Tuesday, June 14, 2011

MacGuire + McGuire (for McGuire or MacGuire)

It seems that there is nothing new under the sun, and the sexual objectification of women (or "looksism" in general) is a good example of that dictum. Yesterday I wrote about the sociologist Harriet Martineau, whom the great Charles Darwin did not find pulchritudinously evolved enough to suit his purposes, although her mind wasn't too bad. (If these two had naturally selected one another and had a baby, however, would it have been a social Darwinist?!) Today marks the birthday of actress Dorothy McGuire, who was born in 1916 in Omaha, Nebraska. Turner Classic Movies is celebrating McGuire by showing several of her many films today, one of which I caught a bit of this morning before coming in to work. It's called The Enchanted Cottage and it's about the relationship between a blind man (Robert Young, disfigured by war wounds) and a shy, "homely"* woman, played by McGuire. They didn't even bother putting her in thick-rimmed glasses; simply patting her hair down and clipping it with a barrette was apparently all it took to make her look unattractive, according to the Hollywood beauty standards of the time. Today's posting is a shout-out to all you dowdy, frumpy, generally unlovely librarians out there (extra points if you're an "old maid" as well). There were four cases of MacGuire + McGuire (for McGuire or MacGuire) in OhioLINK, three of which were typos and one of which had an [i.e.] after it indicating a misprint on the piece itself. You can do this sort of check on various names, using the correctly spelled form plus a common misspelling; I find it to be a very useful trick for uncovering personal-name typos. Happy hunting and Happy Birthday to the beautiful Dorothy McGuire!

*Interesting note: I once had an elderly artist tell me that the old-fashioned frock I was wearing was very "homely" and he meant it as a compliment! See this definition as proof.

(Cropped screenshot of Dorothy McGuire and Gregory Peck from a trailer for the 1941 film Gentleman's Agreement, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

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