Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Mae West: Cigarette me, Cossack!

MAE WEST was woven into the wool within London's Times as the editors whiled away one column on Collins’s latest dictionary, which loops in some fuzzy neologisms culled from the argot of web-users. How time combs the golden debris out of human communication, separating and lifting each strand.
• • Weighing the expanding lexicon of the English language, the editors grew reflective, noting: The words available to Shakespeare sufficed to write Hamlet, didn’t they? Churchill not only favoured short words, but also believed that “the old words, when short, are best of all.” Mae West liked to keep her conversation snappy, if for different reasons, claiming that she was “a woman of very few words, but lots of action.” Collins’s answer is that additions to its 30th Anniversary Edition have been picked to show how (and how fast) society is changing. ... [quoted from "Word Perfect: A new dictionary reflects our growing interest in climate change and digital culture" in The Times, 31 August 2009, www.timesonline.co.uk]. Attempting to be folksy, the British editors fell back on trite expressions such as "looking on the bright side," indicating perhaps too much pallid light in that U.K. newsroom.
• • Unnecessary to quote more from "Word Perfect" — — unless you're in need of a sleeping potion — — so gallop along to the bright side of the barnyard.
• • Mae-mavens and Cleo Borden fans will recognize the "woman of very few words" quote from the screenplay of "Goin' to Town," directed by Alexander Hall and released in the USA on 25 April 1935 (her only motion picture in 1935).
• • "Cigarette me, Cossack!" • •
• • A lesser known bit is Cleo's snappy command: "Cigarette me, Cossack!" Mae directs the line to Ivan Valadov (played by actor Ivan Lebedeff, 1895—1953).
• • In the half-light of the projection booth, black and white images sputter, sizzle, leap to life. A 1930s cigarette Mae held is gone
yet the moviehouse air is sharp with memory. Inhale, dear comrades.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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• • Photo: • • Mae West • • none • •
• • Feed — — http://feeds2.feedburner.com/MaeWest
Mae West.

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