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Thursday, February 24, 2005

Betty Butterfield, Interrupted 

This video clip is about the funniest I have seen in a long time. She's like a country fried Liz Taylor circa the photograph on the cover of Hollywood Babylon, around the time when John Belushi cruelly imitated her choking, self administering the Heimlech manuever and then continuing her meal on SNL. Betty Butterfield is what Liz Taylor's character in Tennessee William's Southern Gothic classic Suddenly Last Summer might have become after menopause, a couple of nervous breakdowns, four or five divorces and a near deadly bout with valium addiction. Lucky for Liz's character, Montgomery Clift was there to rescue her from her Aunt Violet's schemes to lobotomize her so she could never, ever speak of that terrible thing she saw happen to her cousin Sebastian that summer before. Speaking of inappropriately prescribed lobotomies, too bad poor little Rosemary Kennedy wasn’t also spared that fate. Her father whisked her away to the clinic while her mother Rose was away for the weekend to have her lobotomized. I've read ample descriptions of her behavior and samples of her letters and she didn't seem all that retarded to me - certainly not dangerous and menacing enough so to warrant a lobotomy. She did have that Kennedy libido, however, and was sneaking out and running around, which put her at risk of shaming the Kennedy family with a pregnancy or disease. Although the surgery turned her into a drooling vegetable, (much like Tennessee William's emotionally delicate sister, on whom he based the character Laura Wingfield of The Glass Menagerie) it did cure her of her promiscuity, which is what seemed to have concerned her father the most. I wonder what her mother, the long suffering Rose, thought of the whole thing. Speaking of Rose, my colleague over at The Well Dressed Librarian has the best phrase for enthusiastically expressing his affirmation. Instead of the tired old 'Does the Pope wear a funny hat?' or 'Does a bear shit in the woods?' he asks, 'Did Rose Kennedy own a black dress?'

Back to Suddenly Last Summer...I just ordered the DVD for the branch. One of my colleagues is fighting the good fight on our AV Selection Committee and managed to get the DVD on the list. Every member of the committee seems to have joined the committee for the sole purpose of pushing his or her own special agenda and/or questionable taste on the patrons of the system, so much so that often only very odd and inexplicable choices make it on there. One old unrehabilitated Leftie will only propose obscure documentaries about labor struggles in Latin America and other 3rd World countries, while another has affinity only for crap from the 80s, which is how Curly Sue, The Pickup Artist and the first season of Fresh Prince of Bel Air made it on this month's list. Another one put The Olympiad, Triumph of the Will and The Boys from Brazil. If you take out the message, I'm actually a big fan of Leni Reifenstahl's work, but come on. Usually I would just sit around ineffectively complaining about all of this, but I've decided to take action and join a selection committee of my own to make sure that the right materials get in the collection. I've also put in an application for a promotion. I'm not sure why - maybe it has something to do with E switching our Secret deodorant to the new "Ambition" scent.

Comments:
Thank you so much for the link to Betty. Now, whenever I need a laugh, I watch "Mormon Wife #34."

Actually, whenever I need a laugh, I just look out my office door at the other librarians, but when I need a good, non-malicious laugh, I go to Betty.
 
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