Mental Floss

Play-In Game: Paris Hilton vs. Edward McSweegan

Tournament of Genius

Paris Hilton

Most heiresses would be content to sit back in obscurity with their millions, but Hilton has turned herself into a media cottage industry despite her utter lack of any sort of talent that can be discerned without the aid of a video camera's night-vision feature. She's been in a hit TV show, starred in movies, recorded two albums, written two books, and hawked her own fragrance line. While you can debate whether Hilton's high profile says anything good about American culture, it's hard to deny there's something creepily ingenious about her rise to fame.

Edward McSweegan

McSweegan's not as famous as some our other nominees, but he's certainly some sort of genius. According to McSweegan, a former vaccine scientist for the National Institutes of Health, he went to work from 1996 to 2003 without ever doing any work. At all. McSweegan told the Washington Post that he went to the NIH office but never did anything work-related. He allegedly received a salary of about $100K a year despite never having a single job responsibility. McSweegan sat at his desk and wrote two novels and would take breaks to go to a nearby health club, all while getting paid. Now that's a genius!

The Breakdown

You may not want to copy off of Hilton's SAT, but she's had more staying power than your average celebutante. Then again, McSweegan had an impressively long run of not doing any work. There's only one question surrounding his genius credentials: if he had such a sweet no-work deal going, why was he dumb enough to open his mouth and ruin it?


[See the whole bracket here.]