R.I.P. Katherine Hepburn

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Spirited Actress Dies at 96. An obituary and links to reviews of many of her films from the New York Times archives.

“She played sharp-witted, sophisticated women with an ease that suggested that there was a thin line between the movie role and the off-screen personality. The romantic comedy The Philadelphia Story and the screwball classic Bringing Up Baby were among her best, most typical roles. But through 43 films and dozens of stage and television appearances, she played comic and dramatic parts as varied as Jo in Little Women, the reborn spinster Rosie in The African Queen and Eleanor of Aquitaine in The Lion in Winter.”

Even though her on-screen romances with Spencer Tracy defined her and captivated American audiences, I actually prefer the gems she made with Cary Grant, to which I have introduced my children with success; we return to Bringing Up Baby over and over. And, oh, the chemistry with Bogart in The African Queen… Her screen presence was an icon of a generation of American womanhood, and her roles in old age made many wish she was everybody’s wise old aunt. We will truly miss you, Kate…

Say It in Quotes:

Bloggers Gain Libel Protection: “The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last Tuesday that Web loggers (sic), website operators and e-mail list editors can’t be held responsible for libel for information they republish, extending crucial First Amendment protections to do-it-yourself online publishers.

Online free speech advocates praised the decision as a victory. The ruling effectively differentiates conventional news media, which can be sued relatively easily for libel, from certain forms of online communication such as moderated e-mail lists.” Wired News

So I should take care that all my scurrilous comments appear inside quotation marks. Most readers get it, although once in awhile since I’ve enabled comments someone has gone off on me for an opinion I was merely excerpting from someone else. So I shouldn’t libel anyone likely to be clueless, reading FmH, that it was only a quote? It reminds me, loosely, of the neurolinguistic programming (NLP) technique called “speaking in quotes.” NLP is a body of subliminal — some would say manipulative — techniques for effecting behavior change, largely derivative of Milton Erickson’s hypnotic procedures. I cannot find a web reference to the technique but I recall reading about it in one of the books by NLP originators Bandler and Grinder, which were largely transcriptions of workshops they did. One of them got up and described how you can get away with expressing — and disowning — just about any outrageous opinion if you only ‘say it in quotes.’ For instance, if I wanted to insult someone I might say to them, “Now someone might say (staring deeply into the eyes of my interlocutor) ‘You’re a stupid fool!‘. Of course I wouldn’t say that, but someone might…” The message gets through, even though it is disownable…

Region of Fawners

Europe dignifies trashy American celebs: “American rock star Iggy Pop is known as ‘The Rock Iguana’ and ‘Grandfather of Punk.’ But as of last Saturday, to the French the 56-year-old is Officer of Arts and Letters. Officer Iggy was decorated over the weekend by the French Ministry of Culture, which formerly decorated such cultural notables as rocker Lou Reed, who wrote a hymn to ‘Heroin,’ Sylvester Stallone and Jackie Chan. As for Jerry Lewis, he outranks all of the above, of course, having been named a Commander of Arts and Letters by Socialist Culture Minister Jack Lang back in 1984.” WSJ Opinionjournal