Saturday, May 31, 2008

We have the pressure, but where is the grace?

Laurel and Hardy - Way Out West (1937)
"Courage is grace under pressure." - Ernest Hemingway
David Seaton's News Links
The charming film clip that hovers above this post through the miracle of YouTube was made in 1937.

Grace, fun: the simple pleasure of life, preserved "forever".

Here below is a heavily edited list of other things that happened in 1937, copied and pasted from the miracle of Wikipedia:
  • January 1 - Anastasio Somoza García becomes President of Nicaragua.
  • January 31 - 31 people executed in the Soviet Union for alleged Trotskyism
  • February 8 - Falangist troops take Málaga
  • February 8-February 27, Battle of Jarama
  • February 11 - A sit-down strike ends when General Motors recognizes the United Automobile Workers Union
  • February 19 - During a public ceremony at the Viceregal Palace (the former Imperial residence) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, two Eritrean nationalists attempt to kill viceroy Rodolfo Graziani with a number of grenades. The Italian security guard fire into the crowd of Ethiopian onlookers, and over the passing weeks indiscriminately slaughter native Ethiopians in reprisal.
  • February 21 - The League of Nations Non-Intervention Committee ban on foreign nationals fighting in the Spanish Civil War.
  • March - The first issue of the comic book Detective Comics is published in the United States. Twenty-seven issues later, Detective Comics would introduce Batman. The comic would go on to become the longest continually-published comic magazine in American history; it is still published as of 2007.
  • March 10 - The Encyclical Mit brennender Sorge of pope Pius XI is published in Nazi Germany
  • March 18 - In the worst school disaster in American history in terms of lives lost, the New London School in New London, Texas suffers a catastrophic natural gas explosion, killing in excess of three hundred students and teachers.
  • March 26 - In Crystal City, Texas spinach growers erect a statue of the cartoon character Popeye.
  • April 17 - Release of the animated short Porky's Duck Hunt, directed by Tex Avery for the Looney Tunes series, featuring the debut of Daffy Duck.
  • April 26 - Spanish Civil War: Guernica, Spain is bombed. In his report of the Falangist attack on Guernica, British journalist George Steer reports that he had found German bomb casings, connecting Luftwaffe planes with the attack.
  • May 6 - In United States, the German airship Hindenburg bursts into flame when mooring to a mast in Lakehurst, New Jersey.
  • May 7 - Spanish Civil War: The German Condor Legion Fighter Group, equipped with Heinkel He 51 biplanes, arrives in Spain to assist Francisco Franco's forces.
  • May 21 - As one of the reprisals for the attempted assassination of Italian viceroy Rodolfo Graziani, a detachment of Italian troops massacre the entire community of Debre Libanos. 297 monks and 23 laymen are killed.
  • May 27 - In California, the Golden Gate Bridge opens to pedestrian traffic creating a vital link between San Francisco and Marin County.
  • May 28 - Neville Chamberlain becomes Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
  • June 3 - Wallis Simpson and the former Edward VIII of the United Kingdom marry.
  • July 1 - Gestapo arrests priest Martin Niemöller.
  • July 2 - Amelia Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan disappear over New Guinea during Earhart's attempt to become the first woman to fly around the world.
  • July 7 - Sino-Japanese War: Battle of Lugou Bridge - Japanese forces invade China. Often seen as the beginning of World War II in Asia
  • July 24 - Alabama drops rape charges against the so-called "Scottsboro Boys."
  • July 28 - IRA attempts bombing assassination against King George VI in Belfast.
  • August 5 - Soviet Union commences one of the largest campaigns of the Great Purge, to "eliminate anti-Soviet element". Within the following year, at least 724,000 people were killed on order of troikas, many of them chosen for shooting by their ethnicity.
  • August 6 - Falangist artillery bombards Madrid.
  • September 2 - The Great Hong Kong Typhoon of 1937 killed an estimated 11,000 persons.
  • September 5 - Spanish Civil War: The fall of Llanes.
  • October 1 - Marijuana Tax Act in USA.
  • October 3 - Japanese troops advance toward Nanking.
  • October 13 - Germany, in a note to Brussels, guaranteed the inviolability and integrity of Belgium so long as the latter abstained from military action against Germany.
  • October 15 - Ernest Hemingway's novel To Have and Have Not is first published.
  • October 21 - The whole Spanish northern seaboard in the Falangists' hands.
  • November 5 - Spanish Civil War - Massacre of Republican supporters in Piedrafita de Babia, near León. Possibly 35,000 executed.
  • November 5 - World War II: In the Reich Chancellery, Adolf Hitler holds a secret meeting and states his plans for acquiring "living space" for the German people.
  • November 6 - Italy joins Anti-Comintern Pact.
  • November 9 - Japanese troops take Shanghai.
  • December 11 - Italy withdraws from the League of Nations.
  • December 12 - Mae West makes a risque guest appearance on the NBC Chase and Sanborn Hour that eventually results in her being banned from radio.
  • December 13 - Battle of Nanjing ends and the Nanjing Massacre begins. Japanese troops would slaughter over 250,000 civilians and prisoners over three months.
  • December 21 - Walt Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the first feature-length animated cartoon, opens and becomes a smash hit.
What is the point of this juxtaposition?

First it is reminder that, no matter how bad you think this year is, that year was much, much worse.

But, it is also a reminder we aren't producing (not us, not anybody) the kind of art that was produced that year.

Athough Wikipedia's list does mention the debut of Daffy Duck, they don't get around to mentioning Pablo Picasso's painting "Guernica".

Jean Renoir made "The Grand Illusion". Over in Japan, Ozu made, "What did the Lady Forget". Tolkien published, "The Hobbit" in 1937. None on the list.

It was a busy year. DS


RC said...

Just another of my contrarianisms: The Hobbit is Art? Surely you jest.

David Seaton's Newslinks said...

It was a busy year.
You may find this comforting:
"Legend has it that once, as J.R.R. Tolkien recited a particularly tedious excerpt from The Lord of the Rings to fellow Oxford University academics, one of his colleagues moaned, “Oh, no, not another fucking elf!”

RC said...

As a child I never got past page 28. Never picked up that mess again. Never could fathom the popularity.
Even bad work is not that boring.

David Seaton's Newslinks said...

You are kind of alone there on this one, RC.
"War and Peace" it ain't, but if you compare it to Harry Potter, you can see how far we've come.

RC said...

Thanks for the tip, Dave. I won't make the mistake of ever skimming a Harry. Maybe you've another topic there for the youth psychology of capitalism or maybe Zizek will be giving that exposition. Popular reading has become so thoroughly dumbed down that it's frightening to think what the minds of the readers are like, their simplicity or density. To be honest, I read some formulaic pap when very young, like the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew
series and yet, The Hobbit had no appeal.