In his final free throw attempt of the ’94 season, he stepped to the line with a chance to make history. Does his miss say anything about what it takes to succeed, or the transcendent qualities of a champion, or the nature of failure? Nope.
Word processing – the world’s first “killer app” – enabled Wang Laboratories to threaten IBM’s decades of dominance in the computing world. The rise of the PC, and a troubled dynastic succession, led to the once high-flying company’s rapid demise.
Louis Pasteur’s bitter rival staked everything on a discredited theory of the role that germs play in the body. If his theories regain a measure of respectability, as many believe they already have, will statues of Antoine Bechamp appear beside those of Pasteur?
If Samuel Beckett was literary heir to James Joyce, the one who had studied at the feet of the master, assisted him at his labors, and carried forward the banner of modernism, Flann O’Brien was Joyce’s wayward second cousin, one who hauled the banner further still, into the post-modern absurd, but only after spitting on it, pissing on it, and ripping it to shreds.
A principled broadcast journalist who felt that newsmen should take sides on public issues constantly sparred with his network overseers and consistently lost the ratings battle to “the most trusted man in America”, Walter Cronkite.
The naturalist whose contemporaneous insights into “the transmutation of species” may have shared top billing with Darwin had he not been immersed in field work in Southeast Asia at the time of Darwin’s first coming out party.