What’s the measure of a great man? The length of his obituary in The New York Times, if he’s prominent enough to make the Times? The awards and honors he has accumulated on his vita, however exaggerated? Or perhaps what prestigious men say about him in their eulogies? Is that the measure of greatness?
I’ve known allegedly great men who were tyrants, philanderers and crooks. At the end of their lives when you scratched the surface, the gold plate that concealed their misdeeds came off easily, and they were still tyrants, philanderers and crooks — regardless of what others said at their funerals … and what was written about them.