An open letter to Stephen Colbert

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Dear Dr. Colbert,

We must regretfully inform you that, after careful consideration and intense deliberation, we have not included you on the Foreign Policy/Prospect list of the world's Top 100 Public Intellectuals in our May/June issue.

Although your high public profile and loyal following make you a strong candidate for this honor, we have concluded that the lack of empirical evidence and logical coherence in your arguments disqualifies you for consideration as an "intellectual." While all of us here greatly enjoy your work, we simply did not feel that it contained sufficient analytical rigor to place you in the company of such luminaries as Noam Chomsky, Richard Dawkins, or the pope.

This was not an easy decision to make. It has provoked intense bitterness and division among our staff. Therefore, we feel obligated to inform you that there is another way of gaining a spot on the list. Until Thursday, May 15, members of the public can visit and vote for the world’s top public intellectuals. The e-ballot will include a write-in option for intellectuals that FP did not initially include. We will publish the public's top 20 choices in our July/August issue, in addition to the top five write-in nominees. If you can convince the people of the world that you are not only an entertainer, but a major thinker as well, you just may have a chance of making the final cut.

Given the high caliber of this year's list, we expect that the competition will be tough, but we invite you to make your case nonetheless.

We wish you the best of luck and commend you on your service to America.


Blake Hounshell
Web Editor,


Eddie Izzard for EU president

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British comedian Eddie Izzard made a stop in Washington last week, and I got a chance to see his show at, ironically, the Daughters of the American Revolution's Constitution Hall. (Ironic because Izzard is famous for doing shows in drag.)

Having seen Dress to Kill, his HBO special, I was psyched to hear some quality jokes about the European Union. Izzard is a big fan of EU integration, and he often weaves pro-EU commentary into his act. As he puts it in Dress to Kill, the EU is "the cutting edge of politics in an extraordinarily boring way." Or in 2006 for the Guardian, "The EU is like a huge rock festival: everyone has colour-coded passes and there are no wars." He even told Newsweek recently that he eventually wants to go into European politics on a platform of "logical governance." In his view, the stakes could not be higher:

We've got to make it work in Europe. People are very worried about sovereignty and the loss of sovereignty. I think the stakes are if we don't make the European Union work, then the world is screwed. End of story.

Instead of EU wisecracks, though, Izzard treated us to a long and extremely funny disquisition on Wikipedia, prehistory, and religion. In his encore, he did work in a quick plug for the European Space Agency, but that was about it.