As the New Republic celebrates its 100th birthday, how are we best to understand the magazine's century of ostentatious chin-stroking? As an attempt to declare by fiat a consensus politics for a nation of divided interests and purposes? An expression of the fundamental conservatism that underlies liberalism? A performance of whiteness?

Or has it all just been an intentionally ponderous, 100-year-long setup for a punchline? That punchline has arrived in a piece of content titled "100 Years 100 Thinkers": a summing up of intellectual and political life since 1914, via texticle.

Forty-eight contributors—running alphabetically from Juliet Bellow ("Assistant professor of art history, American University") to Jason Zengerle ("Senior editor, The New Republic"), and including Francis Cardinal George O.M.I. and Patton Oswalt, but not sage-in-residence Leon Wieseltier—provided input. The magazine is very proud of it, or at least it is promoting the heck out of it on Twitter:

("100 Years 100 Thinkers"? "100 Thinkers, 100 years"? w/e lol ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ )

The teasers promise more than they deliver: The 100 minds are not really ranked, which would at least have provided some dumb entertainment value. Instead they are laid out in directory/slideshow form, by topic: five thinkers, one leading and four trailing, in each of 20 categories of intellectual endeavor, including "songwriting," "literary criticism," "digital innovation," and "sex."

Einstein appears to be missing, along with all the rest of pure science and mathematics (medicine and the aforementioned digital innovation are as close as it gets). Thurgood Marshall seems to have missed the cut in both "jurisprudence" and "American civil rights."

But Hugh Hefner and Shere Hite together count for 2 percent of the mental vanguard, thanks to the equal weighting of the categories—just like Wittgenstein and John Maynard Keynes. Roughly 2 percent, anyway. As with the Time 100 [or So], there are joint entries and other forms of over-inclusion, so the overall tally should be somewhere over 100.

You can try to count them if you want. There's no obvious way to do it, and I got bored. Trying to read the thing is like playing an old-fashioned room-by-room adventure game in which the treasure chests are stocked with inanities and banalities. Meet Edward R. Murrow (trailing Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein in the field of "political journalism"): "The first major journalist to seize television's potential as a medium for serious argument." Or here's Paul Rand ("design"): "A legendary logo designer (his many credits include UPS and ABC) who imposed art on capitalism." Or here's—

Who gives a shit. This is terrible. They didn't even bother to round up pictures of everyone, so Eugene Genovese gets a silhouette head. Taking into account its ostensible ambition and its cruddy execution, it legitimately might be the worst thing ever published anywhere. "The Story of Egypt's Revolution in 'Jurassic Park' Gifs" could at least be taken as an honest expression of its author's sociopathic worldview and the outlet's editorial vision. It was affirmatively nihilistic. "100 Years 100 Thinkers" is simply form annihilating substance. It is the wind whistling over TNR's butthole through the unbuttoned back flap of its Thinkin' Jammies. It is how the magazine would like to be remembered.

At least they left off Andrew Sullivan.