The Atlantic honors “First Time” video star Lena Dunham, nanny state champ Michael Bloomberg

The Atlantic magazine has released its 2012 list of Brave Thinkers,”people risking their reputations, fortunes, and lives in pursuit of big ideas,” and two of the winners might surprise you.

Mixed in among the likes of Fawzia Koofi, an Afghani woman running for president of her country despite death threats, and Taylor Wilson, an 18-year-old skipping college to find a way to harness energy from nuclear fusion, are two familiar names — Lena Dunham and Michael Bloomberg.

The Atlantic honors the actress in HBO’s series “Girls” for her “radical message” that “women do not necessarily exist to be liked.” This doesn’t seem like a new concept, and the magazine avoids discussing a disturbing instance of Dunham radicalism: her creepy and insulting “First Time” ad for the Obama campaign. The ad compares first-time voting to losing one’s virginity, harping on how uncool it is for a young woman to say she hasn’t done either. Apparently Dunham’s “pursuit of big ideas” includes the message that women don’t necessarily exist to be respected, either.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is also on the list for what the magazine calls “the Bloomberg way.” A look at the ideas Bloomberg has championed, however, reveals how overbearing this “way” has been. For example, Bloomberg pushed and passed the large soda ban, something that earned him criticism and the nickname “Nanny Bloomberg.” If throwing the rights and individual choices of his city’s residents out the window is considered a brave big idea, then let’s add some dictators to the list. Bloomberg claims he is fighting obesity, but even good intentions can cross into dangerous territory if they come at the risk of personal freedoms.

It is also interesting to note that on The Atlantic‘s website readers can rate these brave thinkers from one star — “not taking much risk” — to five stars — “risking it all.” Dunham is ranked lowest out of all 22 honorees, with an average of 1.8 stars at the time of this article. Even the “Sticker Lady,” who was jailed for vandalizing Singapore with stickers, has garnered an average of 2.9 stars. Bloomberg is middle of the pack, with an average of 3.2 stars.

Surely two other people in the world must exist who have done more original — and constructive — thinking than Dunham and Bloomberg. Fingers crossed for next year’s list.

Comments

Polititainment

Obama: LeBron 'did the right thing'

President Obama supports LeBron James' decision to wear an "I can't breathe" t-shirt during warmup before the NBA game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Brooklyn Nets last week.

Al Sharpton, Hollywood's Sony Liaison

In a private meeting with Rev. Al Sharpton at the Greenwich Hotel in New York City Thursday, Sony Pictures chair Amy Pascal told Sharpton that he could have a voice in how the movie studio makes its films.

Clooney: Release 'The Interview' online

George Clooney may have the most awesomely toothy response to the Sony Pictures cyberattack that forced the movie studio to pull the film "The Interview" from its December 25 release.

Jon Stewart might ruin your childhood

Jon Stewart brought his nightmare-inducing recurring character “Gitmo” on the show to talk about the normalization of U.S. relations with Cuba.

Colbert's embargo on the Vatican

Colbert had to chide his audience Wednesday night for getting excited about making “Cuba more libre.”

White House

Obama: we can’t have censorship subject to ‘some dictator someplace’

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama declared Friday that Sony "made a mistake" in shelving a satirical film about a plot to assassinate North Korea's leader, and he pledged the U.S. would respond "in a place and manner and time that we choose" to the hacking attack on Sony that led to the withdrawal. The FBI blamed the hack on the communist government.

U.S. confirms North Korea was behind Sony attack and promises ‘proportional’ response

Officials no longer merely suspect North Korea to be behind the cyberattack on Sony Picture—they’ve confirmed it.

District court declares Obama’s executive action on immigration unconstitutional
A federal court in Pennsylvania declared parts of President Obama’s executive actions on immigration unconstitutional Tuesday. Judge Arthur J. Schwab, sitting in the western district of Pennsylvania, said presidents do have the power to use discretion in deciding how to enforce laws, but found that Obama’s recent executive action went much further than that.  He said Obama was writing […]
Obama administration extends Pell grants to juvenile offenders
The Obama administration has set out new guidelines that allow for students sentenced to juvenile correctional facilities to be eligible for federal Pell grants. The U.S. Department of Education and Department of Justice sent out a joint release Monday that clarified an earlier law. Congress in 1994 prohibited inmates at federal and state prisons from receiving Pell Grants […]
White House denies report that it wants to delay release of CIA torture report

The White House is insisting it wants the Senate Intelligence Committee to release its report on CIA torture practices, despite a report that Secretary of State John Kerry is trying to scuttle it.

Congress

Rubio says Rand Paul is clueless on Cuba

Sen. Marco Rubio made his criticism of a fellow Republican plain Thursday night.

Gowdy's office responds to Speaker chatter

Rep. Trey Gowdy has become a sensation on the Right, with his no-nonsense style and committee hearing takedowns of Obama officials garnering him praise and attention.

Rand Paul: 'Opening up Cuba is a good idea'

Sen. Rand Paul broke with the Republican Party's prevailing argument against President Obama's Cuba policy Thursday, saying the move toward opening trade with the long-embargoed nation "probably" is a good idea.

Retiring DemHenry Waxman's farewell ode to govt

You'd think that, 40 years in, a congressman might grow cynical about the prospects of government meddling. Not retiring Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.)!

Senate Confirms Pro-Gun Control Surgeon General
NATIONAL JOURNAL — The Senate narrowly confirmed a new surgeon general whose nomination was delayed for months in a fight over his comments alleging that guns are a public health issue. The confirmation represents a victory for gun-control advocates, even as recent polling has shown Americans moving in the other direction toward gun-rights protections. The […]