Chamblee54

Dorothy Parker

Posted in GSU photo archive, History, Library of Congress, Quotes, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on June 12, 2019








PG first heard of Dorothy Parker in tenth grade. His friend Bob Gibson cut the poem Resume out of the literature text book, and carried it in his wallet. Mrs. Parker had been dead for two years at the time, with her ashes resting in her attorney’s filing cabinet. As the years rolled on, there were stories about the round table at the Algonquin hotel, and a poem about W.R. Hearst … “Upon my honor, I saw the madonna, by the door, in a niche, of a well known whore, and a prominent son of a bitch.” There was another famous comment: Re “The Cardinal’s Mistress” by Benito Mussolini, Dorothy Parker
wrote one of my favorite bon mots: “This is not a book to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.” Wikiquotes lists both of these items as “misattributed.”

It is now 2019, several years after the first DP post. Born Dorothy Rothschild, on August 22, 1893, Miss Parker did nicely without a middle name. Chamblee54 has featured Miss Parker several times (one, two, three, four.) Today, these four posts will be combined into one. Pictures are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library” and The Library of Congress. If you want a list of clever sayings, google is your friend. The quote investigator has five pages of the alleged sayings of Miss Parker.








It was 5:25 pm. PG had not heard from either person who was supposed to be at his house at 5:30. While muttering things about unreliable people, he started to look at a writing contest. The idea was to write 100 words or less. The challenge was to produce a “a quick, honest and heartfelt response” to an image. The meme is seen below the fold.

The image has a quote. “I hate writing. I love having written. Dorothy Parker.” When PG sees words of wisdom, with a famous name at the end, his impulse is to check it out. When you search the wikiquote page on Miss Parker, and look for hate, love, and writing, you will not see the quote. dorothy.parker-02

There was one item in wikiquotes that made PG laugh. It was in the “Misattributed” section.
“Upon my honor, I saw a Madonna. Standing in a niche, Over the door, Of the glamorous whore, Of a prominent son of a bitch.” Said to have been written in the guest-book of Hearst Castle, referring to the room occupied by Hearst’s mistress, Marion Davies. Parker always denied it, pointing out that she would never have rhymed “honor” with “Madonna”.” Nor would the entertainer.
When PG saw that quote, he knew that this piece would be longer than 100 words. Inserting quotes into a piece will bloat the word count every time. About this time the phone rang. His friends were in the front yard, being eaten by mosquitoes. PG put on a white shirt, and left.

Later that night, 99 sick well chosen words fell out of the fingers, and into the ether.

The quote is suspect. Wikiquotes does not show it, after a search for love, hate, and written. The image is probably manufactured. The image is a piece of paper, coming out of a vintage manual typewriter. The main text is one size. The author credit is another size. Vintage manual typewriters only produced one size of product. This one size is considerably smaller than either size in this image. The text in this image was produced elsewhere. This rendering of a bogus quote is then pasted onto a blank sheet of paper, seen merging from a vintage manual typewriter.

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The other day there was a post here on the dotty subject of Dorothy Parker quotes. The departed dipsomaniac would seem to be a quote magnet.

One quote, that appears to be genuine, is about another quote magnet, Oscar Wilde. “A Pig’s-Eye View of Literature: Oscar Wilde If with the literate I am, Impelled to try an epigram, I never seek to take the credit, We all assume that Oscar said it.” (First printed in Life, (2 June 1927) p. 13 When you can give a source for a quote, the chances of it’s legitimacy go up tremendously.)

The original plan for this post was to do a wikiquotes search of the quotes in this post. This concept very quickly turned out to be too much work. The first paragraph of the original post has a clue.

PG first heard of Dorothy Parker in tenth grade. His friend, Bob Gibson, cut the poem Resume out of the literature text book, and carried it in his wallet. Mrs. Parker had been dead for two years at the time, with the ashes resting in her attorney’s filing cabinet. … there was another comment : Re “The Cardinal’s Mistress” by Benito Mussolini, Dorothy Parker wrote one of my favorite bon mots: “This is not a book to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.”

In the post the other day, it was discovered that the poem about W.R. Hearst was written by someone else. Which brings us to “The Cardinal”s Mistress”. Yes, that was written by Hitler’s BFF, Benito Mussolini. When he wasn’t making the trains run on time, he wrote a sappy novel. And the comment by Miss Parker is great. But did she really say it?

A blogspot facility called Heavens to Mergatroyd has the text from a New Yorker review of TCM. It is a delightful read. However, the landmark quote is not there. The spell check suggestion for mergatroyd is derogatory.

Wikiquotes calls the comment “misattributed”. “Quoted in The Algonquin Wits (1968) edited by Robert E. Drennan, and Try and Stop Me. As noted at Snopes, Drennan’s source seems to be a Parker review which does not seem to contain this quote. If Parker wrote this statement anywhere the primary source seems to have gone missing.”

Try and Stop Me is a newspaper column by Bennett Cerf. The link is to The Dispatch, Lexington N.C., October 12, 1962. Next to the column is The Dispatch Religious Activities, Directory of Churches. The pastor of First Baptist is David Hoke Coon, Jr.

While preparing this commentary, an effort was made to find the text for “Resume”. It is a bona fide quote, first printed in New York World August 16, 1925. While looking for the text, Google suggested a search for “resume dorothy parker analysis.” One result was sponsored by a politician, Michelle Nunn. Another had this to say. “We know that we’re being a bit obvious here. But check it out: almost every single line in this poem offers an idea for a different way to die. When it comes to wordplay, Parker’s not messi…” Maybe she meant to say messy.

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BigO is a site with mp3 downloads. Most of them are concerts. PG found one exception. It was a 1960 interview, STUDS TERKEL WITH DOROTHY PARKER/BOB NEWHART – CHICAGO 1959/1960. Pictures today are from The Library of Congress. This is a repost.

Dorothy Parker is somewhat of a legend. There were the funny sayings, a few poems and stories, and her life. Mrs. Parker was well known as a witty person during the twenties. She drank, a lot, and talked often of suicide. It was surprising to find a 1960 interview.

In fact, Dorothy Parker died in 1967, at the age of 73. By 1960, she was in decline, living at the Manhattan’s Volney Hotel. “Edmund Wilson … paid occasional painful visits to her at the Volney. (“She lives with a small and nervous bad-smelling poodle bitch, drinks a lot, and does not care to go out.”) … She was still revered, a legend, but she had also become a pathetic relic. Yes, “you might as well live,” but for what? And on what? Not only was she running out of old friends, she was running out of money, though uncashed checks, some quite large, were strewn around her apartment (along with the empty bottles), not helping with unpaid bills.”

There were some zesty quotes in the interview with Mr. Terkel. “I can’t call myself a critic. Honestly. I can only put down what I think and pray there isn’t a libel suit.” “I’m not a poet, you know, I just write verse” “The beat boys aren’t saying anything except look at us aren’t we great … I don’t think the beat generation is much worth worrying about. Very soon, in the very near future, they will be as forgotten as mah jongg.”

Towards the end of the interview, Mr. Terkel said “i know some people would want me to ask, did she really say all those things that she was quoted as saying” “… no, no, and it was a curse on me, it was simply awful the things that were attributed to me. I wouldn’t have minded if they had been good. I was, in effect, the shaggy dog of my time.”

Another quote magnet for the meme generation is Thomas Jefferson. PG saw yet another inspiring quote on facebook today. Mr. Google was consulted. It turns out the quote is real.

Thomas Jefferson to William Hamilton, 22 April 1800 is the source. Vice President Jefferson was going to be elected President later that year. It is not known what effect that had on the quote in the meme. “I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend.” It is not known whether a twenty first century Jefferson would unfriends anyone who says anything unappealing.

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