Thursday, June 05, 2008

Dorothy Parker Remembered

You Might as
Well Live

Dorothy Parker died on this day, June 7, in 1967. She was one of the wittiest, cleverest, quickest, wildest, hardest-drinking American writers of the 20th century. We have heard a lot about able and powerful women in this primary season. Dorothy was larger than life on the American literary and media scene in her own time, remembered especially for her leading role in the Algonquin Round Table, a witty circle of domineering and savage-tongued men hanging out regularly at the famous New York hotel. She more than held her own in that high-energy company.

It is always fun to read and re-read Dorothy Parker, so here are a few of my personal favorites:


Oh, life is a glorious cycle of song,
A medley of extemporanea;
And love is a thing that can never go wrong;
And I am Marie of Roumania

Unfortunate Coincidence

By the time you swear you're his,
Shivering and sighing,
And he vows his passion is
Infinite, undying --
Lady, make a note of this:
One of you is lying.


Razors pain you;
Rivers are damp;
Acids stain you;
And drugs cause cramp.
Guns aren't lawful;
Nooses give;
Gas smells awful:
You might as well live.

A little-known but intriguing fact about Dorothy is that she left her estate (or at least a big part of it) to Martin Luther King, Jr.

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