"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, August 22, 2011

Birthdays Today - Cool Chicks Version

Today's birthdays include three cool chicks, women whose intelligence made (or makes) them attractive.   The first, born in 1893, was Dorothy Parker, the writer.  Parker was one of the more famous writers of the 1920s, for her supposed wit and membership in the New York "Algonquin round table" -- writers who congregated in the hotel's bar to trade barbs.   She was mostly known for her short, satiric poems in Vanity Fair and The New Yorker, and her book reviews, which were often quite mean-spirited.  (She  commented upon reading Milne's Winnie the Pooh, that she had "fwohed up.")   She also wrote some good short stories at a time when the craft was at its peak with Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Lardner and others.  But I was surprised to read through a selection of her quotes and find that none of them are really all that memorable, at least to my ear.   Perhaps the most famous is her comment on the Yale prom, where she noted that, if all of the debutantes attending were laid end to end, she wouldn't be a bit surprised.   I guess the moral of the story is that faux world-weariness and meanness is not the same as real wit, and wit is not the same as literary genius.   To read Parker next to, oh, Samuel Johnson, is to see a great fall in culture.  On the other hand, Parker to now is a pretty big fall too, I suspect.


The next cool chick whose birthday falls on today is Honor Blackman, the actress in the early James Bond movie Goldfinger who played the wonderfully-named Pussy Galore.   I don't think there's ever been a better Bond girl:

Blackman was born in 1925, which would make her 86 now.   Apparently she's still working too... good for her.


Finally, Saturday Night Live's Kristen Wiig was born today in 1973.   The Regular Wife and I saw her earlier this year in the movie Bridesmaids, which she carried in a very funny performance.   She's also really cute, in my humble estimation. Here's a marginally funny sketch from SNL:

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