Software tester by trade, esthete by inclination. Francophile, wine-lover (esp. Bordeaux and CA red, Sauternes)
Favorite Music, Artworks, Movies, Shows, etc.
Bach, Sibelius; FLlWright, esp. Fallingwater and Unity Temple (though I agree with Marder and Kamhi that architecture doesn't fully qualify as an art); Coward, esp. Private Lives; Garbo, esp. Queen Christina and Ninotchka; Dietrich, esp. Shanghai Express and her live concert career; Midler; Astaire, esp. Swing Time; Piaf; The Aviator; Les Miserables; Lubitsch, esp. Trouble in Paradise
One explanation I've seen is that medieval Europe was an experiment in selective breeding. Intellectually talented Christians went into the religious life and had no children. An intellectually talented Jew was a prime marital catch and was encouraged to marry and raise a family.
Throughout history, a reliable way to become famous and wealthy has been to predict disaster. More specifically, it's been to predict the kind of disaster that one can avoid by ponying up to join the elect. This is how religions have used judgement day, armageddon or the rapture. During the Kennedy era it was bomb shelters, which morphed straightforwardly into Y2K disaster kits and, in California, earthquake preparedness kits.
Books, seminars and investment services that predict imminent doom are yet another version of this. Harry Browne got on to the bestseller list this way, Casey and Ruff rode his momentum, and Ravi Bhatra sold a leftist version of the same. Browne was, like the bomb-shelter crowd, even recommending that we lay in a survival kit of bottled water, guns and silver dimes.
I remember seeing an article in Esquire some years ago which looked back on various pop investment books including Browne, Casey and Ruff. It reported how the books had sold and calculated what an investor would have made following their advice. The doomsdayers had sold plenty of books, but their advice, by then, would have cost an investor money. The only one whose advice turned out well had said, in 1982, the bottom of the Volcker downturn, that stocks are undervalued and that one would be wise to get into the market. It sank without a trace.