By Lee Hill
"When they're now not shocked or astonished or engaged via what you are saying, the ball video game is over. in the event that they locate it repulsive, or outlandish, or disgusting, that is okay, or in the event that they like it, that is o.k., but when they simply shrug it off, it is time to retire."
-- Terry SouthernA Grand Guy
He used to be the hipster's hipster, the best 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 good friend. He used to be one in every of the main inventive and unique gamers within the Paris Review caliber Lit online game, but his maximum literary luck used to be a semi pornographic pulp novel. for many years, the gang he ran with used to be composed of the main well-known inventive 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). anyplace the cultural motion was once, he used to be there, the lifetime of each get together -- Paris within the '50s, London within the swinging '60s, Greenwich Village, and large undesirable Hollywood. superb, dynamic, irrepressible, he loved outstanding good fortune after which squandered it with nearly superhuman extra. there has been, and ever might be, just one Terry Southern.
In a biography as brilliant and colourful because the existence it celebrates, Lee Hill masterfully explores the low and high instances of the original, incomparable Terry Southern, the most actual skills of this or the other age. Illuminating, exhilarating, and sobering, it really is an intimate portrait of an unequaled satirist and satyrist whose urge for food for all times was once huge, immense -- and whose target was once yes 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 struggle 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 so much of all, A Grand Guy.
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Additional resources for A Grand Guy: The Art and Life of Terry Southern
It could be an image out of any Hollywood war movie of the period. As he did in Texas, Southern seemed to fit in well with others, but he also discovered another group of outsiders in the Army. ” To Southern, the Jews were witty, intelligent, and colorful and managed to deal with the negative aspects of the era’s all-pervasive anti-Semitism with dignity and humor. They wore their personalities on their sleeves and projected a blend of confidence, irony, and insight that Southern aspired to. During his Army service, the daily influx of new influences along with the sensory overload of battle began to shape the avuncular Grand Guy persona that Southern would eventually present to the world in his novel The Magical Christian.
If Southern could never quite leave Texas in his imagination, he made damn sure actual homecomings were kept to a minimum. While Texas played a significant part in his writing, Southern had little desire to actually set foot in the state if he could help it. This love/hate relationship was hidden behind a thick mask of irony and coy reminiscence. Depending on his mood and the listener, he would either describe his youth in Alvarado and Texas as suffocating and provincial, or launch into a colorful anecdote.
Chicago had many attractions, but it was not enough. His literary tastes had become increasingly European. Postwar America was entering a stultifying period of fear, anti-intellectualism, and conformity. After considering various graduate schools. Terry decided that the real thing—art, love, truth—was abroad. Many of his heroes, notably Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald, had spent time in Europe. It seemed as if a few years spent outside the country would sharpen his talent. So he applied to the Sorbonne on the GI Bill.