Thursday, August 26, 2010

"France Has No Friends, Only Interests"

In politics, it is necessary either to betray one's country or the electorate.

I prefer to betray the electorate.

Charles De Gaulle


Oblivious to the German occupation and a continent torn by war, Parisians frolic on the riverbank of the Seine in the summer of 1943.


  1. From the Amphisbaena Whisperer (September 2010)



    Bugtussle, Tennessee

    American’s conservatives have been in an uproar since February this year, when the White House announced that funds from the National Association of the Arts had been (mis)appropriated in order to commission famed sculptor Ariadne Fischenplatten to create a head of the President, to be permanently displayed in the oval office.

    The crux of the uproar has focused on the cost of the proposed artwork, $ 119,500,000.

    The idea for the project originated with Michelle Obama.

    Last March we reported how Ms. Obama had been waylaid by a mob of angry protestors accusing her of secrecy regarding the nature of the sculpturing materials, not to mention all her perceived, outrageous excesses - to which the First Lady blasted impatiently, quoting a line from her autobiography, “The Life and Ungodly Times of Marie Antoinette”: “Let them eat Kate!”

    TAW has now learned that Ariadne Fischenplatter is none other than the notorious art forgery master Derivativa De Kooning, alias Martha Schrippens, the world’s most famous air balloon pilot.

    This is the same Martha Schrippens, remember, who famously announced last June that she planned to be the first person to circumnavigate the globe in a hot-air balloon.

    Indeed, since May her intended vehicle of flight could be seen towering up from behind the artist's three-story mansion overlooking the river, visible to every naked eye in Bugtussle, as well as to the telephoto lenses of the FBI.

    Bloggers have suspected that Schrippens planned to embark upon her travels earlier than announced because of the current investigations of her alleged, illicit activities, planning a “quick getaway” as soon as she completed her work on the oval office commission.

    Fortune, however, was not smiling upon Ms. Schrippens, or her house for that matter, last July 2, when a whistle-blowing rainstorm came stealthily through the river valley, tipping over from its base Schrippen’s infamous sculpture of Obama’s head, which then crushed the roof.

  2. What a tragedy that such a seminal work of art, surely destined to become one of the great iconic creations of our civilization and era, has been lost!

    Thank heavens you passed on the news! I had allowed my Whisperer subscription to lapse, and I was unaware of this sad event until now.

    I grieve.

    It is my understanding that a similar statue of the primary subject's wife, too, had been contemplated. That particular project was abandoned once civil engineers determined that the statue would topple onto its side if the prominent buck teeth were to be accurately represented.

  3. "The problem with Socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money."

    - Margaret Thatcher

  4. The following kitchy article also appeared in this month's "The Amphisbaena Whisperer." I thought it would amuse you, Andrew.


    by M.H. Litvak

    “You Stupid Monster!” is the most delicious trashing of a revered Hollywood icon since B.D. Hyman’s biography of her mother Bette Davis, “My Mother’s Keeper,” published in 1985.

    The unfortunate target this time is Davis’s arch rival for many years at the Warner Brothers studios, Miriam Hopkins – and to make this title especially intriguing, the book is written by a woman who claims to be the illegitimate daughter of Davis, by Hollywood director Anatole Litvak, Hopkins’ estranged husband at the time she was working on “The Old Maid” (1939), co-starring Davis, with whom Litvak was having an affair during the same shoot, right under the nose of his wife!


    According to Litvak, now 70, a private investigative reporter best known for exposing the underground “snuff-film” industry in Missouri during the seventies (“Meat Me in St. Louis” – 1981), Bette Davis suffered from Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) all her life, a fact that not even B.D. Hyman (nor anyone else) apparently knew about.

    This book centers on one particular malady associated with Davis’s BPD, her alleged fetish for collecting Hopkins’ personal clothing, particularly her private articles.

    Litvak’s writes that her first big lead in discovering this obsession came to her after watching a long-forgotten, made-for-television movie, “Madam Sin” (1971), co-starring Davis and Robert Wagner. Litvak later discovered how the Hollywood legend had demanded that she be allowed to wear the same wig and that she be assigned the same makeup artist for “Madam Sin” that Hopkins had had in one of the HER television appearances seven years earlier, on the popular, ORIGINAL sci-fi series, “The Outer Limits” (1964), in which Hopkins played an ageing roaring twenties flapper, whose husband had been kidnapped on her wedding night forty years earlier and then imprisoned by a space alien hiding out in the “dimentionless” interior of a fiendishly posited “camera obscura.”

    According to the author, “It was common knowledge among Hollywood insiders that Davis had been stalking Hopkins for decades, being particularly obsessed with her underwear.” According to Litvak’s sources, at the 1958 Hollywood premiere of “Touch of Evil,” Hopkins was asked by a reporter if she, like Davis, had ever made a contribution to director Orson Welles’s brazier collection. “Hopkins exploded in fury, screeming, ‘No I haven’t! That b[road] . . . has enough of my undies to sew a lifetime’s worth of bifurcated tents!’”

    Litvak's book focuses on Hopkins’s years of suffering and fear on account of Davis’s peculiar idée fixe. She writes that while Davis was filming “Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte” in 1964 Hopkins unsuccessfully sued Davis for breaking into her Brentwood home to steal from her bedroom a “dresser drawer safe” weighing five tons.

    The book’s title comes from Hopkins final lines in the “Outer Limits” episode, “Don’t Open Till Doomsday” (accessible on, spoken by the character from which Davis demanded for herself Hopkins’ “Theda Bara” look. Davis reportedly claimed that the “monster” in the box was supposed to be her, that “jealous b[road]!”

    This reviewer is certain that “You Stupid Monster!” will become a bestseller, taking its place beside “The Manchurian President,” “Muslim Mafia,” and “The Crash of 2010.”

  5. I fear I am missing most of your jokes. I probably would need annotations before most of the jokes would register with me.

    I have never cared for Bette Davis, I have seen very few of her films, I know little about her personal life, and I know little about her rivalry with Miriam Hopkins. Bette Davis simply never appealed to me, and I have paid no attention to her life or work.

    I am trying to think, right now, which Bette Davis films I have actually viewed, and the only ones that come to mind are “Jezebel” and “All About Eve”. I have never even seen “Now, Voyager” or “Dark Victory”, two of her most famous efforts.

    Bette Davis is one of many film stars from the 1930’s and 1940’s I simply never “got”. I never understood the appeal of Leslie Howard, either, or John Garfield, or Norma Shearer, or Robert Donat, or Greer Garson . . .and many others too numerous to list.

    My loss, I’m sure.

  6. Sorry.

    The only Davis character I like is Miss Moffat in "The Corn is Green."

  7. I have never seen "The Corn Is Green", although Josh and I and my brother did see a stage production of the play here in Boston about eighteen months ago.

    You must forgive my indifference to Bette Davis.

    I have been so busy on my work on behalf of Phyllis Thaxter, writing her biography as well as organizing Phyllis Thaxter film festivals all over the place, that I have not been able to devote much attention to other film figures.

  8. What a coincidence!

    I'm a member of the "Thirty Seconds over Tokyo" Fan Club!

  9. My Phyllis Thaxter biography—given the vast significance of the artist’s life and work—will constitute nine volumes and will be offered at a retail price of $450.00.

    I anticipate enormous public demand as well as intense scholarly interest.

  10. And you, as a member of the "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo" Fan Club, will be entitled to a $10.00 discount!