Intl. Notebook Jul 2 2010
BEYOND THE SEA
Wherever he laid his hat was his home.
 
 
Today in 1961, one of America’s great authors, Ernest Hemingway, committed suicide in his house in Ketchum, Idaho, using his favorite shotgun. Hemingway had physical problems, including failing eyesight, that made it difficult for him to write, but he also fell victim to the barbaric treatments for mental ailments that were the norm in the 1960s.
 
Records show that when he checked into a Mayo Clinic in December 1960 seeking help for agitation and paranoia, he received up to fifteen electroshock treatments, sessions that, according to biographer Jeffrey Myers, left Hemingway “in ruins.” He was also given Ritalin and Serpasil, and in a misguided effort to fight the depression the drugs caused he was given another round of shock treatments.
 
On July 2 he loaded his double-barreled shotgun, put the muzzle in his mouth, and pulled the trigger. The massive blast obliterated the entire top half of his head, leaving only his jaw, mouth, and cheekbones. The press was fed a story about the death being accidental, but Hemingway had in fact chosen the same path as his father, and the same path his brother and sister would later take. As it turns out, all suffered from the hereditary ailment hemochromatosis, the effects of which culminate in mental and physical deterioration.
 
Ernest Hemingway’s legacy is beyond dispute. He is one of the most respected and imitated personalities who ever lived, and one of the most influential writers in the English language, someone whose techniques are stylistic ground zero for American authors. Predictably, his influence has also produced a backlash, and today his style is often ridiculed by contrarians, iconoclasts and revisionists. But as we always say, time is the ultimate critic, and by that measure Hemingway towers above his detractors—all of them. The above photo shows him near the end of his life, circa late ’50s.
 
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History Rewind
The headlines that mattered yesteryear.
February 25
1947—Prussia Ceases To Exist
The centuries-old state of Prussia, which had been a great European power under the reign of Frederick the Great during the 1800s, and a major influence on German culture, ceases to exist when it is dissolved by the post-WWII Allied Control Council comprised of the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union.
1964—Clay Beats Liston
Heavyweight boxer Cassius Clay, aged 22, becomes champion of the world after beating Sonny Liston, aka the Dark Destroyer, in one of the biggest upsets in boxing history. It would be the beginning of a storied and controversial career for Clay, who would announce to the world shortly after the fight that he had changed his name to Muhammad Ali.
February 24
1920—The Nazi Party Is Founded
The small German Workers' Party, or DAP, which was under the direction of Adolf Hitler, changes its name to the National Socialist German Workers' Party. Though Hitler adopted the socialist label to attract working class Germans, his party in fact embraced mainly anti-socialist ideas. The group became known in English as the Nazi Party, and within the next fifteen years expanded to become the most powerful force in German politics.
1942—Battle of Los Angeles Takes Place
A object flying over wartime Los Angeles triggers a massive anti-aircraft barrage, ultimately killing 3 civilians. Initially the target of the aerial barrage is thought to be an attacking force from Japan, but it is later suggested to be imaginary and a case of "war nerves", a lost weather balloon, a blimp, a Japanese fire balloon, or even an extraterrestrial craft. The true nature of the object or objects remains unknown to this day, but the event is known as the Battle of Los Angeles.
February 23
1945—Flag Raised on Iwo Jima
Four days after landing on the Japanese-held island of Iwo Jima, American soldiers of the 28th Regiment, 5th Marine Division take Mount Suribachi and raise an American flag. A photograph of the moment shot by Joe Rosenthal becomes one of the most famous images of WWII, and wins him the Pulitzer Prize later that year.
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