Gifted satirist Dorothy Rothschild Parker (1893-1967), best remembered for her uncanny wit, was probably kidding... about the freckles. "I don't care what is written about me so long as it isn't true," she confessed.
"There's a helluva distance between wisecracking and wit. Wit has truth in it; wisecracking is simply calisthenics with words."
A homegrown Oscar Wilde with razor-sharp humor, Parker was born to a wealthy Jewish merchant in New Jersey. Nearsighted, she was the one who wrote, "Men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses."
She described herself as "a plain disagreeable child with stringy hair and a yen to write poetry." Hired by Vogue and then Vanity Fair, Parker's published words made her a celebrity and she became passionately active in liberal causes.
As the toast of New York, the versatile Parker wrote articles for The New Yorker for 32 years. She created poetry and Hollywood screenplays. "I'd like to have money. And I'd like to be a good writer. These two can come together, and I hope they will, but if that's too adorable, I'd rather have money," she said.
Parker gave outspoken voice to the time she lived, where women had just earned the vote, journalism was almost exclusively a male occupation, and America's social system was changing to accommodate the equal rights revolution.
"Four be the things I am wiser to know," she said. "Idleness, sorrow, a friend, and a foe." Always bold, stubborn, and radical, she once observed, "Art is a form of catharsis." With deliberate passion, she left her estate to help leader Martin Luther King, Jr.'s cause for civil rights.
More Dorothy PARKER Quotations
Keep the freckles, toss the self-doubt.