cynic, n. A
Where as Ambrose Bierce drew strength from the misery and perils of life,
mainly of others,
Dorothy (not "Dorthy") Parker allowed herself to indulge in personal misery while
skewering writers, playwrights and high society (seriously, how could she avoid
lancing the upper crust of inanity). What made Parker special was
the twisted combination of a polite and personable woman with a wit designed for
evisceration, a pen dipped in blood, and a tongue that worked best when unleashed.
In the early part of the 20th century, Parker wrote
for such bastions of literary distinction as Vogue and
Vanity Fair. Work as a word slave ended abruptly when
Vanity Fair fired her for her endlessly acerbic prose
(how they missed it to begin with remains a mystery). She launched a freelance
career and shortly penned her first book titled Enough
Rope, which showed her feisty side as well as more
Most compelling were her cynical associations. Parker
became a founding member of the Algonquin Round Table
(for those not familiar with this group, it was a motley
gathering of the literary, illuminati and comics that
met at the Algonquin Hotel and blistered the world with
their communal communications). She traded barbs
with the likes of Robert Benchley, Alexander Woollcott
and Harpo Marx. Many of those cunning conversations
found their way into the pages of the New Yorker, which furthered her infamy.
Later turns in life caused her to become a Hollywood
screen writer and a reporter coving the Spanish Civil
War (though the two are almost indistinguishable from
their common politics, casualties and general chaos).
What makes Parker charming – in a frightening fashion
– was her role as a viciously intelligent gal in the
early 20th century. At a time when women were barely
more that possessions, Parker not only embraced a
clearer picture of her life, but a clearer picture of
life around her .. every cynical inch of it.
If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to.
This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown aside with great force.
You can lead a whore to culture but you can't make her think.
Take care of the luxuries and the necessities will take care of themselves.
All I need is a place to lay my hat, and a few friends.
If all the girls in attendance [at the Yale prom] were laid end to end, I wouldn't be at all surprised.
Brevity is the soul of lingerie.
Look at him, a rhinestone in the rough.
Men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses.