Freedom Can Work And Can Fail #1 Edward VI, Norman Rockwell And Gloria Vanderbilt

Freedom Works” is an elemental aspiration to truth for me.

But the darknesses of human hearts mean that dream can turn out wrong.

Looking at three important freedom historical events on this date, February 20, my mantra “Freedom Works” doesn’t quite fit the bill every time.

In 1547, the 20th of February saw the coronation of Edward the 6th when he was 9 years old. My American monarchist friend says, “Poor little boy ….. Henry VIII’s desired, but mostly ignored son, motherless child who died too young  …… ” One of the great achievements of his reign, when the realm was governed by a regency council, was to lift the requirement for celibacy from Anglican priests. This happened when Edward was an 11 year old boy.

On February 20, 1924, in New York City, Gloria Vanderbilt (pictured above in 1959 from The United States Steel Hour) was born into money and a sensational high profile custody battle between her mother and paternal aunt. Gloria lived life as a fully functioning woman, whose four marriages and affairs with Brando, Sinatra, Howard Hughes and Roald Dahl underline how impossible celibacy can be for some people.

In “The Rainbow Comes And Goes” she wrote, “Remember whenever money is involved, it brings out horrific things in people. ……. Take time and be certain you place your trust in those whose interests and goals mirror your own.”

In 1943 on February 20, the Saturday Evening post published Norman Rockwell’s painting, “Free Speech”, based on Frankilin Roosevelt’s idea of “freedom of speech, and expression—everywhere in the world.”

The 1940’s. The Greatest Generation. Not what we are now.

In the modern world, Roosevelt’s idea of worldwide free speech has withered and died.

Geoff Fox, 20th February, 2023

Women For Freedom #17 Clara Bow

The Greatest Generation grew up in Pre-Code freedom and then changed the world, defeating totalitarian fascist thugs.

The modern internet-fueled almost ubiquitous availability of hardcore porn has changed how sexuality enters many peoples lives.

Some but not all earlier times were straight-laced and sexless.

In 1927, Clara Bow became famous as a vivacious, arousing “It girl” in the movie “IT”, released 96 years ago today.

My American cinephile friend writes that British novelist and screenwriter Elinor Glyn had “………  really made the term widely used by the public in the USA and the British Empire, especially. Her books and the movies made from them, were thought to be SHOCKING; however, they were extremely popular.

“IT GIRLS” were not only “sexy”, but had great personalities, were bubbly and very outgoing and could make all men fall for them. “IT” was supposedly a special something, akin to flypaper.”

Colorado journalist Erin Blakemore writes in “………. what makes “IT” just as interesting as 50 Shades is the movie’s emphasis on women looking, wanting, and acting with sexual freedom.”

Elinor Glyn herself wrote this about “It”:

“ ‘IT’ is that quality possessed by some few persons which draws all others with its magnetic life force. With it you will win all men if you are a woman—and all women if you are a man. ………. To have “It”, the fortunate possessor must have that strange magnetism which attracts both sexes. He or she must be entirely unselfconscious and full of self-confidence ……..”

Clara Bow works her magic on William Austin in “IT” with words from Elinor Glyn.

God Bless Freedom where we figure out how to be true to ourselves including learning from other eras where pornographic excesses were much harder to find.

And God Bless Clara Bow.

Isn’t she wonderful?

Geoff Fox 19th February, 2023, Down Under


It is John Barrymore’s 141st birthday today or tomorrow. I mark the occasion and his gifts by naming him an Indigenous Man Of The Anglosphere. He was called the “greatest living American tragedian” giving acclaimed performances as Hamlet and Richard The Third.

Barrymore with Carol Lombard in “Twentieth Century”

His sister Ethel and brother Lionel were also actors.

To begin with, on the stage, his brother Lionel was more likely to be cast as a leading man. John would get the comedy roles. An American cinephile friend of mine writes: “By the time they all went into the movies ( silents ), John became the one to have the leading man roles and was known as “THE GREAT PROFILE”. 

He loved living free.

Actors to portray Barrymore include W.C. Fields, Lawrence Olivier, Errol Flynn and Jack Cassidy.

Barrymore had alcohol problems at 14 years of age and was bankrupt in later life. He said, “Happiness often sneaks in through a door you didn’t know you left open.”

It wasnt always the life of a an unattached libertine. He married Dolores Costello, pictured below.

John Barrymore described Hamlet as a “normal, healthy, lusty young fellow . . … he was a great fencer, an athlete, a man who led an active, healthy life.” In the above photo Barrymore is being a normal young man with Dolores Costello in “The Sea Beast”. Later on, she became his third wife.

God Bless Freedom

But for most of us, Family Life Comes First.

Geoff Fox, 14th February, 2023, Down Under