Saturday, March 19, 2011

Larry McMurtry on Marilyn Monroe (article in The New York Review of Books)

Larry McMurtry: "Marilyn". The New York Review of Books, March 10, 2011. Vol LVIII, Number 4
Covering: - MM - Personal: From the Private Archive of Marilyn of Marilyn Monroe, ed. Lois Banner, with photographs of Mark Anderson. Abrams
- Fragments: Poems, Intimate Notes, Letters. By Marilyn Monroe. Ed. Stanley Buchthal and Bernard Comment. Farrar, Straus and Giroux
- The Life and Opinions of Maf the Dog, and of His Friend Marilyn Monroe. By Andrew O'Hagan. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Today is the Minna Canth Day in Finland, the day of social equality, a flag day. I take a Saturday walk by the seaside, and it starts to snow once again. I carry with me the latest issue of The New York Review of Books which I started to read in the train from Tampere to Helsinki a week ago. I finish reading it at the Café Ursula while having a croissant and a café au lait, forgetting for a while the imminent global expansion of the war in Libya today and the catastrophic situation at the Fukushima nuclear power plant.

The cover story is Larry McMurtry's article on Marilyn Monroe. Yet another prominent writer to contribute on this muse of poets and authors. There is not much that is new in McMurtry's piece, but he has an insight in the pop age goddess. He quotes Richard Avedon: "She was able to make wonderful photographs with almost any photographer, which is interesting - and rare".

Another quote, from Billy Wilder: "I think she was the best light comedienne we have in films today, and anyone will tell you that the toughest of acting styles is light comedy".

But a poet she wasn't. "Her unrhymed verse is frankly just terrible, and the many pages that reproduce the scrawls themselves are so much wasted paper".

She became famous as a pin-up, but "the important thing about her was her spirit", is McMurtry's conclusion.

On the whole, it's a great issue of The New York Review, with
- Freeman Dyson on the information flood and the information theory (Samuel Morse, Charles Shannon, Gordon Moore). Heat death is a myth. Moore's Law is still valid.
- Ron Reagan's My Father at 100 reviewed. The son reviews his father's life as a theatrical performance.
- Garry Kasparov writes about Bobby Fischer
- Joyce Carol Oates on The Fighter, directed by David O. Russell, and other boxing movies
- Dan Chiasson on Keith Richards' Life
- Darryl Pinckney on the Henry Louis Gates, Jr. case and the continuity of racial discrimination in the age of Obama
- Timothy Snyder on Hitler vs. Stalin: Who Killed More? After the cold war, a more sober assessment on Stalin's terror has become possible.
- Brian Urquhart on Timothy Garton Ash and revolution without violence, topical in the Arab world

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