LitBirthdays December 4 – 10, 2011

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December 4

Wen Shaoxian

Wen Shaoxian (溫紹賢) (b. 1934) – Chinese translator, scholar, novelist

Read about Wen Shaoxian here

 


Born December 4

Frances Power Cobbe (b. 1822) – Irish, Victorian-era human and animal rights activist, feminist

Rainer Maria Rilke (b. 1875) – Austrian poet – The Book of Hours (Das Stundenbuch)

Jay-Z (Shawn Corey Carter) (b. 1969) – U.S. Rapper

 


December 5

Walt Disney

Photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt for Life Magazine – Nov 1, 1938

 Walt Disney (b. 1901) – U.S. producer of animation film, creator of Mickey Mouse

Read about Walt Disney here and here

“Walt Disney: The Man and His World” Life Magazine photos

Watch Mickey Mouse
Steamboat Willie (1928) Steamboat Willie Mickey Mouse
Mickey Mouse Opry House The Opry House (1929)
Mickey’s Delayed Date (1947) minnie-mickeys-delayed-date

Mickey and Minnie Mouse

(with Pluto)Mickey and Minnie Mouse
screenshot001
Walt Disney was NOT Born in Spain

(article by Wade Sampson of MousePlanet.com)

I’ll be repeating that sentence in this article several times in this column to try and make it as clear as possible. Walt Disney was NOT born in Spain.

When Walt rose to international prominence in the 1930s, a rumor started that he had actually been born out of wedlock to a young Spanish woman and was later adopted secretly by Elias and Flora Disney. Over the years, the rumor grew and grew so that some believe the child was the result of an affair Elias had—and this illegitimate child and was actually born in Spain in a small town called Mojacar.

[Read more …]

vs.

Walt Disney nació en Mojácar / Walt Disney Was Born in Mojacar

(Spanish language article in El Confidencial, August 29, 2011)

The Disney Blog’s Happy Birthday message here

Watch “Flowers and Trees” (1932), the first color cartoon animation here


Born December 5

Miloš Đukelić (b. 1976) – Serbian film/television writer, director, producer

Joan Didion (b. 1934) – U.S. novelist, essayist, screenwriter – The Year of Magical Thinking

 


December 6

Martin Hirsch (born December 6, 1963) – French poverty fighter  France's Martin Hirsch, High Commissioner for Active Solidarity against Poverty leaves the Elysee Palace in Paris

Read about Martin Hirsch here and here

Martin Hirsch’s blog

Watch a video interview of Martin Hirsch here

Q: What is the cost to Europe of there being no social policy?

Martin Hirsch: The cost is huge … 80 million people living on poverty’s threshold, you have many poor workers. When you have poor workers, it means that you can’t reach the competitiveness and the social objectives. We have the obligation to fight against poverty if we want to remain in the race.


Eve Curie Labouisse (born December 6, 1904) – French-U.S. journalist, biographer, “First Lady of UNICEF” from 1965-1979 Eve Curie

Read about Eve Curie here and here

In the 70 years since its publication, “Madame Curie” has endured as a classic of scientific biography, devoured by generations of academically minded girls.

In wide demand as a lecturer after “Madame Curie” was published, Mrs. Labouisse was also known for her staunch public advocacy of the Free French cause after the Nazis occupied France in 1940. Her other books include “Journey Among Warriors” (Doubleday, Doran, 1943), a best-selling account of her 40,000-mile trip across a series of wartime fronts: North Africa, Iraq, Iran, Russia, India, Burma and China.

Originally trained as a concert pianist, she performed throughout France and Belgium as a young woman and later wrote music criticism for several French periodicals. She was also considered to have been one of the most beautiful women in Paris in the 1920s and ’30s.

[from the New York Times obituary, October 25, 2007]

Read the Wikipedia description of Curie’s World War II book Journey Among Warriors

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Journey_Among_Warriors


Tomson Highway

Tomson Highway (born December 6, 1951) – Canadian (First Nations, Cree) playwright, novelist, musician – The Rez Sisters (1986)

Read about Tomson Highway here and here


Born December 6

James Elphinston (b. 1721) – Scottish philologist,  orthographer, grammarian of English language –  A Minniature ov Inglish Orthoggraphy (1795)

Ira Gershwin (b. 1896) – U.S. lyricist – “I Got Rhythm” (Girl Crazy)

 


December 7

noam chomsky
Noam Chomsky (b. 1928) – U.S. linguist, philosopher

Read biographies of Noam Chomsky here

Read a blog article on Noam Chomsky here

Chomsky: I later learned even in high level circles, so for example, the Council on Foreign Relations and the State Department had planning studies going on from 1939 to 1945, planning for the post-war world. The basic plan was that the U.S. would take over what they called a “grand area” that would include the entire Western Hemisphere, to which the U.S. had laid claim but it could never do much about it, except in the neighboring region. So they take over the whole Western Hemisphere, the Far East and the former British Empire at a minimum. That was the region that was held to be necessary for satisfying the needs of U.S. corporations, the U.S. economy, U.S. control, strategic resources, and so on, and what they called security.

But they also assumed that there would be … a German world in Eurasia, which would be the other force in the world. And that, well, until about 1943 or so, that was a prevailing conception. By 1942, it was pretty clear the Japanese would be defeated, so the U.S. would take over the Far East and would keep everyone else out. So the Allies, Britain, France, weren’t even allowed into the postwar discussions about the peace treaty for Japan and how to organize the Far East and so on. But Eurasia was not so clear. It really wasn’t until the huge tank battles in mid-1944 where the Russians smashed up most of what remained of the major German armies. It wasn’t clear until about then that the Germans were going to be defeated.

[from the Targeted Individuals Canada blog, quoting the 2004 Democracy Now interview of Noam Chomsky]

More from the 2004 Democracy Now interview — Chomsky on the U.S. approval of fascism

Chomsky: In the 1930s, it was used as a descriptive term for a particular form of social organization which involved a powerful state linked to corporate systems, organized society in corporate structures, state — overwhelming rule by state power, but with private enterprise given tremendous advantages and freedom. The working class crushed, the parliamentary systems crushed. Sometimes the use of violence to control the population, sometimes not. In fact, the New Deal was called fascist in those days by many people without, you know, without any particular program. It was just one of the versions of this form of social and economic organization that was spreading over the world with some hideous parts like Hitler and some parts like Italy, which were actually approved.

Mussolini was quite popular in the United States over a broad spectrum, including labor. Roosevelt called him “that admirable Italian gentleman.” As late as 1939, he was saying that fascism in Italy was an experiment that was worthwhile and had to be carried out, and distorted later by its association with Hitler, but — in fact, the U.S. business community loved it. Investment in Italy just shot up after Mussolini took over, same after Hitler took over. In fact, if you look back at the records, which are now available, there was really never — what’s now called appeasement is a very misleading term. I mean, it was supported. Hitler was described by the State Department into the late 1930s, 1937, as kind of a moderate standing between extremes of left and right … who was protecting the West against the terrible threat of the working class and the Bolsheviks, and a possible revolution which might overturn the core of civilization, meaning capitalist civilization.

… I mean, in the early 1930s, I remember Fortune magazine, a main business magazine, had an issue with the cover saying something like “The wops are unwopping themselves.” These backward dirty Italians are finally learning how to do something right. This was — it was not — I mean, I thought that — I didn’t know most of this, but I knew enough to see that there was no serious opposition to fascism, and it was, for me and people like me, it was a scandal.

Amy Goodman: The businesses that were benefiting, that remained investing in Hitler’s companies, I mean, the, you know, IBM and now the discussion of George Bush’s father, Prescott Bush.

Chomsky: The oil companies, GM, Ford. Yeah. I mean, they really didn’t see a lot wrong with it. It was giving them enormous advantages, great investment opportunities, crushing the labor movement. They didn’t care if the parliamentary system didn’t function significantly, and through various mechanisms, it’s now known they sustained contacts even during the war. The thing with Japanese imperialism, Japan, practically up until Pearl Harbor, the U.S. position in negotiations with the Japanese, the official position was that the U.S. would be willing to accept Japan’s actions in Asia, which were utterly monstrous, if U.S. business opportunities were protected, if the U.S. wasn’t cut out of the China market, say, was allowed to participate freely, just after the Rape of Nanking, terrible atrocities all over.

And you know, actually, if you look at what the Japanese were doing, the way Americans look at themselves today, there wasn’t much to complain about. I mean, in fact, even Pearl Harbor, by the standards that the U.S. now accepts, the bombing of Pearl Harbor was a pretty acceptable action. It falls very strictly within official U.S. doctrine. And it’s even less contentious than the invasion of Iraq, much less contentious.

Noam Chomsky replies to a question about the U.S. attacking Iran here

December 7, 1941 – Pearl Harbor bombed
by the Japanese; the United States
enters World War II

Born December 7

Willa Cather (b. 1875) – U.S. Short story writer, novelist, poet – Death Comes for the Archbishop

Abd al-Rahman al-Sufi [عبدالرحمن صوفی] (b. 903) – Persian astronomer – Book of Fixed Stars [Suwar al-Kawakib al-Thabit] (964)

Dom Joseph Pothier (b. 1835) – French monk (Benedictine), Gregorian chant scholar, composer – Les mélodies grégoriennes: d’après la tradition (French Edition) / Traditional Gregorian Melody (1880)

 


December 8

Horace (b. 65 BCE) – Roman lyric poet

Read about Horace here and here

Horace is best known today for his Odes, which often celebrate common events such as proposing a drink or wishing a friend a safe journey. Although he wrote in many different meters and of different themes, the odes often express ordinary thoughts and sentiments with a deceptive finality and simplicity. [from Poets.org]

Horace’s Ars Poetica has made a powerful impact on Western poetry, even some modernist poets have responded to its prescriptions. Horace’s books were copied throughout the Dark Age, quoted by early Christian writers, including St. Jerome, and he was among the earliest pagan poets to be printed. His lyric meters were used by Prudentius and other hymn composers. Dante listed Horace in his Divine Comedy third among poets, after Homer and Virgil. The period from 1650 to 1725 was an era in which his work received much scholarly and literary attention. Horace’s poems were read and are still read in schools and his influence is seen in the works of such authors as Montaigne, Ben Johson, Henry Fielding, John Gay, Lord Chesterfield and Horace Walpole. [from The Authors Calendar]

Read Nichola Lezard’s book review of The Odes of Horace, translated by Len Krisak

Now, which great Latin author are you going to read? I suggest Horace, for two reasons: first, because you quite simply have to know him. You cannot claim to care a fig for poetry unless you have at least a rough idea of what he was about; and his essence is in his Odes. Second, to show you that Latin isn’t actually a walk in the park. Horace’s Latin is hard: packed, allusive, almost impenetrably elegant unless you know your stuff.

The good news about this is that Horace gets translated with great frequency. Considering he’s been dead for 2,000 years, it’s remarkable that you never really have to wait too long for a new version to come along. He is to poetry what “Yesterday” is to the pop song.

The Horatian message is extremely beguiling, and unmistakeably his: relax, sit down, have a drink, money isn’t everything, hot today, isn’t it? Thank goodness for this nice fountain.

[More …]

Leuconoë, don’t ask, we never know, what fate the gods grant us,
whether your fate or mine, don’t waste your time on Babylonian,
futile, calculations. How much better to suffer what happens,
whether Jupiter gives us more winters or this is the last one,
one debilitating the Tyrrhenian Sea on opposing cliffs.
Be wise, and mix the wine, since time is short: limit that far-reaching hope.
The envious moment is flying now, now, while we’re speaking:
Seize the day, place in the hours that come as little faith as you can.

Horace, Odes, Book I:XI Carpe Diem


Born December 8

Jim Morrison (b. 1943) – U.S. Singer, songwriter, poet – “End of the Night”

Delmore Schwartz (b. 1913) – U.S. poet

Nicki Minaj (b. 1984) – U.S. (from Trinidad) hiphop singer/songwriter

1401x788-459492608

 


December 9

imogen-heap-and-mi-mu-gloves_dezeen_3
Imogen Heap (b. 1977) – U.K. singer/songwriter

Read about Imogen Heap here and here

Speeding Cars

Here’s the day you hoped would never come
Don’t feed me violins
Just run with me through rows of speeding cars.
The paper cuts, the cheating lovers
The coffee’s never strong enough
I know you think it’s more than just bad luck.

There, there, baby, it’s just textbook stuff
It’s in the A-B-C of growing up.
There, there, darling, oh don’t lose your head,
‘Cause none of us were angels and
You know I love you, yeah.

Sleeping pills, no
Sleeping dogs lie never far enough away
Glistening in the cold sweat of guilt.
I’ve watched you slowly winding down for years.
You can’t keep on like this —
Now’s a bad a time as any.

There, there, baby, it’s just textbook stuff
It’s in the A-B-C of growing up.
There, there, darling, oh don’t kill yourself,
‘Cause none of us were angels and
You know I love you yet. Oh yeah.

It’s goin’ okay by me; it’s goin’ okay by me,
It’s goin’ okay by me, it was a long time ago.
It’s goin’ okay by me; it’s goin’ okay by me,
It’s goin’ okay by me, it was a long time ago.

There, there, baby, it’s just textbook stuff
It’s in the A-B-C of growing up.
There, there, darling, oh don’t lose your head,
‘Cause none of us were angels and
You know I love you, yeah.

Listen to Imogen Heap perform “Speeding Cars” here

Read about Love the Earch, a joint project of Thomas Ermacora and Imogen Heap
http://www.lovetheearthfilm.org/

 


Born December 9

Joel Chandler Harris [b. 1848] – U.S. journalist, short story writer – Uncle Remus

Grace Hopper (b. 1906) – U.S. computer scientist, computer language developer – FLOWMATIC (computer compiler language)

Edoardo Sanguineti (b. 1930) – Italian poet, critic, playwright

 


December 10

Marina Orlova
Marina Orlova ( Марина Владимировна Орлова ) (b. 1980) – Russian – U.S. philologist “putting the LOL in phiLOLogy” – Hot For Words (2009)

Read about Marina Orlova here

The theme of Orlova’s website and YouTube videos, which begin with the tagline “Intelligence is Sexy,” is tracing the origins of English words. The channel became active in February 2007, at a time when, Orlova said, “everybody was uploading cleavage.” Orlova has since been voted “World’s #1 Sexiest Geek” in Wired Magazine’s “Sexy Geek of the Year Contest” contest. G4 TV has listed Orlova among its “Hot Women of the Net” on several occasions, and Cosmopolitan Magazine has identified her as the “most subscribed to YouTube guru.” In an interview, Orlova explained how she got viewers interested in words: “How else could I attract them to words?” “Everyone knows that sex sells.” [from Wikipedia]

Visit the YouTube HotforWords


Born December 10

Emily Dickinson (b. 1830) – U.S. poet – “If I can stop one heart from breaking”

Maria Benitez (Maria Bibiana Benitez Constanza) (b. 1783) – Puerto Rican poet – Soneto (1839)

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