The modern way to keep sports records, i.e., keep track of everything that happens and incorporate it into a statistic—can serve as a boon to a sports-writer, particularly if he does not know much about the fine points of sport.
For instance, he can state that in last night's game against Tailgate College, Pete Brewster became the 22nd player in college basketball history to score 1,500 points in his varsity career. This is simpler than trying to evaluate whether Brewster consistently faced first-rate or fourth-rate opposition or something in between—or attempting to analyze Brewster's ability in such attributes as speed, concentration, guile, etc.
I simply can't help wondering what the quantitative style of criticism—as opposed to the qualitative—would have accomplished in the nonsporting world. Or shall we just confine it to the artistic or cultural world? However, I can imagine a few items that might have appeared in the papers—or in illuminated manuscripts, anyhow:
FLORENCE, ITALY. The indefatigable Niccolo Travestera continues to be the sensation of the Renaissance. The Tuscan Canvas-coverer, as he is now familiarly known, seems to establish a new mark every time he picks up a brush. Over the past six-month period he established a modern Italian national record (figures kept since 1250) of 4,752 square feet of canvas painted, surpassing Giovanni Splocharani's figure of 4,162 set in 1487. Travestera also holds the record for most pictures painted in half a year (27).
A disappointment over this same period has been Leonardo da Vinci, hitherto considered an extremely promising artist. From a spot near the top Leonardo has slipped to 43rd place in statistics released yesterday by the National Canvas-covering Association. His sole output was a tiny 30-by-20-inch portrait, variously called Mono Lisa and La Gioconda. In square feet this comes out to a trifling 4.16. His well-wishers hope that this slump is only temporary.
BONN, GERMANY. For two days and nights crowds have been lining up outside the Klavier Konzerthaus to hear an event that will make musical history—the first performance of Siegfried Brimmler's 100th Symphony (E flat minor). This remarkably prolific composer is the first man, so far as is known, to reach the century mark in full-length symphonies—although Hans Traumert surpasses him in sonatas, 263 to 214.
Among minor composers (less than 10 symphonies) a four-way tie exists between J. Bulow, T. Bulow, M. Reinsmer and L. Beethoven, with nine each.
LONDON, ENGLAND. Playwright William Shakespeare has denied rumors that henceforth he intends to collaborate with James Archer, popularly known as the "Wizard of York."'
"I fear that this would handicap Archer unfairly," said Shakespeare. "As you probably know. Archer is the first play-a-week dramatist in the annals of the English stage. On the other hand I'm a slowpoke from way back. Last year I used up almost a fortnight deciding on just one little word in a speech a character was delivering. I couldn't make my mind up whether it should be, 'To thine own self be honest, good, nice, fair, kind, cooperative, true' or a couple of other adjectives that slip my mind.
"So if Archer did nine-tenths of the writing and I got half the credit and half the royalties he'd just be crucifying himself—not that I'm any more averse to making a quick pound than the next fellow. Another thing—Archer is a bear on titles. His latest is called: Ye Bloode-curdling, Hearte-rending, Most Tragick Drama of Ye Foul and Monstrous Murther of Ye Most Favorable and Worthy and Fair Duke of Northumberland. Get that? 23 words!
"I've been working on a play for a year or so. Shapes up pretty well—if I do say so—but I'm stumped for a title. Best I've come up with so far is from hunger. I mean it's just the name of the chief character—Macbeth. How pathetic can you get? A lousy one word while Archer makes with 23. I'm going to think about this for a while, but if I don't get an inspiration I just might throw the whole manuscript on the hearth. Without a catchy title a play is dead."