G C Lichtenberg: “It is as if our languages were confounded: when we want a thought, they bring us a word; when we ask for a word, they give us a dash; and when we expect a dash, there comes a piece of bawdy.”

H. P. Lovecraft: "What a man does for pay is of little significance. What he is, as a sensitive instrument responsive to the world's beauty, is everything!"

Martin Amis: “Gogol is funny, Tolstoy in his merciless clarity is funny, and Dostoyevsky, funnily enough, is very funny indeed; moreover, the final generation of Russian literature, before it was destroyed by Lenin and Stalin, remained emphatically comic — Bunin, Bely, Bulgakov, Zamyatin. The novel is comic because life is comic (until the inevitable tragedy of the fifth act);...”

Werner Herzog: “We are surrounded by worn-out, banal, useless and exhausted images, limping and dragging themselves behind the rest of our cultural evolution.”

John Gray: "Unlike Schopenhauer, who lamented the human lot, Leopardi believed that the best response to life is laughter. What fascinated Schopenhauer, along with many later writers, was Leopardi’s insistence that illusion is necessary to human happiness."

Justin E.H. Smith: “One should of course take seriously serious efforts to improve society. But when these efforts fail, in whole or in part, it is only humor that offers redemption. So far, human expectations have always been strained, and have always come, give or take a bit, to nothing. In this respect reality itself has the form of a joke, and humor the force of truth.”

विलास सारंग: "… . . 1000 नंतर ज्या प्रकारची संस्कृती रुढ झाली , त्यामध्ये साधारणत्व विश्वात्मकता हे गुण प्राय: लुप्त झाले...आपली संस्कृती अकाली विश्वात्मक साधारणतेला मुकली आहे."

Saturday, May 31, 2014

When Did Tarzan Start Shaving?

The day after tomorrow- June 2 2014- is 110th Birth Anniversary of Johnny Weissmuller...the Tarzan for me.

Edgar Rice Burroughs

"Perhaps the fact that I lived in Chicago and yet hated cities and crowds of people made me write my first Tarzan story." 

Gore Vidal, Esquire, December 1963:

"...There is something basic in the appeal of the 1914 Tarzan which makes me think that he can still hold his own as a daydream figure, despite the sophisticated challenge of his two young competitors, James Bond and Mike Hammer. For most adults, Tarzan (and John Carter of Mars) can hardly compete with the conspicuous consumer consumption of James Bond or the sickly violence of Mike Hammer, but for children and adolescents the old appeal continues. All of us need the idea of a world alternative to this one. From Plato’s Republic to Opar to Bondland, at every level, the human imagination has tried to imagine something better for itself than the existing society. Man left Eden when he got up off all fours, endowing his descendants with nostalgia as well as chronic backache. In its naïve way, the Tarzan legend returns us to that Eden where, free of clothes and the inhibitions of an oppressive society, a man is able, as William Faulkner put it in his high Confederate style, to prevail as well as endure. The current fascination with LSD and drugs—not to mention alcohol—is all a result of a general sense of boredom. Since the individual’s desire to dominate his environment is not a desirable trait in a society that every day grows more and more confining, the average man must take to daydreaming. James Bond, Mike Hammer, and Tarzan are all dream selves, and the aim of each is to establish personal primacy in a world that, more and more, diminishes the individual. Among adults, the current popularity of these lively fictions strikes me as a most significant and unbearably sad phenomenon..."


(Think of the popularity of all the super heroes in 2014 and then re-read Vidal's quote above!)

I first read Burroughs's Tarzan book in Marathi. I did not know it was a translation. I used to feel miserable reading how Tarzan was orphaned. I did not want to be a kid-Tarzan. For a long time, my knowledge of Africa was entirely restricted to what Tarzan books taught!

I guess as a kid I loved Hindi films like Suraj, 1966 because they had Tarzan-like elements in them. 

(Read entries on this blog, about about my other childhood heroes: Nath Madhav's  Virdhawal   and Lee Falk's Phantom.)

When I first saw Johnny Weissmuller film, I realized how sculpted a male could look. Later I learnt he was a champion swimmer too. 

Of course, as always with me, Maureen O'Sullivan playing Jane helped!





But one thing I never realised...when did Tarzan start to shave?



Artist: Joe Dator, The New Yorker, February 2014

Tarzan of the Apes and its twenty-two sequels together have sold more than 30 million copies. Mr. Burroughs was also a popular science fiction writer. His 'A Princess of Mars' is a futuristic sci-fi fantasy romance.

Like Ms. O'Sullivan, the princess looks enticing to me.


courtesy: Penguin Classics FB  page

1 comment:

mannab said...

A good question and a thought re heroes which comes to everyone's mind ! I also await its answer soon.
Mangesh Nabar