"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Monday, June 20, 2011

Birthdays Today

Some interesting birthdays today.   First, born all of 2,247 years ago, Scipio Africanus, the general of the Second Punic War, who famously defeated Hannibal at the battle of Zama.

Next, the Scottish sociologist/historian, Adam Ferguson, a contemporary of both David Hume and Adam Smith, with whom he shared an understanding of modern commercial society as a "spontaneous order" in which a civil society emerges from the uncoordinated and self-interested actions of many individuals.   His most famous work was his 1767 book Essay on the History of Civil Society.  

It's also Lillian Hellman's birthday, the American playwright and famous Communist, born in 1905.   About Hellman, it was famously said by Mary McCarthy that  "every word she writes is a lie, including 'and' and 'the'."

Next, a movie hero who tried to enlist in the Army in World War II but who was declared 4-F, Errol Flynn; and a real hero, Audie Murphy, who later became a B-movie star.   Flynn was one of my favorites growing up, particularly for his role as Robin Hood:

But Murphy, the winner of the Medal of Honor and America's most decorated serviceman in World War II, was the real deal.   Here he is in a 1963 interview:

Finally, it's hard to believe that Nicole Kidman is 44, but she is.   Oddly, I think I've only seen one of her movies all the way through, a cool spy-military thriller called The Peacemaker, with George Clooney.   She's one of those Hollywood actresses who have unfortunately had a bit too much plastic surgery over the years, but when she was younger she was maybe the most beautiful woman in Hollywood.  

No comments:

Post a Comment