Dorothy in the dock
Dorothy Parker, I have a complaint—as regards various career girls (not so called today) whose livers dosed in alcohol reproach me with the words, “I feel like a slut & I killed my baby to pursue a degree”. (srry. if this is not witty enuff for the New Yorker). “Well, it is a trifle heavy—I only write verse suitable for sophisticated greetings cards sold in artisanal stores off the Harvard campus, after all.”
Ms. Parker—& I write Ms. quite deliberate—your position is not so happy, more fridge-magnet territory. Yet you have interrupted the prosecution, so sit down in the dock. “I’m quite, quite dead, dear—too old to be prosecuted for an appearance in Times Square in only my skin and bones.” The prosecution never rests, Ms. Parker—the charge, frivolity; or, put another way, vanity posed as wit.
You wrote, if I recall correctly, “Men don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses.” I demur—perhaps not, but they do fuck them (not at the Algonquin Roundtable, granted). “Well, darling, you really are too much—Martini?” I never drink on the job, Ms. Parker—and I have another roundtable in mind. “Really, dear, how ghastly.”
I submit, Ms. Parker, that you died—womb unused—and devoted your fortune, such as it was, to a negro charity under the acronym NAACP. I submit your wit—brief, like your underwear (not weighty like my prosecution)—was birthed from sterile lead. “Submit what you like, darling.” I can, and will—I submit, prosecute what is per-verse (a rhyme against nature).
That is to say, it does a girl no good, Ms. Parker, to flee to NYC and drop her underwear. “If this is your idea of a pick-up Iine, it’ll get you nowhere.” It’s not a line, just a tendency—to dissolution; insanity, corruption of the race. Better chaste in the country—with apologies to Shakespeare—than sex in the city. “And—your point?”. You corrupted the verse, Ms. Parker—now I will put this hoe to earth, and reap a bounty.