Tag Archives: Marilyn Monroe

A Happy Number-Crunching New Year!

WordPress, the company which hosts this blog as well as many thousands of others, has recently sent out data about activity on anthropopper during 2015.It began like this:

“The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 20,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 7 sold-out performances for that many people to see it….The busiest day of the year was August 8th, with 1,541 views. The most popular post that day was Marilyn Monroe and Rudolf Steiner.”

Ah yes, Marilyn and Rudi. That has certainly been the most popular post, not only in 2015 but in 2014 as well. Checking the stats for that post, on one day in September 2014 it received 2,001 views. I reckon that since it was first put up in September 15th 2014, it has received more than 16,000 views from around the world.

Clearly the key to blogging success for those of us with recherché subject matter is to find a way to link our topic with another one of much vaster public interest. (Now, how can I follow on from Marilyn and Rudi? Rudi and Princess Di? Rudi and Elvis? There must be some sort of link I can find!  Rudolf Steiner and cats doing funny things, perhaps?)

What was truly astonishing, though, was the information about where these visitors came from. They came from 109 countries in all! And there are only around 190 countries in the whole world. Most visitors of course came from the USA, UK and Australia, but there were also surprisingly sizeable visitor numbers from Scandinavia, Europe, the Indian sub-continent, China, Russia, South America, and South Africa.

Now for many bloggers I’ve no doubt that these numbers will seem miniscule by comparison with their own sites; but nevertheless I thought all of this was quite impressive and encouraging for a blog which is dealing with subjects that are decidedly of esoteric rather than mainstream interest. If I had set out to write a book on anthroposophy, I doubt if 1,000 people would have seen it. But in this age of the internet, a blog about aspects of anthroposophy has received over 33,000 views from 20,000 visitors in just eighteen months. Many thanks, dear readers and followers, for your interest so far and very best wishes for 2016!

By the way, here is a link to a blog post by Ha Vinh Tho, who summarises neatly some of the dilemmas facing anthroposophy at the present time. I’m sure that these themes will be featuring on the anthropopper blog as well during 2016.

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Filed under Anthroposophy, Rudolf Steiner

Marilyn Monroe and Rudolf Steiner

Hard on the heels of the Daily Mail’s re-hashing of a salacious story about Marilyn Monroe from sixty years ago as if it were the latest sensation, the anthropopper will not be outdone in recycling old news and is proud to reveal that … Marilyn Monroe was an anthroposophist!

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Photo courtesy of Harpers Bazaar

Intriguingly, this does appear to be a true story. The following quotation is taken from a biography of Marilyn Monroe called “Norma Jean: the Life of Marilyn Monroe” by Fred Lawrence Guiles, published by McGraw-Hill Book Company, New York in 1969. It appears on pages 331-332 of the 333-page book.

 “Some years before her death (in Dec. ’64), Dame Edith (Sitwell) had spent a winter in Hollywood. A meeting between the poet and Marilyn was arranged by a monthly magazine. It was thought their ‘opposite’ personalities would throw off some journalistic sparks. No one could have foreseen that they would become immediate friends, nor could anyone have known that their deaths would be marked in an almost identical way — while their legends were growing in their lifetimes, they had been taken seriously by too few, too late.

“By the time she met Dame Edith, Marilyn had come a long way. If she had not been moving in an atmosphere — much of it self-created — so removed from her beginning, they might have had nothing in common. But when the introductions were over, these new and unlikely friends were left alone and began talking of Rudolf Steiner, whose personal history, “The Course of My Life”, Marilyn was reading at the time. Dame Edith was to remark later on Marilyn’s ‘extreme intelligence'”

In Dame Edith Sitwell’s autobiography Taken Care Of, she tells of her meeting with ‘Miss Marilyn Monroe’, who she describes as quiet, with great natural dignity and extremely intelligent. She was also, she said, extremely sensitive. Dame Edith tells of a magazine article that she was commissioned to write about her visit to Hollywood and this included a face-to-face encounter with Miss Monroe, who she suspected the magazine moguls thought would hate one another on sight. They were mistaken.

‘On the occasion of our meeting she wore a green dress and, with her yellow hair, looked like a daffodil. We talked mainly, as far as I remember, about Rudolf Steiner, whose works she had just been reading. In repose her face was at moments strangely, prophetically tragic, like the face of a beautiful ghost – a little spring-ghost, an innocent fertility daemon, the vegetation spirit that was Ophelia.’

(Source: http://www.webcitation.org/5wozS1ofx)

Monroe and Sitwell

Edith Sitwell and Marilyn Monroe, 1953 Photograph by George Silk/LIFE © Time Inc.

Tom Mellett, a former Steiner teacher in the USA, has added the following comments:

“While living in Spring Valley in 1980, I had the good fortune of meeting the person who had sent Marilyn that copy of Steiner’s autobiography as well as a number of other Steiner books and lecture cycles that Marilyn requested over a ten year period from the Anthroposophical Library, then located at 211 Madison Avenue in New York City. I speak of the late Agnes Macbeth, wife of the late Norman Macbeth (author of “Darwin Retried”). Agnes worked for the library during the 1950’s, handling book requests and she vividly remembers the letters Marilyn posted asking for various lecture cycles. And although Marilyn had a reputation for tardiness and irresponsibility on her movie sets, Agnes assured me that Marilyn was very conscientious and punctual with her returns of the books.

Marilyn Monroe was introduced to Steiner’s writings and lectures by her favou rite drama teacher, Michael Chekhov (1890-1955), nephew of the playwright Anton, and fellow director with Stanislavsky in the Moscow Art Theatre early in the 20th century. Marilyn was introduced to Chekhov in 1951 by one of his devoted students, the American character actor Jack Palance. Marilyn opened herself like a sponge to water to Chekhov’s approach to theatre, which was so deeply influenced by Steiner that Chekhov left Stanislavsky’s method behind. And Marilyn opened herself very deeply to anthroposophy, not because she felt it would please her teacher, but Chekhov felt that it was one of the only times in her life that Marilyn did something out of her own free inner being.

The tragedy of Marilyn Monroe is that she opened herself up too much and became a slave, not only of the studio bosses, but also the expectations of a world that focused on her as such a fantasy object. Yet deep inside her inner being, which no one in the media and our popular culture even believed she possessed, she spent the last 10 or 11 years of her tortured life cultivating the delicate plant of anthroposophy.”

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