Celebrities Change with Society

 

George Bernard Shaw

In a remarkable coincidence, four prominent men share a birthday on this day, June 26th : George Bernard Shaw, Carl Jung, Aldous Huxley, and Mick Jagger.  Let’s briefly consider these men, in the order of their birth, and the enormous impact they’ve had on modern society.

George Bernard Shaw      

Born July 26, 1856

Mr. Shaw was a prolific English playwright, whose influence is sometimes considered second only to Shakespeare.  He is famous not just for writing more than 60 plays, but also for being somewhat, um, eccentric.  He admired tyrants such as Stalin and Mussolini.  He was a fan of eugenics.  His views on religion made little sense – he described himself as an atheist, and then aligned himself with Jesus as “a person with no religion.”  He was anti-vax before it was cool, calling vaccinations a “peculiarly filthy piece of witchcraft.”  His overall legacy would seem to be that of a gifted writer with a personal philosophy that ranged from confusing to horrifying.

Carl Jung     

Born July 26, 1875

Dr. Jung was a Swiss psychiatrist who founded analytical psychology after an intellectual and personal split from his mentor and friend Sigmund Freud.  His thinking is very difficult to summarize, but he has had enormous influence in many fields including philosophy, psychology, literature, and religious studies.  In his late 30’s he had a horrible experience which he described as a “confrontation with the unconscious.”  He saw visions and heard voices, and feared that he was losing his mind.  He then seemed to recover and continued working and writing afterward.  It crosses my mind that Dr. Jung was a fan of psychedelic drugs, although I’m not sure if those things are connected.  He was an obviously brilliant man and original thinker.

Aldous Huxley     

Born July 26, 1894

Mr. Huxley was an English writer who was widely considered one of the great intellectuals of his time.  He was nominated for the Nobel Prize for literature nine times, and is best known for his profoundly insightful novel, “Brave New World.”  His brother described his as a child who often “contemplated the strangeness of things.”  He lost most of his eyesight due to childhood disease, which dashed his hopes of becoming a physician.  Like Dr. Jung, he was a fan of psychedelic drugs, and after a long bout with throat cancer, he died of an intentional overdose of LSD.  I consider Mr. Huxley to be one of the great thinkers of the past few hundred years, with the additional benefit of being less insane than George Bernard Shaw and Carl Jung.

Mick Jagger     

Born July 26, 1943

Mr. Jagger is an English musician.  He is known for being the lead singer of The Rolling Stones.  He’s had 70 singles reach the top 40, and in 2003 he was knighted for his services to popular music (an honor that fellow Englishmen Mr. Shaw and Mr. Huxley did not receive).  While Mr. Shaw, Mr. Jung, and Mr. Huxley lived in modest means throughout their lives, Mr. Jagger is worth an estimated $360 million, and has had relationships with some of the most beautiful women in the world.  His performance style has been studied by academics who analyzed gender, image, and sexuality.  He is a fan of cricket and Monty Python and is concerned about global warming.

So I think we can agree that July 26th was a big day for Western Civilization.  What can we learn from these four men?

What strikes me about these gentlemen is that they all were well-known celebrities in their time, but they were famous for different reasons.  These different reasons I think illustrate more about the evolution of our society than it does about the men themselves.

Our society has changed a great deal, and very quickly.  Mr. Shaw, the oldest of the four men, died in 1950 when Mr. Jagger was seven years old.  This is not like comparing Plato to Rousseau.  These men are essentially contemporaries.

Our society has changed.  So the qualities admired by our society have changed.  So our celebrities have changed.

I wonder what celebrities will be like a hundred years from now? For some reason, I’m not terribly upset that I will never know the answer to that…

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  1. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Shaw was a socialist, too, and one of the founders of the London School of Economics, which was founded by socialists.  He does seem to have excelled at being a bad influence on society, though in a somewhat different way than Jagger.

     

    • #1
  2. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    Shaw once sent Churchill two tickets to an opening night play, “for you and a friend – if you can find one.” He sent his regrets as he was busy that night but added that he would happily accept tickets for the second night’s performance – “if there is one.”

    • #2
  3. Franco Member
    Franco
    @Franco

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Shaw was a socialist, too, and one of the founders of the London School of Economics, which was founded by socialists. He does seem to have excelled at being a bad influence on society, though in a somewhat different way than Jagger.

     

    Jagger went to the London School of Economics  by the way.

    • #3
  4. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    Franco (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Shaw was a socialist, too, and one of the founders of the London School of Economics, which was founded by socialists. He does seem to have excelled at being a bad influence on society, though in a somewhat different way than Jagger.

     

    Jagger went to the London School of Economics by the way.

    Briefly, as I understand it…

    • #4
  5. Franco Member
    Franco
    @Franco

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Franco (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Shaw was a socialist, too, and one of the founders of the London School of Economics, which was founded by socialists. He does seem to have excelled at being a bad influence on society, though in a somewhat different way than Jagger.

     

    Jagger went to the London School of Economics by the way.

    Briefly, as I understand it…

    Ironically, had he completed his degree, he would have spent his life considerably poorer.

    • #5
  6. Franco Member
    Franco
    @Franco

    Dr. Bastiat: Like Dr. Jung, he was a fan of psychedelic drugs, and after a long bout with throat cancer, he died of an intentional overdose of LSD.

    I had to look this up because I remember learning that it is impossible to overdose on LSD.
    My research confirms this.

    Huxley asked the substance be administered when he was very close to death to aid in his transition. He asked for 100 micrograms, which is a moderate dose, later he asked for another 100, and died peacefully 5 hours later.

    https://www.trippingly.net/lsd/the-lsd-dosage-guide

    Dosages of up to 1500 micrograms are covered.

    There was a case where a woman accidentally took 550 times a normal dose.

    https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/27/health/lsd-overdoses-case-studies-wellness/index.html

    The authors note in the study that no lethal doses of LSD have been documented, although they said scientists have estimated that a lethal dose in humans would be 14,000 mcg.

    I’m pretty sure that Jagger has taken LSD and other psychedelics too ( briefly). So that leaves Shaw as the only teetotaler as it were…

    • #6
  7. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    Franco (View Comment):
    it is impossible to overdose on LSD

    I met a 50-foot orange skunkopotomus last week that told me that’s not true.

    • #7
  8. Franco Member
    Franco
    @Franco

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Franco (View Comment):
    it is impossible to overdose on LSD

    I met a 50-foot orange skunkopotomus last week that told me that’s not true.

    If you follow the link, at about the  700 mcg. level, the subject sees things that aren’t there and loses all rational thought. But that still won’t kill you despite what the  orange skunkopotomus says.

    • #8
  9. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Franco (View Comment):
    it is impossible to overdose on LSD

    I met a 50-foot orange skunkopotomus last week that told me that’s not true.

    He’s back?

    • #9
  10. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Percival (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Franco (View Comment):
    it is impossible to overdose on LSD

    I met a 50-foot orange skunkopotomus last week that told me that’s not true.

    He’s back?

    Don’t listen too him. He doesn’t know anything about acid.

    • #10
  11. Franco Member
    Franco
    @Franco

    By the way, Happy Birthday Dr. Bastiat!

    • #11
  12. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Franco (View Comment):

    By the way, Happy Birthday Dr. Bastiat!

    • #12
  13. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    Franco (View Comment):

    By the way, Happy Birthday Dr. Bastiat!

    Thanks very much!

    Although I was born in December.  

    My Uncle Fred was born on June 30, though.  I’ll drink to that!

    • #13
  14. Franco Member
    Franco
    @Franco

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Franco (View Comment):

    By the way, Happy Birthday Dr. Bastiat!

    Thanks very much!

    Although I was born in December.

    My Uncle Fred was born on June 30, though. I’ll drink to that!

    I wondered if there was a subtext, ( how did you come across this coincidence?) but it was meant as a compliment nonetheless.

    • #14
  15. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    Franco (View Comment):
    how did you come across this coincidence?

    I saw that it was Mick Jagger’s birthday.  I wondered who else was born on this day, and found that Mick was in illustrious company.  And then this Whack-a-Mole game that I call a brain started putting stuff together that doesn’t really fit.  So I made it fit.

    Or not.  Your call.

    • #15
  16. Doctor Robert Member
    Doctor Robert
    @DoctorRobert

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Franco (View Comment):
    how did you come across this coincidence?

    I saw that it was Mick Jagger’s birthday. I wondered who else was born on this day, and found that Mick was in illustrious company. And then this Whack-a-Mole game that I call a brain started putting stuff together that doesn’t really fit. So I made it fit.

    Or not. Your call.

    Jeez, Doc, when do you find the time to write all of these great posts?  Today SHOULD be your birthday.

    • #16
  17. Franco Member
    Franco
    @Franco

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Franco (View Comment):
    how did you come across this coincidence?

    I saw that it was Mick Jagger’s birthday. I wondered who else was born on this day, and found that Mick was in illustrious company. And then this Whack-a-Mole game that I call a brain started putting stuff together that doesn’t really fit. So I made it fit.

    Or not. Your call.

    Absolutely awesome! Thanks!

    Permission to continue to wander down the psychedelics thread?

    • #17
  18. Franco Member
    Franco
    @Franco

    • #18
  19. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    Franco (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Franco (View Comment):
    how did you come across this coincidence?

    I saw that it was Mick Jagger’s birthday. I wondered who else was born on this day, and found that Mick was in illustrious company. And then this Whack-a-Mole game that I call a brain started putting stuff together that doesn’t really fit. So I made it fit.

    Or not. Your call.

    Absolutely awesome! Thanks!

    Permission to continue to wander down the psychedelics thread?


    The orange skunkspotomus says we should ‘keep it real’.  So I guess not.

    Sorry. 

    • #19
  20. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Percival (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Franco (View Comment):
    it is impossible to overdose on LSD

    I met a 50-foot orange skunkopotomus last week that told me that’s not true.

    He’s back?

    Don’t listen too him. He doesn’t know anything about acid.

    But he knows noxious toxins.

    • #20
  21. Franco Member
    Franco
    @Franco

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):
    ‘keep it real’

    Very well.

    • #21
  22. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    Franco (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):
    ‘keep it real’

    Very well.

    Kidding, of course.

    Go as psychedelic as you like… 

    • #22
  23. Franco Member
    Franco
    @Franco

    • #23
  24. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    After reading these capsule bios, I’m left with the impression that Mr. Jagger, in addition to being the sanest of the four, is also the most benign in terms of influence in his time.

    • #24
  25. James Lileks Contributor
    James Lileks
    @jameslileks

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    After reading these capsule bios, I’m left with the impression that Mr. Jagger, in addition to being the sanest of the four, is also the most benign in terms of influence in his time.

    Agreed. And he’s the one whose “celebrity” best fits the current definition. The other three strike me as Public Intellectuals, a different category than “celebrity,” especially if you look at the papers of the day. “Celebrity” news was confined to the women’s section, and was mostly society folk and movie players. 

    • #25
  26. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    After reading these capsule bios, I’m left with the impression that Mr. Jagger, in addition to being the sanest of the four, is also the most benign in terms of influence in his time.

    Agreed. And he’s the one whose “celebrity” best fits the current definition. The other three strike me as Public Intellectuals, a different category than “celebrity,” especially if you look at the papers of the day. “Celebrity” news was confined to the women’s section, and was mostly society folk and movie players.

    Hoyacon makes a good point about the toxicity of public intellectuals versus the relatively benign nature of more typical celebrities.  

    You think Cardi B is bad for society?  Try Ibram Kendi.

    • #26
  27. Franco Member
    Franco
    @Franco

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    After reading these capsule bios, I’m left with the impression that Mr. Jagger, in addition to being the sanest of the four, is also the most benign in terms of influence in his time.

    Huxley and Jung were insane and malignant? 
    What?

    • #27
  28. Dr. Bastiat Member
    Dr. Bastiat
    @drbastiat

    Franco (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    After reading these capsule bios, I’m left with the impression that Mr. Jagger, in addition to being the sanest of the four, is also the most benign in terms of influence in his time.

    Huxley and Jung were insane and malignant?
    What?

    I am a huge admirer of Huxley.  What an extraordinary mind.

    I used to think that Jung was insane.  Now, I’m starting to suspect that he’s either much, much, much smarter than I am, or that he tends to see complexity where I see simplicity (not at all the same thing, according to Thomas Sowell).

    Jung’s episodes of frank insanity may have just been due to psychedelic drugs.  Or perhaps they weren’t.  I don’t know.  But from time to time, apparently he was on another planet – just absolutely bonkers.

    Jung came up with some brilliant stuff.  But the dude was out there.  Out there beyond me, at least.  So who am I to judge?

    • #28
  29. Franco Member
    Franco
    @Franco

    Dr. Bastiat (View Comment):

    Franco (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    After reading these capsule bios, I’m left with the impression that Mr. Jagger, in addition to being the sanest of the four, is also the most benign in terms of influence in his time.

    Huxley and Jung were insane and malignant?
    What?

    I am a huge admirer of Huxley. What an extraordinary mind.

    I used to think that Jung was insane. Now, I’m starting to suspect that he’s either much, much, much smarter than I am, or that he tends to see complexity where I see simplicity (not at all the same thing, according to Thomas Sowell).

    Jung’s episodes of frank insanity may have just been due to psychedelic drugs. Or perhaps they weren’t. I don’t know. But from time to time, apparently he was on another planet – just absolutely bonkers.

    Jung came up with some brilliant stuff. But the dude was out there. Out there beyond me, at least. So who am I to judge?

    An admirable position. 

    I would say those who have used psychedelics, generally speaking, are closer to sanity than those who haven’t. I’ve used them myself. There is a whole other dimension that’s impossible to describe, to those who haven’t visited themselves.

    It follows naturally that the person saying this looks like he or she is advocating for wider use, but it’s not necessarily so. However, when people make various assertions that reveal they are completely lacking in understanding, we must say, Well, you don’t know what you’re talking about because you haven’t been there, and knowing that descriptions are wholly inadequate, you haven’t even received reports that can inform you. Yet you speak as though you know something. You don’t.

    People who haven’t taken these substances know nothing about what they actually do and what kind of sanity or insanity occurs.

    The idea that many existing notions, concepts, formulations, expectations, attitudes about yourself and the world might be challenged is very threatening and I understand it completely, but please people who haven’t ingested these substances, have some epistemic humility! Again, Dr.Bastiat, you have it, and it’s admirable.

    It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society J Krishnamurti

     

     

    • #29
  30. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    Franco (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    After reading these capsule bios, I’m left with the impression that Mr. Jagger, in addition to being the sanest of the four, is also the most benign in terms of influence in his time.

    Huxley and Jung were insane and malignant?
    What?

    That’s not exactly what I said.

    • #30