Wednesday, July 07, 2004

One or the Other

Via Mrs Tilton comes a new variation on that most enjoyable of blogging parlor games, the Teachout Cultural Concurrence Index!

The idea's simple enough: for each of the items on the following list, choose one of the two alternatives on offer, and at the end compare your choices with Terry Teachout's to see how much in accord you are with the well-known music critic. Following is the actual list, along with my own choices. Many of these I simply found myself unable to answer, and I skipped them over.

1. Fred Astaire or Gene Kelly?
2. The Great Gatsby or The Sun Also Rises? Gatsby, by a great distance.
3. Count Basie or Duke Ellington? The Duke.
4. Cats or dogs? A tie - I like them both.
5. Matisse or Picasso? Matisse, any time of the week.
6. Yeats or Eliot?
7. Buster Keaton or Charlie Chaplin?
8. Flannery O’Connor or John Updike?
9. To Have and Have Not or Casablanca? Casablanca.
10. Jackson Pollock or Willem de Kooning?
11. The Who or the Stones?
12. Philip Larkin or Sylvia Plath? Philip Larkin.
13. Trollope or Dickens? Trollope - Dickens is just too depressing.
14. Billie Holiday or Ella Fitzgerald? Billie Holiday of course!
15. Dostoyevsky or Tolstoy? No contest - Uncle Fyodor.
16. The Moviegoer or The End of the Affair?
17. George Balanchine or Martha Graham? Balanchine.
18. Hot dogs or hamburgers? Ich bin Hamburger (esser).
19. Letterman or Leno?
20. Wilco or Cat Power?
21. Verdi or Wagner? Wagner; nothing like a touch of Götterdämerung.
22. Grace Kelly or Marilyn Monroe? Marilyn.
23. Bill Monroe or Johnny Cash? Johnny Cash.
24. Kingsley or Martin Amis?
25. Robert Mitchum or Marlon Brando? Marlon - Stanley Kowalski and The Godfather!
26. Mark Morris or Twyla Tharp?
27. Vermeer or Rembrandt? Vermeer.
28. Tchaikovsky or Chopin? Chopin, but only just.
29. Red wine or white? Red.
30. Noël Coward or Oscar Wilde? Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills.
31. Grosse Pointe Blank or High Fidelity?
32. Shostakovich or Prokofiev? Prokofiev.
33. Mikhail Baryshnikov or Rudolf Nureyev?
34. Constable or Turner? JMW Turner
35. The Searchers or Rio Bravo?
36. Comedy or tragedy? Tragedy.
37. Fall or spring? Spring.
38. Manet or Monet? Monet.
39. The Sopranos or The Simpsons? The Simpsons.
40. Rodgers and Hart or Gershwin and Gershwin? The Gershwins.
41. Joseph Conrad or Henry James? Joseph Conrad.
42. Sunset or sunrise? Sunrise.
43. Johnny Mercer or Cole Porter?
44. Mac or PC? Mac - sadly, most of my work is with PCs!
45. New York or Los Angeles? New York - is LA really a city, or just a mess of suburbs?
46. Partisan Review or Horizon?
47. Stax or Motown? Motown.
48. Van Gogh or Gauguin? Van Gogh - noble savages don't do it for me.
49. Steely Dan or Elvis Costello?
50. Reading a blog or reading a magazine? Depends, doesn't it?
51. John Gielgud or Laurence Olivier?
52. Only the Lonely or Songs for Swingin’ Lovers?
53. Chinatown or Bonnie and Clyde? Chinatown.
54. Ghost World or Election?
55. Minimalism or conceptual art? Minimalism.
56. Daffy Duck or Bugs Bunny? Bugs - I like smartalecks.
57. Modernism or postmodernism? Architecture - pomo, Literature - a draw.
58. Batman or Spider-Man? Spidey since I was 4 years old.
59. Emmylou Harris or Lucinda Williams?
60. Johnson or Boswell? Boswell.
61. Jane Austen or Virginia Woolf?
62. The Honeymooners or The Dick Van Dyke Show?
63. An Eames chair or a Noguchi table? A Noguchi worshipper here.
64. Out of the Past or Double Indemnity?
65. The Marriage of Figaro or Don Giovanni?
66. Blue or green? Blue (the Fantastic Four!)
67. A Midsummer Night’s Dream or As You Like It?
68. Ballet or opera? Opera.
69. Film or live theater? Film.
70. Acoustic or electric? Acoustic.
71. North by Northwest or Vertigo?
72. Sargent or Whistler? Tough choice, but Whistler for argument's sake.
73. V.S. Naipaul or Milan Kundera? Naipaul.
74. The Music Man or Oklahoma?
75. Sushi, yes or no? Yes.
76. The New Yorker under Ross or Shawn?
77. Tennessee Williams or Edward Albee? Williams.
78. The Portrait of a Lady or The Wings of the Dove?
79. Paul Taylor or Merce Cunningham?
80. Frank Lloyd Wright or Mies van der Rohe? FLW über alles.
81. Diana Krall or Norah Jones?
82. Watercolor or pastel? Depends.
83. Bus or subway? Subway.
84. Stravinsky or Schoenberg? Stravinsky.
85. Crunchy or smooth peanut butter? Smooth.
86. Willa Cather or Theodore Dreiser? Dreiser.
87. Schubert or Mozart? Schubert.
88. The Fifties or the Twenties? Culturally - Twenties, Politically - Fifties.
89. Huckleberry Finn or Moby-Dick? "Call me Ishmael."
90. Thomas Mann or James Joyce? Thomas Mann.
91. Lester Young or Coleman Hawkins?
92. Emily Dickinson or Walt Whitman?
93. Abraham Lincoln or Winston Churchill? No way am I going to choose.
94. Liz Phair or Aimee Mann?
95. Italian or French cooking? Italian - no horse, frog or foie gras for me.
96. Bach on piano or harpsichord? Piano.
97. Anchovies, yes or no? Hold the anchovies.
98. Short novels or long ones? Long ones, if good.
99. Swing or bebop?
100. "The Last Judgment" or "The Last Supper"?
So, what's my Teachout Index score then? The instructions say to add 1 point for each "A" alternative, and then divide by the total number of questions answered, but there's no guidance as to what to do when you wish to pick both; for scoring's sake, I'll treat such choices as equivalent to none at all. Anyway, my score is 27/55, or approximately 0.49, not that I really care one way or another - as the old saying goes, the game's the thing.