Friday, January 4, 2008

I am reading a book about nine Hungarians.

The book is called "The Great Escape" and is subtitled "Nine Jews Who Fled Hitler and Changed the World."

Lest you think I am merely indulging my vivid anti-Nazi revenge fantasies, I am reading it because it is all about overcoming adversity, much of that adversity in the form of people who say "You can't do that."

Of the nine Hungarians profiled, four were scientists and five were artists. However, regardless of their disciplines--all were CREATIVES. As creatives, they shook the timbers of dominant complacency until those timbers gave way and the stale, stilted stupidity of the old order crumbled.

This morning on the train I read a bit about the great film producer/director Alexander Korda. His last movie was "The Third Man." David Selznick, Korda's co-producer hated the project. He wanted to re-title "The Third Man" as "Night in Vienna." He wanted Robert Mitchum for the lead, not Orson Welles. Presumably, he wanted to expunge the movie's a-moralness, too, and edit out the best line in movie history:

"In Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love - they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock ..."

Korda kept fighting. As did the other creatives portrayed in this great book. Arthur Koestler. Robert Capa. Andre Kertesz. Michael Curtiz. Edward Teller. Leo Szilard. John Von Neumann. Eugene Wigner.

That, boys and girls, is our lesson for today. Don't let anything stop you.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

i'll get that book.
not that i can compare myself in any way whatsoever but I can only imaging the strength it takes to stand against everything and everybody fighting for every millimeter of your every belief. i never even got the smallest things through.
yes, I'll get that book.