BITS & PIECES OF A MISPLACED LIFE: CELEBRITIES

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-56669924

"An insurance company pamphlet described Moses
 as 'One of the greatest salesmen and real-
estate promoters that ever lived.' Jesus
Christ was called 'the founder of modern
business.'"

Jim Bishop. The Golden Ham: A Candid Biography of
Jackie Gleason ( New York: Simon and Schuster, 1956).
 CULTURAL NOTE

Jackie Gleason
Was not always the voice of reason.
**
REMEMBERING REDD FOXX

Notorious for his frank, tell-it-like-it-is style, Redd Foxx broke new ground for minorities and comedians alike. By joking about everything from sex to color barriers, he brought simmering and taboo issues into the open. His candor onstage not only jump-started what is now considered a war with censors, but also inspired and enabled other comedians to achieve more than had ever been possible. Foxx was not only “The King of Comedy,” but also a talented artist. He took a sketchbook with him whenever possible, and enjoyed creating his own fantastic images or capturing the essence of those whom he loved or admired.

John Elroy Sanford was born into poverty in St. Louis on December 9, 1922. With a ruddy complexion, Redd fast became a nickname. He derived Foxx from admirable Major League Baseball player, Jimmie Foxx. He left St. Louis for Chicago when he was 13, and supported himself by playing the washboard in a band. When the band broke up three years later, he hopped a train to New York City. It was there that he met Malcolm Little, a man who would later be known as Malcolm X. In The Autobiography of Malcolm X, he is referred to as “Chicago Red, the funniest dishwasher on this earth.”

from The Official Redd Foxx Website
**
WHERE THE SHEEP BELONGING TO REDD FOXX
 ARE TO BE FOUND

Foxx’s
Flocks
Are on the rocks
Among the phlox.
ON W.H. AUDEN & BETTE DAVIS

Auden: I was once rung from Hollywood by Miss
Bette Davis. She said, "Mr. Auden, I've just 
been reading one of your poems."  I said, "I'm
glad to hear it, madam, but it's two o'clock
in the morning," and I put the phone down.
  Chester has never forgiven me.

Speech from THE HABIT OF ART by Alan Bennett's 
play about an imagined meeting of Auden and 
Benjamin Britten.

**
DOROTHY PARKER & GERTRUDE STEIN 
 "To quote the only line of Gertrude Stein's which I have ever been able to understand, 'It is wonderful how I am not interested.
    Dorothy Parker
ROBERT DONAT


Robert Donat,

Munching on a doughnut,

Launched into the “To be or not to be” speech.
What wd he recite if he were eating a peach?

***

SALUTING A CELEBRITY IN ANCIENT ROME

In ca A.D. 68-95, "The charioteer Scorpus 
rises to wealth and fame with thousands of
victories on the racecourse before dying at
age 27.

David Alvarez. "Chariot Racing in Rome" in
National Geographic History, vol.7, no.2

Being a star made it possible for me to get insulted in places where the average Negro could never hope to go and get insulted.


       Sammy Davis, Jr in his autobiography Yes, I Can

***

CELEBRITIES & RACE HORSES

Celebrities are a good deal like horses. Both are uneasy in the presence of people who don’t know how to handle them. To be much in the company of either celebrities or horses calls for a specialized vocabulary, the assimilation of a regal etiquette, and – most important of all – an air of authority. Toadying to a celebrity, or even deferring to him, is like approaching on the wrong side; in either case you get your toes stepped on.

    Russell Maloney. “In a Den of  Lyons”  in The New Yorker (April 7, 1945)


   

Celebrities are not appendages of our society anymore; they are the basis of our communal lives. Literature and architecture, art and politics, are at most sidelights –small, ancient alleyways down which fewer and fewer minds wander. Pop culture has long since left the word culture behind to become the primary way we understand the world.

Stephen Marche. “Consumer Products” in Lapham’s Quarterly (Winter 2011)

6 thoughts on “BITS & PIECES OF A MISPLACED LIFE: CELEBRITIES

    1. I think Marche was making a disparaging comment about Pop Culture. The target is too easy. More challenging to make a positive comment about it.

      Like

  1. Always a fun read Lou

    On Sun, Apr 25, 2021 at 6:11 PM PhillipsMiscellany wrote:

    > louisprofphillips posted: ” > https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-56669924 “An insurance company > pamphlet described Moses as ‘One of the greatest salesmen and real- estate > promoters that ever lived.’ Jesus Christ was called ‘the founder of modern > business.'” Jim Bishop.” >

    Like

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