• During World War II, artist Marc Chagall left France to escape the Nazi invasion. He went to the United States, where unfortunately he refused to learn English. For a long time, Mr. Chagall refused to leave France for the United States, in part because of a lack of understanding about the country. In fact, he once asked, “Are there trees and cows in America, too?”
• Mathew B. Brady is famous because of many Civil War photographs; however, from 1858, he began to suffer from poor eyesight and relied on other photographers to focus his camera, although he set up the shot. During the Civil War, he got permission from President Abraham Lincoln to photograph the war, and he trained many photographers to help him do that. After the Battle of Gettysburg, Mr. Brady and several photographers whom he had trained took photographs of the corpses on the battlefield. If it were needed to make a photograph more dramatic, they would change the position of a corpse. Did Mr. Brady take all the photographs that have been attributed to him? Probably not. He took credit for all the photographs that the men he had trained took — something that did not make him popular with these photographers.
• Charles M. Schulz, creator of the comic strip Peanuts, was a soldier in World War II, but fortunately saw little action. He once saw a German soldier crossing the field, so he aimed his rifle at him and pulled the trigger. The rifle did not fire — Mr. Schulz had not loaded it due to forgetfulness. Fortunately, the German soldier surrendered. Mr. Schulz also once thought some German soldiers were in an artillery emplacement, so he got ready to throw a grenade into the emplacement. However, he saw a dog go into the emplacement, so he didn’t throw the grenade because he didn’t want to kill an innocent dog. Fortunately, it turned out that no German soldiers were there. Later, Mr. Schulz said, “I guess I fought a pretty civilized war.”
• In the telling of one World War II joke, the Nazi commandant of Paris ordered Pablo Picasso to appear before him. When Picasso was ushered into the commandant’s presence, the commandant showed Picasso a reproduction of Guernica, the artist’s anti-war mural that showed German bombers’ destruction of Guernica during the Spanish Civil War. The commandant asked Picasso, “Did you do that?” Picasso replied, “No. You did.”
• Author Quentin Crisp used to make a living as a nude model for art classes. During World War II, a bomb fell near where he was modeling. The art students dove for the floor and relative safety, but Mr. Crisp kept on posing.
• Many people, including straight people, love the characters of Alison Bechdel’s comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For. At a wedding ceremony, one couple had a table set up to display objects representing people they wanted at the wedding, but who were not able to attend the ceremony. One of the items was a button of Mo, the central character in the comic strip (and the one based on its creator).
• Stan Lee created the Fantastic Four with such characters as Richard Reed, who acquired the ability to stretch his body like rubber, and Sue Storm, who acquired the ability to become invisible and to create force fields. When the two characters got married in the comic book, Mr. Lee had artist Jack Kirby draw the two of them as characters attending the wedding.
Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved
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