On this day in 1872, the women’s rights activist Emily Davison was born. But it’s not that uncommon for women of that period. In my research for this article every day, I come upon them all them time. Sometimes I mention them and sometimes I don’t. I bring up Davison because she was wonderfully, heroically militant. She got arrested 9 times in her short life. She was force-fed 49 times. And most distinctly, she was killed during a very impressive protest attempt she made for women’s right to vote. She was an amazing woman and certainly deserves to be remembered.
They say behind every great man is a great woman. I think that’s true, because really, men are the weaker sex. There is no better example than with Franklin D. Roosevelt; Eleanor Roosevelt was a great women—far greater than her husband. She was born in 1884, and was the great liberal titan of the 20th century. And she pushed for reform all through her life. She was, for example, the first Chairman of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. And behind the scenes she worked her own magic. My understanding is that she withheld her support from John Kennedy because of his lack of action against the McCarthy trials and his hawkish positions. Although it seems fanciful, the movie Guarding Tess certainly seems to have been inspired by her. And that’s how I like to think of her: difficult but right, and a great ally.
Since I didn’t comment on his recent death, I should note that Elmore Leonard was born on 1924. He is about as overrated an author as there has ever been except for Shakespeare. But he still wrote a lot of fun books. And he was a fine, maybe even great writer. But mostly, he was just a pulp writer. He wrote stuff that was very easy on readers and many of those readers went on to think that made his work great. Well, it didn’t. It made it fun—excellent vacation reading. And that’s more than enough.
The day, however, belongs to one the very best American actors David Morse who is 60 today. Look, he is always great. I’ve never seen him in anything where he wasn’t giving an impeccable performance. But I want to highlight one film that most people have not seen, the 2002 independent film The Slaughter Rule. Morse’s performance in the film is amazing. He plays an extremely complicated character perfectly. It is an amazing thing to watch and I hope you will check out the film. Here’s the trailer:
Happy birthday David Morse!