Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Forty-Six Years Later

"I have feelings too. I am still human. All I want is to be loved, for myself and for my talent." Marilyn Monroe

To know me is to know that it takes me too long to take an interest in certain subjects. I think I've only seen bandwagons as they cruised into the horizon without me. While the whole world seems educated or at least aware of certain phenomena, they often slide right past my pop-culture radar.

I've spent the last few weeks researching Marilyn Monroe, reading Joyce Carol Oates' Blonde, a fictionalized account of her life and times, while cross-referencing it with Riese and Hitchens' The Unabridged Marilyn: Her Life From A to Z, a handy reference guide.

Oates calls her book fiction because she changed a few names as license to project her own perceptions into certain scenes or when creating dialogue. However, after doing a little fact-checking, I've found that Oates' name changes and insignificant alterations of the facts do nothing at all to obscure the generally accepted "truth" of MM's life. While A to Z serves to demystify her, Blonde remystifies her completely. I've come out of this Marylin-induced haze with a sense of wonder at the sheer balls on this woman.

Today is the forty-sixth anniversary of her death. Whatever we think we may know about her, whatever we may feel, from absorbed fascination to complete indifference, let's all take a moment to remember someone who single-handedly defeated 20th Century Fox's iron-fisted star system, confounded all critics and generally crossed barriers only the insane or those in possession of true genius attempt to cross. She gave her life to consolidating the good, the bad and the ugly of humanity into the most consumable package of all times. Today I offer her my respect.

"To have survived, she would have had to be either more cynical or even further from reality than she was. Instead, she was a poet on a street corner trying to recite to a crowd pulling at her clothes." Arthur Miller


Anonymous said...

Marilyn, Yea I would so hit that.

Nora said...


Jude said...

I tried yesterday but was bumped off...She was a very sad person ...always looking in the wrong places for her self esteem,,,and Hollywood ain't ever gonna give it to ya...Hello all you young STARlets...use you up and spit you out...ain't makin' the front of People..Star...Garbage...bah-bye...Oh well too bad..there have been a lot of so called Icons who have "passed"..Look at Edgar Allen Poe...didn't care for him 'til he was dead for a while!!! Monet..hah!...Just goes to show ya...keep on doing what you're doing ,and someday you also may be famous.....at least in your own Family, god willing!!

Nora said...

Well said, La Jude. My research indicates that she was a lot sharper, deeper and more wounded than the typical person appreciates.

It's too bad that beauty, talent and vulnerability often equals disaster.

In that way she wasn't different from any insecure girl who trades on beauty and sex appeal for a feeling of self-worth. That common quality is probably why she's as famous and beloved today as she was at the peak of her career.