Monday, February 14, 2011

Mae West: George Jean Nathan

One high-profile journalist wrote memorably about MAE WEST.
• • Born in Fort Wayne, Indiana in the month of February — — on 14 February 1882 — — George Jean Nathan [1882 — 1958] was an American drama critic and editor who once remarked that Mae looked more like "the Statue of Libido." This has been repeated so often that it has drowned out other statements he made. Here are some paragraphs from his book "Passing Judgments" [1935]:
• • . . . Mae West, this Mae West, was the only woman that the talking pictures, since their advent, had disclosed to their audiences! What the movie audiences had uniformly been privileged to see before, over a period of years, has been nothing but an endless succession of imported Lesbians, spindled-shanked, flat- chested flappers, forty-year-old Baby Dolls, beauty parlor imitations of women, and Sylvia-massaged string beans, in not one of whom there was enough real, genuine, honest-to-God female quality to interest even a vegetarian cannibal. In the midst of this dearth, the Mlle. West came like a rainfall, a veritable torrent, upon a dry desert. Here, unmistakably, whatever anyone might think of her art, was a woman, a female. No little dried-up cutie, no pretty little narrow-shouldered skeleton of a chicken, no parched and skinny pseudo-vamp, no trumped-up, artificial siren, but a good, large, full, round, old-time, 1890-model woman, with "woman" up and down and sidewise written plainly on her every feature — — and all other places.
• • Like some rare and strange freak, therefore, La Belle West descended upon the screen and audiences galloped to see the phenomenon. ...
• • Mae West appears in "The Kind One" • •
• • Our intrepid Canadian Mae-Mountie Mr. R. Mark Desjardins writes from his luxurious perch in the Pacific Northwest: Thought I'd share this sympatico moment with you. I was at the Vancouver Public Library and spotted a book, "The Kind One" by Tom Epperson, on the "recommended shelf." The flap copy promised this would be a page-turner on the dark Hollywood of the 1930s. Imagine my delight when I checked out the book and read the following on page 114:
• • "So I'm living downtown near Pershing Square, and I'm taking a trolley car out to the beach, and there's this guy in a bowtie looking at me. I think he's trying to pick me up, and I'm ignoring him, then he says, Mae West has only got one thing that you don't have. An agent. And I says, are you an agent, and he says yeah. And I says how do you know that I don't have an agent, and he says if you had an agent you wouldn't be riding in some dumpy trolley car. And I says you're riding in a trolley car, who kinda lousy agent does that make you, and he says it makes me a very good agent, 'cause I just discovered the next Mae West." ...
• • Thus does Mae West's memory continue to live on in popular literature!
• • "Queen of Hearts" image designed by: R. Mark Desjardins, Canada
• • Written by: R. Mark Desjardins, Canada
• • Quote, Unquote • •
• • . . . From incomprehensible assignments, like dressing up as Mae West, to group-project headaches to a workload that robs time from family, almost every aspect of homework has been under scrutiny for decades. But an unprecedented outpouring of frustration in Wheaton's Community Unit School District 200 has opened a new window into the debate in local homes and schools. . . . [Source: "Worked up over homework" by Diano Rado, Tribune Reporter in The Chicago Tribune, 12 February 2011]
• • Come up and see Mae every day online:
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• • Photo: • • Mae West • • 1932 • •
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Mae West.

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