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You’d probably think that after churning out a new–very heavy–entry on a special day off that normally isn’t one (and I’d just have been promoting an archival entry), I’d give it a rest for a few extra days, right? Well…no, not my style; I’m otherwise sticking to my normal posting schedule, however after such a heavy entry, I decided to do something a little easier to digest….and it has been something on my mind as well, because I do bring it up from time to time, throughout my entries: today, we’re gonna talk about famous names in history, believed to be on the spectrum, but I’m gonna take it a step further, and elaborate on some names that don’t normally get brought up, that I personally believe were, for a myriad of reasons. Before I do, I know you’ll say “Russell, you have no proof of this!” Truth be told, we can’t dig up any of these people and diagnose ’em; all we can go by is what we’ve experienced of their work and contributions to society, and take a guess from there.
I want to start by quickly getting two names out of the way, as their contributions to society are–kinda heading into more controversial territory, philosophically-speaking (one of whom even got a bit of a hiss when I brought the name up on Reddit, in fact):
Thomas Jefferson, and Ayn Rand
I won’t get into their philosophies, and my own opinions of them offhand, but here’s what I will say about each on here (anything further I have to say will be discussed on the social media platforms)….
In the case of Thomas Jefferson, he was notoriously famous for his amazing scholarly writing, and was so efficient in considering as many possible scenarios that it’s quite common knowledge what an important figurehead he was in terms of his work in some of the most important documents of the last few centuries, work that is still celebrated today. As a TV announcer selling you a product would say “but that’s not all!”, as during his presidential term, he would not deliver his State of the Union publicly in front of Congress, instead preferring to send it over to them, and have them read it on their own terms; an amazing writer, but wasn’t as comfortable being a public speaker.
Ayn Rand was a different case, in regard to the public speaking……and I will confess, in her later years, I personally wish she hadn’t. That being said, she had a way of looking at life–as she saw it–“as it is, not as I wish it to be”, and came up with her famous saying “A is A” as a result of this; again, I may discuss more of this on social media, as I refuse to go further into that territory on this blog…but there’s one other reason I think she stuck out as being on the spectrum (including having the stare): during one of her final TV appearances on Donahue, there was a plant in the audience designed to throw her off her game; good lord did it throw her off her game. She thought Donahue would “play fair” toward her, and…..he did not. The plant pretended she used to be a fan, but completely lost faith in her ideology; anyone with enough self-awareness and having basic understanding of social guidelines would’ve known it was a trap; she didn’t. She didn’t, because of the belief that anyone could understand what she was thinking; no, most people don’t, and I’m gonna explain more about it in an entry this Fall. I will just quickly say, if you need proof, feel free to go over to Objectivist message boards at this point; it’s like they’ve delved into a civil war over petty slap fights; it’s the nicest way I can put it.
Now that those two are out of the way, let’s get into some fun ones, shall we?
I’ve already discussed Jim Henson in considerable length here , so let’s talk about some others who absolutely excelled in creativity in the world of art: Andy Warhol, Stanley Kubrick, Edith Head, Rod Serling, and Ub Iwerks
I confess my knowledge on Mr. Warhol is a bit limited, but from what I know and understand, he very much enjoyed a certain structured routine (which I will be getting further into, in an upcoming entry), had mental comprehensions far beyond those around him–to the point where he made some predictions about the future of social culture that turned out be completely correct, and then of course…..there’s his famous painting of Campbell’s Soup. No, he wasn’t trying to make a statement; he was literally just showing his appreciation and love of Campbell’s Tomato Soup. Yes, we do that. For a more personal example, it would be like all the times I elaborate on my love of the antagonist Vigo from Ghostbusters II, or the Trophy Heads from Disney’s Country Bear Jamboree. Seriously, ask anyone who knows me well enough, and they’ll tell you I won’t shut up about ’em. That’s apparently how he felt about Campbell’s Tomato Soup. And now that painting is worth upwords of $10M; you almost have to wonder what an actual painting of Lord Vigo, or the three Trophy Heads would eventually go for if I had a talent for artwork…alas, I do not. Oh well.
Stanley Kubrick….I admit my knowledge is also very limited on this fellow, too; I have seen one or two of his movies (The Shining, A Clockwork Orange, Full Metal Jacket and yes I’m familiar with 2001: A Space Odyssey, though haven’t seen it), but he is known as one of the great directors of his time. An allthatsinteresting.com entry quoted a description of him as ““intense, cool, misanthropic cinematic genius who obsesses over every detail.” What strikes me the most, however, is something else the article said about him: that he was almost never happy unless he was behind a camera, with his words being: ““I’m happy – at times – making film. I’m certainly unhappy not making films.” When I hear that, I’m simply reminded of what I said here and here, honestly.
Edith Head was a legendary costume designer in Hollywood; her attention to detail was so good, she won numerous awards for her work over the years, to the point where one of her final projects was a contract to do uniforms for the United States Armed Forces, I shit you not! “Ok Russell, so….how the hell would you know about her, otherwise? Why would we honestly care? She did good work; great for her” Well……I know about her the same way you do, that’s why! See, she’s so legendary in the industry, a contemporary Disney character with a huge cult following is based on her, including in likeness; perhaps you’ve heard of her: Edna Mode, from The Incredibles? I.e. “NO CAPES!”
Mr. Rod Serling I’m sure you’re familiar with due to the name of a very popular “horror/thriller” series he did in the 1960s known as the Twilight Zone….a show that no matter how many times they attempt to remake it, make it into a movie, or whatever…it just doesn’t hold up to the original, and it’s not a surprise why. First off, listen to Rod Serling’s opening and closing words during each episode; you can hear the depth in what he’s trying to get across, even if he does have to truncate it for a short TV episode to appeal to the masses; even the way he looks at you has the intensity (to me) of someone on the spectrum. So, we’ve got a show that no revivals have ever held up to the original work, and in part due to how articulate and diligent the show’s creator was; anything else, you might be wondering? How about the fact that the man was a chain smoker, due to the constant stress of dealing with TV executives who didn’t have his grasp and understanding for creativity, and all the concessions he had to make to keep his work up to par, while still sticking to the then-strict standards of TV?
Finally for today, we get to a lesser-known man who had a major impact in Hollywood, in the world of art…but you likely know him better for the man he worked with, and their legendary creation: Ub Iwerks
Ub Iwerks was Walt Disney’s right-hand man almost from the beginning; and by “beginning”, I mean long before anyone even knew who Walt was….and back when they were feuding with every distributor over contracts, known to mankind. Ub Iwerks is the reason you even know the Mouse the House was Built By. Ub didn’t create the idea for Mickey, but he drew him in the style that we’ve all known, ever since. Oh, but don’t take my word for it; you wanna know how good his artwork was? It was so good, he got fed up with a lot of the grandstanding Walt would do at parties and events, and went off on his own to do his own cinematic shorts….and the shorts are gorgeous. Chances are though, you haven’t seen any of ’em; why, you may ask? For a few reasons, at least one of relating back to another reason I believe he was on the spectrum:
The main reason being that the man just did not understand the comedic timing beats the way Walt did, so as gorgeous as the art and animation are, they’re not the easiest to sit thru, which brings me to another major problem….
You know how Song of the South is a highly controversial work of Walt’s to this day, in my opinion because it went against every other factor that made all his timeless works so popular with the masses? Walt got lucky in the sense that quality was so important to him, he usually went with work that could be viewed timelessly, and by all audiences, and on a romantically ideological level; something our “emotions” wanted to enjoy. When Ub went controversial….let’s just say he made Song of the South look like Snow White, in comparison. Many of his shorts have been long taken out of circulation, due to changing sensibilities of the times, including one I had the “pleasure” of sitting thru–“Little Black Sambo” ; I don’t care if your mind goes there, you’re not that far off; it’s bad. Again, what makes it worse is that due to his inability to understand comedic timing beats that the masses could sit thru, it’s not funny, and you just can’t get over the *ahem* sensibilities of the times the whole time you’re watching it.
In the end, Ub’s works independent of Disney wound up faring so poorly, he did his best to work things out with his former partner, and continued to not only do artwork for the House of the Mouse, but even did work in Imagineering on the theme parks til the end of his days.
So, that’s our fun stroll for this installment of historical figures on the spectrum; I am gonna discuss Alan Turing, Albert Einstein, and Nikola Tesla, along with many others in time….though I confess part of the reason I didn’t with this one was that they’re more commonly known on the spectrum, but they still deserve proper noting. That being said, there’s another legendary historical figure strongly believed to be on the spectrum…and I know because I found out about him recently on Twitter, and I will be diving into discussing him very, very soon……