It was ever thus. Professor Russel Nye's excellent book, The Unembarrassed Muse: The Popular Arts in America, explains in great detail what Americans really enjoyed and paid attention to, historically, and little has changed. Baghdad and Benghazi be damned, the American public is keeping up with the Kardashians and their appallingly vulgar mother. Ever since Barnum, a freak show guarantees an audience. And if you wish to argue against the proposition that the public's taste for trash is virtually inexhaustible, you will be at some pains to explain away twelve seasons of Two and a Half Men.