CLAY AIKEN vs. HENRY CLAY

08opm_CompareAndContrast

CATEGORY: Political Party
THE POLITICIAN: National Republicans, Whigs
THE SINGER/ POLITICIAN: Democrat

CATEGORY: Political Advantage
THE POLITICIAN: Gifted orator
THE SINGER/ POLITICIAN: Congressional opponent dies

CATEGORY: Historic Losses
THE POLITICIAN: U.S. presidential elections of 1824, 1832 and 1844
THE SINGER/ POLITICIAN: American Idol (2003), Celebrity Apprentice (2012)

CATEGORY: Pet Cause
THE POLITICIAN: Big government
THE SINGER/ POLITICIAN: Defense spending

CATEGORY: Conflict Advocate
THE POLITICIAN: Supported War of 1812
THE SINGER/ POLITICIAN: Tweets about wanting to face-punch Ann Coulter

CATEGORY: Political Rival
THE POLITICIAN: Andrew Jackson
THE SINGER/ POLITICIAN: Renee Ellmers

CATEGORY: Career Blemish
THE POLITICIAN: Owned slaves
THE SINGER/ POLITICIAN: Touched Kelly Ripa’s mouth

WINNER: Henry Clay

ADAM SCOTT vs. ADAM SCOTT

CATEGORY: Big Accomplishment for 2014
THE GOLF CHAMPION: Ranked #1 golfer in the world
THE ACTOR: Replaced John Cusack for Hot Tub Time Machine sequel

CATEGORY: Defining Characteristic
THE GOLF CHAMPION: Power swing
THE ACTOR: Haircut

CATEGORY: Career Debut
THE GOLF CHAMPION: At 13, beat dad at golf
THE ACTOR: Boy Meets World

CATEGORY: Relationship Envy
THE GOLF CHAMPION: Dated Ana Ivanovic
THE ACTOR: Dated Amy Poehler (fictionally)

CATEGORY: Extracurricular Activities
THE GOLF CHAMPION: Surfing
THE ACTOR: Podcast about U2 that’s not actually about U2

CATEGORY: Perfectly Manicured Face Stubble?
THE GOLF CHAMPION: Yes
THE ACTOR: Yes

WINNER: Adam Scott

MICHAEL SAM vs. YOSEMITE SAM

CATEGORY: Occupation(s)
THE FOOTBALL PLAYER: Defensive lineman for St. Louis Rams
THE LOONEY TUNES CHARACTER: Cowboy, police guard, sea captain, Arabian warrior, pirate, etc

CATEGORY: Claim to Fame
THE FOOTBALL PLAYER: First openly gay player in NFL
THE LOONEY TUNES CHARACTER: Failed rabbit thwarter

CATEGORY: Personality
THE FOOTBALL PLAYER: Courageous, emotional
THE LOONEY TUNES CHARACTER: Irascible, quick to shoot

CATEGORY: Adversary
THE FOOTBALL PLAYER: Missouri’s anti-gay employment law
THE LOONEY TUNES CHARACTER: Anthropomorphic animals

CATEGORY: Gun Violence
THE FOOTBALL PLAYER: Older brother killed from gunshot wound
THE LOONEY TUNES CHARACTER: Constantly armed

CATEGORY: Religion
THE FOOTBALL PLAYER: Mother is a Jehovah’s Witness
THE LOONEY TUNES CHARACTER: Asking victims to “Say yer prayers, varmint!”

CATEGORY: Public Kiss With…
THE FOOTBALL PLAYER: His boyfriend
THE LOONEY TUNES CHARACTER: Bugs Bunny, on numerous occasions

CATEGORY: Angry Backlash Because of Kiss
THE FOOTBALL PLAYER: Calls for boycott, angry Tweets, etc.
THE LOONEY TUNES CHARACTER: None

WINNER: Michael Sam

ADAM SILVER vs. THE SILVER SURFER

CATEGORY: Home
THE NBA COMMISSIONER: Rye, N.Y.
THE SUPER HERO: The planet Zenn-La

CATEGORY: Special Powers
THE NBA COMMISSIONER: Giving fines, lifetime bans
THE SUPER HERO: Can bend the laws of physics

CATEGORY: Employer
THE NBA COMMISSIONER: National Basketball Association
THE SUPER HERO: Galactus, the Devourer of Worlds

CATEGORY: Accessory
THE NBA COMMISSIONER: His signature on all game balls
THE SUPER HERO: Magical surfboard

CATEGORY: Arch Nemesis
THE NBA COMMISSIONER: Donald Sterling
THE SUPER HERO: Mephisto

CATEGORY: Bald and Beautiful?
THE NBA COMMISSIONER: Yes
THE SUPER HERO: Yes.

CATEGORY: Philosophy
THE NBA COMMISSIONER: Basketball is a team game
THE SUPER HERO: He must soar… alone!

WINNER: Adam Silver

CLIVEN BUNDY vs. AL BUNDY

CATEGORY: Pet Peeve
THE NEVADA CATTLE RANCHER: Paying federal grazing fees
THE “MARRIED…. WITH CHILDREN” DAD: Fat women, the French

CATEGORY: Doesn’t Recognize
THE NEVADA CATTLE RANCHER: The U.S. Government
THE “MARRIED…. WITH CHILDREN” DAD: His wife’s sexual advances

CATEGORY: Accused of…
THE NEVADA CATTLE RANCHER: Being a domestic terrorist
THE “MARRIED…. WITH CHILDREN” DAD: Having poor personal hygiene

CATEGORY: Delusion
THE NEVADA CATTLE RANCHER: Just like Rosa Parks
THE “MARRIED…. WITH CHILDREN” DAD: Was a high school football champion

CATEGORY: Offspring
THE NEVADA CATTLE RANCHER: 14 adult children, 50 grandchildren
THE “MARRIED…. WITH CHILDREN” DAD: 2 children

CATEGORY: Transportation
THE NEVADA CATTLE RANCHER: Horse with American flag
THE “MARRIED…. WITH CHILDREN” DAD: Dodge Dart

CATEGORY: Protected by….
THE NEVADA CATTLE RANCHER: Civilian militia
THE “MARRIED…. WITH CHILDREN” DAD: Hand in pants, covering crotch

WINNER: Al Bundy

COLTON BURPO vs. HARPO MARX

CATEGORY: Claim to Fame
THE “HEAVEN IS FOR REAL” KID: Almost died, claims he hung out with Jesus
THE COMEDY LEGEND: 10 films with the Marx Brothers

CATEGORY: Special Skills
THE “HEAVEN IS FOR REAL” KID: Amazing recall or imagination
THE COMEDY LEGEND: Harp, pantomime

CATEGORY: Communicates via…
THE “HEAVEN IS FOR REAL” KID: Dad
THE COMEDY LEGEND: Bike horn

CATEGORY: Famous Friends
THE “HEAVEN IS FOR REAL” KID: John the Baptist
THE COMEDY LEGEND: Alexander Woollcott

CATEGORY: Animals
THE “HEAVEN IS FOR REAL” KID: Jesus rides a rainbow-colored horse
THE COMEDY LEGEND: Pet seagull named Siegel

CATEGORY: Memberships
THE “HEAVEN IS FOR REAL” KID: Crossroads Wesleyan Church
THE COMEDY LEGEND: Algonquin Round Table

CATEGORY: Memorable Quotes
THE “HEAVEN IS FOR REAL” KID: “I was looking at Jesus.”
THE COMEDY LEGEND:  “______.”

WINNER: Harpo

GOOGLE GLASS vs. PHILIP GLASS

CATEGORY: Selling Point
THE TECH SPECS: A computer for your face
THE COMPOSER: No melody, harmony, or tempo

CATEGORY: Criticisms
THE TECH SPECS: Privacy issues
THE COMPOSER: Repetitive

CATEGORY: Aesthetic
THE TECH SPECS: Minimalism
THE COMPOSER: Minimalism

CATEGORY: Price
THE TECH SPECS: $1,500
THE COMPOSER: $19.95 (for “Essential Phillip Glass” on iTunes)

CATEGORY: Humble Roots
THE TECH SPECS: First available only to “Explorers”
THE COMPOSER: New York cab driver

CATEGORY: Dangers
THE TECH SPECS: Physical assault (especially in San Francisco)
THE COMPOSER: Trance-like state

CATEGORY: Worst Advocates
THE TECH SPECS: “Glassholes”
THE COMPOSER: People who’ve seen all 5 hours of “Einstein on the Beach”

WINNER: Philip Glass

KATE UPTON vs. UPTON SINCLAIR

CATEGORY: Definitive work
THE MUCKRAKING JOURNALIST: “The Jungle”
THE MODEL: Photographed in body paint bikini

CATEGORY: Politics
THE MUCKRAKING JOURNALIST: Socialist candidate for Congress
THE MODEL: Uncle is a Congressman

CATEGORY: Religious Conviction
THE MUCKRAKING JOURNALIST: Religion is “source of income to parasites”
THE MODEL: Cross tattoo on finger

CATEGORY: Meat Activism
THE MUCKRAKING JOURNALIST: Inspired Pure Food and Drug Act
THE MODEL: Did sexy Carl’s Jr. commercial

CATEGORY: Hobbies
THE MUCKRAKING JOURNALIST: Utopian communities
THE MODEL: Dating athletes

CATEGORY: Career High Point
THE MUCKRAKING JOURNALIST: Pulitzer Prize for Fiction
THE MODEL: “Cat Daddy” dance video goes viral

CATEGORY: Future Plans
THE MUCKRAKING JOURNALIST: None
THE MODEL: “The Other Woman”, opens April 25

WINNER: Upton Sinclair

AFFORDABLE CARE ACT vs. CARE BEARS

CATEGORY: Created By
THE HEALTH CARE LAW: President Obama
THE TOY FRANCHISE: Greeting card company

CATEGORY: Selling Point
THE HEALTH CARE LAW: Can’t be denied for preexisting conditions
THE TOY FRANCHISE: Cute, collectible

CATEGORY: Misconception
THE HEALTH CARE LAW: Socialism
THE TOY FRANCHISE: Voodoo symbology

CATEGORY: Technology
THE HEALTH CARE LAW: Malfunctioning website
THE TOY FRANCHISE: Belly badges

CATEGORY: Magic Spells
THE HEALTH CARE LAW: None
THE TOY FRANCHISE: “Care Bear Stare”

CATEGORY: Promotion
THE HEALTH CARE LAW: Between Two Ferns With Zach Galifianakis
THE TOY FRANCHISE: TV shows, toys, video games, movies, etc.

CATEGORY: Misrepresented By….
THE HEALTH CARE LAW: Fox News pundits
THE TOY FRANCHISE: Furries

WINNER: Affordable Care Act

EDWARD SNOWDEN vs. SNOW

CATEGORY: Claim to Fame
THE INFORMER: Leaking spy agency files
“THE INFORMANT” RAPPER: One hit wonder

CATEGORY: Credibility
THE INFORMER: Former CIA, NSA employee
“THE INFORMANT” RAPPER: Pretty good Jamaican accent for a Canadian

CATEGORY: Mission Statement
THE INFORMER: “Give society a chance”
“THE INFORMANT” RAPPER: “A licky boom-boom down”

CATEGORY: Defenders
THE INFORMER: Jimmy Carter
“THE INFORMANT” RAPPER: Drew Carey

CATEGORY: Biggest Fear
THE INFORMER: Being spied on
“THE INFORMANT” RAPPER: Obscurity

CATEGORY: Contemporary
THE INFORMER: Julian Assange
“THE INFORMANT” RAPPER: Vanilla Ice

CATEGORY: Recent Music Festival Appearance
THE INFORMER: SXSW
“THE INFORMANT” RAPPER: None

WINNER: Edward Snowden

GEOFFREY RUSH vs. KING JOFFREY

CATEGORY: First Job
THE AUSTRALIAN ACTOR: Snoopy, “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown”
THE “GAME OF THRONES” CHARACTER: Ruler of the Seven Kingdoms

CATEGORY: Mental Health
THE AUSTRALIAN ACTOR: Had a nervous breakdown in 1992
THE “GAME OF THRONES” CHARACTER: Probably insane

CATEGORY: History of Torture
THE AUSTRALIAN ACTOR: Played Marquis de Sade
THE “GAME OF THRONES” CHARACTER: Prostitutes, prisoners, relatives, etc.

CATEGORY: Father
THE AUSTRALIAN ACTOR: Air Force accountant
THE “GAME OF THRONES” CHARACTER: Also his uncle

CATEGORY: Career Highlights
THE AUSTRALIAN ACTOR: ShineShakespeare In LoveKing’s Speech
THE “GAME OF THRONES” CHARACTER: Beheaded fiancee’s dad, masterminded Red Wedding

CATEGORY: True Love
THE AUSTRALIAN ACTOR: The theater
THE “GAME OF THRONES” CHARACTER: Sadism

CATEGORY: Ambition
THE AUSTRALIAN ACTOR: One award shy of an EGOT
THE “GAME OF THRONES” CHARACTER: Kill everybody except Mom

WINNER: Geoffrey Rush

VERONICA MARS vs. BRUNO MARS

CATEGORY: Surprising Benefactor
THE TEEN DRAMA: Kickstarter
THE POP SINGER: Russian Bat Mitzvah

CATEGORY: Fan Base
THE TEEN DRAMA: Marshmallows
THE POP SINGER: Hooligans

CATEGORY: Romantic Complication
THE TEEN DRAMA: Piz-Logan love triangle
THE POP SINGER: Erotic lyrics about Halle Berry

CATEGORY: Musical Influences
THE TEEN DRAMA: The Dandy Warhols
THE POP SINGER: Elvis Presley

CATEGORY: Fashion Sense
THE TEEN DRAMA: Argyle polos
THE POP SINGER: Skinny ties

CATEGORY: Career Pinnacle
THE TEEN DRAMA: Solving Lilly Kane’s murder
THE POP SINGER: Super Bowl Halftime Show

WINNER: Draw

EL CHAPO vs. CHARLIE CHAPLIN

CATEGORY: Legacy
THE FORMER DRUG LORD: Sinaloa Cartel
THE SILENT FILM LEGEND: Little Tramp character

CATEGORY: Family
THE FORMER DRUG LORD: Four or so wives, 10 or so children
THE SILENT FILM LEGEND: Four wives, 11 children

CATEGORY: Mustache Style
THE FORMER DRUG LORD: Porn star
THE SILENT FILM LEGEND: Toothbrush

CATEGORY: Suspected Threat to U.S. National Security?
THE FORMER DRUG LORD: Yes
THE SILENT FILM LEGEND: Yes

CATEGORY: Actual Threat to U.S. National Security?
THE FORMER DRUG LORD: Yes
THE SILENT FILM LEGEND: Not even close

CATEGORY: Relationship with Foreigners
THE FORMER DRUG LORD: “Public Enemy #1″ in Chicago
THE SILENT FILM LEGEND: Banned in Nazi Germany

CATEGORY: Great Escape
THE FORMER DRUG LORD: From prison in 2001 (in laundry cart)
THE SILENT FILM LEGEND: From grave in 1978 (by grave robbers)

CATEGORY: Retirement
THE FORMER DRUG LORD: Arrested in February
THE SILENT FILM LEGEND: Not until death at age 88

WINNER: Charlie Chaplin

CLAIRE UNDERWOOD vs. CARRIE UNDERWOOD

CATEGORY: Special Talents
THE “HOUSE OF CARDS” CHARACTER: Lying, scheming
THE COUNTRY MUSIC SUPERSTAR: Grammy acceptance speeches

CATEGORY: Pet Cause
THE “HOUSE OF CARDS” CHARACTER: Clean Water Initiative
THE COUNTRY MUSIC SUPERSTAR: Veganism

CATEGORY: Personality
THE “HOUSE OF CARDS” CHARACTER: Lady Macbeth
THE COUNTRY MUSIC SUPERSTAR: America’s sweetheart

CATEGORY: Response to Critics
THE “HOUSE OF CARDS” CHARACTER: “I will bury you.”
THE COUNTRY MUSIC SUPERSTAR: “Mean people need Jesus.”

CATEGORY: Big Break
THE “HOUSE OF CARDS” CHARACTER: Marrying Frank Underwood
THE COUNTRY MUSIC SUPERSTAR: American Idol

CATEGORY: Career Misstep
THE “HOUSE OF CARDS” CHARACTER: Marrying Frank Underwood
THE COUNTRY MUSIC SUPERSTAR: Sound of Music Live!

CATEGORY: Stance on Infidelity
THE “HOUSE OF CARDS” CHARACTER: Threeway with husband’s driver
THE COUNTRY MUSIC SUPERSTAR: “Before He Cheats”

CATEGORY: Cuteness Factor
THE “HOUSE OF CARDS” CHARACTER: Loves origami
THE COUNTRY MUSIC SUPERSTAR: Fans call themselves “Care Bears”

WINNER: Claire Underwood

KEYSTONE XL vs. KEYSTONE LIGHT

CATEGORY: Mission
THE PIPELINE: Deliver tar sands oil from Canada to Nebraska
THE BEER: Cheap buzz

CATEGORY: Cost
THE PIPELINE: $5.4 billion
THE BEER: 30-pack for about $15

CATEGORY: Benefits
THE PIPELINE: New source of fossil fuel
THE BEER: Cures “Bitter Beer Face”

CATEGORY: Drawback
THE PIPELINE: Climate pollution
THE BEER: Intoxication, bad decisions

CATEGORY: Slogan
THE PIPELINE: “Let’s Get It Done”
THE BEER: “Always Smooth, Even When You’re Not”

CATEGORY: Unreliable Advocates
THE PIPELINE: Ted Cruz
THE BEER: Keith Stone

WINNER: Keystone Light

LORDE vs. THE LORD

CATEGORY: Home Town
THE POP STAR: New Zealand
THE BIBLICAL DEITY: The Universe

CATEGORY: Mainstream Exposure
THE POP STAR: The Grammies
THE BIBLICAL DEITY: Hotel bibles, highway billboards

CATEGORY: Time Management
THE POP STAR: Wrote hit single “Royals” in 30 minutes
THE BIBLICAL DEITY: Created world in 7 days

CATEGORY: Bestie
THE POP STAR: Taylor Swift
THE BIBLICAL DEITY: Moses

CATEGORY: Preferred Conduit
THE POP STAR: Auto-Tuner
THE BIBLICAL DEITY: Burning Bush

CATEGORY: Feminism
THE POP STAR: Twitter-bashes sexist lyrics
THE BIBLICAL DEITY: Knocked up a married woman

CATEGORY: Twitter Followers
THE POP STAR: Over one million
THE BIBLICAL DEITY: 127,000

CATEGORY: Criticism
THE POP STAR: Alleged racist lyrics
THE BIBLICAL DEITY: May not exist

WINNER: The Lord

SOCHI GAMES vs. SACHA BARON COHEN

CATEGORY: Speciality
THE WINTER OLYMPICS: Dropping $51 billion on prep
THE PRANK COMIC: Mockumentaries

CATEGORY: Signature Sport
THE WINTER OLYMPICS: Figure skating
THE PRANK COMIC: Naked homoerotic wrestling

CATEGORY: Comedy Staple
THE WINTER OLYMPICS: Vladimir Putin
THE PRANK COMIC: Facial hair, baiting xenophobes

CATEGORY: LGBT Relations
THE WINTER OLYMPICS: Hostile
THE PRANK COMIC: Deep-kissed Will Ferrell

CATEGORY: Terror Threat
THE WINTER OLYMPICS: High
THE PRANK COMIC: Sued by alleged terrorist

CATEGORY: Unsafe For
THE WINTER OLYMPICS: Political dissidents
THE PRANK COMIC: Drunk fratboys

WINNER: Sacha Baron Cohen

RICHARD SHERMAN vs. SHERMY

CATEGORY: Sport of Choice
THE NFL CORNERBACK: Football
THE PEANUTS CHARACTER: Baseball

CATEGORY: Athletic Rival
THE NFL CORNERBACK: Peyton Manning
THE PEANUTS CHARACTER: Charlie Brown

CATEGORY: Signature Move
THE NFL CORNERBACK: Baiting quarterbacks
THE PEANUTS CHARACTER: Zombie dance

CATEGORY: Hair Style
THE NFL CORNERBACK: Dreadlocks
THE PEANUTS CHARACTER: Crew cut

CATEGORY: Legitimate Complaint
THE NFL CORNERBACK: Racist tweets about him
THE PEANUTS CHARACTER: Always plays the shepherd

CATEGORY: Personality
THE NFL CORNERBACK: Bombastic, arrogant
THE PEANUTS CHARACTER: “Very little,” according to creator Schulz

CATEGORY: Big Ambition
THE NFL CORNERBACK: Win Super Bowl XLVIII
THE PEANUTS CHARACTER: Have any dialogue

WINNER: Richard Sherman

(These stories originally appeared, in slightly different forms, in various issues of the New York Times Magazine between February and June 2014.)