Monday, October 16, 2006

Hemingway the shill

From a review of a new collection of Hemingway errata called Hemingway and the Mechanism of Fame: Statements, Public Letters, Introductions, Forewords, Prefaces, Blurbs, Reviews, and Endorsements:
Unlike, say, his retiring contemporary and chief competitor William Faulkner, Hemingway had many of his exciting exploits recorded by press photographers. He got in on everything, even the D-Day invasion. He was always showing up in some high-circulation magazine like Life with a big fish on the hook or hunting rifle in hand. His visage was (and is) immediately recognizable. And he had no problem letting that familiar visage appear in ads, for which he also wrote the copy. In one he promotes Ballantine Ale (while sitting in a deck chair with a book open) writing, "You have to work hard to deserve to drink it. When something has been taken out of you by strenuous exercise, Ballantine puts it back in." There's one for Pan American Airlines ("We started flying commercially about the same time. They did the flying. I was the passenger."), and another for Parker 51, "The World's Most Wanted Pen," to whose ad Hemingway lent his face and a paragraph (presumably in his handwriting) on the horrors of war.

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