“Among democratic nations each generation is a new people.” —Alexis de Tocqueville.
They were the children of the lost generation.The “Lost Generation” moniker was invented by Gertrude Stein and popularized by Ernest Hemingway; it became popular during the age wars that escalated after the First World War and during Prohibition.For the offspring born in the 1920’s the bar was high. To follow the generation that created legends and lived their myths and suffered great lessons in disappointment, was a long shadow indeed.
For the most part they were too young for the war and they grew up in the Depression during which the swingin’ flappers of the jazz generation tended to morph into arch conservatives. Its almost uncanny how succeeding generations evolve over two distinct paths each quite capable of bringing a certain redemptive force to bear on the challenges they see. Yet, there is almost never a dialogue between the generations though each needs the other to be whole. There seems to be the dynamic of the “narcissism of small differences at work.”
Kind of ironic that Fran Landesman who just passed away, wrote the lyrics for what became jazz standards and was a central figure in the Beat scene; the same ambiance of relaxed moral attitudes that found another recently deceased 20’s child, Tony Curtis reveling in all its hedonistic glory.They seemed to go back to the grandparents of the lost generation: the vaudeville circuits and traveling shows.The new frontier. Well, some did like it hot…..
…But she ended up marrying Jay Landesman, who published Neurotica, a magazine that gave the Beats a platform while seeking to explore America’s “inner darkness.” “He’ll make a good first husband,” she decided. They were wed for 61 years; Mr. Landesman died at 91 in February. They had a remarkably open marriage in which each brought partners home to sleep in separate bedrooms. Everyone then had breakfast together. Their teenage sons, Cosmo and Miles, were appalled….
In his 2008 book, “Starstruck: Fame, Failure, My Family and Me,” Cosmo Landesman wrote: “The thing that upset me the most was their dress and appearance. I can remember when I thought of having them committed to the Institute for the Criminally Dressed. It was parents’ day at school. They arrived looking like two hippies who had failed the audition for the musical ‘Hair.’ ” Read More:http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/01/arts/music/fran-landesman-lyricist-with-a-bittersweet-edge-dies-at-83.html
The Lost Generation was the first that blissfully swallowed the manipulations of Edward Bernays and Walter Lippman et al. It was the first modern age; something marked by disavowal, the manufacture of innocence and some of the most articulate insights into the deep psychosis of the American Dream. The paradox of dialogue between the generations is always to be found in the in-between, something elusive that seems to die through he act of giving birth or parenting children, that makes it extremely challenging to correlate and curate the best from each. The incessant demands of identity negating a connectiveness.And, Like all generations, they constantly hear older people tell them that their chapter of history was likely to close the book on human progress.
..The parents of the 20’s generation were extremely primitive in manys way. Protective of privilege and generally racist. When young Lost men took the first IQ tests, in WWI the results indicated that about half of all draftees possessed a “mental age” of about twelve. This became a mania, even rumors of euthanasia. As the 20’s progressed the “threat of the feeble-minded” turned many older voters against immigrants. The psychologist Henry Goddard got a lot of traction by applying “moron,” “idiotand “imbecile” as technical terms in categorizing gradations of youthful stupidity.
My sweetie and I are semi-detachcd
We’re comfy and cool and perfectly matched
His lover is Ann. My lover is Art.
We’re semi-detached but never apart
When some of our loves are semi-destroyed
We make it alright by quoting them Freud
We play little games and never get scratched
It’s easy because we’re semi-detached
Sometimes a playmate leaves us
For unconnected charms
But when a parting grieves us
We’ve got each other’s arms
We each have a side that’s free as the air
And people don’t see the side that we share
Our set-up is sweet. There isn’t a catch
The secret is living semi-detached ( lyrics Fran Landesman )
Through the 1920s embittered thirty-year-olds fought ideology with desperate hedonism, babbittry with endless binges, moral crusades with bathtub gin and opulent sex. “America was going on the greatest, gaudiest spree in history,” Fitzgerald bubbled—and John Dos Passos cried, “Down with the middle-aged!” In his 1920 Atlantic Monthly article “’These Wild Young People,’ By One of Them,” John Carter observed that “magazines have been crowded with pessimistic descriptions of the younger generation”—but added, “the older generation had certainly pretty well ruined this world before passing it on to us.” Almost everything young adults went in for in the twenties—heavy drinking, loud jazz, flashy
clothes, brassy marketing, kinetic dancing, extravagant gambling, sleek cars, tough talk— sent a defiant message to pompous “tired radicals” (as young writers tauntingly called them) about the futility of searching for deeper meaning. Later on, after the Lost entered midlife with a crash (the Great Depression), they changed character completely. Read More:http://yacrisishotline.tripod.com/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderfiles/thenewgenerationgap.pdf
…An extensive art collection and other memorabilia that once belonged to late Hollywood actor Tony Curtis are to be sold at auction next month in Beverly Hills, sale organizers said Tuesday.The actor immortalized in “Some Like It Hot,” and who died last year, was also an accomplished flautist and a painter whose work resides in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/art/tony-curtis-art-collection-to-go-under-hammer-2337599.htmla
There’s little doubt that the glitz and glamour of the movie world has left its mark on his visual images. Many of his Van Gogh-ish still life images seem larger than life and encompass great visual concepts within the confines of the canvas making a powerful statement of the artist’s skill. Painted with great spontaneity, they reflect the underlying discipline that is the source of his confidence in his true artistic gift. He has said that he wishes he had a cigar box of memories for every day of his life. And true to that theme, he has been creating mysterious little assemblages inside found containers – a crate, a shipping box, an old silverware drawer, anything that could be used to “freeze time” under glass….
…”Not an hour of any day goes by that I’m not finding something new to use,” he says. In one box was the striking image of a hand gripping the image of an old clock thereby stopping time. Other boxes contained old snapshots or letters, rosary beads, golf balls and even shot glasses. “I’ve got boxes I’ve started years ago that are not finished yet. One day, I know I’ll come across that last object that will spring out at me and say, ‘Aha!’ to finally make it complete.” Tony’s bright acrylic canvasses have been favorably compared to those of Matisse.Read More:http://www.islandconnections.com/edit/curtis.htma
This passage is from a draft of Wittgenstein’s foreword to Philosophical Remarks (1930):
“This book is written for those who are in sympathy with the spirit in which it is written. This is not, I believe, the spirit of the main current of European and American civilization. The spirit of this civilization makes itself manifest in the industry, architecture and music of our time, in its fascism and socialism, and it is alien and uncongenial to the author. This is not a value judgment. It is not, it is true, as though he accepted what nowadays passes for architecture as architecture, or did not approach what is called modern music with the greatest suspicion (though without understanding its language), but still, the disappearance of the arts does not justify judging disparagingly the human beings who make up this civilization….
. . . . .
I realize then that the disappearance of a culture does not signify the disappearance of human value, but simply of certain means of expressing this value, yet the fact remains that I have no sympathy for the current of European civilization and do not understand its goals, if it has any….Read More:http://firstknownwhenlost.blogspot.com/2010/04/wittgenstein-and-progress.html
…Our civilization is characterized by the word ‘progress’. Progress is its form rather than making progress being one of its features. Typically it constructs. It is occupied with building an ever more complicated structure. And even clarity is sought only as a means to this end, not as an end in itself. For me on the contrary clarity, perspicuity are valuable in themselves….
…I am not interested in constructing a building, so much as having a perspicuous view of the foundations of possible buildings.( from posting by Stephen Pentz ) Read More:http://firstknownwhenlost.blogspot.com/2010/04/wittgenstein-and-progress.html