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Posts Tagged ‘Camelot

“Don’t let it be forgot, that once there was a spot, for one brief shining moment, that was known as Camelot”*…

 

Lerner and Lowe

Composer Frederick Loewe (left) and lyricist Alan Jay Lerner in a 1956 photo

 

In the preparation for the Broadway debut of Camelot— on the heels of their shared successes with Brigadoon, Paint Your Wagon, My Fair Lady, and Gigi— the relationship between the creative team Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe began to fray…

By the end of the week Fritz and I were seeing less and less of each other. Irritations and differences between us that had been long forgotten and were of little consequence at the time had now become the subject of questions by interviewers. Our replies traveled from mouth to mouth and by the time they reached us they were unrecognizable distortions. If we had stayed steadfastly and constantly together as we always had in the past we would have laughed, rowed, or shrugged, but in the end gone on about our business. We did not. I do not know why we did not. I may have thought I knew then but whatever I thought, I am certain I was wrong. I have a feeling the reason was far more insidious, something of which neither of us was aware and which affected each of us in different ways. I have a feeling it may have been too much success.

Success, as I mentioned earlier, can be a creative stimulant. It encourages reaching in and reaching out. But it can also take the concessions of collaboration and call them compromise. It can embitter as often as it elates and inflates and it can weaken as much as it toughens. It can magnify faults and unearth a few new ones and its only virtue is when it is forgotten. Perhaps I was too disdainful of the words of others and Fritz too vulnerable. Perhaps I misinterpreted our differences as lack of support and he misinterpreted mine as heroics. Perhaps. Perhaps not. I will never know. Too much was never said. In the end we were a little like the couple being discussed in one of Noel Coward’s early plays. “Do they fight?” said one. “Oh, no,” said the other. “They’re much too unhappy to fight.”

From the memoir of Alan Jay Lerner, The Street Where I Live, via the ever-illuminating DelanceyPlace.com.

* Alan Jay Lerner, Camelot

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As we contemplate collaboration, we might send dramatic birthday greetings to James Maxwell Anderson; he was born on this date in 1888.  A playwright, screenwriter, author, poet, journalist, and lyricist, Anderson had a string of theatrical successes (e.g., What Price Glory, Key Largo, Bad Seed, Anne of a Thousand Days), adapted his plays and the works of others and created original works for the screen (e.g., All Quiet on the Western Front, Joan of Arc, Ben-Hur), and wrote the book for two of Kurt Weill’s productions (including Knickerbocker Holiday, the standout number in which, “September Song”, became a popular standard).

Maxwell_Anderson source

 

“Common sense with big words”*…

 

John Dewey Professor Emeritus of Philosophy Sidney Morgenbesser was a celebrated scholar: and expert on the philosophy of social science, political philosophy, epistemology, and the history of American Pragmatism, and a mentor to the likes of Jerry Fodor, Raymond Geuss, Robert Nozick, and Derek Parfit.

But Morgenbesser was every equally well-known for his pointedly-relevant witticisms; for instance…

– In a lecture, the Oxford linguistic philosopher J. L. Austin made the claim that although a double negative in English implies a positive meaning, there is no language in which a double positive implies a negative. From the audience, Morgenbesser waved his arms and responded in a dismissive tone, “Yeah, yeah.”

– When asked his opinion of pragmatism, Morgenbesser replied “It’s all very well in theory but it doesn’t work in practice.”

– Asked to prove a questioner’s existence, Morgenbesser shot back, “Who’s asking?”

– Interrogated by a student whether he agreed with Chairman Mao’s view that a statement can be both true and false at the same time, Morgenbesser replied “Well, I do and I don’t.”

– Dissecting the difference between Christianity and Judaism, Morgenbesser described Gentile ethics as entailing “ought implies can” while in Jewish ethics “can implies don’t.”

More Morgenbesser mots here.

[Photo via Columbia University.]

*”Philosophy is common sense with big words.”  – James Madison

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As we reckon that Wittgenstein was probably right when we suggested that “a serious and good philosophical work could be written consisting entirely of jokes,” we might send fantastic birthday greetings to Terence Hanbury “T.H.” White; he was born on this date in 1906.  While he wrote over two dozen books, he is best known for his sequence of (four) Arthurian novels, The Once and Future King, first published together in 1958.  A best-seller in its own right, it was the basis of the musical Camelot and of the animated feature The Sword on the Stone, and an inspiration to other writers, from J.K. Rowling to Gregory Maguire.

Writing of the first of White’s Arthurian novels, The Sword in the Stone, in 1939, Time opined: “The book as a whole might be described as a shake-up of British rectory humor, Evelyn Waugh, Laurel & Hardy, John Erskine, and the Marquis de Sade, quite well enough blended to please the palate of Sword-in-the-Stone partisans, to assure its author definite standing among such cult men as A. P. Herbert, P. G. Wodehouse, Lewis Carroll.”

 source

 

Written by LW

May 29, 2013 at 1:01 am

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