Category Archives: Catcher in the Rye

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“Beauty is not caused. It is.” Emily Dickinson

GOODBYE, MOUSEBURGER

Loyal readers of this space may remember my thoughts about one Hugh M. Hefner. To refresh, I lauded him for being the leader of the 50s and 60s avant garde knocking down the weird, crushing, Victorianesque walls surrounding sex.

On the other hand, I charged Hefner with creating an equally weird, crushing model of female beauty that was responsible as much as anything for maladies like anorexia, bulimia, and boob jobs.

Hef had a female doppelganger.

Helen Gurley Brown

Helen Gurley Brown did as much as Hefner to make sex okay some five decades ago.

Sex wasn’t invented in the 1960s, but it was transformed from a virtual criminal, borderline psychotic act.

Gurley Brown and Hef were the Mom and Dad of the rebirth of humanity’s second-most natural act.

Helen Gurley Brown died yesterday at the age of 90.

She called herself a “mouseburger” and she held high the banner for tens of millions of other mouseburgers, young women who were neither classically ravishing nor exotically gorgeous. They, too, Gurley Brown said, could be attractive, chic, and smart.

Smart, that is, in the fashion sense.

Like Hefner’s, Gurley Brown’s celebration of then-modern young women went only so far. A Playboy playmate, for instance, might have read “Catcher in the Rye” — maybe — but she had no idea what Marie Curie had accomplished.

More likely, Hef’s playmates, if anything at all, read “Valley of the Dolls.” Gurley Brown’s young women might have, too. No mouseburger, though, ever read “Catcher in the Rye.” In fact, a mouseburger’s most challenging choice in literature probably was, well, Gurley Brown’s own “Sex and the Single Girl.”

Valley Girls: Barbara Parkins, Sharon Tate, Patty Duke

Cosmo cover girls were as other-worldly perfect as Hefner’s centerfolds. Both Playboy and Cosmopolitan leaned heavily on the ministrations of air-brushers to make women spectacular.

Neither a Cosmo cover girl nor a Playboy playmate was a beautiful human being — she was a spectacle.

And tens of millions of young American women have stood on their heads for the last fifty or so years to become, themselves, spectacles.

Otherworldly

What they never realized was that despite all the meals they’d ever thrown up, all the makeup they bought and tight jeans they squeezed themselves into, despite all the lips they had plumped up with botox and all the liquid-filled plastic bags they had surgically inserted over their own mammary glands, the bodies and the faces they possessed could never be air-brushed in real life.

Gurley Brown and Hef gave men and women permission to love other people’s bodies. But both made women hate their own.

ALMOST

The Loved One turned me on to Sarah Harmer.

Terrific singer-songwriter and, unlike Cosmo girls and playmates, her beauty — as Emily Dickinson put it — just is.

Here’s how I waste my time. How about you? Share your fave sites with us via the comments section. Just type in the name of the site, not the url; we’ll find them. If we like them, we’ll include them — if not, we’ll ignore them.

I Love ChartsLife as seen through charts.

XKCD — “A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language.”

SkepchickWomen scientists look at the world and the universe.

IndexedAll the answers in graph form, on index cards.

I Fucking Love ScienceA Facebook community of science geeks.

Present & CorrectFun, compelling, gorgeous and/or scary graphic designs and visual creations throughout the years and from all over the world.

Flip Flop Fly BallBaseball as seen through infographics, haikus, song lyrics, and other odd communications devices.

Mental FlossFacts.

The UniverseA Facebook community of astrophysics and astronomy geeks.

SodaplayCreate your own models or play with other people’s models.

Eat Sleep DrawAn endless stream of artwork submitted by an endless stream of people.

Big ThinkTapping the brains of notable intellectuals for their opinions, predictions, and diagnoses.

The Daily PuppySo shoot me.

Electron Pencil event listings: Music, art, movies, lectures, parties, receptions, games, benefits, plays, meetings, fairs, conspiracies, rituals, etc.

TUESDAY, AUGUST 14, 2012

◗ IU Art MuseumNew exhibit: “The Twenty-Four Paragons of Filial Piety,” by Utagawa Kuniyoshi; August 14th through December 23rd; 10am-5pm

People’s ParkLunch Concert Series: Don’t Call Me Betty; 11:30am

◗ Corner of Sixth and Madison streets — Tuesday Farmers Market; 4-7pm

The Venue Fine Art & GiftsMohammed Mahdi & Anthony Duncan demonstrate soap making; 5:30-7:30pm

Unitarian Universalist ChurchAudition for the Bloomington Chamber Singers; 5:30pm

◗ IU Bill Armstrong StadiumHoosier men’s soccer; 7pm

Monroe County Public LibraryBloomington Mac Users Group meeting: Apple’s New Operating System; 7-8:30pm

Monroe County Public LibraryIt’s Your Money series: You’re an Adult, Now What?; 7pm

First United Methodist ChurchAudition for The Quarryland Men’s Chorus; 7:30pm

The Root Cellar at Farm Bloomington — Team trivia; 8pm

ONGOING:

◗ Ivy Tech Waldron CenterExhibits:

  • “40 Years of Artists from Pygmalion’s”; through September 1st

◗ IU Art MuseumExhibits:

  • “A Tribute to William Zimmerman,” wildlife artist; through September 9th

  • Willi Baumeister, “Baumeister in Print”; through September 9th

  • Annibale and Agostino Carracci, “The Bolognese School”; through September 16th

  • “Contemporary Explorations: Paintings by Contemporary Native American Artists”; through October 14th

  • David Hockney, “New Acquisitions”; through October 21st

  • Utagawa Kuniyoshi, “Paragons of Filial Piety”; through fall semester 2012

  • Julia Margaret Cameron, Edward Weston, & Harry Callahan, “Intimate Models: Photographs of Husbands, Wives, and Lovers”; through December 31st

  • “French Printmaking in the Seventeenth Century”; through December 31st

◗ IU SoFA Grunwald GalleryExhibits:

  • Coming — Media Life; August 24th through September 15th

  • Coming — Axe of Vengeance: Ghanaian Film Posters and Film Viewing Culture; August 24th through September 15th

◗ IU Kinsey Institute Gallery“Ephemeral Ink: Selections of Tattoo Art from the Kinsey Institute Collection”; through September 21st

◗ IU Lilly LibraryExhibit, “Translating the Canon: Building Special Collections in the 21st Century”; through September 1st

◗ IU Mathers Museum of World CulturesClosed for semester break, reopens Tuesday, August 21st

Monroe County History CenterPhoto exhibit, “Bloomington: Then and Now” by Bloomington Fading; through October 27th

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“Raised by two mothers? Wow, most of us barely survive one.” — Woody Allen

BEAUTY

Happy birthday, Phyllis Diller. She’s 95 today.

IT HASN’T CAUGHT ME YET

Today’s also the 61st anniversary of the release of the iconic book, “The Catcher in the Rye” by the reclusive JD Salinger.

And you know what? I’ve never read it.

LIFE’S A MOTHER

A guy was browsing through the music section at the Book Corner yesterday and came upon the Loretta Lynn book, “Honky Tonk Girl: My Life in Lyrics.”

The words of one of her songs hit the guy so squarely between the eyes that he felt compelled to read them to me, in toto.

I’ll share them with you in a moment. First, though, it’s important to consider that Loretta Lynn gave birth to six children before she decided to hit the road as a country singer. And get this: she had four kids by the age of 19. Jesus holy Christ!

Anyway, in 1972 she recorded a song written by Lorene Allen, Don McHan, and TD Bayless that pretty much summed up her pre-career young adult life. Lynn, of course, was just about the biggest thing in country music at the time. The big boys at her record company wanted no part of the record, though. They were petrified that the pious citizenry of this holy land would string them up if they released it.

It wasn’t until 1975 that “The Pill” was released. And the record company executives were right. So many radio stations refused to play it that the song didn’t hit the top three in the country charts as every other Loretta Lynn release did in those days.

The Book Corner browser and I thoroughly enjoyed the lyrics. For a brief few moments, the store became the site of a poetry slam. Try to picture it as you read these lyrics:

You wined me and dined me when I was your girl

Promised if I’d be your wife you’d show me the world

But all I’ve seen of this old world is a bed and a doctor bill

I’m tearing down your brooder house ’cause now I’ve got the Pill

All these years I’ve stayed at home while you’ve had all your fun

And every year that’s gone by another baby’s come

There’s gonna be some changes made right here on Nursery Hill

You’ve set this chicken your last time ’cause now I’ve got the Pill

This old maternity dress I’ve got is going in the garbage

The clothes I’m wearing from now on won’t take up so much yardage

Miniskirts, hotpants, and a a few little fancy frills

Yeah, I’m making up for all those years since I’ve got the Pill

I’m tired of all your crwoing about how you and your hens play

While holding a couple in my arms, another’s on the way

This chicken’s done tore up her nest and I;m ready to make a deal

And you can’t afford to turn it down ’cause you know I’ve go the Pill

This incubator is overused because you’ve kept it filled

The feeling good comes easy now since I’ve got the Pill

It’s getting dark it’s roosting time, tonight’s too good to be real

Aw, but Daddy don’t you worry none ’cause Mama’s got the Pill

Can you imagine what a revelation the song was to the backwoods women of America? And the guardians of our morals again were right to be worried about the affects of something so seemingly silly as a popular song. Country doctors reported a dramatic increase in the number of women asking for birth control prescriptions after the song hit the charts.

The worst had happened in the minds of the sacrosanct — women now felt they could control their wombs.

THE PILL

Aw, hell, let’s just hear the song.

Electron Pencil event listings: Music, art, movies, lectures, parties, receptions, games, benefits, plays, meetings, fairs, conspiracies, rituals, etc.

Butler ParkMessy Mania, gooey art activities for pre-schoolers, aged 2-6 with parent; 11am

People’s ParkLunch Concert Series: Pan USA, steel drum music; 11:30am

KRC CateringPoliSci Professor Marjorie Hershey speaks to the monthly meeting of the Monroe County Democrats Club; 11:45am

◗ IU Mathers Museum of World CulturesLecture, Dr. Cătălin Pavel presents “Homer’s Trojan War and the Archeological Remains of Troy”; noon-1pm

The Venue Fine Art & Gifts“The Art of the Switchyard Park,” by Mick Renneisen; 5:30pm

Muddy Boots Cafe, Nashville — David Miller; 6-8:30pm

Jake’s NightclubKaraoke, final round; 6pm

Boxcar BooksCartoonist Steve Lafler’s Bughouse Book Tour; 7-9pm

◗ IU Wells-Metz Theatre“The Taming of the Shrew”; 7:30pm

The Player’s PubBlues Jam hosted by Cliff & the Guardrails; 8pm

The Root Cellar at Farm Bloomington — Team trivia; 8pm

The BluebirdBloomington’s Got Talent, hosted by Leo Cook; 9pm

Ongoing:

◗ Ivy Tech Waldron CenterExhibits:

  • John D. Shearer, “I’m Too Young For This  @#!%”; through July 30th
  • Claire Swallow, ‘Memoir”; through July 28th
  • Dale Gardner, “Time Machine”; through July 28th
  • Sarah Wain, “That Takes the Cake”; through July 28th
  • Jessica Lucas & Alex Straiker, “Life Under the Lens — The Art of Microscopy”; through July 28th

◗ IU Art MuseumExhibits:

  • Qiao Xiaoguang, “Urban Landscape: A Selection of Papercuts” ; through August 12th
  • “A Tribute to William Zimmerman,” wildlife artist; through September 9th
  • Willi Baumeister, “Baumeister in Print”; through September 9th
  • Annibale and Agostino Carracci, “The Bolognese School”; through September 16th
  • “Contemporary Explorations: Paintings by Contemporary Native American Artists”; through October 14th
  • David Hockney, “New Acquisitions”; through October 21st
  • Utagawa Kuniyoshi, “Paragons of Filial Piety”; through fall semester 2012
  • Julia Margaret Cameron, Edward Weston, & Harry Callahan, “Intimate Models: Photographs of Husbands, Wives, and Lovers”; through December 31st
  • “French Printmaking in the Seventeenth Century”; through December 31st

◗ IU SoFA Grunwald GalleryExhibits:

  • Kinsey Institute Juried Art Show; through July 21st
  • Bloomington Photography Club Annual Exhibition; July 27th through August 3rd

◗ IU Kinsey Institute Gallery“Ephemeral Ink: Selections of Tattoo Art from the Kinsey Institute Collection”; through September 21st

◗ IU Lilly LibraryExhibit, “Translating the Canon: Building Special Collections in the 21st Century”; through September 1st

◗ IU Mathers Museum of World Cultures — Closed for semester break

Monroe County History Center Exhibits:

  • “What Is Your Quilting Story?”; through July 31st
  • Photo exhibit, “Bloomington: Then and Now” by Bloomington Fading; through October 27th

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