The next time you have to sit through an old crone lecturing you about the perils of social media preserving all of our generation’s embarrassing moments, quickly whip out your fancy-pants internet and remind them that there were youthful decisions that retrospect rendered hideous even before Facebook started a newsfeed.
Specifically, remind them that back in good ol’ 1939, Princeton University freshmen voted Adolf Hitler (of Germany, yes that Adolf Hitler) "the greatest living person." For the second straight year.
As the New York Times noted:
Ninety-three votes were given to the German Chancellor, as compared with twenty-seven to Albert Einstein in second position and fifteen to Neville Chamberlain in third.
So even after Adolf Hitler’s Nazi party “went viral” in the German government five years prior, after having “poked” Poland in his first year of Princeton popularity, and after beginning to “reply all” to the Jewish question, NONE of that seemed impressively bad enough to prevent America’s pampered 18-year-olds from confirming Hitler as a super solid guy.
Albert Einstein, one of the greatest minds in modernity, only placed second — with three times fewer votes. Having recently “defriended” Germany, Einstein may have had a familiar message for Princeton’s freshmen: be careful not to do anything that’ll embarrass you later.