashing liberals the exact same way he was a decade ago?  I think he made the list solely so Barbara could confront him about that terrible comment regarding aging women.

    I don't (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by cal1942 on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 11:52:27 PM EST
    know if she's personally fascinating so much as her selection was fascinating.

    Limbaugh's radio show ... (none / 0) (#30)
    by Robot Porter on Fri Dec 05, 2008 at 03:12:23 AM EST
    is on a number of ABC affiliates.  It's that simple.

    Immediately after the congressional election in (none / 0) (#60)
    by KeysDan on Fri Dec 05, 2008 at 05:52:56 PM EST
    2006, and the Republicans took the beating that resulting in Nancy Pelosi becoming Speaker and Harry Reid the senate majority leader,  Rush said something to the effect that he was tired of having to be the mindless and hapless cheerleader for so many of those Republican losers.  I found that statement to be fascinating since it was, perhaps, among the few truths ever uttered from his lips.

    A Bone, me thinks it was.... (none / 0) (#45)
    by easilydistracted on Fri Dec 05, 2008 at 10:30:20 AM EST
    She had to throw her View co-hort, Elizabeth, a bone. Otherwise Bab would have had to listen to the bulls**t for the entire show.

    She might be thanking him and his followers (none / 0) (#49)
    by easilydistracted on Fri Dec 05, 2008 at 11:07:38 AM EST
    for their efforts to elect Obama. In the end, the old bloated blowhard could have actually had an impact on the outcome of the election, in retrospect. Now follow me here.

    I've read and listened to quite a few analysts who submit that, overall, the lengthy democratic primary helped Obama and hindered McCain (And the arguments I've heard do have some merit).

    At the time of the democratic primary, the old blowhard had hatched some sort of plan, called Operation Chaos or some gobbledygook like that, and directed his followers to engage in some sort of shenanigans at the polls. The toad's ultimate goal with the concoction was to lengthen the democratic primary. Now, old humpty dumpty was quite pleased at the time with his handiwork. He was convinced it was working. Problem looking back though is that the lengthy primary that he and his followers perpetuated, helped rather than harm. Hmm

    I wonder if anybody has ever called him on this? Maybe Babs is planning to thank him            


    The only interesting person on Baba Wawa's list (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by shoephone on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 11:35:29 PM EST
    is Frank Langella.

    The rest are as boring as yesterday's oatmeal.

    I find it disconcerting (none / 0) (#17)
    by Steve M on Fri Dec 05, 2008 at 12:32:22 AM EST
    how little he looks like Nixon.  Mike Huckabee bears more of a resemblance.

    He might be fantastic in the role, but still...


    Langella was very convincing (none / 0) (#18)
    by oculus on Fri Dec 05, 2008 at 12:34:50 AM EST
    in the play.

    Well (none / 0) (#19)
    by Steve M on Fri Dec 05, 2008 at 01:05:51 AM EST
    I confess I have lesser expectations of verisimilitude when it comes to the theater.

    That said, I'm still kind of amazed that this was a popular play and now a movie.  I mean, if you had told me the concept - we're going to base a show on this interview of Richard Nixon! - my reaction would have been wow, how very off-Broadway.  I guess I didn't appreciate just how compelling a figure Richard Nixon was.


    Obviously you are too young to have (5.00 / 3) (#21)
    by oculus on Fri Dec 05, 2008 at 01:21:37 AM EST
    stayed in your car after you arrived at your destination during the Watergate hearings because you couldn't bear to miss a word.  James Reston, Jr. wrote a book about his research to assist Frost in preparing for his interviews of Nixon.  

    Ah, youth (none / 0) (#24)
    by Steve M on Fri Dec 05, 2008 at 01:47:05 AM EST
    I think the first epic political drama I can recall was Iran-Contra.  Not the same.

    Well, here's a bon mot... (5.00 / 3) (#26)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Fri Dec 05, 2008 at 01:56:49 AM EST
    Some pundits have said that Iran-Contra was so bad it made Watergate look like a pantie raid.

    However, we heard a lot less about Iran-Contra because the press was considerably more stifled during the Reagan-Bush era.


    Yeah (5.00 / 2) (#27)
    by Steve M on Fri Dec 05, 2008 at 02:09:22 AM EST
    I would gladly have given up Watergate to have been able to nail those you-know-whats on Iran-Contra.  But the drama was cut short well before the final curtain.

    Me too, alas... (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Fri Dec 05, 2008 at 02:51:25 AM EST
    Too bad (5.00 / 2) (#34)
    by cal1942 on Fri Dec 05, 2008 at 04:58:27 AM EST
    you missed it.  It was every bit as compelling as Oculus said. Watergate was spell binding.

    Everyone followed it, even people who paid little or no attention to politics.


    Watergate May Have been The Last Time... (none / 0) (#43)
    by santarita on Fri Dec 05, 2008 at 10:25:59 AM EST
    that the Republicans in Congress put country ahead of party.  It was a turning point in our history and had a variety of unintended consequences.  The impeachment of Clinton was said to be payback for the impeachment of Nixon.  And the Dems' fear of impeaching Bush may really have been a fear of a never-ending cycle of partisan retribution.  

    Didn't (none / 0) (#32)
    by cal1942 on Fri Dec 05, 2008 at 04:39:51 AM EST
    Rip Torn play Nixon once?

    I ask because I have one of those annoying vague memories of him in that role and can't zero in on it. Or maybe I'm just haluccinating.


    John Dean's memoir, Blind Ambition.

    Other notable portrayals include:

    Nixon imitator Richard M. Dixon (sic), in:

    • Top of the Heap (1972)
    • Good to See You Again, Alice Cooper (1974)
    • The Faking of the President (1976)
    • Tail Gunner Joe (1977) (TV)
    • Where the Buffalo Roam (1980)

    Steve Friedman, in the soft-core comedy White House Madness (1975), produced by Phil Gramm (yes, that Phil Gramm)

    Harry Spillman, in the 1978 TV adaptation of Chuck Colson's memoir, Born Again

    John Byner (as Voice of Richard Nixon), in the 1982 TV movie Will: The Autobiography of G. Gordon Liddy

    Philip Baker Hall, in Robert Altman's Secret Honor (1984)  

    Peter Riegert, in the 1984 TV movie Concealed Enemies

    James Maddalena, in the televised ("Great Performances") opera Nixon in China (1988)

    Lane Smith, in The Final Days (1989) (TV)

    Joe Alaskey, in Forrest Gump (1994)

    Anthony Hopkins (as well as Corey Carrier and David Barry Gray), in Oliver Stone's Nixon (1995)

    Beau Bridges, in the 1995 TV movie Kissinger and Nixon (1995)

    Bob Gunton, in the 1997 TV movie Elvis Meets Nixon

    Reiley McClendon, in a 1998 episode of "Will & Grace"

    Dan Hedaya, in Dick (1999)

    Billy West (as President Richard Nixon's Head), in multiple episodes of "Futurama"


    Wow! (none / 0) (#61)
    by cal1942 on Fri Dec 05, 2008 at 09:15:04 PM EST
    What an anthology.

    I only recall bits and pieces of these productions.

    I have seen "All The President's Men" too many times to count.  Republicans in trouble. I love it.


    But he made a great Dracula (none / 0) (#35)
    by BarnBabe on Fri Dec 05, 2008 at 07:22:24 AM EST
    I also liked him in the movie Spinx in 1981. The movie was not as good as the book which was good but he looked mighty fine in the movie.

    Actually, Palin is fairly fascinating (5.00 / 4) (#10)
    by nycstray on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 11:37:20 PM EST
    or at least the reaction to her was  ;)

    Rush Limbaugh is a channel flipper for me.

    I would say Obama's handlers and marketing crew are more interesting than he is, but that might be because of my work background.

    It would be nice if they would do one of these programs with people who are fascinating who we have never heard of. Tom Cruise?! Will Smith?! As a certain Clinton would say . . . "Give. Me. A. Break." Heck I'd rather hear about a certain Clinton's foundation/charity work and the people who partner with the projects around the globe. That would be fascinating and inspiring.

    My most fascinating people of '08... (5.00 / 4) (#25)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Fri Dec 05, 2008 at 01:52:59 AM EST
    IMHO: SoS Hillary Clinton; Congressman Dennis Kucinich; Senator Bernie Sanders; Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman; Glenn Greenwald of Salon; blogger Anglachel, whose real name I don't know.

    I give up. (none / 0) (#2)
    by jes on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 10:53:35 PM EST
    How did the man get pregnant?

    Who? Rush Limbaugh? (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by GOPmurderedconscience on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 11:11:04 PM EST
    the man used to be a woman (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 11:15:12 PM EST
    You may want to file some of the following under the category of things you wish you didn't know. But, here goes: true biological XY males can sustain a pregnancy via an implanted embryo. It's been done with a number of animals (probably including primates); and it is feasible in human males. I researched this a bit in the late 80s, mostly in medicals textbooks that I have no way of linking to.

    However, here are a couple of things from a quick google search. See the Daily Princetonian, in May of 2002:

    While getting a man pregnant is not quite as easy as impregnating a woman, it is technically feasible...the embryo would be implanted through a laparoscopy in the man's abdomen near the omentum, a fatty, blood-rich tissue that hangs in front of the intestines. The baby would be delivered at term via Casearan section.

    Lori Andrews, author of the above article, characterizes the research on primates as rumor although I've seen other sources that support it as fact. Andrews also states that a prospective pregnant male would first need to be prepped with female hormones; but other research proves that to be unnecessary.

    Omni Magazine did a story about all this stuff in 1985. And, although it was a pseudo-science journal, it nevertheless used pretty accurate sourcing in their article on the subject of "Male Pregnancy":

    In a series of experiments in the early Sixties, for example, Dr. David Kirby, of England's Oxford University, transplanted mouse
    embryos into the testes, spleens, and kidneys of adult male mice. Kirby got the best results in the testes, where one embryo developed in "perfect condition" for 12 days, about half the normal gestation period for a mouse. Kirby, now deceased, theorized that the testicle capsule was simply not elastic enough to allow the embryo to mature fully. The experiment did show, however, that testosterone and other male hormones found in high concentrations in the testes do not thwart normal embryonic development; positive sign for those males who want to have babies.

    There you go...

    The man (5.00 / 3) (#6)
    by blogtopus on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 11:15:51 PM EST
    Is a person born a woman, in transition to become a man via gender re-assignment. I believe he still has his female genitalia, but because of having breasts removed and beginning testosterone treatments, he is legally classified a man.

    Story here.


    He is not a man (none / 0) (#20)
    by samtaylor2 on Fri Dec 05, 2008 at 01:06:27 AM EST
    He is a pseudohermaphrodite.

    Thanks for clearing that up ;-) (none / 0) (#23)
    by FoxholeAtheist on Fri Dec 05, 2008 at 01:43:27 AM EST
    Same reaction (none / 0) (#11)
    by cal1942 on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 11:42:48 PM EST
    I changed the channel when she named Sarah Palin.


    Wherever Barbara lives she's a Village person.

    I heard she left the Village (none / 0) (#12)
    by shoephone on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 11:47:31 PM EST
    when it got too gentrified. Moved to the upper east side to be near the museum.

    I meant (none / 0) (#15)
    by cal1942 on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 11:54:41 PM EST
    Village as in Washington.

    Didn't know where she actually lived.  I assumed New York.


    I knew that (none / 0) (#16)
    by shoephone on Fri Dec 05, 2008 at 12:00:07 AM EST
    I was just makin' a funny...

    BW is an integral member of the Village.


    Is she ever (none / 0) (#31)
    by cal1942 on Fri Dec 05, 2008 at 04:29:26 AM EST
    in ALL possible ways.

    Most fascinating (none / 0) (#13)
    by cal1942 on Thu Dec 04, 2008 at 11:49:06 PM EST
    or most consequential.  Seems the two are mixed so often. Certainly not the same thing.

    Think Babs knows the difference?

    "The Foreclosed Homeowner" ... (none / 0) (#29)
    by Robot Porter on Fri Dec 05, 2008 at 03:09:34 AM EST
    that would have been my pick.  

    But Obama's the obvious choice.  I'm sure he'll also be Time's "Person of the Year."

    Interesting pick (none / 0) (#33)
    by cal1942 on Fri Dec 05, 2008 at 04:42:23 AM EST
    indeed. Good one RP.

    Bill Clinton (none / 0) (#36)
    by Fabian on Fri Dec 05, 2008 at 07:28:38 AM EST
    People talk a lot about Bill and Hillary, but since what they tend to say reads as total bullsh!t, I really don't know much about them at all.

    Wall-E (none / 0) (#37)
    by ding7777 on Fri Dec 05, 2008 at 07:32:34 AM EST

    Utterly fascinating (none / 0) (#38)
    by lentinel on Fri Dec 05, 2008 at 09:34:02 AM EST
    It's all in the eye of the beholder - but if I were forced to watch an interview given by Babawawa, I'd rather watch one given by Sarah Palin than Tom Cruise or Will Smith. At least she is relatively unpredictable. I am also not particularly interested in an interview that calls attention to a movie that recreates the stomach-turning weirdness of the interviews between Frost and Nixon.

    The people who fascinate me the most are not celebrities in the usual sense. So they would not even be considered for this exercise in redundancy.

    I hear that... (none / 0) (#39)
    by kdog on Fri Dec 05, 2008 at 09:39:36 AM EST
    some of the most fascinating people I've come across hang out at OTB.  I.R.S. Harry the tax cheat aider and abetter, Saigon Mike the Vietnam Vet and former drug-runner, and many more...salt of the earth:)

    In the celebrity/current events realm...I might have to go with the Somali pirates.


    I think we need to get you... (none / 0) (#40)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Fri Dec 05, 2008 at 09:55:27 AM EST
    ...a cool hat, an eye patch and a small water craft.  You could be Kdog, scourge of the Hudson!

    Sh*t man... (none / 0) (#42)
    by kdog on Fri Dec 05, 2008 at 10:20:25 AM EST
    if the doomsday economic predictions come true, I might not have a choice.

    Better start working on my salty growl...AAARRGGHH Matey!


    Can you say Payola? (none / 0) (#41)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Fri Dec 05, 2008 at 09:58:59 AM EST
    Tom Cruise and Will Smith just happen to make the list when they have "blockbuster" films coming out soon?  Not fishy at all.

    I would probably enjoy Valkerie if it didn't star TC.  

    And no Joe the Plumber on the list?  How does that happen!

    My nominee for most... (none / 0) (#44)
    by desertswine on Fri Dec 05, 2008 at 10:26:23 AM EST
    fascinating person of the year is Angela who works down the hall from me.

    have you told Angela d'wine?... (none / 0) (#48)
    by kdog on Fri Dec 05, 2008 at 10:39:22 AM EST
    If not, go and get your swerve on brother:)

    Jeez, don't rush me, I'm thinkin. (none / 0) (#57)
    by desertswine on Fri Dec 05, 2008 at 03:31:57 PM EST
    Dont over think it (none / 0) (#58)
    by jondee on Fri Dec 05, 2008 at 03:42:36 PM EST
    just go down there and talk to her. Before I do.

    Yeah man... (none / 0) (#59)
    by kdog on Fri Dec 05, 2008 at 03:49:11 PM EST
    you snooze, you lose:)

    Hillary Clinton and Henry Paulson (none / 0) (#47)
    by santarita on Fri Dec 05, 2008 at 10:32:53 AM EST
    For all of the dissecting that the media has done on Hillary, they still haven't figured her out.   Or it may be that they can't fathom a person who dedicates her life to public service.

    And Henry Paulson is fascinating because it is hard to figure out whether this man that has enormous power has conflicting loyalties between his friends on Wall Street and the country and whether he is super intelligent or just plain stupid.  

    I was kind of fascinated by Tina Fey. She seems (none / 0) (#51)
    by Angel on Fri Dec 05, 2008 at 11:38:00 AM EST
    very interesting to me, especially since she was so vocal about her opposition to Sarah Palin.  I was also interested in that gal John Edwards had the affair with, Rielle Hunter.  Not that she was an interesting person but that she was his mistress, I tried to find what he found interesting about her.  Apparently what he found interesting was that she was interested in him! Ha!  Movie stars and celebrities in general don't do a thing for me and I already know a lot about the politicians I admire.  So I guess my list would be a lot smaller than Baba Wawa's list.  

    A little less fascination (none / 0) (#55)
    by jondee on Fri Dec 05, 2008 at 02:41:30 PM EST
    and a little more inspiration (if you and the network are capable), Babwa.

    Though. I have to admit that Im very much on board with Cruise's rap concerning the pharm industries push to provide a chemical strait jacket for every other school kid in the nation, which kicked into high gear in the early ninties.

    Btw, Does fascination derive from the same root as fasces?

    no (none / 0) (#56)
    by wystler on Fri Dec 05, 2008 at 03:08:20 PM EST
    fascinate: from L. fascinatus, pp. of fascinare "bewitch, enchant," from fascinus "spell, witchcraft,"

    fascist: from It. partito nazionale fascista, the anti-communist political movement organized 1919 under Benito Mussolini (1883-1945); from It. fascio "group, association," lit. "bundle." Fasci "groups of men organized for political purposes" had been a feature of Sicily since c.1895; the 20c. sense probably infl. by the Roman fasces

    hat tip to www.etymonline.com