Get local news delivered straight to your phone

24

MONDAY

Support City Paper!

$
$
$

Your contribution is appreciated.

He vexed us with The Bell Curve, which made some controversial assertions about blacks and IQs. Now Charles Murray is back with Human Accomplishment: The Pursuit of Excellence in the Arts and Sciences, 800 B.C. to 1950, a “historiometric analysis of greatness and excellence” that purports to scientifically rank the big guns in the arts and sciences according to their accomplishments. Murray’s methods are too gruesomely dull to recount here, and you’re not likely to understand them anyway unless you’re a statistician, but suffice it to say they don’t produce any surprises: Shoo-ins such as Einstein and Shakespeare walk away with all the top awards. But where, I want to know, are the really important figures in history, such as the great Jack Daniel? And—screw Mozart and Beethoven—where’s Mott the Hoople? Okay, so Murray stops at 1950, but surely Mott shall stand the test of time. When it comes to immortals, the verdict of history is immediate. Murray speaks at 7 p.m. at Politics and Prose, 5015 Connecticut Ave. NW. Free. (202) 364-1919. (Michael Little)