By Lee Hill
"When they are not stunned or astonished or engaged by means of what you are saying, the ball online game is over. in the event that they locate it repulsive, or outlandish, or disgusting, that is o.k., or in the event that they like it, that is o.k., but when they only shrug it off, it is time to retire."
-- Terry SouthernA Grand Guy
He was once the hipster's hipster, the proper icon of cool. A small-town Texan who disdained his "good ol' boy" roots, he bopped with the Beats, hobnobbed with Sartre and Camus, and referred to as William Faulkner good friend. He was once one among the main artistic and unique gamers within the Paris Review caliber Lit video game, but his maximum literary luck used to be a semi pornographic pulp novel. for many years, the group he ran with used to be composed of the main recognized artistic artists of the day. He wrote Dr. Strangelove with Stanley Kubrick, Easy Rider with Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper, and labored on Saturday evening stay with a more youthful, louder breed of sacred cow torpedoers. he is a face within the crowd at the conceal of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts membership Band (the man within the sunglasses). anyplace the cultural motion was once, he was once there, the lifetime of each social gathering -- Paris within the '50s, London within the swinging '60s, Greenwich Village, and massive undesirable Hollywood. magnificent, dynamic, irrepressible, he loved outstanding luck after which squandered it with virtually superhuman extra. there has been, and ever should be, just one Terry Southern.
In a biography as brilliant and colourful because the lifestyles it celebrates, Lee Hill masterfully explores the low and high occasions of the original, incomparable Terry Southern, essentially the most real skills of this or the other age. Illuminating, exhilarating, and sobering, it truly is an intimate portrait of an unequaled satirist and satyrist whose urge for food for all times used to be huge, immense -- and whose objective was once yes and real as he took photographs at consumerism, America's repressive political tradition, upper-class amorality, and middle-class banality.
But greater than easily the tale of 1 guy, here's a wide-screen, Technicolor view of a century within the throes of profound cultural swap -- frorn the 1st cold blasts of the chilly conflict and McCarthyism to the Vietnam period and the Reagan years; from Miles and Kerouac to the Beatles, the Stones, and past. And constantly on the heart of the whirlwind was once Terry Southern -- outrageous, unpredictable, fascinating, erudite, and ceaselessly cool; a brazen innovator and unappreciated genius; and so much of all, A Grand Guy.
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Extra resources for A Grand Guy: The Art and Life of Terry Southern
That it’s grand and I am looking forward to some sort of corruption, Nathanael West–type wreck in an auto…a really fast automobile like a Mercedes 300 is what I am hoping for…. ” Working the film scene was a lot like being behind the wheel of a fast car. You had to maintain a Zen-like control of the car. You couldn’t start getting scared when the turns got too sharp. You couldn’t get too focused on any one thing. You had to go with the flow. The next day, Southern was out early on the set. He had written a sequence that was not in the novel, but that he felt was true to Waugh’s intentions.
This love/hate relationship was hidden behind a thick mask of irony and coy reminiscence. Depending on his mood and the listener, he would either describe his youth in Alvarado and Texas as suffocating and provincial, or launch into a colorful anecdote. ” “Growing up in Texas is probably a lot like growing up in Alberta or Saskatchewan—ideal—from a certain Huck Finn point of view. Lots of hunting and fishing, lots of baseball and football, and only a handful of grown-ups. It was also something of a cultural desert,” he told me in our first interview in 1990.
It was total. Afterwards, I became cunning, a writer, somebody with a use for everything, even intimacies. —Mordecai Richler, “A Sense of the Ridiculous” Those were halcyon days and the little-mags were cooking,” Southern said with no small hint of nostalgia when recalling his formative years as a writer in Paris. “From ’48 to ’52, the cafés were such great places to hang out—you could smoke hash at the tables if you were fairly discreet. There was the expatriate crowd, which was more or less comprised of interesting people, creatively inclined.
A Grand Guy: The Art and Life of Terry Southern by Lee Hill