Objects of the class “Foghorn Leghorn”: parodies that are more famous than the original. (“It would be as if everybody were familiar with Duchamp’s Mona-Lisa-with-a-moustache while never having heard of Leonardo’s version.”)
Objects of the class “Whoopi Goldberg”: actors who are undeniably talented but are almost always in bad movies, or at least movies that aren’t worthy of their talent. (The opposite: William Holden.)
Objects of the class “Weekend at Bernie’s”: low-quality movie, nobody’s actually seen it, but everybody knows what it’s about. (Other examples: Heathers and Zelig.)
Objects of the class “Lawrence Summers”: despised on the left for holding silly right-wing attitudes and simultaneously despised on the right for holding silly left-wing attitudes. (Another example: Arne Duncan.)
Objects of the class “Pauline Kael”: a woman who’s the top person ever in a male-dominated field. (Another example: Agatha Christie.) Not the same as objects of the class “Amelia Earhart,” who are famous for being women in a male-dominated field.
Objects of the class “George Orwell”: when they call it “Orwellian,” it’s something Orwell would’ve hated. (Another example: Franz Kafka. A Kafkaesque world is not something Kafka would’ve wanted.)
Objects of the class “Sherlock Holmes”: cultural products that are well remembered but systematically misremembered. The Sherlock Holmes thing is that it’s my impression that a lot of people think of Sherlock Holmes as just solving crimes by sitting in a chair and thinking. But actually Holmes spends a lot of time out and about: he’s a physically fit guy, not just a brain in a vat.
Objects of the class “Verbal Behavior”: the criticisms of the thing are more widely read than the thing itself.
Object of the class Jacques Cousteau: people who are world famous, but of a category for which there’s only one famous person. (Some other examples: Evel Knievel. Stradivarius. James Naismith. Frederick Law Olmsted.)
I love these. We need some more.