Tag Archives: 1940

WHAT DOES BEING SQUARE MEAN?

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Hip to be square?

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If you’ve ever heard of someone being called a square, you probably realize it has nothing to do with having four corners. So what does being square mean? The term, most frequently used during the 1940s through the 1960s, has a long history of use.

What is being square?

Beginning with the jazz-loving hipsters of the 1940s, and used by the counterculture movements of almost every generation since, the act of being square refers to thinking inside the box and conforming to societal norms. The term was used by beatniks, hippies, yippies and other cultural movements to oppose more conservative and conventional world views.

To call someone a square usually has negative connotations, and it is generally the same as saying the person is no fun, a Goody Two-shoes or a party pooper.

Hip to be square

Interestingly, there are some positive connotations to the term “square.” It is sometimes used to refer to something being good and honest, such as in “fair and square” or “a square deal.’

The Freemasons use the square as one of their major symbols, calling it an emblem of virtue in which they must “square their actions by the square of virtue with all mankind.’ This is another case of square referring to something being fair and upstanding.

In the 1980s, many of those who had opposed mainstream society as hippies in the 1960s found themselves fitting into the roles they previously despised and becoming a comfortable part of the middle class. This change is reflected in the song “Hip to Be Square,’ by Huey Lewis and the News, in which the band declares “Now I’m playing it real straight, and yes I cut my hair’ and points out that many of those who were the most antiauthority went on to become the most square and how that was nothing to be ashamed of.

Examples of use

The term “square” has had many well-known uses in music and popular culture.

In “Jailhouse Rock,’ Elvis Presley sings: “The warden said, Hey buddy, don’t you be no square / If you can’t find a partner, use a wooden chair.’

One of the earliest popular uses of the term is in Harry Gibson’s 1946 song “What’s His Story?” which includes the lyrics “Saint Peter said, You square, your place is right down there / and the square said, What’s his story?’

In the film Pulp Fiction, the character Mia Wallace draws a box in the air with her finger and calls Vincent Vega a square after he refuses to go along with her plans.

Whether you think it’s hip to be square or you would rather think outside the box, the term “square” has a colorful history, and it has slightly different meanings to different people. Its use has declined over recent years, but why not try to organize a revival by using the term with your family and friends?

If you’ve ever heard of someone being called a square, you probably realize it has nothing to do with having four corners. So what does being square mean? The term, most frequently used during the #1940s through the #1960s, has a long history of use.

What is being square?

Beginning with the jazz-loving hipsters of the 1940s, and used by the counterculture movements of almost every generation since, the act of being square refers to thinking inside the box and conforming to societal norms. The term was used by beatniks, hippies, yippies and other cultural movements to oppose more conservative and conventional world views.

To call someone a square usually has negative connotations, and it is generally the same as saying the person is no fun, a Goody Two-shoes or a party pooper.

Hip to be square

200 (41)

Interestingly, there are some positive connotations to the term “square.” It is sometimes used to refer to something being good and honest, such as in “fair and #square” or “a square deal.’

The #Freemasons use the square as one of their major symbols, calling it an emblem of virtue in which they must “square their actions by the square of virtue with all mankind.’ This is another case of square referring to something being fair and upstanding.

In the 1980s, many of those who had opposed mainstream society as hippies in the 1960s found themselves fitting into the roles they previously despised and becoming a comfortable part of the middle class. This change is reflected in the song “Hip to Be Square,’ by Huey Lewis and the News, in which the band declares “Now I’m playing it real straight, and yes I cut my hair’ and points out that many of those who were the most antiauthority went on to become the most square and how that was nothing to be ashamed of.

Examples of use

The term “square” has had many well-known uses in music and popular culture.

In “Jailhouse Rock,’ Elvis Presley sings: “The warden said, Hey buddy, don’t you be no square / If you can’t find a partner, use a wooden chair.’

One of the earliest popular uses of the term is in Harry Gibson’s 1946 song “What’s His Story?” which includes the lyrics “Saint Peter said, You square, your place is right down there / and the square said, What’s his story?’

In the film Pulp Fiction, the character Mia Wallace draws a box in the air with her finger and calls Vincent Vega a square after he refuses to go along with her plans.

Whether you think it’s hip to be square or you would rather think outside the box, the term “square” has a colorful history, and it has slightly different meanings to different people. Its use has declined over recent years, but why not try to organize a revival by using the term with your family and friends?

Salvaging Steinbeck’s Vessel From a Little-Known Berth

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Salvaging Steinbeck’s Vessel From a Little-Known Berth

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The Western Flyer in Port Townsend, Wash. The boat’s owner plans to move it to Salinas, Calif., but a nonprofit group wants it in Monterey Bay. Credit Matthew Ryan Williams for The New York Times
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PORT TOWNSEND, Wash. — A wooden fishing boat that John Steinbeck chartered in 1940 with a biologist friend, then wrote about in a story of their journey through the Sea of Cortez in Mexico, sits in sad, decaying splendor in a boatyard here, two hours northwest of Seattle.

People have come from as far away as Liverpool, England, to see the vessel, named the Western Flyer, in the eight months since it arrived. There is no exhibit, no effort to market the ship as an attraction, or even point the way so people can easily find it, blocked and braced out of the water at the back of the yard. Mud covers the portholes from its two sinkings and resurrections. The brass doorknobs are corroded to green, and the upper rail buckles inward with rot and age.

“We get a couple of people a week, and we give them directions — it’s pretty low key,” said Anna Quinn, an owner of Imprint Bookstore, a downtown shop that sells a few copies a week of the book that resulted from Steinbeck’s trip, “The Log From the Sea of Cortez.”

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John Steinbeck featured the wooden fishing boat in “The Log From the Sea of Cortez,” sold in Port Townsend at Imprint Bookstore. Credit Matthew Ryan Williams for The New York Times

“They just want to see and touch it and be in the literary aura,” Ms. Quinn said.

A final chapter for the Western Flyer may be about to unfold. And there are fierce disagreements about how — and where — its tale of fleeting celebrity and ignominious decay should end.

The boat’s owner, Gerry Kehoe, a California businessman, said he planned to collect his property within the next couple of months. The 76-foot-long vessel, he said, will be cut into two or three pieces and trucked to Salinas, Calif., where Steinbeck was born, then reassembled and installed as the centerpiece — with real water and a dock — in the lobby of a boutique hotel Mr. Kehoe is developing.

The hotel, with two restaurants surrounding the boat and glass panels telling the story of the voyage, will open in the summer of 2015 with Western Flyer in the name, he said in a telephone interview.

The nephew of the Western Flyer’s skipper in 1940 has been ferociously critical of Mr. Kehoe’s plan. He says the boat belongs in Monterey, where it worked in Steinbeck’s day as a sardine fisher, and deserves better in retirement.

“He talks a good game, but he really doesn’t know what he’s doing — he doesn’t have a clue,” said Robert Enea, whose uncle, Tony Berry, piloted the voyage by Steinbeck and the biologist, E. F. Ricketts.

Mr. Enea, a retired physical education teacher, led a nonprofit group called the Western Flyer Project that he said had raised $10,000 and was trying to buy the boat in 2010 for $45,000 when Mr. Kehoe got it instead. The group, Mr. Enea said, envisioned a mission of environmental education in Monterey Bay, echoing and honoring the Cortez trip.

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Peter and Anna Quinn, owners of Imprint Bookstore. “We get a couple of people a week, and we give them directions — it’s pretty low key,” Ms. Quinn said of visitors seeking the boat. Credit Matthew Ryan Williams for The New York Times

Mr. Kehoe said the Flyer Project lacked resources to save or restore anything — not least a boat built in 1937 that would take “well into the seven figures” to be made seaworthy. And, he added, striking a note that Steinbeck himself might have savored as a champion of the underdog, the economically struggling town Salinas simply deserves the Western Flyer more than wealthy, flourishing Monterey.

“Does everybody want the rich to be richer?” Mr. Kehoe said, adding that access to the boat will be free. Salinas, he said, “doesn’t have a lot going for it, to be honest with you, but it is the birthplace of the great man.”

Literary tourism is a big business, in the bits of a writer’s life that get left around in the messy business of living, or the characters that came to life on the page. From Key West, Fla.,visitors can swill rum in honor of Hemingway, to Dickens World, a theme park in England that offers a re-creation of bleak and stinky Victorian London, writers are still earning their keep.

Here on Washington’s rainy Olympic Peninsula, setting of the hugely successful teen-vampire-romance “Twilight” novels by Stephenie Meyer, Steinbeck is small potatoes anyway. In Forks, which the heroine, Bella Swan, called home and is two hours west of Port Townsend, visitors can stay in one of the Twilight Rooms at the Pacific Inn Motel, or eat a Bella’s Barbecue Burger Dip at the Forks Coffee Shop.

Some who have come to see the Western Flyer pay homage to science. The six-week, 4,000-mile research trip in 1940 to study plants and animals formed a template for thinking and writing about ecology decades before the modern environmental movement, said Ian Hinkle, a Canadian filmmaker who came to shoot in January for a documentary on the Salish Sea called “Reaching Blue.”

“That boat was the inspiration for many ocean researchers and ecologists today,” he said. “Now it’s sitting in a boatyard, just sitting there, one more big old rotting piece of broken dreams.”

But perhaps for at least part of the summer tourism season in Port Townsend that began this weekend, the Western Flyer is going nowhere. Ms. Quinn, who owns Imprint Books with her husband, Peter, said they were hoping to do some Steinbeck readings this summer, with people gathering at the boatyard.

Steinbeck himself, in “The Log From the Sea of Cortez,” said he believed the bond of boats and people ran too deep to sever. “It is very easy to see why the Viking wished his body to sail away in an unmanned ship, for neither could exist without the other,” he wrote.

JOHN STEINBECK

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John Steinbeck – Mini Biography

JOHN STEINBECK READING FROM “OF MICE AND MEN” AND THE GRAPES OF WRATH”

JOHN STEINBECK ACCEPTS THE NOBEL PRIZE IN 1962

97m/18/huty/6952/6952/14

Quick Facts
NAME: John Steinbeck
OCCUPATION: Author
BIRTH DATE: February 27, 1902
DEATH DATE: December 20, 1968
EDUCATION: Stanford University
PLACE OF BIRTH: Salinas, California
PLACE OF DEATH: New York, New York
Full Name: John Ernst Steinbeck, Jr.
AKA: John Steinbeck

Best Known For

John Steinbeck was a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist whose book The Grapes of Wrath portrayed the plight of migrant workers during the Depression.

Synopsis

Born February 27, 1902, in Salinas, California, John Steinbeck dropped out of college and worked as a manual laborer before achieving success as a writer. His novel The Grapes of Wrath—about the migration of a family from the Oklahoma Dust Bowl to California—won a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award. Steinbeck served as a war correspondent during World War II. He died in 1968.

Quotes

“We are lonesome animals. We spend all our life trying to be less lonesome.”

– John Steinbeck

Early Years

American novelist John Ernst Steinbeck, Jr. was born on February 27, 1902, in Salinas, California. His books, including his landmark work The Grapes of Wrath, often dealt with social and economic issues. He was raised with modest means. His father, John Ernst Steinbeck, tried his hand at several different jobs to keep his family fed: He owned a feed-and-grain store, managed a flour plant and was the treasurer of Monterrey County. His mother, Olive Hamilton Steinbeck, was a former schoolteacher.

For the most part Steinbeck, who grew up with three sisters, had a happy childhood. He was shy but smart and early in his life formed an appreciation for the land, and in particular California’s Salinas Valley, which would greatly inform his later writing. According to accounts, Steinbeck made the decision at the age of 14 to become a writer and often locked himself in his bedroom to write poems and stories. In 1919 Steinbeck enrolled at Stanford University. But Steinbeck seems to have had little use for college.

He viewed himself strictly as a writer, and his decision to go to Stanford was made more to please his parents than anything else. Over the next six years Steinbeck drifted in out of school, eventually dropping out for good in 1925 without a degree.

Early Career

Following Stanford, Steinbeck tried to make a go of it as a freelance writer. He briefly moved to New York City, where he found work as a construction worker and newspaper reporter, but then scurried back to California, where he took a job as a caretaker in Lake Tahoe. It was during this time that he wrote his first novel, Cup of Gold (1929), as well as met and married his first wife, Carol. Over the next decade, with Carol’s support and paycheck, Steinbeck continued to pour himself into his writing.

His follow-up novels, The Pastures of Heaven (1932) and To a God Unknown (1933), received tepid reviews. It wasn’t until Tortilla Flat (1935), a humorous novel about paisano life in the Monterrey region, that the writer achieved real success. Steinbeck struck a more serious tone with In Dubious Battle (1936), Of Mice and Men (1937) and The Long Valley (1938), a collection of short stories.

What is widely considered his finest, most ambitious novel, The Grapes of Wrath, was published in 1939. The book, about a dispossessed Oklahoma family and its struggle to carve out a new life in California at the height of the Depression, captured the mood and angst of the nation during this time period. At the height of its popularity, The Grapes of Wrath sold 10,000 copies a week. It eventually earned Steinbeck a Pulitzer Prize in 1940.