Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Today in Pop Culture History, I'm your huckleberry.

26 October 1970: The comic "Doonesbury" premiered. The left-leaning strip has skewered political and cultural figures and trends ever since, and is known for representing major figures through metonymic icons. Newt Gingrich was a bomb with a lit fuse, Arnold Schwarzenegger was a huge groping hand (prescient!), and a cowboy hat morphing into an increasingly battered Roman military helmet stood for George W. Bush.

Depends Who You Ask
26 October 1881: The legendary gunfight at the O.K. Corral took place in Tombstone, Arizona Territory, lasting a not-so-legendary 30 seconds or so. The shoot-out was the culmination of a feud between Wyatt Earp, his brothers, and all-around rock star sidekick Doc Holliday, and the outlaw Clanton clan. Because the gunfight became symbolic of the excitement and promise of the lawless frontier, it's been retold dozens of times in novels, TV shows, and films. I have a soft spot for 1993 adaptation Tombstone, mainly because of this performance:

He quotes freaking Coleridge AND has a gun for each of you.

26 October 2009: Academy-Award-winning screenwriter Paul Haggis left the Church of Scientology. To be honest, I could care less about the personal choices of Paul Haggis, not least because his writing tends to make my ass twitch. However, his decision continues to resonate through the pop culture landscape because Scientology is such a powerful force in Hollywood, and Haggis broke from the "faith" so publicly. If you'd like to waste some time today, check out this profile in the New Yorker. It's just as riveting as anything Haggis ever wrote.

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