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Bunny Ears Lawyer: Real Life
  • Sometimes can be justified biologically as studies now show that high intelligence is connected to some forms of mental illness. It would certainly explain why the Mad Scientist concept is so ancient a trope, and why there's such a long Real Life section for Bunny-Ears Lawyer in the first place...
  • The late Bobby Fischer, chess master and notorious crackpot. In fact, he took this Up to Eleven: while reaching complete mastery of a skill like as chess usually takes at least 10 years of tireless practice (roughly 10,000 hours), he reached that level in 9. Fischer was a notorious fascist (despite his own mother being Jewish) who often even outdid the Nazis with his crackpot theories. On the lighter side, he was known for making explosion sound effects when he captured an opponent's piece.
  • 18th century physicist Henry Cavendish, who was and still is honoured at Cambridge University and is most famous for weighing planet Earth and determining its density, using nothing but two iron balls and a system of pulleys. It took a century for anyone to improve on his figures. Cavendish could achieve that kind of accuracy because he was massively obsessive-compulsive. He was so terrified of other people that he refused to attend any scientific conferences in the latter half of his life and could only communicate by letter, including with his own housekeeper. When ambushed by a reporter he fled down the street and had to be retrieved by his family. He would sometimes attend social gatherings, but only sit very quietly in a corner, not talking to anyone. Anyone who wanted his insight into something was advised to "wander over as if by chance and talk, as it were, into a vacancy". If Cavendish felt so moved, he might deign to reply. Mostly, though, he just made an upset noise and fled.
  • Very common among ice hockey goaltenders. Terry Sawchuk suffered from bouts of depression throughout his career, eventually dying from injuries resulting from an off-ice scuffle with a teammate. Patrick Roy talked to his net, and refused to skate over the blue lines that separated the defensive and neutral zones. Gilles Gratton, who wore a tiger themed mask, is reported to have hissed and growled at opposing players. An old expression among ice hockey players is, "He's normal... for a goalie." It takes a special kind of person to put aside the logic of self-preservation and throw one's body in front of a hard disk pursued by very large men armed with sticks and low coefficients of friction. Very special.
  • Likewise, pitchers in baseball. Bill "Spaceman" Lee and "Oil Can" Boyd are two prominent examples. Once, when Montreal Expos manager Buck Rodgers was asked if he knew about Pascual Perez's habit of talking to himself on the mound, he replied: "He also talks to the baseball, the resin bag, and planes passing overhead. I don't care, as long as he keeps getting outs".
  • Mathematicians seem to be very prone to this:
    • Paul Erdős was famous not only for his intensely prolific mathematical career but also for his idiosyncratic vocabulary (children were "epsilons", women were "bosses", men were "slaves", the Soviet Union was "Joe" (Stalin?) and the US was "Sam" (Uncle?), etc.) and being helpless in day-to-day life to the point that he was usually accompanied by fellow mathematician Ron Graham, almost to the point of being his caretaker. For much of his life, he had no permanent home, and no possessions but a bag of clothes and some notebooks, but was so well respected that other mathematicians would let him stay over nearly anywhere he happened to travel. He also accused God of hiding his socks. His amphetamine habit probably helped his eccentricities along; on the other hand, when he gave them up for thirty days on a bet, he claimed that the "progress of mathematics had been set back by one month". He also had a skin condition that meant he could only wear silk, which his host had to wash for him. He did mathematics twenty hours a day and would bang pans together when he wanted your attention, usually to do math in the middle of the night. He didn't show up at peoples' homes at random, but he researched them and proclaimed "My mind is open" when they answered the door. He's still considered so influential that mathematicians keep track of how many papers they are removed from him.
    • Kurt Gödel was a paranoid recluse with a terror of being poisoned, refusing to eat any food his wife Adele hadn't tasted for him. When she was hospitalized for six months, he starved to death.
    • John Forbes Nash, Jr., subject of the film A Beautiful Mind, won the Nobel Prize before succumbing to schizophrenia, and, though you won't see it in the film, virulently anti-Semitic schizophrenia at that. Although his academic output ground to a halt during the worst periods of his mental illness, he could hardly be called "normal" before or after, either.
    • Alan Turing's odd habits are legendary: for example, he had a bicycle which he used for most travel, even after WWII ended, which had a damaged chain and spokes which would cause it to de-rail regularly; rather than replace it, he would count the number of turns before it would de-rail, and step off the bike to reset it. Unfortunately his brilliance couldn't save him for being persecuted for his homosexuality. He was stripped of his security clearance, chemically castrated, and eventually driven to suicide.
    • John Von Neumann was, like Turing, one of the fathers of the electronic computer; he also played a key role in the Manhattan Project and formulated the game theory behind US nuclear weapons policy. He was also an inveterate womanizer and gambler, and was known to give class lectures in the suit he'd worn to parties the night before, having stayed awake the whole night. He also liked fast cars and reckless driving — a corner where he wrecked more than one car was named "Von Neumann Corner" by the locals. Feynman would later attribute his 'creative irresponsibility' to something Von Neumann had said to him while they were both at Los Alamos.
    • Norbert Wiener, one of the founders of the field of cybernetics, was known for being absent-minded and frequently got lost even in familiar places. While at the Princeton University Institute for Advanced Studies, he would find his way to his office using the 'right-hand rule' for maze solution, trailing one finger along the walls as he continued reading. This led to him startling colleagues by walking into their offices, following the walls around and back out, without speaking or even looking up from his book the whole time, seemingly oblivious to where he was until he reached his own office.
    • Theodore Kaczynski, the Unabomber, deserves special mention, as he was considered eccentric by other mathematicians even before he went Ax-Crazy.
    • Tom Lehrer is less known for his lengthy and prestigious career in mathematics than his (relatively short) career as a songwriter, where he wrote comedy songs that mix intellectual topics and politics with a heavy dose of Black Comedy.
  • The American Civil War could pretty much be renamed the War of Bunny Ears Generals.
    • Stonewall Jackson was a shrewd tactician and a dauntless battlefield commander. He was also a hypochondriac and restlessly raised one arm, both of which may have played a role in his death (he was shot in the arm, and developed pneumonia when he had an aide wrap him in wet cloths after the amputation). He also had the habit of praying to ward off demonic possession, eyes open, on horseback, content in the belief God could surely hear him there as well as anywhere. Before the war he taught at Virginia Military Institute, where he earned the name "Tom-fool Jackson" for his useless physics lectures. It's been strongly suspected that Stonewall Jackson had Asperger's Syndrome.
    • Also on the Confederate side, Longstreet went into battle wearing carpet slippers at one point.
    • On the Union side, Custer carried a pet mouse with him in battle at all times.
    • This actually saved Ulysses S. Grant's career, since his problems with alcohol note , dishevelled appearance note , meat-grinder battle strategies, and PTSD-induced crying jags after every battle (he was nauseated by blood to the point of being unable to eat rare-cooked meat, a combination of his experiences fighting in the Mexican-American War and working in a tannery) would have been pretty strong grounds for removal had he not ALSO been a master horseman and brilliant tactician with a standout victory record, at a time when the Union was particularly hard-up for decent military leaders. He was known for his cool on the battlefield (as opposed to the weeping off it), riding closer to the action than generals were supposed to. This resulted in bullet holes through his uniform and several horses shot out from under him. When informed of the chronic drunkenness, Lincoln famously replied that they should send a case of whatever Grant was drinking to all his other generals, because maybe it would improve their crappy performance.
    • William Tecumseh Sherman was known for his many demerits as a cadet at West Point and for his utter lack of military decorum as a commander. He was also known for literally ruthless efficiency and for formulating the first theory of modern "total war".
  • Fred Hoyle was a great astronomer, but coined the term "Big Bang" as a pejorative against the theory of the universe's development from singularity. He continued to argue for his steady-state model based on his philosophical beliefs (he was an atheist and saw the Big Bang as too suggestive of a creator) even after discoveries such as cosmic microwave background radiation and in-progress star formation consistently upheld the scientific superiority of the Big Bang. He also rejected abiogenesis as an explanation of life on Earth, suggesting instead that the development of life began in space and its evolution was driven by viruses arriving on Earth via comets. Even weirder, he argued that the shape of the human nose had evolved to protect us from influenza...which he believed fell to Earth from outer space. He also questioned the veracity of the "Archaeopteryx" fossil. After resigning from his position as Director of Theoretical Astronomy at Cambridge Institute and as Plumian Professor, he claimed his removal was politically motivated and accused the university of being "Robespierre-like". He claimed on the record that the scientific community did not give fair hearing to opponents of evolution, without presenting any new evidence contrary to abiogenesis or natural selection, or in support of his own "space origin" theory.
  • Jack Parsons was a brilliant chemist and explosives expert, and was one of the founders of the Jet Propulsion Lab. He was also an occultist and the leader of the Agape Lodge, the major branch of the Ordo Templi Orientalis in the western US.
  • Aleister Crowley, "The Great Beast 666", was a chess master and expert mountain climber in addition to being the most famous (or notorious) occultist of the 20th century. His chess-mastery is worthy of mention, as he was reportedly not only capable of winning a game without looking at the board (not a terrifically uncommon skill among chess masters), but also doing so while having sex at the same time.
  • Crowley's mucker, W.B. Yeats, in addition to being a damn fine poet, subscribed to a rather odd and quackish macrohistorical theory connecting Helen of Troy and Jesus. He also believed that he was given said quackish theory by higher beings who communicated with him through his wife via free-association writing. Even better, the "higher beings" claimed they were just trying to provide symbols to use in his poetry.
  • Prominent politicians usually have at least one major irrational quirk they just can't hide.
    • American presidents are not an exception to this rule.
      • Richard Nixon was one of the (if not the single) most corrupt and paranoid presidents ever. Yet he fought for open relations with China, against inflation and segregation, and for environmental concerns. He's been described as an "idiosyncratic president, so brilliant and so morally lacking".
      • And let's not forget all the President Actions we've had: from Andrew Jackson and his penchant for duels, to Theodore Roosevelt, who made foreign ambassadors accompany him on his grueling morning jog for the privilege of speaking with him.
      • It's Lyndon Johnson who takes the cake, though. Let's count the ways:
      1. He apparently had a habit of taking his tallywhacker (which he deservedly called "Jumbo") out and shaking it at the White House Press Corps, chiefly to intimidate them. (Since it was the 1960s — i.e. pre-Watergate — they didn't report this at the time.)
      2. He installed a telephone in his toilet, that he might conduct business from there. He frequently told the person on the other end of the line where he was.
      3. He would have aides and even other politicians come into the toilet with him, in order to conduct business. He was frequently sitting down.
      4. He would eat extremely quickly. While this isn't odd on its own, he would also just casually start eating the food of whoever was sitting near to him after he inevitably finished before them.
      5. Starting during his career in the Senate, he had a habit of leaning in really close to another Senator as part of "the Johnson treatment," the most thorough and effective combination of cajolery, browbeating, and outright intimidation that august body has ever seen. And then, this would escalate to kicking. With LBJ's steel-toed boots. His secretary remembers people's shins bleeding profusely. He continued even after becoming Vice President (where he leveraged the "President of the Senate" side of the office into "President's Enforcer in the Senate") and as President.
      6. He would pick up his dog by the ears, and insist "He lahks it!"
      7. He enjoyed driving in the countryside around his Texas ranch, often at speeds of up to 90 miles per hour.
      8. He also owned an amphibious car and would often surprise his passengers by driving off the road into a lake.
      9. When The Pope sent a couple of paintings as gifts to the US, LBJ sent a bust of himself as a thank-you. Not a bust of the Pope. A bust of Lyndon Johnson.
    • J. Edgar Hoover, who led the FBI from its establishment in 1935 to his death in 1972, may very well have been the most brilliantly insidious man in the history of American politics. There's no end to the conspiracy theories surrounding him, and at one point he had the audacity to resist Richard Nixon when he feared the Bureau's powers were being threatened. Hoover apparently had naked pictures of Eleanor Roosevelt. Not necessarily for blackmail or "personal use", just because he could. He also had pictures of Marilyn Monroe, although those WERE for "personal use". Upon Hoover's death, Richard Nixon is said to have exclaimed "Jesus Christ, that old cocksucker!" Classy.
    • Canadian Prime Ministers seem to have some sort of bunny ears quota to meet.
      • William Lyon Mackenzie King, our PM for World War II, was a brilliant man in office, but at home? He used spirit mediums to get advice from his dead mother and several of his dead pet dogs, all of them named Pat. Spiritualism was fairly common after World War One but King took it pretty far.
      • Pierre Elliott Trudeau takes the cake on this one. He rode motorcycles dressed in Prussian military regalia in high school, married a woman 29 years his junior (who may have had an affair with Mick Jagger of all people), dressed far more casually than anyone else had in his job, gave the finger to a bunch of protesters (who, in fairness, were yelling anti-French slurs at the Quebecois Trudeau), slid down the bannisters at Buckingham Palace, and did a pirouette behind the Queen. On national television. On the other hand, he was nothing if not an effective and principled politician: as Justice Minister under Lester Pearson, when asked about legalizing homosexuality he famously stated that "the state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation" and rewrote or just removed large portions of the Criminal Code on that principle. He became a very effective, if extremely controversial Prime Minister, implementing various policies to make Canada a "Just Society," promoting bilingualism, pursuing a foreign policy independent of both Britain and the US, and dealing with the October Crisis (wherein Quebec separatist terrorists kidnapped and murdered a Quebecois official and a British diplomat) with scary efficiency. He brought in the military, made sweeping arrests, and ended the crisis without any more needless bloodshed.
      • In more recent years, there's also no forgetting Jean Chretien, renowned for not being able to speak either official language on account of his Bell's Palsy (making it in rather poor taste to mock him for it) — but his penchant for golf was such that he defended himself at a fraud inquiry with a handful of golf balls. Chretien also once broke away from his security detail at a rally in Quebec, and began wading through the crowd. One man (who happened to be a Quebec Separatist, but nothing about him at the time indicated this) didn't get out of his way fast enough, and found himself being strangled by the then-Prime Minister of Canada. Chretien's later 'explanation' of his attack was incoherent on a level that had nothing to do with partial facial paralysis.
      • We also have The Man Who Would Be (or who would have been) Prime Minister - Stockwell Day, who: 1. Arrived at a press conference by jet-ski; 2. Conducted said press conference wearing a wet suit; 3. Insisted that man walked with the dinosaur; 4. Ended up being elected the head of the Canadian Conservative Reform Alliance Party (CCRAP, seriously - they did change the name afterwards) over party founder and likely favourite Preston Manning, and arguably was responsible for uniting the divided right-wing of Canadian politics.
      • And of course, our present Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who writes books about the history of hockey. There's little doubt as to his skill as a politician: he held together not one but two Tory minority governments in a row (which nobody had done before, ever) before leading his party to a majority, and he came up with some of the most magnificent and brilliant abuses of the rules to stay in power during his second term.
      • John Diefenbaker's eccentricies have been the subject of no less than two Hark! A Vagrant strips.
    • Winston Churchill went one better. Worked and slept unusual hours, for a start, but topped it by holding a meeting with Franklin D. Roosevelt while taking a bath. He commented that "two great men have nothing to hide from each other". This particular encounter occurred during his stay at the White House, during which time he more or less got Roosevelt operating according to his schedule (not that "work hard, play harder" FDR minded), which besides the odd hours meant drinking a whole lot of alcohol even when making major decisions. Realizing that a substantial portion of the Allied strategy for World War II was cooked up by these two, while never less than tipsy and frequently while hammered, really makes you wonder.
      • The actual extent of Churchill's drinking is somewhat unclear. Whilst there are many anecdotes about Churchill drinking, there are fewer about him being drunk. His close contemporaries report that he was rarely outright drunk, that one glass of whisky would last hours, and that he was one of the only men who improved at politics after a whisky or three.
  • Soviet Prime Minister and CPSU General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev might appear to many to just have been an overweight, self-gratifying, vain, out-of-touch career politician, until you realize he presided over the two most stable decades of Soviet (and potentially Russian) history, when his country came closest to parity with the military superpowers of the west and the Soviet standard of living hit a record high despite economic stagnation. How? Delegating, delegating, delegating. One of the major responsibilities of any decent politician, and certainly of the offices Brezhnev held, was to appoint competent, realistically-minded subordinates who could do the job better than you personally, which Brezhnev got with the likes of Kosygin, Gromyko, Andropov and Gorshkov, men who not only had long careers but were widely lauded afterwards for solid, tireless work. Meanwhile, Brezhnev met his obligations — he was deeply respected by contemporary Western politicians like Johnson, Nixon, and Wilson as an authoritative negotiator — leaving him time to enjoy his rather long list of hobbies, including hockey, game hunting, medal-collecting, fast cars, crying during emotional scenes at film screenings, making jokes with his cabinet, and Gunsmoke.
  • Boris Johnson, the current Mayor of London, acts like a terrifically eccentric buffoon but knows his shit as a politician. By now it's pretty well accepted that he's faking it to some extent for publicity (it hardly hurt the MP for Henley that he insulted Liverpool) as he's been performing the same act since his undergraduate days, but he's lampshaded his own act several times by claiming that it really does come from someplace weird:
    "I think that is the terrifying reality. Beneath the elaborately constructed veneer of the bumbling buffoon, there may well be a bumbling buffoon. That is the nightmare we all have to live with."
  • King Frederick VII of Denmark (1848-63) divorced two wives under scandalous circumstances before finally marrying his best friend's baby-mama (a former ballet dancer), drank heavily, and was prone to telling outrageous tall-tales such as how he had fought in the Battle at Waterloo (he was seven years old at the time). He also reigned during Denmark's peaceful transition from absolute to constitutional monarchy, and was so popular he was nicknamed "Folkekĉr" ("beloved of the people").
  • Immanuel Kant, one of the Western world's most influential philosophers, was known as a man of exceedingly regular habits. He would take a walk every single day at 3:30 pm and it was said that you could set your watch by him. Supposedly the only time he ever missed a walk was when he was reading Rousseau's Emile. He also never ventured more than 40 miles from his home in Königsberg.
  • Benjamin Franklin may have taken part in occult rituals and was heavily obsessed with sexnote  and turkeys (though he never combined the two), and yet is one of the most celebrated American historical figures.
  • Not only was Roald Dahl a Bunny-Ears himself (he played practical jokes on his upper crust friends so often it's a wonder any of them ever trusted him, and he had very specific demands when writing, including using a particular kind of pencil that was only ever sold in Britain), but he was also a magnet for these kind of people, especially early in life.
  • Michael Jackson. Everybody knows he was obsessed with reclaiming his childhood through things like his Neverland Ranch, with its personal zoo and amusement park. But he maintained a large and loyal fanbase, and weirdness aside, his early musical talent and showmanship are undeniable. The man made THRILLER. His later music and performances were impressive too, but media started focusing more on his personal life. Never the less, when his comeback residency at the O2 arena in London was announced, tickets went extremely quickly. And now that he's dead, he's gotten even more leeway.
  • James M. Barrie, author of Peter Pan, created one of the classics of children's literature but also refused to grow up, didn't understand why kids DID want to, spent most of his time with boys who he (allegedly) slept with, and developed a depression so deep he could barely function in society in later life.
  • William Moulton Marston. Creator of the polygraph (lie detector). Creator of Wonder Woman. And perfectly willing to use both to demonstrate his eternal love of bondage. And that's not to mention his belief that the world would be better off entering into "loving submission" to a world matriarchy, also demonstrated in his Wonder Woman book. Or the "menage a trois" household he maintained with two women...
  • Usain Bolt of Jamaica. Pretty much the undisputed fastest person alive after becoming the first man ever to sweep Olympic gold in the 100m, 200m and the 4X100m relay twice (2008 and 2012), he is perhaps better known for his behavior on the field. He set a world record by a significant margin in the 100-meter while showboating for the last twenty. And his shoelace was untied, and he'd spent most of the previous day watching TV and eating fried chicken. How fast is this man when he's trying?
    • Despite this, he shows genuine humility, going so far as to interrupt an American interviewer at the London 2012 Games when an American athlete in a women's track-and-field event was being awarded the gold medal, on the grounds that he thought it would be rude of him to talk over his interviewer's national anthem.
  • Mario Balotelli. First black player to score internationally for Italy. Well known for being an extremely talented young player in English League football. Almost as well-known for "bad-boy" behavior and a variety of madcap antics, including being involved in a car crash while carrying £5,000 cash (and when queried about why he had it, replying "Because I am rich"), throwing darts at a youth team member on the field as a "prank", and driving through a women's prison in Italy to have a look around. After nearly burning his house down due to setting off fireworks in his bathroom, Mario handed his keys to a fireman telling him to call when they were finished, he would be at a hotel. He also dressed in a blue Santa suit and handed out his own cash at Christmas.
  • Professional poker faces make for some weird personalities.
    • Phil Hellmuth, aka "The Poker Brat". His nickname comes in part because he's prone to wild and hilarious temper tantrums when someone else bets a hand that conventional strategy says they should've folded and gets lucky...and in part because he was the youngest ever WSOP Main Event Champion (although his record was later broken) and has won more bracelets than any other player in World Series of Poker history.
    • In the same vein, Mike "The Mouth" Matusow is one of the best pro players around, but, well... you can probably guess how he got his nickname. He's cooled down a lot in recent years, though.
    • Daniel "Kid Poker" Negreanu. The perpetually cheerful keet of poker, who is the only person to ever hold the WSOP Player of the Year title twice, as well as the man currently considered the world #1. Just watch the 2013 Asia-Pacific Main Event final table - ninety minutes of Negreanu joking around and annihilating everyone else.
    • And for an example of a pro player with more flamboyant tendencies, there's Humberto Brenes, who calls himself "The Shark" and has the toy shark card protectors to prove it, which he tends to use more as a prop comedy act than for actually protecting his cards, and has a tendency to turn his volume up to 11 any time he goes all-in. He also finished in the top one-hundred of the World Series of Poker main event two years in a row in 2006 and 2007, when the fields of entrants exceeded six thousand players. Even for a big-name pro that takes serious skill.
  • Buckethead is well known for conducting interviews by using a hand puppet resembling a face turned inside out, is almost 7 feet tall, apparently has a crippling fear of women, performs with a creepy white mask and KFC bucket on his head, does stunts with nunchuks during live concerts, robot-dances, and watches a lot of horror movies. He also happens to be one of the most impossibly skilled virtuoso guitar players in the world.
  • Field Marshal Bernard "Monty" Montgomery was a man with an ego a mile wide note , a severe lack of tact, and a racist streak extreme even by World War II Allied standards (Axis standards being, well, you know), did not get on well at all with his senior officers note , and was unwilling to admit when he'd been wrong. His career almost ended before it began: he nearly got kicked out of Sandhurst for setting fire to a comrade's shirt during a hazing ritual. But he acquired a personal Crowning Moment Of Awesome in the First World War, where he was severely wounded at Meteren and given up as hopeless to the point that a grave was dug for him. He recovered and picked up a Distinguished Service Order medal for gallant leadership. note  Then he took control of a demoralised and badly-beaten British army in North Africa and led them to win some of the Allies' first victories, especially El Alamein (the turning point of the campaign). He went on to successfully lead the British forces in invading Sicily and Normandy, though his later campaigns were less successful. There is some debate as to how effective he was as a commander, with the primary criticism being that he worked too hard to minimise casualties. That is also what made him so popular with his men (and the British public) while simultaneously unpopular with his superiorsnote .
  • Performance artist and perky pervert Bob Flanagan collaborated with alt-musicians like Sonic Youth and Nine Inch Nails, designed numerous museum installations, and held the world record for surviving Cystic Fibrosis until his death in 1995, at 43. He was also a CF Summer Camp Counselor for more than half of his life and a stand-up comedian. His secret? Bob was a self-proclaimed "Supermasochist" and believed in fighting "sickness with sickness." He routinely tortured himself with everything from C-47s to barbecue forks. He also (censored for squick) hammered his penis to a wooden board at least twice and got it on video tape.
  • Sir Isaac Newton is rightly regarded as one of the framers of the rational, mechanistic Enlightenment worldview. However, he was also an apocalyptic Christian, astrologer, numerologist and mystic. Newton regarded his more voluminous Christian and spiritual writings as his major works, rather than his books on math and mechanics. This could interfere with his scientific work, like including "indigo" in the visible spectrum: he wanted a seven, not six, colour spectrum as it fitted with his numerological theories. Also, he lived in permanent chaos, constantly leaping from one idea to the other. His servants would often find him in the morning half in and half out of bed, halted in place by an unstoppable train of thought. When he first produced a mathematical model for planetary orbits, he not only neglected to publish, but mislaid his work on it and only rewrote it at the request of Sir Edmund Halley to settle a scientific wager. The result was his famous Principia Mathematica, the beginning of modern physics. He was also an alchemist and recent tests on his hair show massive mercury poisoning that may have contributed to the eccentricity. Brusque, deliberately obtuse, and short-tempered to the point of rudeness, he made his published works deliberately obtuse to discourage questions from "smatterers", as he called his inferiors. He was a member of Parliament for a year but only uttered one sentence in that time: to complain about a draft caused by an open window. One of his Cambridge colleagues wrote that he could not recall seeing Newton smile once in ten years. Primary sources certainly suggest that his eccentricities were indulged and his unbearable personality tolerate precisely because he was otherwise such a brilliant scientist. He was also Master of the Mint. Now, this wasn't terribly unusual — "Master of the Mint" had long been a sinecure basically used as a genius grant. What is unusual, however, is that Newton actually took the job seriously, fighting counterfeiters and clippers note , sometimes by going to pubs and seedy parts of town incognito to catch criminals in the act. He also took an interest in Britain's monetary policy, and inadvertently switched Britain from a de facto silver standard to a de facto gold standard in 1717 by changing the coinage ratio drastically in favour of gold. It was for these services to the Crown — and not his scientific achievements —that Newton was knighted in 1705.
  • Stanley Kubrick is inarguably one of the most influential filmmakers in history, responsible for dozens of iconic moments and images. There are also stories that he worked in only his shirt and underwear, kept many cats around the editing room, would demand dozens of takes for almost all of his shots, used to call people late at night to ask obscure questions, had an immense fear of flying, would keep discarded cigarette filters in Altoid tins, and watched The Godfather ten times, calling it the "Best film ever made".
  • Francois Vatel. Personal chef to the French King Louis XIV. Created crème Chantilly, a sweet vanilla whipped cream still used in pastries today. Wrote a cookbook on French cuisine still used 400 years later which influenced Auguste Escoffier (widely considered the greatest chef who ever lived). Vatel was also a finicky control freak, an obsessive-compulsive micromanager, and a perfectionist to end all perfectionists. When, while managing a 2000-person dinner party for the French monarch, Vatel was told that a delivery of fresh fish would be slightly delayed (thus disrupting the cooking schedule), he became so anxiety-ridden that he committed suicide with a sword. His body was only discovered when one of his sous-chefs came to tell him the fish had finally arrived.
  • Henry Ford was the man who revolutionized manufacturing through application of the conveyor belt-based assembly line to factories, using it to build his company into one of the "Big Three" American automakers and one of the most powerful corporations on the planet. He was also a virulent, unrepentant anti-Semite who used his newspaper, the Dearborn Independent, to publish a translation of the notorious book The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, which claimed to be the minutes of a secret meeting by a Jewish cabal plotting world domination (and was already known at the time to be a forgery made up by the Okhrana), as well as a series of vicious articles that were later published as a book with the self-explanatory title The International Jew: The World's Foremost Problem. Adolf Hitler lionized Ford and had a portrait of him in his office, and in 1938 he granted Ford the Grand Cross of the German Eagle, the highest honor that Germany could bestow upon a non-German — an award that Ford never renounced, not even after America entered World War II.
  • Robert Downey, Jr., during the years he was in and out of jail and rehab due to a drug addiction, still got hired regularly due to his undeniable talent. In addition, Downey had a surprising reputation for showing up to work on time with his lines memorized backwards and forwards (and sometimes everybody else's lines as well) despite whatever else was going on in his life.
  • Jackie Gleason never attended rehearsals while producing The Honeymooners and supposedly only read the script once, just to show off his photographic memory. Remember, this was the era in which shows were aired live. On the rare occasion that he would forget a line on air, he would signal his co-stars by rubbing his belly (you can try to spot it in episodes). He was also quirky enough to grab and stash as many of the show's kinescope recordings as he could (the standard practice was to burn them after airing), which is why we have any episodes of the show at all to re-run today.
  • Wesley Willis produced a truly massive amount of music, the vast majority of it single-handedly. He was also a schizophrenic convinced that demons named "Meansucker", "Nervewrecker", and "Heartbreaker" would assault him every time he rode the CTA buses, made deliberately offensive songs on pre-recorded beats that came with various synth pianos to annoy them into going away (almost all of his songs are pre-recorded synth), and made a habit of grabbing his fans and headbutting them at concerts, to the point of having a permanent bruise on his forehead. This is a bit less amusing when you consider he was at least six and a half feet tall, and well over 300 pounds, and dressed and acted like a homeless person. Oh, and he actually was homeless for much of his career.
  • Jack Churchill was the only British soldier in World War II with a recorded kill by longbow. He was also known for carrying a Scottish broadsword and bagpipes into battle, having even played the bagpipes in the middle of combat. This overlaps quite strongly with Crazy Awesome, since it's the broadsword and longbow that make him both awesome and insane.
  • Tom Cruise may be batshit insane, but there really is no denying that the man is a fantastically talented actor. One only has to sit through films like A Few Good Men, Jerry Maguire, Tropic Thunder and Top Gun to be aware of that.
    • Jennifer Lawrence might as well be Tom's Distaff Counterpart (except for the Scientology). She will say whatever she's thinking no matter how inappropriate it is but goddamn can she act.
  • Prussian Field Marshal Blucher, Wellington's colleague at Waterloo, apparently suffered from periodic bouts of dementia. He repeatedly claimed that he was pregnant with an elephant as punishment for past sins. He still managed to be a brilliant general in spite of this strange handicap.
  • In his book Kitchen Confidential, Anthony Bourdain talks about Adam, a baker who would be fired after a few weeks of employment because of his mental instability and drug use, only to be hired by another restaurant shortly thereafter because of his out-of-this-world sourdough. The bread was so good that Bourdain could immediately identify it when eating at a restaurant, leading to a conversation with the owner about what crazy thing Adam had done last. Bourdain referred to Adam as "Adam Real-Last-Name Unknown" because Adam had so many aliases he couldn't tell which one was the real one, or if any of them were the real one. At one point in the book, the phone rings. Bourdain answers and the first thing he hears is, "FEED THE BITCH! FEED THE BITCH OR SHE'LL DIE!" Just from this, Bourdain not only knows that it's Adam, but that Adam is asking Bourdain to tend to his sourdough starter. Bourdain and his sous-chef do it just to keep Adam out of their kitchen.
  • In his book Homicide: A Year In The Killing Streets, David Simon mentioned Harry Edgerton, a homicide detective who refused to investigate non-murders such as suicides and overdoses, made little attempt to socialise with other detectives despite being a pretty nice guy off the clock, was very knowledgeable about fine wines and foreign food, often filled out reports while listening to country music, was in the habit of playing arcade games during his lunch break, and didn't even carry a gun. This is while he was surrounded by working-class cops who viewed anyone who wore a pink tie with suspicion. Needless to say, he was also a brilliant police officer with a very committed work ethic (serving as the inspiration for Frank Pembleton in Homicide: Life on the Street). One of his colleagues summed it up with: "For a communist, Harry's a hell of a detective".
  • David Shepard "Shep" Smith is easily Fox News' most accurate, neutral, and respected journalist, and polls as one of the two most respected news anchors in the country. He is also either insane or screwing with people, having said that Lance Armstrong may be on the fictional drug V from True Blood, spent half a show asking why Mitt Romney was wearing "Mom Jeans", and claimed that a satellite re-entry was just some kids pulling a scam for attention.
  • John Ford's habits included bullying and picking fights with actors randomly, beating up anyone who used foul language in front of a woman, wearing dark glasses and an eyepatch indoors and out, keeping his office and car in absolutely filthy condition, chewing on tissues while shooting, openly insulting producers, and going on drinking binges after finishing production on a film. As anyone who knows film can tell you, though, he was also a cinematic genius who revolutionized Westerns and war films, brought innumerable classics such as The Searchers to the screen, practically made the careers of John Wayne, Henry Fonda, and Jack Lemmon, and is considered one of the most influential directors in history, with Orson Welles, François Truffaut, and Martin Scorsese all naming him as a major influence on their work. He also won a record four Academy Awards for Best Director.
  • Grant Morrison is obsessed with cats, frequently writes himself into stories, has pretty much taken down the fourth wall with a grenade launcher and speaks in an Scottish accent most find incomprehensible. But one only needs to read All-Star Superman to see why he is so acclaimed.
  • Alan Moore. Let us count the ways: He claims to worship a dead Roman snake god that may or may not be real and to have beat up Satan until he was given the gift of genius, looks like Rasputin, and it's been said that even Death is afraid of him. He is also one of the most acclaimed comic book writers in the world, responsible for genius works like Watchmen and The Killing Joke. And to top it all off, Watchmen is listed on Time Magazine's list of 100 greatest novels. Not 100 greatest comic books, works of literature — Time Magazine considered Watchmen to be on par with such works as The Great Gatsby and Animal Farm.
  • Keith Moon, noted for destroying hotel rooms by bashing down walls, tossing television sets into pools and blowing toilets sky-high, leading to entire hotel chains banning The Who from staying in their suites. And also for being such an amazing drummer that it was all worth it.
  • Dennis Rodman got plenty of media attention for his strange hairstyle choices, his lifestyle, and some controversial off-the-court antics, but none of that stopped him from being one of the best rebounders the game has ever seen and an integral part of five NBA championship-winning teams, including the Chicago Bulls' second three-peat.
  • G. K. Chesterton was a brilliant author, debater, journalist, and Christian apologist who was admired and beloved even by his opponents. He also had a very odd writing style, a fondness for paradoxes, always carried a swordstick and revolver, and if anyone told him that life wasn't worth living he would pull out the latter and offer to shoot them.
  • In a nearly literal example, prominent New Zealand policeman and lawyer Rob Moodie once appeared in the high court wearing an Alice in Wonderland dress.
  • Sir Elton John spends enormous amounts of money in shopping sprees (though he also donates much to charity), has a famous Hair-Trigger Temper, wears outrageously flamboyant clothes, shoes, glasses and costumes (this was especially true in The Seventies and The Eighties), has a famously Camp Gay and self deprecating sense of humor, and is not often afraid to speak his mind. He has also suffered from fits of insecurity, promiscuity, drug and alcohol abuse, depression, and bulimia, and many of his problems affected his performances and artistic decisions. At his best, he is also capable (with help from lyricists like Tim Rice, Bernie Taupin and Gary Osbourne) of some of the most enduring and influential music of the last forty years, and can be an exciting and powerful performer onstage. He probably has been known to wear a set of bunny ears from time to time in concerts.
  • hide was one of the co-creators of Visual Kei as a concept, one of the major contributing members of one proto-Visual act and the first Visual Kei band, as well as several of its subgenres (Kote Kei, Eroguro Kei, and Digital Kei all originated from his musical and stylistic works either solely or in concert with others), one of the most accomplished Heavy Metal / Hard Rock guitarists of Japan. Unfortunately, he suffered from childhood bullying due to his childhood and teenage obesity, the Bipolar 1 subtype of bipolar disorder, bulimia that he likely developed as a result of the bullying and fat-shaming of both his childhood and his Visual Kei career, became The Alcoholic and possibly a methamphetamine addict, and killed himself in either an intentional suicide or an act of autoerotic asphyxiation Gone Horribly Wrong.
  • Phil Spector, one of the most famous music producers who was often sought after for his "Wall of Sound" technique and produced many famous songs of the '60s and '70s. There were also numerous stories of him threatening artists with guns and other weapons, including John Lennon, Leonard Cohen and The Ramones. Outside of the studio, he also did the same to the women he dated. He inevitably went to far; in 2003, he murdered actress Lana Clarkson in his own house.
  • Woody Allen. One story about him has him whispering to an assistant to have her tell the crew of one of his movies what he wanted them to do, rather than telling them himself, leading one to respond to her "Woody wants..." with "And why can't Woody tell me that himself?"
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