Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Paul Newman, 1925-2008

Cool Hand Paul
Published: September 30, 2008

Maureen Dowd writes a touching, personal, and heart-felt tribute to one of the giants of Hollywood, on or off the screen.

At a moment when America feels angry and betrayed, when our leaders have forfeited our trust and jeopardized our future, we lost an American icon who stood for traits that have been in short supply in the Bush administration: shrewdness, humility, decency, generosity, class.
Her only slip is to sneak in one Crossword Clue® as an aside with a quick political jab.
I was nervous the first time I met the star, because he’d been a teenage crush — along with William F. Buckley Jr. (I loved Buckley’s sesquipedalian dexterity — a lost art in the anti-intellectual conservative set of W. and Sarah Palin.)
And we could use a few more people with a propensity to use big words.

Maureen also gives us these words of his that lament the current state of politics but also contains some sage advice.
“Everything is about what’s winnable, not about the morality of the issues,” he told me. In politics, as in racing cars, he said: “You can do anything if you are prepared to deal with the consequences.”


Grace Nearing said...

Paul Newman taught me how to peel a cucumber.

Well that definitely goes into the Opening Sentence Hall of Fame!

And I am touched by Dowd's uncharacteristically self-deprecating account of her Palin-like meeting with Newman.

We met at a restaurant on the Upper East Side, where he proceeded to interview me.

Newman: “What do you know about nuclear disarmament?”

Dowd: “Ummm.”

Newman: “How can you justify The Times’s editorial position on the moratorium?”

Dowd: “Ummm.”

There must have been some incredible power behind those blue eyes.

Mo MoDo said...

I wasn't going to touch that "peeling a cucumber" line with a ten foot pole.

And I imagine a lot of women lose their cool in front of those steely blue eyes.