Monday, August 13, 2012

Obituaries and the Single Girl

Margalit Fox, who also did that wonderfully playful obituary of writer Christine Brooke-Rose, had a field day with Helen Gurley Brown's NY Times send-off. Let's start with the second sentence, shall we?

"She was 90, though parts of her were considerably younger."

One must also admire this pithy summation of the work she did when she took over Cosmopolitan Magazine in 1963: "Ms. Brown had never held an editing job, but her influence on Cosmopolitan was swift and certain: she did not so much revamp the magazine as vamp it."

Ba-dum-bump.

The whole obituary itself is a well-told summary of a very full life, not overlooking the more controversial aspects while offering what seems to me a remarkably fair assessment of Brown's contributions.

Another obituary triumph, Ms. Fox. Thank you for a fun and informative article on a subject worthy of your skills.

2 comments:

Richmonde said...

I can't help noticing that Margalit Fox doesn't know what "beholden" means (it doesn't mean "devoted", it means "in debt to" with the subtext "and I can't pay it back"). Also, "apron in tow"? An apron wouldn't protect your clothes if you towed it behind you. I admire HGB's honesty and wish I'd followed (some of) her advice. RIP.

LKT said...

I went back and read the obit with those things in mind. I know how it is when a word leaps out and drives you crazy, but I have to say, both those words/phrases seem apt to me.

"Beholden" especially seems to fit right in. Rather than being beholden to a political movement, she was "beholden mostly to the politics of personal advancement," is the way I read it. She certainly owes Cosmo's success to it.

I see your point about the apron, but it's still a vivid image of a woman dragging an apron around, as if that's the thing she brings to a man rather than her own sexy self.