In due course Jean-Jacques Rousseau came along to serve as the Luther for a less religious age. It is an odd thing indeed, as Magill notes, that the champion of this new sincerity should have been a man who wrote a manual on child-raising while depositing his own five children in orphanages because they were too bothersome to him.
So it was, though; and the Romantic movement was well and truly launched, soon followed by its bastard American child, transcendentalism. Its further descendants, the cults of “authenticity” and “self-expression,” still plague us today.
If you watch a lot of youth oriented movies from the 1950s and 60s, you hear the word “sincere” a lot.
It’s almost always said by females, especially the “good girl” of the piece.
It’s meant as a compliment, and seems to be shorthand for “sensitive and misunderstood” — see that ever so revealing line in “The Leader of the Pack”:
“They all said he was bad
“But I knew he was sad“
A more accurate glimpse into the female mind has rarely been captured in song, by either Sondheim or Weill.
I’ve been guilty m’self.