By Lee Hill
"When they're now not shocked or astonished or engaged through what you assert, the ball video 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 okay, but when they only shrug it off, it is time to retire."
-- Terry SouthernA Grand Guy
He used to be the hipster's hipster, the precise 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 buddy. He used to be one of the main artistic and unique avid gamers within the Paris Review caliber Lit video game, but his maximum literary good fortune was once a semi pornographic pulp novel. for many years, the gang he ran with used to be composed of the main well-known 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 dwell with a more youthful, louder breed of sacred cow torpedoers. he is a face within the crowd at the disguise of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts membership Band (the man within the sunglasses). at any place 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. excellent, dynamic, irrepressible, he loved extraordinary luck after which squandered it with virtually superhuman extra. there has been, and ever should be, just one Terry Southern.
In a biography as bright and colourful because the existence it celebrates, Lee Hill masterfully explores the low and high occasions of the original, incomparable Terry Southern, the most actual skills of this or the other age. Illuminating, exhilarating, and sobering, it's an intimate portrait of an unequaled satirist and satyrist whose urge for food for all times was once huge, immense -- and whose objective used to be certain and actual as he took pictures 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 warfare and McCarthyism to the Vietnam period and the Reagan years; from Miles and Kerouac to the Beatles, the Stones, and past. And continually on the middle of the whirlwind used to be Terry Southern -- outrageous, unpredictable, fascinating, erudite, and perpetually cool; a brazen innovator and unappreciated genius; and such a lot of all, A Grand Guy.
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Extra resources for A Grand Guy: The Art and Life of Terry Southern
The novel, originally called Youngblood (a friendly nod to the hit by his songwriting pals Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller), reworked short stories that appeared in the 1967 anthology, Red Dirt Marijuana and Other Tastes. ” The final result, which Southern seems to have squeezed out of himself like blood from the proverbial stone, added up to just over two hundred published pages. If Southern could never quite leave Texas in his imagination, he made damn sure actual homecomings were kept to a minimum.
His dad had a reputation as a jokester who liked to tie one on. He is alleged to have almost gotten shot by a neighbor sneaking back into his home after a night on the town. Southern would often relate the story of his father taking the Monkey Man from the state carnival on a drinking binge. He even refashioned this incident as a teenage prank in Texas Summer. “His father was basically an alcoholic,” Gerber says. ” In the thirties, Oak Cliff may have looked like a tranquil suburb, but the country was never very far away.
A. or New York, whose denizens acted like inhabitants of a royal principality, Chicago was urban America at full speed. Skyscrapers, crowded streets, big cars, a modern subway. In a few years, it would become the birthplace of the Compass and Second City, which helped breed a whole school of American comedy. Chicago was also the city that inspired such diverse contemporaries as Saul Bellow, Studs Terkel, and Nelson Algren. Algren, author of The Man with the Golden Arm, which would win the first National Book Award in 1950, would have a profound influence on Southern in the coming years.