Yesterday Brian Cole reminded me of the best-known feral child: Tarzan. Tarzan (John Clayton II, Viscount Greystoke) is a fictional character, an archetypal feral child raised in the African jungle by the Mangani great apes; he later experiences civilization only to largely reject it and return to the wild as a heroic adventurer. Created by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Tarzan first appeared in the novel Tarzan of the Apes (magazine publication 1912, book publication 1914), and subsequently in 25 sequels, several authorized books by other authors, and innumerable works in other media, both authorized and unauthorized.
Burroughs created an elegant version of the wild man figure largely unalloyed with character flaws or faults. Tarzan is described as being tall, athletic, handsome, and tanned, with grey eyes and long black hair. He wears almost no clothes, except for a loincloth. Emotionally, he is courageous, intelligent, loyal, and steadfast. He is presented as behaving ethically in most situations, except when seeking vengeance under the motivation of grief.
Was there a real person that Tarzan was based on? Did it spring from Burroughs' imagination. An article in the telegraph.co.uk addresses the question.
"According to journalist Thomas Llewellan Jones in a 1959 article for Man’s Adventure magazine, the 14th Earl of Streatham, William Charles Mildin, spent 15 years living in the wilds of Africa between 1868 and 1883. The earl’s story came to light only when family documents were made public following the death of his son in 1937.
Supposedly Lord Mildin left 1,500 pages of memoirs, which begin: “I was only 11 when, in a boyish fit of anger and pique, I ran away from home and obtained a berth as cabin boy aboard the four-masted sailing vessel, Antilla, bound for African ports-of-call and the Cape of Good Hope…”
Doesn't this seem so enticing? But alas, no evidence was ever found to verify the story.
Our landscape today looks like these pictures taken almost exactly a year ago. The little yellow flower is Witch Hazel, one of the spring blooming shrubs that can handle snow. Can you see the red tips on the trees in the orchard? Todays snowy landscape likely validates what makes March a least favourite month. It consists of snow, green, snow, green, then out pops April!
What makes the Barbie doll so significant? Over one billion dolls have been sold. When she was created by Ruth Handler, the intention was for little girls to realize they have choices through the doll. Barbie is nearing 60 years old next year. She's gone through 150 careers, and run for president 6 times. She's had over 40 pets. Her clothes were designed by Mattel's fashion designer Charlotte Johnson.
The range of Barbie branded goods is extensive and includes books, apparel, cosmetics and video games. She's a supporting character in the Pixar films Toy Story 2 and 3.
Andy Warhol's painting of Barbie sold for $1.1 million in 2015. BillyBoy* (his name has an asterisk) was a close friend of Warhol's and owned the portrait. The portrait of Barbie was a testament to BillyBoy*'s love of Barbie. He owned tens of thousands of the dolls. In 1984, Billyboy*'s collection was dressed by the famous fashion designers of the day and toured France. The bbc news story on BillyBoy* is here.