Here are some things I believe to be true. At least, I think I do:
* The most under-rated man in modern history was U.S. Grant.
* It is odd that people keep talking about the Great American Novel, since American novelists are, and always have been, sub-par by international standards.
* The greatest athlete of modern times, in any team sport, was Bobby Orr. Sorry, no room for discussion. It’s just a fact.
* The most over-rated man of the 20th century was Gandhi. Nelson Mandela is runner-up.
* Much as Bob Dylan was the most authentic spokesman for his generation, Taylor Swift is the most authentic spokesman for hers.
* The three most desirable actresses in movie history are Paulette Goddard, Anna Karina and Catherine Zeta-Jones.
* There is over-rated, and then there are the Rolling Stones.
* How is Vermeer like Flaubert? They might have been the best ever, if they had produced more. Stendahl could go in that category, too.
* London is the world’s greatest city, and Israel is the world’s most exciting place.
* 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.
* The only good lawyer show in the history of television was Perry Mason.
* The title of world’s greatest man has bounced back and forth between England and the U.S. for a while now: last half of the 18th century, George Washington; first half of the 19th century, the Duke of Wellington; second half of the 19th century, Abraham Lincoln; first half of the 20th century, Winston Churchill; second half of the 20th century, Ronald Reagan. But I very much doubt that the pattern will continue.
* The greatest benefactors of humanity, by a mile, are the pharmaceutical companies.
* But for World War II, Franklin Roosevelt would have gone down in history as the worst President since James Buchanan.
* Anyone who uses the word “sustainability” has no idea how the world works.
* The worst person in the history of the world was Lenin. Not only was he a mass murderer, the three biggest mass murderers in world history–Mao, Stalin and Hitler–were all his legitimate heirs, and may not have been possible without him.
* The smartest person whom most Americans see on a regular basis is Simon Cowell.
* Minneapolis’s Institute of Arts is the most under-rated museum in the country. Among other things, it has the best painting Rembrandt ever did.
OK, maybe one or two of those are tongue-in-cheek, but I really do think they are true. There’s more where they came from, too. I’d be happy to argue any of these propositions with any of our readers in a bar of your choice, as long as you’re buying.
PAUL takes the bait: I prefer Paris to London. John, didn’t you tell me you were thinking of a trip to Paris? Keep an open mind.
JOHN responds: Paris is one of the many cities I’ve not visited. Nor will I in the near future, given the massive tax increases slated for next year. But I confess to an Anglophile, London bias. When I think of Paris I think of guillotines, the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre, the “whiff of grapeshot,” hunchbacks and other unpleasantness. I’ll be eager to be set aright, however, if I can ever afford to make the trip.
PAUL responds: I’m an Anglophile too, and no big fan of the French. But in terms of cities, I give Paris the edge.
This may sound strange, but I think it has something to do with the following controversial proposition: the French are bad at philosophy, bad at economics, bad at political theory, bad at national security, but excellent at living.
JOE adds: Our time will go down as the Age of New York City, the only cosmopolis now standing; purposeless London is an also-ran; and Paris’s time has come and gone. Both of those cities are now gawked-at, not used. Anyone questioning this would do well to read E.B. White’s Here is New York, an extended essay composed in a hotel room on one very hot Manhattan night: “[Manhattan] is to the [world] what the white church spire is to the village–the visible symbol of aspiration and faith, the white plume saying that the way is up.”
- Subscribe now!... Get rid of ADs!Support Power Line...VIP MembershipPresentsPower Line
Most Read on Power Line
Subscribe to Power Line by Email
Find us on Facebook
“Arise and take our stand for freedom as in the olden time.” Winston Churchill
“Proclaim Liberty throughout All the land unto All the Inhabitants Thereof.” Inscription on the Liberty Bell