Posts Tagged ‘Marilyn Monroe’
“Photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event”*…
One of the founding figures of photojournalism, Erich Salomon pioneered the use of hidden cameras—the phrase “candid camera” was first applied to him. A 1924 Ermanox equipped with glass plates and a relatively fast shutter speed, concealed in bowler hats and briefcases—and, in one memorable occasion, in bagpipes—allowed him to take photographs in places where they were strictly prohibited: in the casinos at Monte Carlo or at criminal trials. With a camera hidden in a sling, Salomon was the first photographer to take pictures of the United States Supreme Court in session.
Salomon was best known for his photographs of diplomatic gatherings at the highest level. Employing various subterfuges, he followed three statesmen across Europe—Aristide Briand, Joseph Chamberlain, and Gustav Stresemann—as they fecklessly tried, over champagne and cigars, to preserve peace in Europe. When he couldn’t gain admission to the inner sanctum, Salomon photographed the hat-check man asleep under the ministers’ hats, or members of the diplomatic entourage. One particularly brilliant photograph, rife with irony, shows Maurice Privat, Pierre Laval’s astrologer, perched on a sofa under Rubens’ painting The Conclusion of Peace, consulting a star chart as he waits for his daily session with the prime minister. The most famous of Salomon’s cat-and-mouse photographs records the moment when Briand, who dubbed him “the king of the indiscreet,” recognizes him across the room and points a friendly accusatory finger at him, just as Salomon snaps the image…
More at “The Unguarded Moment.”
* Henri Cartier-Bresson
As we “smile,” we might recall that it was on this date in 1954 that the iconic sequence of Marilyn Monroe, laughing as her skirt is blown up by the blast from a subway vent, was shot, during the filming of Billy Wilder’s The Seven Year Itch. One can imagine Salomon– or those he inspired (e.g., Cartier-Bresson, Eisenstadt, Walker) snapping at the same time…
What if Michael Bay– the director of the Transformers franchise, Armageddon, and a host of other explosive blockbusters– had directed Up ?
* “Norma Desmond” (Gloria Swanson) in Billy Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard
As we shield our eyes from lens flashes, we might recall that it was on this date in 1954 that the iconic sequence of Marilyn Monroe, laughing as her skirt is blown up by the blast from a subway vent, was shot, during the filming of Billy Wilder’s The Seven Year Itch. One can only imagine how Michael Bay might have handled it…
– T.H. White
I love sports. Whenever I can, I always watch the Detroit Tigers on the radio.
– Gerald R. Ford
It’s not true I had nothing on, I had the radio on.
– Marilyn Monroe
As we settle into our Love Shacks for Valentine’s Day, we might recall that it was on this date in 1977 that the B-52’s played their first gig (in their hometown, Athens, GA). After their independently-produced “Rock Lobster” became a demi-hit, the band signed with Warner Bros., where their official bio read:
As a group we enjoy science facts, thrift shopping, tick jokes, fat fad diets, geometric exercising, and discovering the ‘essence from within.'” When taken together with the assertion that the band was “found in the Amazon River basin 40 years ago by Professor Agnes Potter and subsequently abandoned at Athens, Georgia.
Still together (though without Ricky Wilson, who died of AIDS in 1985), the B-52’s are widely credited with paving the way for what became “The Athens Scene”: a collection of local bands that, over the next several years, broke big (e.g., Love Tractor) and bigger (REM).
The ever-illuminating Jason Kottke dips into Statistical Reasoning for Everyday Life (Bennett, Briggs, and Triola; Addison Wesley Longman; Second Edition, 2002) for a measure of Shakespeare’s vocabulary. Using a method recounted here, the authors concluded:
This means that in addition the 31,534 words that Shakespeare knew and used, there were approximately 35,000 words that he knew but didn’t use. Thus, we can estimate that Shakespeare knew approximately 66,534 words.
Linguist Richard Lederer observes (as cited in in this piece) that Shakespeare hadn’t begun to reach the bottom of the barrel: there are currently over 600,000 entries in the Oxford English Dictionary (and in Shakespeare’s time things were especially fluid– as witnessed by the Bard’s own fevered invention of new words and phrases).
Still, Shakespeare’s facility is easier to appreciate in context when we recognize that the average English speaker has a vocabulary of (only) 10,000 to 20,000 words, and, as Lederer observes, actually uses only a fraction of that (the rest being recognition or recall vocabulary).
* Love’s Labour’s Lost I,ii
As we reach for our copies of Word Power, we might wish a glittering birthday to Anita Loos, who was born on this date in 1888. A writer from childhood, she sold a movie idea to D.W Griffiths at Biograph while she was still in her teens– and began a career through which she wrote plays, movies, stories/novels, magazine articles, and finally memoirs.
She’s probably best remembered for her 1925 novel Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Loos claimed to have written the spoof, which she started on a long train ride, as an entertainment for her friend H. L. Mencken (who reputedly had a fondness for Lorelei Lee-like blonds). In any case, the book was an international bestseller, printed in 14 languages and in over 85 editions. It was a hit on Broadway in 1949, then adapted again into a movie musical in 1953– the Howard Hawks classic in which Marilyn Monroe reminds us that “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend.”
In 2004, the British Council asked over 40,000 non-native English speakers in 46 different countries to name the most beautiful word in the English language. The top ten, from a non-native speaker’s perspective are:
Contrast this to the list of (native) lexicographer Willard Funk (author of the Reader’s Digest “It Pays to Increase Your Word Power” column):
(Thanks, Beyond Words)
As we choose our words with care, we might recall that it was on this date in 1954 Marilyn Monroe made Tom Ewell’s day: the famous shot of Marilyn Monroe, laughing as her skirt is blown up by the blast from a subway vent in The Seven Year Itch, was filmed.