"Samuel Arbesman is a senior scholar at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and author of the forthcoming book 'The Half-Life of Facts'. His research and essays explore how to quantify all aspects of society." [more inside]
We just like George Plimpton. Not personally, we never actually knew him. But we like everything we know about him. His intelligence. His good humor. His spirit. We enjoy the way he attacked life with gusto and grace. We appreciate how he proved that a funny upper crust accent and a rather fancy vocabulary doesn't make you any less of a real man. (If nothing else, Plimpton's life proves that once upon a time a man walked the earth who could both read poetry and throw a football.) We admire the way he embodied everything a man of letters is supposed to be; curious and articulate, brave and wise. We are thankful to the way he ceaselessly promoted other writers and artists and how, through his own writings and publications, became a teacher, guide and inspiration to countless others (even those he never met, life, for instance, us). And, finally, we believe a life such as his is worth continued celebration. Because here was a man who threw himself tirelessly into the gaping maw of life, fighting onward, ever smiling, like the truest of gentleman. ALSO, George Plimpton digs Intellivision and thinks its far superior to Atari.
In Cold Blood. Forty-five years ago today, the bodies of four members of the Clutter family were discovered in Holcomb, Kansas. The killers made off with $40 and a transistor radio. This New York Times report inspired Truman Capote to write what he called the first "non-fiction" novel. There are other accounts of the murders, including one that says the book is not honest. In 1996, Capote and George Plimpton discussed creative journalism and the book in a long interview. (Plimpton's own biography of Capote details some of the liberties Capote took.) [All links SFW.]