February 18, 1947.
Gian-Carlo Menotti’s opera The Telephone premieres on Broadway.
And I am born.
1947 was an interesting year. Great Britain granted independence to India and Pakistan. Andre Gide won the Nobel Prize for Literature. Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball. The CIA was established. The so-called “Truman Doctrine” was declared allegedly in order to “aid Greece and Turkey against Communist rebels and Soviet expansionism.” The “House UnAmerican Activities Committee” began hearings into alleged “communist influence” in Hollywood, leading to “unfriendly witness” Alvah Bessie having his credit removed as screenwriter of Ruthless — shot in ’47 but released the following year. It was just the beginning of a culture-wide purge.
Meanwhile in 1947 chief HUAC stoolie Elia Kazan won the Oscar for Gentleman’s Agreement , the first major Hollywood film about anti-semitism — produced by the sole goyish studio 20th Century Fox.
(The less said about John Travolta, Cybill Shepherd, and Yoko Ono the better.)
My most baroque birthday gift, however, came from the ineffable Joan Walsh, recently ascended to the presumed editorial cyberheights of Salon:
Enjoy the new gig.
And go Cheney yourself!