Y2K – The 59 All-Time Greatest… – Column

Y2K – The 59 All-Time Greatest…

Translated from the French by Daniel Davis
collage by Scott Hefflon

Internationally renowned Music/Film/Fashion/Media critic Jean-Paul Bavard was recently asked by the editors of The Journal of French Semiotic Theory for his list of the most important and influential events and people of the 20th century. Not content to merely compile yet another end-of-the-century list as so many others have done, Mr. Bavard expanded his list to cover a much broader base, reflecting the impressive sweep of his globally admired critical expertise.
(Reprinted from The Journal of French Semiotic Theory, Oct. 1999. )

The 59 All-Time Greatest, Most Important, Most Influential, Life-Changing People, Albums, Events, Artists, Hairstyles, Films, Moments, Musicians, Novels, Supermodels, Television Programs, Entertainers, Songs, Celebrities, Newscasters, Philosophers, Scientific Breakthroughs, Consumer Products, Boy Bands, Poets, Superstars, Works of Art, and Web Sites of Year, Decade, Century and Millennium.

Certainement, now that the end of l’millennium is upon us, it is the time for selecting the many events and artists that define this arbitrarily chosen mathematical division of time that we all love and despise so very much. It is a difficult task for anyone, even an internationally-admired Music/Film/Fashion/Media critic such as myself. But it must be done, and so I have done it, in as precise and objective a manner as possible. A system was devised, measuring each possible candidate’s greatness, fabulousness, influence upon our culture, and general je ne sais quoi. The scores were tabulated through a complex mathematical equation, to balance such factors as sales, critical/historical import, and number of times mentioned in People magazine. As always, many deserving candidates were left off; and many underrated others were included. C’est la vie. I offer no apologies to the supporters of the likes of overrated things such as The Declaration of Independence (obviously stolen from French philosophes) or Winston Churchill.

1. Cher
2. Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
3. The French Revolution
4. Electronica
5. Wittgenstein
6. Ally McBeal
7. penicillin invented
8. The U.S. Bill of Rights
9. Courtney Love
10. Invention of the Printing Press
11. Led Zeppelin II
12. Woodstock II
13. World War II
14. The Empire Strikes Back
15. Beck
16. JFK assassinated
17. Tupac assassinated
18. “Smells Like Teen Spirit”
19. Princess Diana
20. Woodstock
21. Foghat Live
22. Elvis Presley appears on Ed Sullivan
23. the Magna Carta is signed
24. Close Encounters of the Third Kind
25. Mozart
26. The Bridges of Madison County
27. Protestant Reformation
28. Cats
29. Michael Jordan
30. Pablo Picasso
31. Limp Bizkit
32. Leonardo Di Caprio
33. Leonardo Da Vinci
34. Iman
35. Hitler invades Poland
36. Madonna
37. Archduke Francis Ferdinand is assassinated
38. Puck kicked out of house on Real World
39. Michaelangelo’s “David”
40. “Ain’t Nuthin’ But a ‘G’ Thang”
41. Industrial Revolution
42. Fiona Apple
43. James Joyce
44. N’Sync*
45. The next Prodigy album**
46. Battle of Hastings
47. Citizen Kane
48. Spanish Inquisition
49. Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs
50. William Shakespeare
51. Joan of Arc
52. Pokemon
53. Louis XIV
54. Last episode of M*A*S*H
55. Bubonic plague sweeps Europe
56. Monica Lewinsky
57. Abraham Lincoln
58. The Macarena
59. Treaty of Ghent

* Back before they sold out, when it was about the music,.
** technically not released, or even recorded in this millennium, but it’s going to be brilliant, I can tell.