By Neal Thompson
An Amazon most sensible publication of the Month, might 2013
A Curious Man is the marvelously compelling biography of Robert “Believe It or Not” Ripley, the enigmatic cartoonist grew to become globetrotting millionaire who gained foreign status by way of celebrating the world's strangest oddities, and whose outrageous showmanship taught us to think within the unbelievable.
As portrayed via acclaimed biographer Neal Thompson, Ripley’s existence is the stuff of a vintage American fairy story. Buck-toothed and cursed by way of shyness, Ripley became his experience of being an interloper into an appreciation for the strangeness of the area. After promoting his first caricature to Time magazine at age eighteen, extra cartooning triumphs undefined, however it was once his “Believe It or Not” conceit and the wildly well known radio indicates it birthed that will make him probably the most winning leisure figures of his time and spur him to look the globe’s farthest corners for extraordinary proof, unique human curiosities, and stunning phenomena.
Ripley thrilled in making outrageous declarations that by some means continually became out to be true—such as that Charles Lindbergh used to be in basic terms the sixty-seventh guy to fly around the Atlantic or that “The megastar Spangled Banner” was once not the nationwide anthem. Assisted through an unique harem of woman admirers and by means of ex-banker Norbert Pearlroth, a faithful researcher who spoke 11 languages, Ripley at the same time embodied the spirit of Peter Pan, the fearlessness of Marco Polo and the selling savvy of P. T. Barnum.
In a really genuine feel, Ripley sought to remake the world’s aesthetic. He demanded admire if you have been classified “eccentrics” or “freaks”—whether it's E. L. Blystone, who wrote 1,615 alphabet letters on a grain of rice, or the guy who might swallow his personal nose.
By the Nineteen Thirties Ripley possessed an unlimited fortune, a personal yacht, and a twenty-eight room mansion stocked with such “oddities” as shrunken heads and medieval torture units, and his pioneering firsts in print, radio, and tv have been tapping into whatever deep within the American consciousness—a flavor for the titillating and unique, and a fascination with the quickest, largest, dumbest and most eldritch. this present day, that legacy keeps and will be noticeable in truth television, YouTube, America’s Funniest domestic movies, Jackass, MythBusters and a bunch of alternative pop-culture phenomena.
In the tip Robert L. Ripley replaced everything. The ultimate irony of his existence, which used to be devoted to exalting the unusual and weird, is that he could have been the main outstanding oddity of all.
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Additional resources for A Curious Man: The Strange and Brilliant Life of Robert "Believe It or Not!" Ripley
Alexander charges at the head of an apparently small group of Companions, perhaps the Royal Squadron. The Macedonian in a gold-wreathed helmet just behind him must be a high commander—Philotas or Iolaus? His face appears partially covered, but he clearly belongs to the same age-group as Alexander and, if I am not mistaken, he is shaven, or at least the artist has avoided suggesting a beard. This is not surprising in a man so close to a king whose known preferences in facial hair he must have accepted without complaining (Plut.
Ath. 557d–e; Just. 2–5). ” According to Plutarch, ultimately Philip was persuaded to bring Alexander back to Macedonia after Demaratus, the Corinthian xenos (guest-friend) of the Argead house (Artax. 3), admonished Philip for having ﬁlled his house with such great stasis and troubles. Demaratus himself seems to have journeyed to Illyria to accomplish Alexander’s return (Plut. Alex. 6). Having reported Alexander’s return from Illyria, Plutarch turns next to the Pixodarus affair, starting with the notice of Pixodarus’ (supposed) marriage proposal (Artax.
59 Alexander the Great did not have the kind of auctoritas that a Roman emperor enjoyed to help him impose the new royal image. He died too young and no Successor emerged with power enough to inherit his empire. Neither among his senior collaborators nor even within his own dynasty did he ﬁnd a full understanding, let alone in the Greek cities, the elites of which did not feel compelled to comply with Macedonian and Hellenistic manners. 61 Even without leaving Macedonia, we encounter no few experiments and oscillations in royal portraiture among the Antigonids.
A Curious Man: The Strange and Brilliant Life of Robert "Believe It or Not!" Ripley by Neal Thompson