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John Waters (1) vs. Bono; Garland advances

For yesterday‘s contest, Jonathan warns us what might happen if we invite Dorothy:

Only downside: Liza might show up.

And the best argument for the Rev come from Bruce:

It would be interesting to hear The Rev Al explain . . . during any of his many meetings with the President, has Obama ever hit Big Al up for the millions in back taxes that he owes?

But, Sharpton would probably dodge that just like he’s dodged everything else. The whole thing would be about as satisfying as inviting Ed Wegman to speak at a statistics seminar, or inviting Mark Hauser to explain his coding of those notorious videotapes, or waiting for paint to dry or for David Brooks to correct his published errors. In short: frustrating, not fun.

So Judy it will be, advancing to face today’s winner . . .

And we close off the first round of our competition with a divine contest: the top-ranked cult figure of all time—a man who, in my opinion, is a much better writer than film-maker—against a religious leader and singer of unforgettable anthems who also gets points for contributing to the Millennium Village Project. (Unfortunately Jeff Sachs was too busy to enter our contest—I don’t think it would be possible to book him to speak at Columbia.) You can’t really go wrong with either of these guys.

P.S. As always, here’s the background, and here are the rules.


  1. Jonathan (another one) says:

    Sonny Bono, maybe. It’s two names or nothing.

    There are seven one-named contestants and after early success, they have had a bad streak lately: Plato (W), Mohammad (W), Jesus (L), Aristotle (L), Abraham (L), Buddha (L), Bono (?)

    My first question is: which of these is not like the others?

    Second, the series WWLLLLL doesn’t look random, while the series WWLLLLW looks somewhat more random. Surely we don’t want to think that the results are random, do we? Plus, someone years hence might do a study of the “One-Named Hot Hand” and conclude, ummm, something or other.

    So it’s Waters for me. Bonus points if you’ve read John McPhee in the New Yorker this week and can come up with the right adjective for Waters’ mustache.

  2. zbicyclist says:

    Waters is the best bet to insure interesting things will happen at the seminar.

  3. Adam says:

    I’m not sure Bono needs another platform to drone on about how great he is. I vote Waters.

  4. Tom says:

    Let’s face it – Bono is only good with three friends. On his own he wouldn’t win the ‘one name’ contest against Bob the builder.

    • Andrew says:

      OK, for next time, single-named musicians?

      Madonna, Elvis, Sting, Beck, Prince, Lorde, Eminem, . . . ummm, I’m probably forgetting someone obvious here? Moby? We can do better than Moby, yeah?

      • jrc says:

        We can definitely do better than Moby. And not just because I was driving around LA a couple years back and almost changed lanes into the car next to me and he yelled out “Smooth move Moby” at me. Which was about two years after some pretty girl came up to me at a bar and said “Hi… immmm… are you Moby?” She then walked away. I hate Moby.

        • Andrew says:

          Hey, this reminds me of another category for next year’s competition: Legends of Radio. We can have Joe Frank, Douglas Adams, Jack Benny, Garrison Keillor, Rush Limbaugh, the Car Talk guys (2 guys but they count as 1 entry), Ira Glass, and Edward R. Murrow. Top seeds would have to be Limbaugh, Adams, the Car Talk guys, and, hmmm, let’s stick Murrow in the #4 slot. Joe Frank is the dark horse who could win it all.

        • I’ve gotten a whole lot of “hey, Moby!” too, especially in Paris of all places (maybe they know better in NYC). While we’re both bald, middle aged, New Yorkers with heavy black glasses, I’m a whole lot taller and heavier and he’s a whole lot more musical.

      • Tom says:

        I don’t want to get into next year’s competition already but: Morissey over Moby

  5. Manuel says:

    Pretty close, I think. But Waters has more interesting co-authors. Better to hear anecdotes about working with Divine than ditto with The Edge.

  6. JR says:

    I’m just trying to familiarize myself with the folks at this stage of the draw. John seems like a good egg. I’ve watched about 45 seconds of a talk he gave; I’ll watch the rest at some point. In my mind he beats Bono for a lecture. Give me methods or philosophy.

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