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People Top 5
LAST UPDATE: Tuesday February 10, 2015 01:10PM EST
PEOPLE Top 5 are the most-viewed stories on the site over the past three days, updated every 60 minutes
- March 24, 1980
- Vol. 13
- No. 12
A Second Surprising Readers' Poll
PEOPLE readers Say Gary Coleman, Bo Derek and George Burns Are America's Favorites
Who is your favorite well-known American child?
Talk about walkovers! Gary Coleman, the 11-year-old, 3'8" perpetual-motion machine of Diff'rent Strokes, got the votes of enough diff'rent folks to swamp his competition. Runner-up Adam Rich, the super cutie of Eight Is Enough, was down almost 3 to 1. Shirley Temple, who hasn't been a child for quite a while, came in third. (Never underestimate the power of dimples and Saturday afternoon reruns.) The rest of the small fry were far behind, including lovably stubborn Justin Henry, whose screen parents, Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep (see p. 36), fought over him in Kramer vs. Kramer, Amy Carter; teen heartthrob Kristy (Family) McNichol; Melissa Gilbert of Little House on the Prairie, and million-dollar Pretty Baby Brooke Shields (some child). Tied for last: the younger of the acting O'Neals, Tatum, 16, and Ricky Schroder of, ironically, The Champ.
Who is your favorite well-known older American?
Pardon the expression, but it was a dead heat between those sunshine boys, George Burns, 84, who sings I Wish I Was 18 Again on a new hit LP, and Bob Hope, 76, who'd rather shoot 18 on his Palm Springs golf course. Men leaned slightly toward Hope, women toward Burns, the old smoothie. The younger generation apparently thinks it discovered Gracie Allen's husband and voted accordingly. Among readers over 45, on the other hand, Hope was preferred 2 to 1. Silver-thatched Johnny Carson, who may be a candidate for Grecian Formula but is nowhere close to Social Security, still got enough votes to place a distant third. After that came genuine senior citizens Henry Fonda, 74, Richard Nixon, 67, and Ronald Reagan, also 67 (an unimpressive showing: are you listening, Gerald Ford?). Only two women got any significant mention: Gloria Swanson and Lillian Carter.
Esthetics and athletics: a Bo, a beau and sex in the locker room
Who is the best-looking woman in America?
She was a Hollywood zero a year ago, but thanks to the movie "10", bountiful Bo Derek, 23, became the PEOPLE people's choice—with exactly 10 percent of the vote, an impressive tally since no list of names was provided in this category. Last year's winner, Charlie's Angel Jaclyn Smith, wafted to second, though not with women, who gave her the 10 percent, to 7 for Bo. Third place was split three ways among model Cheryl Tiegs, ex-Wonder Woman Lynda Carter and WKRP's corn-fed Loni Anderson (who was No. 2 with men). Fourth were Farrah Fawcett and Cheryl Ladd, Angels both. Tastes shifted with age: Among the 55-and-overs, Jackie Onassis took the top spot, just ahead of Candice Bergen and the ever-loved Elizabeth Taylor. The same mature voters pitched Betty Ford into a cellar tie with Suzanne Somers—whom many thought overexposed even before her Playboy spread—and Kramer vs. Kramer's bitter half, Meryl Streep.
Who is the best-looking man in America?
Sure they're cute, but can they type? Yes, in a manner of speaking—each of the poll's top three marked the year by being more than a pretty face. Winner (for the second straight year) Robert Redford, 42, stepped behind the camera to direct his first feature movie, Ordinary People, out this fall. Burt Reynolds, just a thinning hair behind Redford, got his wish to score big "in a picture where I don't have to drive over 30 miles per hour" by portraying an average Joe having a tough time with romance in Starting Over. Life in the fast lane was right up the alley of No. 3, Paul Newman, who drove 220 mph in a Porsche to place second at Le Mans. Freezer-faced Clint Eastwood shot his way to fourth. Surprising washouts in the voting were a pair of highly vaunted heartthrobs, Warren Beatty and Richard Gere, and John Travolta, last year's idol of the 12-to-17-year-olds, who yielded his primacy among that group to CHiPper Erik Estrada.
Who is the sexiest male athlete?
Ex-footballer Joe Namath, 36, who made a name playing the field, has met his match. Recently separated, pectorally perfect Bruce Jenner, 30, Olympic decathlon winner, piqued readers' passions most (and more so among men than women, though that's for Masters & Johnson to worry about). Second-place Joe was No. 1 with over-35s. Apparently hamstrung from hurdling airport turnstiles, O.J. Simpson limped in third—giving retired athletes a clean sweep. Lower in the standings, Pittsburgh Steeler quarterback Terry Bradshaw, in a sort of instant replay of the season, sacked the Rams' Vince Ferragamo and the Dallas Cowboys' Roger Staubach. Overall, women indicated they'd rather receive passes from football quarterbacks than from any other athletes. Only older folks thought Muhammad AM still had punch as a sex symbol despite his paunch. But with all groups, tennis Romeo Vitas Gerulaitis lost at love, and the Yankees' Reggie Jackson, alas, struck out.
Who is the sexiest female athlete?
Readers apparently looked for the same qualities they liked in a male—a retired champion with a Dutch-boy haircut. Chris Evert Lloyd, 25, who was married to Britain's No. 3 tennis pro John Lloyd a year ago, took the tournament easily, her first win since she quit the sport two months ago. Olympic and Ice Capades star Dorothy Hamill, still in the news for her occasional escapades with sometime tennis pro and actor Dean Paul Martin, was runner-up (rated higher by women than by men). Skier Suzy "Chapstick" Chaffee, a hit with 18-to-24-year-olds, will have to bite her lip and settle for a three-way tie for third with fellow TV hucksters gymnast Cathy Rigby and golfer Nancy Lopez—no doubt handicapped by playing a sport that last year's PEOPLE voters labeled the dullest on TV. Another golfer, Laura Baugh, had some following among those over 25. Skater Beth Heiden, skier Cindy Nelson and driver Janet Guthrie were also mentioned, but not by many.
Some nuts-to-Nielsen TV ratings
Who is your favorite female TV personality?
Miss Piggy lost by a snout to everybody's favorite Saturday Night Live date, Gilda Radner, 33. Wobbling, walking primly and sashaying behind the divine Miss P. were Dallas' enduring alcoholic, Linda Gray, The Jeffersons' lady of the house, Isabel Sanford, and Alice's wise-ass waitress Polly Holliday (she's tops with over-55s), who is spinning off into her own show, Flo. Predictably, perhaps, men rated cheesecake morsels Loni Anderson of WKRP in Cincinnati and Suzanne Somers of Three's Company higher among the also-rans, while women gave more credit for maturity (One Day at a Time's spirited single mom, Bonnie Franklin) and intellect (newswoman Barbara Walters). Teenagers thought it was a toss-up between Catherine (Dukes of Hazzard) Bach and Valerie (One Day at a Time) Bertinelli. A few people, the producers of Charlie's Angels obviously not among them, lobbied for Shelley Hack. It hasn't been one of the all-time great winters for poor Shelley. She was grounded by the Angels and came in a distant last in our poll. Wait till next year.
Which TV series are beginning to bore you?
Alas, Happy Days may be heading for its final days. The perennial favorite is faltering in the Nielsens and PEOPLE readers gave it a z-z-z-z rating. Maybe the plots are getting repetitious, or it could be that Henry "The Fonz" Winkler, 34, is beginning to nudge Dick Clark, 50, as the world's oldest teenager. The next biggest yawn was Mork & Mindy, also suffering recently in the ratings, perhaps because of some thrashing about in time slots. The PEOPLE respondents parted company with Nielsen families in naming high-ranked Three's Company the third-most-boring show. Is it possible that the one-joke premise, reworked through four seasons, is beginning to lose its element of surprise? Laverne and Shirley finished fourth in the soporific sweepstakes, relatively good news for the network: In one recent week the show sagged to 61st, behind even The Last Resort.
The best commercial?
Although he has threatened to knock down referees and "cleat 'em in the spine" and once remarked that "sometimes, on a road trip, I wake up and feel like throwing my roommate at the wall," the Pittsburgh Steelers' Mean Joe Greene, 33, comes across as such a softie on his Coca-Cola commercial that readers ranked it No. 1. The 6'4", 267-pound tackle easily vanquished second-place Oscar Meyer's bologna, whose kiddie protagonists spell out B-O-L-O-G-N-A in catchy song and rhyme. Attention-grabbing celebrities can be great for business, but not always. For instance, one reader announced his favorite commercial was "James Garner for Kodak." Polaroid would consider that poor exposure.
The worst commercial?
Twenty-five percent of respondents (including many men) can't stand TV ads, however discreet, for "feminine hygiene products." Many women also complained about patronizing commercials ("It's so simple even a woman can do it"), while other readers wanted to wring the necks of the ring-around-the-collar people (Wisk) and squeeze the Charmin until it chokes.
Who is your favorite male TV personality?
As was the case last year, first with men, first with women and first in the hearts of every age group—by a landslide—was wry, sensitive M*A*S*H macher Alan Alda, 44. He is to personality, readers attested, as Bo Derek is to physiology. Prairie house spouse Michael Landon ran a respectable second, thanks to a highly partial posse of women and older folks. Prematurely platinum-gray Phil Donahue was also a hit with the really gray, but fell to fifth overall behind Benson's unsilent butler Robert Guillaume and last year's second-place finisher Robin Williams, Mork from Ork, who also got on some people's nerves (see opposite page and below). Williams and Saturday Night Live gonzo-humorist Bill Murray were very hot with the 12-to-24-year-old audience, who showed token respect for age by endorsing Dick Van Patten over Erik Estrada. Near the bottom of the list was a name that our readers were least familiar with—Howard Hesseman, the screwy disc jockey on WKRP—showing again that it takes more than a couple of seasons to penetrate the calloused American consciousness.
Who should replace Johnny Carson?
Filling in for Johnny (permanently), readers hope, will be ever-boyish singer John Davidson, 38. But Davidson is committed to ABC's new That's Incredible and his own syndicated talk show. That's good news for second-place Steve Martin. The bad news is that stay-up-late viewers over 35 don't see anything funny in his brand of offbeat humor. That leaves the field to Richard Dawson, David Letterman—and surprise contender Ed McMahon. HE-E-E-E-E-R-E's me?
Who is the most boring man on TV?
It's Chuck Barris, thumbs down. The 50-year-old hyperkinetic game show host was Gonged by 24 percent, double the boredom quotient of runners-up Tom Snyder and space cadet Robin Williams, who's getting very few laughs these days among earthlings over 45. Last year's loser, Howard Cosell, came out unscathed because—in a spirit of charity and in order to open up the competition—his name was left off the poll's list of 13 candidates.
Who is the most boring woman on TV?
The quick answer was Barbara Walters (followed closely by Suzanne Somers, Shelley Hack and Bonnie Franklin). But PEOPLE readers insisted there was much more to Walters than that. They obviously had some difficulty figuring out what she is—an interviewer? a journalist? a celebrity? Nonetheless, one certainty emerged: She's a phenomenon. The ABC news correspondent was better known than any other female TV personality in our poll—including all those sitcom stars—and was fourth in the running to replace Walter Cronkite. (Overall, readers agreed with CBS' choice of Dan Rather, but the 12-to-24-year-olds—a strong young audience that will provide lucrative demographics over the years—picked Walters first.) Roughly the same age group named Walters the woman they'd prefer as President. Given her exposure in interviews with the likes of Castro, Begin, Sadat and the Shah, Barbara Walters conceivably ranks second only to the President's wife as the most influential woman in America.
Which national political figure do you trust least?
What a difference a year has made. More than twice as many readers pointed their fickle fingers at Ted Kennedy as at Richard Nixon, who swept this category with ease last year. The explanation is that presumably Kennedy's presidential bid has focused attention on Chappaquiddick, about which 57 percent thought he had lied, 31 percent believed him and an understandably confused 12 percent didn't know (three-fourths of them women). Interestingly, slightly more than half of those who thought Kennedy was lying said they didn't care. This might suggest that Chappaquiddick is diminishing as a campaign issue, although public opinion specialists warn that it is extremely difficult to measure people's true feelings about it. Incidentally, exactly half of the respondents thought a candidate's private life should not be a factor in the presidential election.
In a generally perplexing political year, Nixon may be on the road to rehabilitation. Forty-one percent agreed, with varying degrees of conviction, that he "wasn't such a bad President after all," which seems to underscore national frustration with current developments.
Voter cynicism is running fairly deep. In the wake of the Abscam investigations, 46 percent did not believe their congressman or congresswoman would take a bribe, but 26 percent thought he or she would and 28 percent weren't sure. Politicians in general should also mull this over: 75 percent felt that political ads and commercials were dishonest.
There is evidence that voters (at least those who read PEOPLE) are tougher on politicians on the issues than on their personal lives. The poll asked: Would you vote for a qualified presidential contender who is divorced? 94 percent said yes. Separated? 88 percent said yes. Single? 93 percent yes. Fifty-six percent were against a President who is gay. The important thing is that 41 percent said they wouldn't mind.
What would you be willing to do to stop inflation?
PEOPLE readers were admirably willing, even eager, to make sacrifices, as long as they were universally applied. Give us gas rationing if it will help, said 67 percent, their wallets running on empty. Forty-four percent were willing to accept controls on their wages. Three-quarters agreed to abandon their credit cards to curtail consumer spending—with some dissent from the 12-to-17-year-olds who still haven't tasted the nectar of credit-card living. (Last week the Carter administration announced it is considering stricter controls on plastic credit.) Readers were reluctant to go along in only one area: 82 percent were opposed to cutbacks in municipal services like police and sanitation.
If you had extra money, how would you invest it?
Buy real estate, chorused an overwhelming 80 percent, though conservative over-55s were also bullish on choice No. 2, savings banks.
Forty percent said they'd buy gold if they could afford it, and the same number thought antiques and objets d'art were good investments. The stock market was quoted at 36 percent, and even higher among 12-to-17-year-old high rollers, who presumably have had less experience with the Dow Jones going belly-up. Mutual funds drew almost as much interest.
A slightly larger percentage of gather-your-rosebud types saw no point in being thrifty with excess money. "Spend it," they answered.
Are you optimistic about the future?
Sixty-nine percent said yes, but wait: Pollyanna is not alive and well in PEOPLE land. There was a strong sense of resignation in their feelings—"I'm optimistic because things can't get any worse," that sort of explanation. One reader even suggested, "We'll be at war and that will straighten out the economy." The prospect for world war in the 1980s was considered fairly high by 57 percent. The younger the reader, the more likely it seemed.
Politics as usual? Quite the contrary in this puzzling year
Which national political figure do you trust most?
In Carter We Trust, declared 34 percent. Lagging far behind were Ted Kennedy (kids below voting age were his most loyal bloc), Ronald Reagan and George Bush. Voting trends paralleled trust: 35 percent wanted to see Carter reelected, half that many rooted for Teddy (popular, once again, among insufferageable teenagers), and Reagan and Bush tied for third at 16 percent. Jerry Brown orbited at six percent.
Carter's policies—and his family and staff—drew mixed notices. Send GIs to the rescue in Tehran, even if it means risk to the hostages, gritted 51 percent, presumably a part of the frustrated 83 percent who agreed that "America is getting pushed around these days." Six out of 10 felt draft registration should be reinstated (67 percent of these want women included but only one in four would send them into combat). Sixty-two percent approved of boycotting the Moscow Olympics.
On domestic issues, Carter might note that 59 percent thought he, and all other candidates, should debate on TV, and that half believed "Born-again Christians should keep it to themselves." One-third complained that "Rosalynn has too much power," and if Hamilton Jordan wants to use cocaine, that's his own business, 46 percent, er, sniffed.
What woman would you support for President?
You've come a long way, baby, but not far enough: Almost half the respondents (both sexes dividing identically) could not name a woman they'd vote for as President. Retired Texas Congresswoman Barbara Jordan, 44, who served on the House Judiciary Committee during the televised Nixon impeachment hearings, got the most votes. She is currently teaching at the University of Texas Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. The second choice, Rosalynn Carter, was twice as popular with women as with men, as was Barbara Walters, who came in third. Fourth place went to Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm, followed by another noted Black, Shirley Temple, who was tied with Chicago Mayor Jane Byrne. Her Honor was preferred 4 to 1 by men over women. Also-ran Gloria Steinem's popularity was limited to those under 35, proof perhaps that baby shall indeed one day overcome.
America the beautiful—also overweight, unfrightened and faithful
Which fads and trends from the 1970s will last?
Running shoes, say 77 percent of our readers, not necessarily for jogging, of course. Eye makeup, predicted 72 percent. About two-thirds felt two key components of looking good—health foods and designer jeans—would endure, while leisure suits, men's purses and punk chic were given little chance of surviving. More than half our readers saw Western boots marching on, while slightly less than half—most of them male—figured the no-bra look would last. It's called wish fulfillment.
How many pounds would you like to lose?
Americans are heavy, man. Expanding our sample to reflect the nation at large, the total desired weight loss comes to nearly a million tons. That parcels out to PEOPLE readers this way: More than half want to lose more than five pounds, and a third wish they could shed more than 10. Only 25 percent don't think they have to lose at all, and a lot of them are 12-to-17s, who even include a subversive minority that wants to gain weight.
Do you live in fear of crime?
Only one in 10 readers said "All or most of the time," and, surprisingly, more men than women gave that answer. Among the 34 percent "sometimes" fearful as well as the 56 percent "seldom or never," the male and female responses were the same. The greatest peace of mind was among 12-to-17s and over-55s, which argues against the emotional premise that fear has made the old prisoners in their own homes.
Are you influenced by fashion designers?
It's a national conceit that Americans do their own thing in fashion, unswayed by greedy Seventh Avenue style-switchers or fey French designers. Mais pas du tout. Some 42 percent answered the question yes, with women reflecting a slightly stronger susceptibility to fashion trends. Most influenced were the 12-to-24-year-olds, meaning the market's there.
Should women have the right to choose or reject abortion?
Men and women evenly made up the 75 percent who said they should. As history has shown, however, majority rule is sometimes meaningless on this volatile issue.
Do you think marital fidelity is important?
Arrivederci, roamers. A stunning 86 percent of readers answered with an unadulterated yes, a view shared equally by those married, separated and divorced. Even three-fourths of single readers voted for closed marriage. Among those who dismissed fidelity, men, the brutes, outnumbered women 3 to 2. Readers aged 45 to 54 were the most hi-fi—93 percent. The group registering the largest "Don't know" vote, logically enough, were the 12-to-17-year-olds.
Is a woman who lives, unmarried, with a man entitled to palimony if they split—and vice versa?
Nearly two-thirds of our readers said nix to either contingency. The sexes were pretty evenly split. So there, Marvin Mitchelson.
Are you sick of disco?
It's close. Fifty-one percent answered "terminally"; 47 percent want the beat to go on. Two percent refused to be drawn into one of the significant social questions of the age. Anti-disco sentiment was found in two unexpected places: 59 percent among 18-to-24s (preference for rock?) and 55 percent of single readers (suffering from disco ennui and inoperative eardrums?). Over-55s weren't grumpy on the subject at all. They split much like the general sample.
The Pope opposes women priests. Do you agree?
Our readers didn't by 3 to 2—with more men (64 percent) than women (55 percent) favoring females in the priesthood. (Would they be called Father?)
Is there a real gas shortage?
It seems astonishing at this stage of the energy crisis—and apparently indicates the continuing credibility problems of both the oil companies and the federal government—but three out of five readers don't believe there is. Only one in six answered a positive yes. Men and women agreed on the subject almost down to a percentage point.
Should we stop building nuclear power plants?
As many readers felt strongly that we should as shouldn't (25 percent for each side). Women in general were more anti-nuke than men. The issue split the '60s generation, now aged 25 to 34: 52 percent voted for nuclear power, 46 percent disagreed.
Should there be separate smoking and nonsmoking sections in restaurants?
Yes, fumed 85 percent, with heavy support among 12-to-17s. ("Waiter, there's a fly in my soup and a cigarette at the next table!")
In movies, the choices could be an Oscar preview
Who is your favorite movie actress?
As performer rather than beauty, Bo Derek again got a 10, which is two places better than last—where Farrah Fawcett foundered. Readers, who clearly know characterization from coiffure, nominated Sally (Norma Rae) Field, 33, as No. 1 before the Academy did. She was followed in succession by Jane Fonda, Meryl Streep (swept in, like her co-star Dustin Hoffman, by the popularity of Kramer vs. Kramer), Jill Clayburgh, Marsha Mason and Diane Keaton. Bo was discounted primarily by women; men chose cornrows over creativity. Fonda was tops among women 25 to 34. Bette Midler, in spite of the storm-and-drone of her Rose film debut, ranked second from the bottom. Perhaps proving that familiarity breeds contempt, last-place Farrah was known to all but two percent of our readers. Whereas Meryl Streep, who as Joanna Kramer dumped Dustin Hoffman and their young son, then returned to sue for custody, was not recognized by more than half the men. Sometimes guys just don't want to remember.
Who is your favorite movie actor?
For top spot it was Hoffman vs. Hoffman—no contest as Dustin, 42, aimed Oscar-ward for his single-parent role in Kramer vs. Kramer. (Among divorced and separated readers he was an even bigger favorite: birds of a feather, etc.) Paul Newman, Burt Reynolds and Robert Redford were next in the line of 14 male matinee idols. There were surprises. Sly Stallone traveled a Rocky road to last place among men, who in general preferred co-favorite Golden Ager George Burns over Redford, Jon Voight and Al Pacino. Men split their No. 1 votes evenly between Hoffman and Clint Eastwood—Ted Kramer seems as strong a male role model for the '80s as Dirty Harry was in the '70s. Not surprisingly, Hoffman and Newman were tops with women, and different age groups disagreed on John Belushi's popularity. Among the young he was very big; after 55, he was Saturday Night Dead. The shocker this year: Woody Allen, who was nominated as Best Actor (and was winner of two other Oscars) in 1978 for Annie Hall, wound up last in the poll.
The Eagles have landed with a Gambler aboard
Who is your favorite male vocalist?
Hardly a long shot, Kenny Rogers beat out Stevie Wonder and Barry Manilow on the strength of his Gambler LP and TV ubiquity. The cuddly Rogers, 41 and into his fourth marriage and umpteenth million, did best with women and over-55s. Billy Joel, No. 1 last year, managed fourth without a '79 release. Neil Diamond was fifth, followed by John Denver and Paul McCartney, fresh from his triumphant tour of Tokyo hoosegows. Denver, second to Rogers among older readers, rated 14th—last—among 12-to-17s. Rod Stewart charted No. 14 (without a bullet), behind scruffy hunks like Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen. "Do ya think I'm sexy?" Rod sang. Not very, was our readers' answer.
Who is your favorite musical group?
The Bee Gees' Spirits Having Flown after topping last year's poll, it was the Eagles who in The Long Run soared over both the Gibbs Brothers and Fleetwood Mac (which was a close third). The satiny Bee Gees were the choice of women, while the denimed, macho appeal of the Eagles pushed them to No. 1 among male listeners. Earth, Wind and Fire was a surprising fourth, outscoring such rock institutions as The Who and the Rolling Stones. At the bottom of the list were Chic, the Knack and of course, Kiss. So who's buying all those records, anyway?
Who is your favorite female vocalist?
Enough Is Enough! The top two spots went, in order, to Barbra Streisand and Donna Summer, whose bouncy duet bumped last year's winner, Linda Ronstadt, to third. Dionne Warwick, riding on two fine comeback ballads, slid into fourth, ahead of country pop's Crystal Gayle. Streisand, 37, was especially popular among women and with everybody over 35. Two blondes had less fun. Dolly Parton was 10th out of 11, saved from the basement which she occupied in last year's voting only by Blondie's lead rocker Deborah Harry. Despite Debbie's two-million-selling Heart of Glass, readers dealt the punk and pouting former covergirl the cruelest blow of all: One-third of them had never heard of her.
Strong feelings about Fonda and Farrah
What's the first thing that comes to mind when these subjects are brought up?
His admirers outnumbered his detractors, but he polarized opinion. "Deceitful," "Dr. Strangelove," "He destroyed Cambodia," ran the complaints. Yet: "brilliant," "great man," "too bad he wasn't born in America" (from someone who wants President K). One reader apparently remembered that Kissinger tapped the phones of his staff and answered, "I'd better not say because I might be putting myself in trouble."
Who could get mad at hair and teeth? Women mostly, it turns out. They say she has too much of both, and is "over" everything: "-exposed," "-rated," "-bearing" and "the hill." Farrah does better among men, but "beautiful" and "sexy" just about do it. One man in his 20s applied an interesting phrase to her: "melting ice cream."
The world's first so-called test-tube baby, Britain's Louise Brown (below), may be cute as a bug's ear, but the scientific breakthrough is described by critics as "repulsive" and by worriers as "experimental." Readers seem divided: It's either a "miracle" or "unnatural" and "immoral." The alternative? "Adopt."
THE SHAH OF IRAN
About half responded with vehemence: "tyrant," "shrewd," "mean." Another 25 percent thought of him benignly as "exiled" and "rich." The Shah has friends other than Kissinger and David Rockefeller: A tiny group of readers summed him up as "scapegoat."
Would you like to be Jane Fonda?
Forget the income, the Oscars, the famous father. A whopping 83 percent of our female readers answered no—either because Jane's ideas anger them or her schedule exhausts them. Sixteen percent, mostly young, would like to walk in her spikes for precisely the same reasons. Fonda, 42, makes a lot of women feel smug: "I'm happy to be me," one said. "She's too driven, intense, dogmatic." Observed a reader over 65, "She's done some pretty dumb things," but from another 40 years younger: "Jane is the woman I'd most want to be." Some disapproved of her husband, politician Tom Hayden: "I think he's using her." No one could dispute one wistful observation: "Jane can afford to go shopping and not ask the price."
Would you like to marry Jane Fonda?
"She's got everything a man wants in a woman—money, talent, looks and intelligence," one young man replied, breathing hard. Unhappily, he was in a small (but passionate) minority. Three-fourths of the males who responded were unenthusiastic about being Mr. Jane Fonda, which is how many of them saw the role. "I just couldn't keep up with her." "She's too strong for me." "It wouldn't work; she's not a male-dominated person." Some are obviously searching for a girl just like the girl that married dear old Dad. "I like the quiet type," one said. "She doesn't seem quiet to me." Another man, younger than Jane, wanted a kind of warranty to marry her. "I'd like to try it for a month," he said, "and then let you know."
March 28, 2015
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