There’s an awful lot of hearsay (many centuries’ worth), much of it conflicting, and just about no direct evidence. Even the surviving poems themselves aren’t clear: were they personal outpourings of passion or lyrics meant for public performance by a chorus? Daniel Mendelsohn looks at the facts we have.
“The nine-time Emmy Award-winning comedy writer and producer … served as the showrunner on the sitcom Taxi at the age of 23; wrote for and produced the comedies Cheers and The Drew Carey Show.” But he was best-known for developing, with Matt Groening and James L. Brooks, the long-running animated series that began as filler on The Tracey Ullman Show.
Sheikh Hani Al-Siba’i: “Are you done? Shut up so I can talk.” Rima Karaki: “How can a respected sheikh like yourself tell a TV host to shut up?” Sheikh Al-Siba’i: “It’s beneath me to be interviewed by you. You are a woman who -” (Mic cuts off.) Karaki: “Either there is mutual respect or the conversation is over. In this studio, I run the show.”
Desiree Akhavan: “I don’t see my male counterparts written about in the same way, as being the new Woody Allen, or the new Noah Baumbach, or Todd Solondz. I think the implication is that there is a limited amount of space for an intelligent, funny woman and right now it’s Lena Dunham. You can hang out, but the space has been occupied. But there is an infinite pool for men to play in.”
Often working with his late brother David, Maysles was known for such popular and influential nonfiction films as Gimme Shelter, Grey Gardens, Salesman, When We Were Kings, studies of Vladimir Horowitz and Mstislav Rostropovich (the latter on his return to Russia), and five films about the work of artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude.
“For years, Canadians have been wielding pens to draw Spock’s pointy Vulcan ears, sharp eyebrows and signature bowl haircut on the fiver’s image of Laurier. Contrary to what many believe, the Bank of Canada said Monday it’s not illegal to deface or even mutilate banknotes, although there are laws that prohibit reproducing both sides of a current bill electronically.”
“In the 1950s world of classical music, Simon Barere was mentioned in the same breath as other superpianists of the era – Georgy Cziffra, Ignatz Friedman, Vladimir Horowitz and Josef Lhevinne. But his most ardent admirers say he was actually in a class by himself. Barere had given frequent solo recitals, sometimes twice a year, at Carnegie Hall to packed houses, with such musical giants as Sergei Rachmaninoff, Leopold Godowsky and Vladimir Horowitz often in the attendance.”
“I just don’t think I could cope with it. Almost every Wednesday and Saturday I wake up relieved it’s not a matinee.. … It’s hard enough doing film and television, but at least you know it’s not day, after day, after day. I just found it so exhausting.” (By the way, what she actually said about Downton Abbey is less definitive than you think.)
“Mr. Kemal’s home region — Cukurova in southern Anatolia, known in antiquity as Cilicia — is the backdrop for his sweeping tales of rapacious landlords, callous bureaucrats and peasant heroes who fight injustice. He wrote more than two dozen books, using a colorful narrative style that appealed to a broad audience, fiercely criticizing injustice and creating noble outlaws who became permanent parts of Turkey’s cultural landscape.”
“These days few readers may know or remember just how big a deal Hope was in his prime. … Hope was both ‘the most popular’ and ‘the most important’ entertainer of the twentieth century, ‘the only one who achieved success—often No. 1-rated success—in every major genre of mass entertainment in the modern era: vaudeville, Broadway, movies, radio, television, popular song, and live concerts.'”
“His artistic pursuits — poetry, photography and music in addition to acting — ranged far beyond the United Federation of Planets, but it was as Mr. Spock that Mr. Nimoy became a folk hero, bringing to life one of the most indelible characters of the last half century: a cerebral, unflappable, pointy-eared Vulcan with a signature salute and blessing: ‘Live long and prosper’ (from the Vulcan ‘Dif-tor heh smusma’).”
Jonathan Ive “establish[ed] the build and the finish of the iMac, the MacBook, the iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad. He is now one of the two most powerful people in the world’s most valuable company” – on whom 100,000 employees and a not-insignificant chunk of the stock market depend. Says Steve jobs’s widow, “Jony’s an artist with an artist’s temperament, and he’d be the first to tell you artists aren’t supposed to be responsible for this kind of thing.”
“A book which helped changed the course of English history, part of the evidence Henry VIII and his lawyers gathered in the 1530s to help win an annulment from Catherine of Aragon and ultimately to break with Rome, has turned up on the shelves of the magnificent library at Lanhydrock, a National Trust mansion in Cornwall.”
“It’s hard to keep up with that; it takes a lot of energy and recently [there was] some study that overusing social media can make you depressed and jealous, so I actually chose not to go there. … User comments-culture is not useful for creating original work, I think. I’m all for information diets, which are helpful for the mood and for the art.”