Monday, May 30, 2016

Making 1920s Better Babies and Fitter Families with ...Theda Bara, Pola Negri and Rudolph Valentino ???

I have been enjoying Ewa Luczak's "Breeding and Eugenics in the American Literary Imagination".

Perhaps you are like me, with your first language English, but not the sort of English written by most professors of English these days.

If so, you will absolutely love the limpid English of Ms Luczak, whose first language is Polish and who, despite the limpidness of her English, is a fully tenured professor of English.

Her recounting of  the efforts of organized eugenicists to push "Fitter Family" contests in the 1920s got me thinking of not what the eugenists were supposed to be promoting but rather of what they were trying to push back against.

You see, who America's WASP 1920s elite claimed 'everyone' wanted to sleep with to make 'better babies' were the blandly bovine blonde and blue eyed winners of Eugenic's Fitter Family contests.

But in that decade we know full well that who the American public really wanted to sleep with and make babies with were the exotic dark Sheik and Vamp : Rudolph Valentino, Theda Bara and Pola Negri.

Hollywood's first sex symbols : foreign, swarthy, immigrants ; Italians, Poles, Catholics, Jews.

Oh Lord : your wife fantasizing making love to Rudy...while Negroid jungle jass music plays on the Victrola.

Could things get any worse ?

It all suggests that sexual jealousy, a far stronger emotion than even racial fears, might just partially lie behind the sudden mid-1920s success of eugenic supporters to have Congress ban almost all the darkie races from ever again emigrating to America.

Hollywood America, in particular ....

No comments:

Post a Comment

Longer comments, something for readers and blogger to set their teeth into, preferred