Categorically exceptional

I was thinking today about the film Yesterday, which centers around the songs of The Beatles. And I found myself wondering whether the film would have worked if they had used the songs of any other pop group.

I came to the conclusion that no, the premise of this movie required the songs of this particular pop group. No other collection of popular songs has achieved anything even near the reach and influence and sheer abundance of genius as the music of Lennon and McCartney.

That got me thinking about extraordinary achievements in other areas. When we think of playwrights in the English language, there is Shakespeare and then there is everyone else. Nobody ever talks about some other playwright being a “close second”.

Similarly, when we think about someone who contributed to both the arts and the sciences, there is Leonardo DaVinci, towering above all others. Although there have been many such renaissance thinkers, his sheer genius ends up placing him in a class by himself.

I wonder how many examples of this phenomenon we could find, were we to really think about it. Which fields contain one exemplar of genius so far about the rest as to become categorically exceptional?

I am open to suggestions.

3 Responses to “Categorically exceptional”

  1. Adrian says:

    I assume you meant _Yesterday_ rather than _Tomorrow_, unless there’s some cleverness intended there that I missed.

  2. admin says:

    That was a total typo, fixed now, thanks! Yesterday I wasn’t that clever. Tomorrow hopefully I will be. :-)

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