Saturday, September 17, 2011

“What the Fresh Hell Can This Be?

I'm happy to just blog in a sea of random abandonment this morning; hoping to just float around with ease and keep my head above water. 
You see, when you lose a guy who made you laugh as often as he pissed you off, it’s rough.    A guy who, with his sharp tongue and undeniable wit, left you wondering if he wasn't in fact the male reincarnate of Dorothy Parker.  
Sometimes only a bumper sticker on a truck can truly sum up the man...
Wife And Dog Lost
Reward For Dog

I’m hoping to simply blog with abandon and maybe someone in charge, out there in blog cyber galaxy, will raise an eyebrow and place me at the Top Ten on the Blog Blacklist!  The term “blacklist” got me thinking of all our compound words in the English language that include ‘black’ and of course, the negative conations that go along with many of them:
n. - Any of several human or animal diseases characterized by dark urine resulting from rapid breakdown of red blood cells
n. - Extortion of money by threats to divulge discrediting information
n. - The act of excluding someone by a negative vote or veto
n. - Partial or total loss of memory (Certainly nothing positive, especially if alcohol is involved)
n. - A list of people who are out of favor

I’m thinking of switching it up, but keeping the current meaning: whiteout, whitelist, whiteball, whitemail, whitewater. (Oh, damn, already been used in Arkansas)

There’s a annual list of Hollywood’s most liked, unproduced screenplays (I'm hoping to make that list as well) called appropriately, Hollywood’s Black List.  Many outstanding, cool films are recognized and awarded from this list.  Of course, the dark side is the word in the description: “unproduced.”

The blacklist begins (1947)

As you probably already know, in October 1947, a number of persons working in the Hollywood film industry were summoned to appear before the House Committee on Un-American Activities, which had declared its intention to investigate whether Communist agents and sympathizers had been surreptitiously planting propaganda in US films.  The hearings began with several Hollywood professionals, including Walt Disney and Ronald Reagan, president of the Screen Actors Guild, testifying that the threat of Communists in the film industry was a serious one. (Personally, I think Ronnie, Walt and the others should have been more concerned about homosexual activity in Hollywood not Communism)
The blacklist, of course, was rarely verifiable.

Whenever there was a knock at her door, Dorothy Parker would yell, “What the fresh hell can this be?”   Since she is one of my all-time 'crushes' and I so adore lingering in her numerous, interviews, poems, shorts and quotes, I had to investigate if she in fact was blacklisted back in the day.  Well, not surprising,    hers was in fact verifiable…

Blacklisted in Hollywood
Parker helped organize the Screenwriters Guild, joined the Communist Party, and took up with equally aroused lefties like Lillian Hellman. She even had an FBI file more than 900 pages long. (Right on, Dorothy!)  She was blacklisted in Hollywood during the McCarthyite ’50s.

In the 1920s, she became a regular member of the Round Table at the Algonquin Hotel; the watering hole of New York writers who relished in three-hour lunches and liked to dazzle each other with their wit.

But the thing that satisfies me the most about Parker, besides her writing, was her leftward drift. In 1927, she became outraged at the imminent execution of Sacco and Vanzetti, the Boston anarchists. Amongst the 20,000 who protested their innocence were Edna St. Vincent Millay, Albert Einstein, George Bernard Shaw and H.G. Wells.  Parker was arrested and fined for her critical maneuvers preceding the execution.
Would you believe that Dorothy Parker willed her modest $20,000 fortune to Martin Luther King, Jr., though she had never met him, and dedicated her literary rights to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People? Indeed, when she died, family-less, on June 7, 1967, Lillian Hellman saw to it that Parker was cremated with dignity.
But then Lillian forgot to collect Parker’s ashes. (What the hell?) After an erratic series of removals from one business desk to another in New York City, her remains were safely ensconced at the Baltimore headquarters of the NAACP in 1988, 21 years after her death. 
Her entertaining literary remains, however, can be found in The Portable Dorothy Parker.

Dorothy's poems are mainly reflections of her own disappointments and frustrations. She had a sad childhood, losing both parents at an early age. This shadow followed her throughout her life. Her lovers and spouses only seemed to add to her distress. Parker attempted suicide 3 times, eventually took to alcohol, and died alone in a New York hotel, aged 73. The New York Times printed one of its longest ever obituaries as a tribute.
According to an interview with Vanity Fair in 1925, Ms Parker wanted her epitaph to say, EXCUSE THE DUST.

From a Book Review
"It may be that this autobiography is set down in sincerity, frankness and simple effort. It may be, too, that the Statue of Liberty is situated in Lake Ontario.”

I have a plethora of “Dorothy Quotes” that I like to use in the same way I like to blog, babble or drink...with abandon.  Here’s a child-size handful…

"Ducking for apples -- change one letter and it's the story of my life."

“This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.” 

“The cure for boredom is curiosity.
There is no cure for curiosity.” 

“I don't know much about being a millionaire, but I'll bet I'd be darling at it.” 

“Heterosexuality is not normal, it's just common.” 

“Tell him I was too fucking busy-- or vice versa.”

 “I hate writing, I love having written.” 

“I like to have a martini, two at the very most. After three I'm under the table,
after four I'm under my host.”

And of course, “What the fresh hell can this be?” which you’ll hear me yelling from inside my abode if you ever pay me a visit.
I’m thinking of taking a Thelma/Louise type road trip today, 
         except I’ll skip the cliff.  

Enjoy the scenery today!

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