The conventional image of Groucho was that he was on the side of the little guy, and he spoke defiantly and insolently to powerful people and wealthy people... But my feeling is that Groucho was out to deflate everybody — that he was a thoroughgoing misanthrope.... His misogyny is relentless and thoroughgoing, and it's very hard to tolerate. His attacks on Margaret Dumont almost always take the form of attacking her status as a woman. And it's very odd that he keeps attacking her, because of course she might be wealthy and she might be somewhat clueless and she might be puffed up with her own virtue — but she's actually fairly kind, and a harmless person who just wants to help out these impostors Groucho is inhabiting. But he keeps insulting her for being a woman. And you don't find the same thing in Chaplin or Laurel and Hardy or W.C. Fields, but with the Marx Brothers, yeah, they took woman hatred to a whole new level. It's difficult to watch.Is it? Margaret Dumont thought of herself as a great straightwoman. Check out the evidence... if it's not too difficult to watch:
ADDED: Having given this post the "Lee Siegel" tag, I clicked on it, and found 2 old posts that caught my fancy. First was a September 2013 post about a Siegel op-ed "When City Elections Were Fun," remembering the time Norman Mailer ran for office.
Back then, the race for mayor was fueled by the outsize talent that powered New York itself. In contrast, in the current campaign season we have the spectacle of figures whose substance consists of embarrassing character defects, fiery (yawn) rhetoric and patient waiting for a rival’s implosion.... But imagine if the present-day city... were to produce even one candidate with his brio and originality."Ha ha. What are the chances Siegel is enjoying Donald Trump, who's an outsize New York talent? I like that old post because it gave me an opportunity to show you a photo of me in 1970 sitting under a Mailer-for-Mayor poster. (The first comment says, justifiably, "Althouse looks like a member of the Manson Family in that 1970 photo.")
The second old post is "Adventures in sock puppetry," from 2007. Lee Siegel had gotten into trouble writing under a pseudonym in his own comments section at TNR. I had written about it, and when somebody showed up as "Lee Siegel" in my comments, I assumed it was somebody else appropriating his name and deleted him. "Lee Siegel" emailed asking to be restored and I needed him to prove it really was him.
Prove it to you? Are you kidding? You want me to Fedex you my passport? What childishness. Then I guess you can't prove that anyone is who he says he is who writes in to your "blog." Hey, it's me. You just don't want to restore my post. So don't. One more tale from the brave new blogosphere.I retort:
You've given me the proof that you are not Lee Siegel. Thanks.Am I wrong?