For the 4th
Bringing New Meaning to the Term, "Culture War"

Index We Trust

IT'S . . . . the Teachout Cultural Concurrence Index, now playing on cultural weblogs everywhere! Given my recent propensity for lists, how can I resist?

My own responses are detailed in the extended portion of this post, and establish me as proud owner of a TCCI of 64.38. That seems to be on the higher end of the reported results so far, which rather surprises me. Is there, perhaps, a correlation with my traffic reports, which always appear to show more of this site's readers originating on the East Coast than on the West?

Elsewhere, Rick at Futurballa reports his results, and offers a tentative Index of his own. Aaron Haspel, not surprisingly, has taken the opportunity to further complicate matters with a proposal for deep statistical analysis.

The curious can click on through for the entire list, and my own choices and notations:

1. Fred Astaire or Gene Kelly?
2. The Great Gatsby or The Sun Also Rises?
3. Count Basie or Duke Ellington? [Charles Mingus over both]
4. Cats or dogs?
5. Matisse or Picasso?
6. Yeats or Eliot?
7. Buster Keaton or Charlie Chaplin?
8. Flannery O’Connor or John Updike? [Who let that irksome pretender Updike in here?]
9. To Have and Have Not or Casablanca?
10. Jackson Pollock or Willem de Kooning?
11. The Who or the Stones?
12. Philip Larkin or Sylvia Plath? [Better yet: Ted Hughes or Sylvia Plath?]
13. Trollope or Dickens?
14. Billie Holiday or Ella Fitzgerald?
15. Dostoyevsky or Tolstoy?
16. The Moviegoer or The End of the Affair? [no choice]
17. George Balanchine or Martha Graham? [no choice]
18. Hot dogs or hamburgers?
19. Letterman or Leno? [no choice]
20. Wilco or Cat Power?
21. Verdi or Wagner?
22. Grace Kelly or Marilyn Monroe?
23. Bill Monroe or Johnny Cash?
24. Kingsley or Martin Amis? [no choice]
25. Robert Mitchum or Marlon Brando?
26. Mark Morris or Twyla Tharp? [no choice]
27. Vermeer or Rembrandt?
28. Tchaikovsky or Chopin? [no choice]
29. Red wine or white? [Real wine is red, silly.]
30. Noël Coward or Oscar Wilde? [A difficult choice, that.]
31. Grosse Pointe Blank or High Fidelity? [no choice]
32. Shostakovich or Prokofiev?
33. Mikhail Baryshnikov or Rudolf Nureyev? [no choice]
34. Constable or Turner?
35. The Searchers or Rio Bravo? [no choice]
36. Comedy or tragedy?
37. Fall or spring?
38. Manet or Monet?
39. The Sopranos or The Simpsons? [no choice (also, no cable in my house)]
40. Rodgers and Hart or Gershwin and Gershwin? [no choice]
41. Joseph Conrad or Henry James?
42. Sunset or sunrise?
43. Johnny Mercer or Cole Porter?
44. Mac or PC?
45. New York or Los Angeles?
46. Partisan Review or Horizon? [no choice]
47. Stax or Motown? [That one's changed over the years.]
48. Van Gogh or Gauguin?
49. Steely Dan or Elvis Costello? [Among the toughest choices: cognac vs. armagnac, really.]
50. Reading a blog or reading a magazine?
51. John Gielgud or Laurence Olivier?
52. Only the Lonely or Songs for Swingin’ Lovers? [no choice]
53. Chinatown or Bonnie and Clyde? [no choice]
54. Ghost World or Election? [no choice]
55. Minimalism or conceptual art?
56. Daffy Duck or Bugs Bunny?
57. Modernism or postmodernism?
58. Batman or Spider-Man? [no choice]
59. Emmylou Harris or Lucinda Williams?
60. Johnson or Boswell?
61. Jane Austen or Virginia Woolf?
62. The Honeymooners or The Dick Van Dyke Show? [no choice]
63. An Eames chair or a Noguchi table? [no choice]
64. Out of the Past or Double Indemnity? [no choice, but leaning to the latter]
65. The Marriage of Figaro or Don Giovanni? [no choice]
66. Blue or green?
67. A Midsummer Night’s Dream or As You Like It? [The title of my own weblog notwithstanding -- and Much Ado About Nothing would be my actual first choice in this class]
68. Ballet or opera?
69. Film or live theater?
70. Acoustic or electric?
71. North by Northwest or Vertigo?
72. Sargent or Whistler?
73. V.S. Naipaul or Milan Kundera? [no choice]
74. The Music Man or Oklahoma?
75. Sushi, yes or no?
76. The New Yorker under Ross or Shawn?
77. Tennessee Williams or Edward Albee? [no choice: both largely obsolete]
78. The Portrait of a Lady or The Wings of the Dove? [no choice]
79. Paul Taylor or Merce Cunningham? [no choice]
80. Frank Lloyd Wright or Mies van der Rohe?
81. Diana Krall or Norah Jones? [no choice: Shelby Lynne over either of the above.]
82. Watercolor or pastel?
83. Bus or subway?
84. Stravinsky or Schoenberg?
85. Crunchy or smooth peanut butter?
86. Willa Cather or Theodore Dreiser? [Remind me to post my favorite Cather quote soon.]
87. Schubert or Mozart? [no choice]
88. The Fifties or the Twenties?
89. Huckleberry Finn or Moby-Dick? [Another hard one.]
90. Thomas Mann or James Joyce?
91. Lester Young or Coleman Hawkins?
92. Emily Dickinson or Walt Whitman?
93. Abraham Lincoln or Winston Churchill?
94. Liz Phair or Aimee Mann?
95. Italian or French cooking?
96. Bach on piano or harpsichord? [no choice]
97. Anchovies, yes or no? [on a pizza; yes on a Caesar salad]
98. Short novels or long ones?
99. Swing or bebop?
100. "The Last Judgment" or "The Last Supper"?

47 column A choices out of 73 total responses = TCCI 64.38%


Rick Coencas

Glad to see we agree on the "immutables", like Gene Kelly, Eliot, Flannery O'Connor and Red Wine. But Wagner... Max... Wagner?

George Wallace

When the alternative is Verdi, that seems the correct choice. Perhaps I should have stated my preference for Richard Strauss over both of those options as my preferred Master Operatist.

Another immutable perhaps: Mel Brooks over Woody Allen? Howzabout Woody, pre-Annie Hall or post- ?

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