theresaurus

April 26, 2014

Tulips

Filed under: Uncategorized — theresaurus @ 11:35 pm

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The tulips the community center for the disabled in my neighborhood grows every year. Yesterday I noticed that only the purple ones were left. Do purple tulips last longer than the other colors or what?

It’s Anita Loos’ birthday today. From her (1974) autobiography, Kiss Hollywood Goodbye:

“In its heyday Hollywood reflected, if not actually produced, the sexual climate of our land. A screen love affair used to unfold chastely and without guile until it reached its climax in a kiss which, by a ruling of the the Board of Censors, had quickly to fade out after seven seconds. … Irving Thalberg used to tell me, ‘When you write a love scene, think of your heroine as a little puppy dog, cuddling up to her master, wagging an imaginary tail, and gazing at him as if he were God.’ It would be heartening if men no longer craved that sort of treatment. But men are weak and constantly need reassurance, so now that they fail to find adulation in the opposite sex, they’re turning to each other. And today, much as girls look like boys, they flunk out on the solicitude men are developing for each other. Less and less do men need women. More and more gentlemen prefer gentlemen.

“That our popular art forms have become so obsessed with sex has turned the U.S.A. into a nation of hobbledehoys; as if grown people don’t have more vital concerns, such as taxes, inflation, dirty politics, earning a living, getting an education, or keeping out of jail. … Sex attraction, being entirely a matter of chance, has to be accepted where one finds it. Frequently, its victims have nothing else in common and the whole affair dwindles into a matter of chemistry. There’s nothing colder than chemistry.

“Most middle class marriages in America are doomed, through lack of either fantasy or sense of humor that can cope with their ever-recurrent challenges: the anxiety, discomfort, apprehension, and general messiness of sex.

“What is it that has sparked this obsession for vintage movies in a generation born long after they were released? I can only think that today’s youth must subconsciously yearn for the very sentiments on which they’ve turned their backs. They must find a surcease for today’s oafishness in the shimmering glamor of Jean Harlow, the angelic beauty of Lillian Gish, and the unchallenged masculine image of Clark Gable. … The same idyllic emotions used to be expressed in other popular art forms; today I recall a song of my youth that was imported from France. Its title was ‘C’est si bon’ meaning, of course, that love is ‘so good.’ But the ballad makers of today turn out lyrics which ask ‘Is That All There Is?’

“It’s understandable that such defeatism has resulted in impotence; that composers now write such lyrics as ‘We almost made it, didn’t we, girl?’ Almost! What kind of a situation is that to celebrate in song? … I also regret the cheek-to-cheek dancing, which has been replaced by wide spaces between partners. Each one dances alone. I remember the camaraderie we used to achieve on bathtub gin; whereas today’s kids, stoned on pot, retire inside their own personalities. They may be happy, but they seldom laugh.

“But I have no intention of dramatizing my feelings about Hollywood. In the past, as now, it was a stamping ground for tastelessness, violence, and hyperbole, but once upon a time it turned out a product which sweetened the flavor of life all over the world. And it would now appear that the spirit of those old films is rising from the dust to assure a new generation that the permissiveness of the 1970s is a killjoy; that those gyrations of naked bodies which once would have made the Board of Censors reach for the scissors, lead to nothing.”

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