It’s time again to consider nominees for the Al Copeland Humanitarian Award. The award is meant to honor a person who has made a significant contribution to improving the human condition.
The criteria of the Al Copeland Humanitarian Award can be summarized by quoting our original blog post in which we sang the praises of Al Copeland and all that he did for humanity:
“Al Copeland may not have done the most to benefit humanity, but he certainly did more than many people who receive such awards. Chicago gave Bill Ayers their Citizen of the Year award in 1997. And the Nobel Peace Prize has too often gone to a motley crew including unrepentant terrorist, Yassir Arafat, and fictional autobiography writer, Rigoberta Menchu. Local humanitarian awards tend to go to hack politicians or community activists. From all these award recipients you might think that a humanitarian was someone who stopped throwing bombs… or who you hoped would picket, tax, regulate, or imprison someone else.
Al Copeland never threatened to bomb, picket, tax, regulate, or imprison anyone. By that standard alone he would be much more of a humanitarian. But Al Copeland did even more — he gave us spicy chicken.”
Last year’s winner was Debrilla M. Ratchford, who significantly improved the human condition by inventing the rollerbag, beating out Steve Henson, who gave us ranch dressing, Fasi Zaka, who ridiculed the Taliban, Ralp Teetor, who invented cruise control, and Mary Quant, who popularized the miniskirt.
This year I would like to nominate The Most Interesting Man in the World.
The Most Interesting Man has improved the human condition by modeling “the good life.” In an age that lionizes anti-heroes, slackers, and losers, it is nice to be reminded of what masculine virtue can look like (even if Harvey Mansfield would find that redundant).
Yes, The Most Interesting Man is fictional, but the award is for a “person,” which I believe could include a fictional person. In the past we have focused on entrepreneurs as nominees for the Al Copeland Humanitarian Award, with the purpose of emphasizing how inventors and business people can improve the human condition much more than the politicians and activists who more typically receive such awards.
But I think we should expand our set to include the idea of a person. The creation of that idea — whoever developed the ad campaign — could be at least as important for improving the human condition as the creation of a business or product.
The floor is now open for other nominations.