* Much as Bob Dylan was the most authentic spokesman for his generation, Taylor Swift is the most authentic spokesman for hers.Well, that's a trick assertion, since Bob Dylan was never about authenticity:
During the first half of the concert, after singing "Gates of Eden," Dylan got into a little riff about how the song shouldn't scare anybody, that it was only Halloween, and that he had his Bob Dylan mask on. "I'm masquerading!" he joked, elongating the second word into a laugh. The joke was serious. Bob Dylan, né Zimmerman, brilliantly cultivated his celebrity, but he was really an artist and entertainer, a man behind a mask, a great entertainer, maybe, but basically just that—someone who threw words together, astounding as they were. The burden of being something else — a guru, a political theorist, "the voice of a generation," as he facetiously put it in an interview a few years ago — was too much to ask of anyone.But no, it's not a trick assertion because he said "most authentic." Or is it that we Baby Boomers were raging phonies, and the biggest phony would thus be the most authentic. As for Taylor Swift, she seems like a nice person. Is she bland or am I jaded to find her too bland to care about? Is one more or less authentic when nice and bland?
So, my proposition is: Authenticity is bogus.
Back to Hinderaker:
* The three most desirable actresses in movie history are Paulette Goddard, Anna Karina and Catherine Zeta-Jones."Desirability" isn't a good abstraction. Hinderaker likes the brunette gamine.
* London is the world's greatest city, and Israel is the world's most exciting place.I can live without that kind of excitement. Have you noticed Indiana?
* America's youth have never been the same since Saturday morning television went from real programming (Fury, Sky King, the Cisco Kid, etc.) to cartoons.I can't even remember that those shows were on in the morning. When I think about "Sky King," I remember this from Bill Bryson's "Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid": "Even at six years old, and even in an age as intellectually undemanding as the 1950s, you didn't have to be hugely astute to see that a flying cowboy was a fairly flimsy premise for an action series. Sky could only capture villains who lingered at the edge of grassy landing strips and to whom it didn't occur to run for it until Sky had landed, taxied to a safe halt, climbed down from the cockpit, assumed an authoritative stance, and shouted 'Okay, boys, freeze!' — a process that took a minute or two, for Kirby Grant was not, it must be said, in the first flush of youth." Now, I have to admit, I didn't think about that at the time. What I thought about was how it seemed that there was a competition between "Sky King" and "Whirlybirds" and that everyone had an opinion about whether they preferred airplanes or helicopters. I was adamantly helicopterist.
So my controversial proposition will be: The best people prefer helicopters to airplanes.
* The only good lawyer show in the history of television was Perry Mason.False. "The Defenders." That was the good one.
* The smartest person whom most Americans see on a regular basis is Simon Cowell.Ha. Maybe. I'm going with a corollary: Americans are better able to enjoy displays of intelligence that come with a British accent. And: What seems especially smart about Cowell is that he's willing to come right out and say — quite directly — things that are true. He gets away with doing that on television because he's got a British accent. An American panelist with the same amount of time to express an opinion will need to blow at least half of it on blather intended to make us feel that he is a nice (and normal) person.
That's all I've got to say. Sorry I didn't take the bait on any of Hinderaker's historical propositions — the best and worst characters in history and so forth. Or, no, I can make one very grand assertion: The best and the worst human beings who ever lived were undoubtedly shunned by most people and forgotten soon after they died.