- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 16, 2004

Radical favorite

“Rolling Stone magazine just announced its choices for ‘The 500 Greatest [Rock] Songs of All Time.’ Your favorites are all there — ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand,’ by the Beatles, ‘Respect,’ by Aretha Franklin, ‘Light My Fire,’ by the Doors, ‘Let’s Stay Together,’ by Al Green.

“But the shocker is the selection for No. 1 — Bob Dylan’s ‘Like a Rolling Stone.’ Huh? I wouldn’t even rate this as Dylan’s best song. …

“So how does ‘Like A Rolling Stone’ emerge as the Greatest Hit of All Time? Because it is a landmark to Sixties-bred radicals who like to think of American history as ‘Things That Happened To Us.’ ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ still marks that first joyous 1965 uniting of protest songs and electric guitars. It was a political event, not a musical moment.

“The greatest rock ‘n’ roll song of all time? For generating great music, Dylan couldn’t even tune Elvis’s guitar.”

William Tucker, writing on “Unlike a Rolling Stone,” last Friday in the American Spectator Online at www.spectator.org

Fantasy father

“The first Europeans to visit the atoll of Tetiaroa in the South Pacific were deserters from Captain William Bligh’s ship the Bounty in 1789. … In 1967 Marlon Brando bought a 99-year lease on this ring of low-lying islands for $270,000. It was his own private colony, a fantasy of freedom. …

“Brando tried to make Tetiaroa the home of an international thinktank, to create a self-sufficient refuge from the coming nuclear catastrophe, to breed Atlantic cold-water lobsters in the warm waters of the Pacific. At one time he lived here in a single room.

Some of his nine children, especially his eldest son Christian and daughter Cheyenne, spent a significant part of their lives here, and at Punaauia on neighbouring Tahiti. In 1995 Cheyenne hanged herself at Punaauia, after losing a custody battle for her son Tuki. This happened five years after Christian Brando shot dead her Tahitian boyfriend Dag Drollet at the Brando home on Mulholland Drive, Los Angeles. At Christian’s trial, Marlon testified, ‘I think perhaps I failed as a father.’

“As a father, Marlon Brando improvised, if you believe his biographers. He followed his moods, his feelings. Sometimes he lavished attention on his children, and sometimes he forgot them for years. He lived in the same [gambling] way that he acted.”

Jonathan Jones, writing on “Wild Ones,” Saturday in the Guardian

Who is a winner?

“So the Ken Jennings era in our national life is over. After 74 victories, the ‘Jeopardy’ champ came up against two Daily Doubles and a Final Jeopardy with his name on them. He now returns to normal life with no consolation beyond $2.5 million, a book deal, fame galore, a loving family, and a whole lot of other stuff.

“It’s probably hard for Ken to appreciate this, but a loss was the only fitting end to what he did. I don’t say that because I wished him ill. To all appearances, Ken’s a terrific guy. He’s handled his odd, 15-minutes-that-turned-into-six-months of fame with grace and humility. …

“My point is that we had to see Ken’s human fallibility in order to fully appreciate his accomplishment. In the middle of the streak he seemed to be on cruise control. The nightly victories seemed routine. But none were. That game is hard. It’s easy to appreciate a masterpiece, or maybe a few of them. But when one happens every night, we devalue them.”

Seven-time “Jeopardy!” winner Tom Walsh, writing on “Final ‘Jeopardy!’” Saturday in World

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