Monday, January 02, 2006

You a ho' etc.

Dan Drezner has his list of the 10 worst Americans up.*

Interesting list. Slapworthy though Al Sharpton so undoubtedly is, I don't think he'd be on my list and neither would Richard Nixon.

And, frankly, nor would JJ Angleton, nuts though he clearly was.**

I haven't managed to come up with a top 10 list of my own, either for Brits or Americans. My Brit list tends to be far too heavily slanted toward the 20th century, for a start.

A few people possibly worth considering.

Brits: Horatio Bottomley, Kim Philby, Charles Townshend (of Kut), William Joyce, Sean Russell (who was, I believe, technically a British subject), Henry Morton Stanley (Though I think he became a Worst Yank later on)

Yanks: Joe Kennedy, Douglas MacArthur, Charles Lindbergh, Andrew Jackson, George Armstrong Custer, Henry Ford, Ramsey Clark.

May add to the lists as names crop up.

*Which follows on from this.
**Not sure I'd put Aldrich Ames up there. Was he a turd? Sure. But people always go, "Oh it was so terrible, more terrible 'cos he did it for the money and doing for the money is so base". Yeah? Well I dunno, I think maybe crapping on your country out of ideology at a time when Communists were herding millions of people into gulags, inflicting man-made famine on the Ukraine and later on suppressing Eastern Europe and going just plain nuthouse crazy in China was worse***. I am a lovable eccentric though.
***And why is it that if you're talking about somebody who spied for the Reds people - especially people who read the Guardian or work for the BBC - always get this sort of furrowed brow look and go, "Yes but they were motivated by sincerely held political beliefs". Hungh? So what? Surely that must apply to Nazis too then? If I started talking about Lord Haw Haw or whoever, would you be saying the same thing? No? Then shut the f*** up? Yes? Then shut the f*** up.


Blogger Alex said...

Surely William Joyce ought to give place to John Amery, son of comedy imperialist Leo, who went the whole way and toured occupied Europe giving speeches on how great Nazism was, in between trying to recruit British POWs for the SS? He really hit the jackpot in terms of treason.

And was hanged by the neck until he be dead..

4:52 AM  
Blogger Anthony said...

John Amery's certainly a strong contender. Adrian Weale's "Renegades" is worth reading on the topic (as I dare say you have). The only real silver lining in that situation is the fact that practically everyone he approached told him to bugger off.

Interestingly, Amery (unlike, say, Joyce) does tend to be about the only the pro-Nazi sonofabitch that some people on the right sometimes gush the old "Oh but you have to understand he had strong convictions..." line about, on the grounds that he wasn't so much a Nazi as an anti-Communist and that his proposed British SS would only have fought against the Soviets. To which I say fie and bollocks frankly.

The whimsical footnote, as some people are aware, is that the British officer who took him into custody was Alan Whicker.

6:50 AM  
Blogger Alex said...

True, didn't he get about a section's worth of recruits? Presumably part of the apologism for him is due to his surname. Leo Amery, Julian Amery, both Heathcot-Amerys..draws a lot of water in certain Tory circles..

Not that his connections kept him from swinging for it.

9:39 AM  
Blogger Anthony said...

I can't remember the exact figure but it was certainly risibly low. A number of the people who did actually sign up appear to have done so under coercion as well, though there's little doubt there were some genuine converts.

It's true that the Amery name cuts a certain degree of mustard. That said, although Julian was of course notably on the right of the party (as was Leo on some, but not all, issues) there's no evidence that he was other than horrified and appalled when he found out what Jack had been up to (whatever you might think of Julian he had a distinguished and pretty unequivocal war record and Leo was a vigorous anti-Nazi from back in the day). I'm actually currently dipping into a group biography of the Amery family and although I haven't got to the end yet as far as I can tell the family was largely resigned to the fact that he would have to swing, though obviously they'd have tried to come up with ways of explaining the whole thing away. As far as I can tell Jack was always the Black Sheep and indeed for much of the decade before his death Leo Amery doesn't seem to have known what country he was in from one day to the next, let alone what he was up to.

8:51 PM  
Blogger Alex said...

Again, they weren't the sort of family to cover for a traitor. Sorry, old bean... Leo was one of the original Winston Churchill fanclub, after all.

Also mad keen on Europe in a sort of Ernie Bevan third-force way.

4:30 AM  
Blogger Alex said...

Should of course read Bevin. Wanker.

4:30 AM  

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