IWOTA #5 Mary Astor

Actress and novelist Mary Astor was born on May 3rd, 1906.

I have no hesitation in calling her a gifted English language wordsmith and therefore an important Indigenous Woman Of The Anglosphere. (IWOTA)

At Astor’s first screen test, director Lillian Gish was so impressed by the teenager’s recitation of Shakespeare that Lillian shot 1,000 feet of footage.

In making the 1941 movie “The Great Lie”, Bette Davis insisted that a difficult to cast role be given to Astor because Davis liked to work with good actresses who would bring out the best in her. Astor understood this type of risk taking, as opposed to dull self-protective caution, later writing: “Our security must be threatened in order for us to appreciate it.”

In addition, Davis was sufficiently impressed by Astor’s mind that Davis got together with her to rewrite their dialogue. Davis told Astor that “it’s up to us to rewrite this piece of junk to make it more interesting.” Astor won the movie’s only award, the supporting actress Oscar for her portrayal of pianist Sandra Kovak. In her acceptance speech, Astor thanked Bette Davis and Tchaikovsky. Astor and Davis met through that movie and remained good friends.

In the same year, in John Huston’s “The Maltese Falcon”, Astor played opposite Humphrey Bogart as the femme fatale Brigid O’Shaughnessy. 

Words she wrote in 1971 may explain why she was so good at that role in the less “liberated” 1940’s : “Sex as something beautiful may soon disappear. Once it was a knife so finely honed the edge was invisible until it was touched and then it cut deep. Now it is so blunt that it merely bruises and leaves ugly marks.”

She also showed deep social and human insight in writing about nationhood and people: “A person without a memory is either a child or an amnesiac. A country without a memory is neither a child nor an amnesiac, but neither is it a country.”

Mary Astor, an actress revered by many who love film and a quality thinker way past her youth.

And a bona fide babe.

Geoff Fox, 3rd May, 2023, Down Under

Women For Freedom #23 Naomi Wolf

I don’t agree with Naomi Wolf on everything, but here are important ideas from her which I thoroughly admire:

In The Beauty Myth she wrote:

“….. in terms of how we feel about ourselves physically, we may actually be worse off than our unliberated grandmothers.” 1991

She later wrote that sexuality “should be held sacred.” That is her way of what I say with the words “a gift from God.”

In 2008, she described an appropriate channeling of sexuality as being “toward marriage, the bonds that sustain family Life, and the attachment that secures a home.”

In 2021, Wolf said that Covid-19 restrictions were turning America “into a totalitarian state before everyone’s eyes,”

Yesterday, this truly and deeply beautiful Naomi has apologised to the enormous numbers of peaceful conservatives and Republicans targeted by Democrats over January 6.

Can I say, “Thanks, Babe.”?

The God-given human right of freedom of speech says that I can.

God Bless Naomi Wolf.

Geoff Fox, 11th March, 2023, Down Under

(The above photo from Sunset Parkerpix, with words added by me, is published under a creative commons licence.)

IWOTA #1B Rosa Parks – Sharing and Shining

The true holy spirit of women is in caring for others and helping people share.

Women do this most often as mothers in families, but can also do it socially and professionally when willing and allowed.

On her 109th birthday last year, I named Rosa Parks an Indigenous Woman Of The Anglosphere (IWOTA) , because, as a native speaker of English, her words showed a great command of the language which I believe did a lot of good in the world.

Today it is Rosa’s 110th birthday. To mark the occasion, I fuse her words with images of good, beautiful females I know and like and admire. One is a real woman, Deeanna Appadu, born and raised in Mauritius, and now in Australia. The other a goblin art comic and street-dwelling superhero, Shine Of The Moon. Both are women of color. In Shine’s case the color is tawny.

I brought them together once in one of Shine’s artistic homes

Geoff Fox, 4th February, 2023, Melbourne, Australia

Women For Freedom # 16 Simone Weil and Anita Ekberg

Today is the 114th birthday of mystical philosopher Simone Weil who wrote: “Whether the mask is labeled fascism, democracy, or dictatorship of the proletariat, our great adversary remains the apparatus—the bureaucracy, the police, the military. Not the one facing us across the frontier of the battle lines, which is not so much our enemy as our brothers’ enemy, but the one that calls itself our protector and makes us its slaves. No matter what the circumstances, the worst betrayal will always be to subordinate ourselves to this apparatus and to trample underfoot, in its service, all human values in ourselves and in others.”

In one week, on February 10th, court proceedings, criminal charges, will begin against me, a 65 year old man with no criminal record, for refusing to stop attempting to stand up for an aboriginal or First Nations man who wanted to enter a church and was threatened with arrest.

The Orwellian stupidity and callousness of government and the injustice system in Australia seems to know no bounds.

I take solace in these facts:

A. The best people in churches in Australia know that this sort of thing is wrong. They are a light in what is now for me a very dark life.

B. I can still normally at peace in places of worship and with people devoted to truth and to God.

C. Gazing on the glorious mystique and attractive power of beautiful women is not yet a crime.

Like Anita Ekberg (pictured above and below) whose breakout role as an unattainable star was in la Dolce Vita, which was released 63 years ago on this date in Italy. When Ekberg had earlier played Helene in “War and Peace”, she was billed as “Paramount’s Marilyn Monroe.”

Anita Ekberg got into men’s heads. Because she could. That’s freedom.

Geoff Fox, 3rd February, 2023, Down Under

St Mary Of The Cross And Martin Luther King Junior: Their Spirit Lives On In “Women. Life. Freedom.”

Today is both the 181st birthday of Australia’s only Saint, Mary McKillop, and the 94th birthday of America’s cultural hero, Martin Luther King Jr.

3 years ago today I wrote this about them here.

I see echoes of the greatness of both these figures in the “Women. Life. Freedom.” movement which is opposing murderous tyranny now.

Geoff Fox, 15th January, 2023, Down Under

Women’s Science and Life and Freedom #2

Human participation in the creation of new human life is perhaps what brings brings us closer than anything else we do to Our God. I believe the courageous Iranian freedom fighter in these images fully understands that.

I also believe that no group of human beings more fully understands the deep spiritual and personal significance of birthdays than the group of human beings who so often go through labour to give us birth.

These people are our mothers.

Today is the 128th birthday of one of the most profoundly influential thinkers and leaders in Australian history – Robert Gordon Menzies.

Menzies described Freedom like this:

Freedom still rings true to me.

Geoff Fox, 20th December, 2022, Down Under

NB for political balance I plan to publish quotes from Menzies’ peacetime rival and wartime colleague John Curtin in 6 days time.

Women’s Science and Life and Freedom #1

The slightly clumsy but popular slogan “Woman Life Freedom” comes form the Kurdish slogan “Jin, Jîyan, Azadî”.

Here I, as a poet, offer a different transcreation, “Women’s Science and Life and Freedom”, because it sounds poetically more elegant to my ears.

As someone who was a midwife for approximately 3 decades, my intention here is to ask women what women’s science means to them.

Midwifery taught me that if you want to know what is important to a woman , the best way to find out is to ask her. That is the foundation of my midwifery.

God Bless Truth.

God Bless Freedom.

Or Should I Write “Goddess”?

To begin with, here is how I see the best of what is happening now:

Geoff Fox, 19th December, 2022, Down Under