Quino was an Argentine cartoonist best-known for his satirical comic strip Mafalda which ran from 1964 to 1973.
Mafalda is a 6-year-old girl. On the one hand she is a real child who hates soup and loves pancakes. Yet, at the same time she is very much concerned with humanity and world peace. An political episode of Mafalda that is often cited is the one with the ‘south-up map orientation’.
Umberto Eco wrote a piece on Mafalda when she made her book debut in Italy with Mafalda la contestataria (1968), ‘Mafalda the rebel’.
In the same period, she is also on the cover of another Italian book, Libro dei bambini terribili per adulti masochisti, (Book of Terrible Children for Masochistic Adults), also from 1968.
Michael Lonsdale was a British-French actor who mainly worked in France, one of my favorite actors. He played in many films, though rarely as the protagonist. He turned 89.
In the English-speaking world, he was known for his role as the villain Hugo Drax in the James Bond film Moonraker, and for his appearances in The Day of the Jackal and The Remains of the Day.
As a character actor with a penetrating gaze, he can be admired in auteur films such as Le fantôme de la liberté (1974) by Luis Buñuel, Glissements progressifs du plaisir (1974) by Alain Robbe-Grillet and the unforgettable 5×2 (2004) by François Ozon.
I would like to take this rather sinister opportunity to highlight the story “Bartleby” (1853) by Herman “Moby Dick” Melville. That short story was adapted for film four times, and in the 1976 French version, Lonsdale plays the bailiff.
The hero in “Bartleby” is called Bartleby. He is a clerk who is recruited at a law firm to copy documents, but soon after his arrival at the firm refuses an assignment with the legendary words “I would prefer not to”. From then on, Bartleby the clerk basically refuses everything, which means that he refuses to live.
This hero is reminiscent of other impossible, frustrated novel characters such as the nameless hero in Dostoevsky’s Notes from the Underground (1864) and Julien Sorel in Stendhal’s The Red and the Black (1830).
In the clip, Lonsdale visits Bartleby in prison where he urges the latter to make a last effort to live. In vain. We see Bartleby die while standing up.
Shere Hite (1942 – 2020) was a American-born German sex educator and feminist. Her sexological work focused primarily on female sexuality.
She is best-known for her book The Hite Report on Female Sexuality (1976) which is in several ways a successor to Masters and Johnson’s Human Sexual Response (1966) and Kinsey’s Sexual Behavior in the Human Female (1953).
In this book, she permanently devaluated the coitus in favour of more attention for the clitoris.
She is the last great feminist. Perhaps only equalled by Camille Paglia (born 1947). Nancy Friday (1933 – 2017) is another famous feminist of that generation.
Toots Hibbert was a Jamaican singer and songwriter, leader for the band Toots & the Maytals. He is best-known for such songs as “54-46 That’s My Number” (1968), “Pressure Drop” (1970) and “Funky Kingston” (1972).
Hibbert was one of the first artists to use the word “reggae” in 1968’s “Do the Reggay”.