July 1939. The world teetered on the brink of war as Hitler menaced Poland. The 11 millionth visitor passed through the turnstiles of the New York World’s Fair. Baseball fans still reeled after Lou Gehrig’s “luckiest man” speech at Yankee Stadium. But many Americans could think only of Donn Fendler, a 12-year-old boy lost on Mount Katahdin in Maine, the object of a frantic search and rescue operation that dragged on for nine days, monopolizing the radio airwaves and newspaper headlines. [more inside]
Last month, we lost one of the great philosophers of the 20th century. Arthur C. Danto was perhaps the most eminent voice in contemporary aesthetics. Always on the cutting edge, Danto shined a light on aesthetics in the post-art world. [more inside]
Beate Sirota Gordon, Long-Unsung Heroine of Japanese Women’s Rights, Dies at 89: a NYT obituary relates the fascinating story of a young woman who was just the right person in just the right place at just the right time and managed to strike a blow for gender equality. [more inside]
Shelagh was here - an ordinary, magical life: The Toronto Star dedicated unprecedented coverage to the funeral of 55-year-old Shelagh Gordon – interviewing more than 100 of her friends and family – to show how a modest life can have a huge impact. "She didn’t have a great job, she wasn’t married and never had children, so she wasn’t successful in either the traditional male or female sense, Ms. Porter said. But people would keep telling stories about her kindness. 'She had a lot of magic in her life, and that’s reassuring... That you can live a full, interesting, ordinary life.'" The link includes an extensive interactive photograph of stories from those at Shelagh's funeral, and a video with clips from the memorial as well. Via the NYT: Redefining Success and Celebrating the Unremarkable. (previously: you are not special)
Paul Motian (wiki) (myspace) (allaboutjazz), one of the great jazz drummers of our time, is dead at 80. [more inside]
Arthur Laurents (wiki), writer of the libretti for West Side Story and Gypsy, among many other things, has died at the age of 93. [more inside]
The author Rodney Whitaker is dead, taking along with him Trevanian, Nicholas Seare, Benat Le Cagot, and several of his other pen names. Under the name Trevanian he wrote The Eiger Sanction (1972) (which became a Clint Eastwood movie of the same name), Shibumi (1979), The Loo Sanction (1973), The Summer of Katya (1983), The Main (1976), Incident at Twenty-Mile (1998), and others. In real life, Whitaker was the Chairman of the Radio, Television, and Film Department at the University of Texas. He was believe to be 74 years old, and died of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Peace Activist Philip Berrigan Dead at 79 Yes, I know, obituaries are depressing. But this man was one of my very few heros. He fought a good fight, but in this age of corporate sponsored and government promoted dimunation of conscience can a single person "bearing witness" to the immoral actions that go on in this world really make a difference? Or is the idea of citizen protest just a quaint vestige of another era? [NYT link]