2005-06-26

Dorothy and Judy

Last night, I watched the movie A Star Is Born (no not the Barbara Streisand 1976 one, the Judy Garland one) on TVO. The 1954 version is a musical re-make of the original 1937 screenplay written by Dorothy Parker (among others). To be honest, I found the movie drawn out in parts, and I don’t quite understand why it garnered so many Oscar nominations for its time. Maybe being a movie about the ups and downs and excesses of Hollywood, it was a case of the industry’s narcissism and self-indulgence (like a certain meta-blog we know?). Two things I liked about it was James Mason’s portrayal of an alcoholic actor in the decline of his career and the musical score from two of the greatest composer / lyricists of all time: (Harold Arlen) and (Ira Gershwin).

Dorothy Parker and Judy Garland, like our muse, are interesting studies of creative women struggling with the consequences of self-doubt and poor choices.

Parker, a literary wit of her time and most notable member of the famous Algonquin Round Table ( movie recommendation: Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle ) , was constantly plagued with depression over most of the course of her life. When it came to men, her choices were equally questionable -- one husband being a morphine addict and another partner, a married-man predisposed to philandering. It is claimed her only true love was her literary collaborator at the New Yorker, Robert Benchley – yet another married man.

Judy Garland’s story has been repeated so often it has become the generic template for the artist’s six step guide to self-destruction:

1. have a personality requiring constant reassurance and high praise in spite of being popular,
2. discover amphetamines,
3. mix with alcohol,
4. make several poor marriage / partner choices,
5. gain weight,
6. die before the age of fifty

Everyone after Judy was only a variation on the above recipe.

Though the lesser tragic than poor Judy, Parker had more than a few quirks including never wearing her eyeglasses in the presence of a man. In her own words: Men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses. I'm sure Parker would have endorsed laser eye surgery had it existed in her day. But I don't think it would have changed much else in her life.

7 comments:

Agatha said...

Thanks for the template, Chair. I've been pretty successful completing steps 1, 3 and 4. I guess I have some more work to do if I want to reach the downfallen diva status of Dorothy or Judy. But this isn't about me, is it? My apologies, it's the narcissism and self-indulgence talking again.

4th Dwarf said...

I'm doing well with #4 and #5. And would be strong on #1 if I was popular.

The Muse is just not on track. It doesn't seem like she drinks much. No sign of amphetamine use. (A prescription of SSRIs might be just the thing for her, but who am I to say?)

Except for blogging unhappy thoughts and libelous remarks she doesn't seem to have any addictions or compulsions.

She says she wants hot, sweaty sex, but isn't getting any.

Does she really want hot, sweaty sex?

I don't think so.


It's a safe bet that the poet was offering something like that to her.

And M, who she seems intent on spending the summer with, clearly isn't.

Yesterday she spoke of M being "efficient" and others she's been with reminding her of the City TV Porno which was "boring", "mechanical, empty, and passionless".

What was she doing while these intimate activities were taking place? Was she communicating that she wanted it to be exciting, animated, full and passionate?

Or was she giving every indication of needing to go to sleep soon so she could get up in time for her morning run?

I suspect the latter.

But I am guardedly happy for her that she's put in for kitten adoption. Given the bad outcome with her last pet, the budgie, it's probably wise to only put in for a temporary pet. Still I think she'd maybe be wiser to take on an older, mellowed-out cat who would not add stress to her life and not be a guaranteed emotional loss every six weeks.

Corrie said...

You guys.

You're really not doing that badly. Think of it this way: NOBODY is doing better than I am on number 4. With the possible exception of a friend of mine from Winnipeg who just married for the third time. And she's younger than I am. Her first hubbie was gay. The second a loser/pretender, who eventually morphed into the biker he'd always wanted to be. He comes and picks up their little girl for visits on his Harley. Often "forgets" the helmet for the child.
And she's still trying, so there's hope for all of us...

Agatha said...

OK - 4D, about your question...I see 3 possibilities: 1) She may not really want what she thinks she wants 2) She may be a self-sabotager (none of us would know anything about that, right?) 3) She may really want it.
Again, I feel that she is attracting a lot of unwanted attention by putting her raw mojo "out there". I get the sense, 4D, that you're throwing out a "the-lassies-dunno-wh'-theys-be-lustin'-fer" argument. Am I right?

4th Dwarf said...

Dear Aggie, p'rahps I'm an overly simple fellow, but isn't that only two possibilities? Because if it's #3, she's sabotaging herself as surely as I'd be sabotaging myself if I lit a match to see why a canary died down in the mine.

An' I'm sure, some lassies know what they're lookin' fer. But if 5M is huntin' treasure, she's either got the map upside down, or she's lookin' at the wrong side of the parchment.

Agatha said...

Yes, I was afraid you'd figure that there were only two real possibilities, ye clever minin' pirate! #2 is complicated, as we know, and bears more analysis.

Anonymous said...

Is Sarah Jessica any relation to Dorothy or Posey?