söndag 26 maj 2013

Say hello to Hedy Lamarr.

Is she the most attractive woman in history or what ? I died a little when i first saw that picture.

Now some of you might say that's awfully shallow of me,right ? Judging her purely on her looks, she's a person not an object.

How someone looks is the first thing you notice when you meet someone. It's far from everything but it does count for something.

And if all i had to say was "Wow look, hot chick, huh huh....huh huh" i'd agree with you but if you knew me you'd know there's more. Plenty more.

She was born in Austria in 1913. She was of Jewish descent. She gained fame after starring in Gustav Machatý's Ecstasy, a film which featured closeups of her character during orgasm in one scene, as well as full frontal nude shots of her in another scene, both very unusual for the socially conservative period in which the bulk of her career took place. In 1933, 19 years old, she married what was reputedly the 3rd wealthiest man in Austria Friedrich Mandl. A munitions manufacturer, also jewish (well half jewish actually).

Now by now some of you might feel a bit uneasy with me mentioning they're both jewish. What's that got to do with anything ?

It turns out in the 30ies ammunition was a really hot commodity and her husband being a munitions manufacturer and all had close bonds,both business and socially, to the goverments in both Austria and Germany.
In fact he hosted lavish parties that both Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler attended! Hence them being jewish raised my eyebrows a little. She also met several scientist and general people involved in military science which sparked her interest.

Her wealthy husband didn't feel much like sharing his young attractive (she was 17 years his junior) with the world so he became really protective of her,holding her a virtual prisoner in his castle. Hedy couldn't have that of course so she hatched a plan on how to escape. Luckily for her a new maid had just started to work for them who looked awfully similar to Hedy. Hedy asked her husband if she could wear her best jewels for dinner (needs money for the escape. A woman of her social standing obviously couldn't go empty handed.) she drugs the maid,changes into the maids clothes and makes her escape. Her loving husband soon becomes suspicious and starts to chase after her. Now the story is,to avoid being detected,she hides in a brothel with her husband hot on her heels. She hides in an empty room and in comes an unsuspecting customer,to avoid being detected she does what she has to do and sleeps with the man. Now she denies this part of the story but still it's a good story and a good story trumps a boring truth. So yeah it totally happened.

So off to England, then on to Hollywood,changing her last name from Kiesler to Lamarr in homage to one of the big stars of the silent film era, Barbara La Marr. You know the usual stuff, like you do.

So became a huge movie star, doing 18 films between 1940 and 49. And having two kids. So yeah she was a busy girl alright. That's quite a track record for working mother in any age not to mention in the 40ies.

Oh and did i mention in 1941 she co-invented Frequency-hopping spread spectrum, the basis of all modern wireless communication and getting a patent for it in 42 ?

Wait,she did what with the what in the what now ?

Yup that wireless internet on your laptop and the cellphone in your pocket,she made the invention that made all that possible. Basically life as we know it today. Her neighbour was avant garde composer and she came up with the idea while he was experimenting with some self playing piano or something. What if we transmitted radio signals to torpedoes using different frequencies,like the notes on a piano,wouldn't they be much harder to jam ? Turns out they are, instant legend. Or, not so, unfortunately.

Remember this was the 40ies and woman was generally viewed upon as someone to cook and raise your children and in the best of worlds being really easy on the eyes and that's pretty much. So the conversation went something like this:
"Hi General, this being WWII and all and blowing shit up is the order of the day,wouldn't it be great if our stuff did and their stuff didn't ? I can fix that"
"Well you know you really shouldn't bother your pretty little head with these matters,leave that to us men. But hey,you sure are pretty,how about performing for the troops,boosting their morale ? You know, show a little leg,a little cleavage ? Every effort is worthy for the cause"
"Well jeez thanks a bunch"
"You're welcome honey."

Fast forward to 1962 and the Cuban missile crisis and the business of blowing shit up and preventing the bad guys from doing the same became real urgent. What if there was a way of doing that ? The Navy quickly put their best minds on the task and much to their surprise someone already had,20 years ago. And by now we all know who that was. She later got recognition for her work,tons of money yada yada yada but that's another story.

So yeah, Hedy Lamarr, voted 7th most beautiful woman in history, partying with Hitler despite being Jewish, raising two kids during and extremely busy and successful career and taking time off to invent the world as we know it. My kinda gal. Beautiful women can be smart and smart women can be beautiful. That's not just some lame inspiration speak,it's way deeper than that,think about it. Really think about it.

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