Intrigued? From my latest Daily Beast column:
I started receiving People magazine recently, and as I was leafing through its ho-hum 40th anniversary issue, I stumbled across this 1974 cover featuring Telly Savalas, the man who mainstreamed baldness into everyday life (screw you, Yul Brynner!) and portrayed Kojak, one of the most memorable small-screen detectives up to that point in TV history. This cover, I submit, is as sharp a rebuke to the "progress is over!" crowd as Samuel Johnson's stone-kicking hissy fit was to Bishop Berkeley….
The middle class can't afford nothing no more, Amazon's warehouse workers are "today's coal miners," and even bomb-crazy and jihad-suffering Middle Easternersare more optimistic about the future than Americans and Europeans. The Experts (with a capital E!) have spoken: We've reached The End of Progress….
bear with me here. Cue up Telly's incomparable semi-parlando rendering of If. Get lost in the Aegean-deep pools of Telly's eyes and marvel at his gold-chain-and-bracelet set. As you contemplate a naked celebrity torso apparently unfamiliar with any form of exercise, let's count the ways in which the world has not just gotten a little bit better but a whole fucking lot better since Kojak was on the case.