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Creator / Dorothy Parker

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"You can drag a horticulture, but you can't make her think."
Dorothy Parker, after being asked to use "horticulture" in a sentence.

Dorothy Parker (August 22, 1893 June 7, 1967) was an American poet, critic, and satirist, known for her biting wit. Her written works specialized in cynicism related to love and romance, how they don't seem to work in practice as they do in idealistic works, and how even people who know this still want love and romance. Some of her shorter works are flat-out memorized in certain circles, and her influence remains in the Pop-Cultural Osmosis for tropes about non-ideal love.

She also collaborated with various people on occasional plays and screenplays, most often her husband, Alan Campbell (with whom she would have a quite tempestuous relationship until his death in 1963), sharing an Academy Award nomination for the screenplay of the original A Star Is Born. She also co-wrote the screenplay to the Alfred Hitchcock film Saboteur.

A staunch believer in left-wing politics and social justice causes, Parker's screenwriter career was effectively ended when her political views got her placed on The Hollywood Blacklist in 1950. While Parker had avoided ending up on the list during the 1940s, she had been a frequent outspoken critic of the House Committee on Un-American Activities for their persecution of suspected Communists throughout the decade, and she evidently knew that it was really only a matter of time before she would be picked as a target by them. The event ultimately didn't do anything to dissuade her from her activism and decidation to left-wing causes; in fact, following her death, her will bequeathed most of her fortune and entire estate to Martin Luther King Jr. despite never having met him in person. (To this day, the rights to her works still under copyright are held by the NAACP, to which they went after Dr. King's assassination.)

Works by Dorothy Parker with pages:

Works by Dorothy Parker provide examples of:

  • And I'm the Queen of Sheba:
    Oh, life is a glorious cycle of song,
    A medley of extemporanea,
    And love is a thing that can never go wrong,
    And I am Marie of Romania.
    • Also in a review of Aimee Semple McPherson's rather self-aggrandizing autobiography:
      It may be that this autobiography is set down in sincerity, frankness, and simple effort. It may be, too, that the Statue of Liberty is situated in Lake Ontario.
  • Appliance Defenestration: From a review of Beauty and the Beast by Kathleen Norris: "I wish you could have heard that pretty crash Beauty and the Beast made when, with one sweeping, liquid gesture, I tossed it out of my twelfth-story window."
  • Baby Talk: Reviewing The House at Pooh Corner under the nom de plume "Constant Reader":
    It is that word "hummy," my darlings, that marks the first place in The House at Pooh Corner at which Tonstant Weader Fwowed up.
  • Bait-and-Switch Comment: Regarding Atlas Shrugged: "This is not a book to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force."
  • But Liquor Is Quicker: One of her famous quotes: "One more drink and I'd have been under the host."
  • Caustic Critic: She was famous for this. In 1920, she was fired from Vanity Fair, because her savage theater reviews offended powerful producers too often.
  • Dull Surprise: Described Katharine Hepburn's performance in an early role, the notorious flop The Lake, as having "run the gamut of emotions from A to B".
  • Keep the Home Fires Burning: The poem "Penelope", a tribute to Odysseus's wife.
  • Pungeon Master: She was absolutely one of these. The "horticulture" page quote is a good example.
  • Rich Suitor, Poor Suitor: "The Choice" is a poem about a woman who has a choice between a man who offers her lands and fine things and a man who charms her with his singing alone. She chooses the latter without a second thought — and then wonders afterward if there's something wrong with her head.