"Well, I can always use some more stocking stuffers."
Everyone knows that the three main qualifications for becoming a celebrity are talent, perseverance, and a leaky sack of assholes where your soul should be. Every once in a while, however, there glimmers a silver lining in the great dick-shaped thunderhead that is fame, thereby reassuring us that the creepy shrine in our closet isn't unwarranted after all:
By all accounts, gargantuan superstar and fearless hairline manipulator Tom Hanks is not only one of the nicest guys in Hollywood, but one of the nicest guys, period. He's the kind of guy whom you'd mistakenly call "Dad" over beers, then glance at expectantly like maybe it's okay if you call him "Dad." But just when you think he couldn't possibly get any more goddamned squeezable, Tom Hanks goes and does something like this:
That's his anachronistic, late-2016 reply to a superfan known only as Zena, and yes, it's pecked out on a janky typewriter, typos and all. That's because Hanks has a charming obsession with the antiquated art of bludgeoning letters onto paper via tiny metal hammers, reportedly possessing more than 50 vintage typewriters. Of course, when you're composing your correspondence on the hottest tech the Prohibition Era had to offer, not just any old paper will do. So, obviously, Hanks types his replies on personalized "HANX" stationery. It's the type of stunt a marketing exec would pull in an attempt to look cool while only succeeding in looking cringeworthily douchey, yet it inexplicably becomes altogether acceptable when Hanks does it.
Accompanying the letter like a rum-soaked cherry atop a fancy sundae was Hanks' response to Zena's request for a headshot: a signed Polaroid of himself posing with a photo of the Zena in question, developed as he typed (we're picturing him typing the letter one-handed to facilitate shaking the Polaroid with the other). If there were an Oscar category for Best Selfie, Tom Hanks would unsurprisingly have it in the bag.
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When one reaches Matthew McConaughey levels of fame, one generally spends his Thanksgivings ordering peons to chew his turkey for him to avoid the menial task of chewing it himself. Matthew McConaughey, on the other hand -- who arguably reached Matthew McConaughey levels of fame quite some time ago -- spends his Thanksgivings delivering meals to needy Texans.
For the past 40 years of McConaughey's life -- in other words, since he was just seven years old and thus barely even able to rock a kickass 'stache -- Thanksgiving has been synonymous with Meals on Wheels. McConaughey and family spend the holiday delivering door-to-door meals to those who would otherwise go without, many of them elderly and/or homebound. And he's not doing it for publicity or well-timed photo ops -- in fact, he introduces himself only as "Matthew," leaving the recipients entirely clueless to the fact that the dude handing them their mashed taters is singlehandedly responsible for a worldwide epidemic of spontaneous panty combustion.
And he doesn't stop there, either. After finishing up his annual Meals on Wheels run on Thanksgiving of 2016, McConaughey got wind of another worthy cause at his alma mater, the University of Texas: SURE, AKA Students United for Rape Elimination, AKA the type of organization whose mere necessity causes hairline fractures in your very soul. Imagine the insomniac UT students' surprise when, after hearing of SURE's mission to provide them safe late-night transport, up pulled Matthew McConaughey with a big-ass golf cart and a million-dollar grin.
Indeed, though, the true measure of McConaughey's generosity was his astounding ability to resist kicking said students to the curb after enduring a perpetual stream of "All right, all right, all right."
Way back in 1935 -- smack dab in the middle of a decade during which a significant portion of Americans blamed the gays for the fucking Great Depression -- a distraught American mother sought help to "cure" her son's homosexuality (presumably by shaming it clean out of him). And she didn't just approach any old head-shrinker to do the job. No, she went straight to the father of psychoanalysis himself, Sigmund "fuck yo momma" Freud.
Freud assured the unnamed mother that "Homosexuality is assuredly no advantage, but it is nothing to be ashamed of, no vice, no degradation; it cannot be classified as an illness;" then name dropped some of history's greatest gays -- Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and Plato (just to include one non-Ninja Turtle in the bunch) -- before going on to declare that "It is a great injustice to persecute homosexuality as a crime, and cruelty too."
In response to her specific plea for help, Freud offered to, rather than curing her son of his homosexuality, help him come to terms with it to achieve "harmony" and "peace of mind," the only catch being that he'd have to travel to Vienna for treatment. That presumably never happened on a post-Depression mom's budget, but it was a kind offer nonetheless.
Tom Cruise needs no introduction, which is probably a good thing in the event that Tom Cruise should be the one pulling you from the flaming twist of metal formerly known as your car. Hey, it could happen. Don't believe us? Allow us, then, to present precedent:
Back in March of 1995, while driving along Wilshire Boulevard in Santa Monica, Cruise was one of several who witnessed an Acura Legend plow clean over 23-year-old aspiring actress (which, naturally, translates to "waitress") Heloisa Vinhas. Cruise was quick to action, not only arranging for an ambulance but following the victim to UCLA Medical Center ...
Where he picked up her $7,000 Emergency Room tab. Yeah, we can't leave out that part. You could argue that calling for help was the least he could do and that following her to the hospital is just going a little above and beyond. Footing the stranger's medical bill is the kind of thing that's rare even among those who can easily afford it.
Later that same year, Cruise and then-wife Nicole Kidman were holidaying in the Mediterranean aboard their luxury yacht when they spotted a sailboat engulfed in flames. Cruise immediately sent his yacht's skiff to the rescue, yanking French newspaper magnate Jacques Lejeune and his family from the flaming vessel mere moments before it did its best impression of the Titanic. In response to the rescue, Cruise's publicist quipped, "If I ever get in trouble, I hope Tom Cruise is nearby."
Cruise's bona fide action star heroism doesn't end there. Hell, as recently as 2012, Cruise saw the need for speed and offered up his private jet to a crew member who was crushed by a 700-pound set piece during the filming of Oblivion, quite possibly averting the possibility of permanent paralysis by getting the smooshed man to a spinal injury specialist in approximately no time flat.
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You know, it's almost as if there's actually something to Cruise's batshit notion that you're better off having a devout Scientologist come to your rescue than you are a highly trained EMT.
Okay, maybe not.
It was 1963, and Bruce McAllister was a typical teenager struggling in English class. He was struggling with an assignment about symbolism in literature (and the obnoxious insistence that all literature is by nature full of symbolism) so he went right to the source. He mailed out a four-question survey on the subject to every last author he could think of, then you sat back and waited for the responses to come rolling in. And, against all voices of reason, come rolling in they did.
Jack Kerouac's answer to "Do you feel you subconsciously place symbolism in your writing?" was straight to the point:
In predictably dickish contrast, Ayn Rand's answer didn't answer a goddamned thing, and instead criticized young McAllister's introductory wording: "This is not a definition, it is not true -- and, therefore, your questions do not make sense."
Ray Bradbury, meanwhile, essentially expanded Kerouac's one-word answer into novel length:
In all, 75 goddamned authors took the time they could have put toward earning fat stacks of cash to answer the photocopied survey of a random high school kid. These guys are really into procrastination, aren't they?
It's hard to believe it today when 94-year-old Stan Lee of Marvel Comics fame has ascended to full-fledged godhood in the minds of many, but once upon a time, he was a relative newcomer to the comics scene, serving as an editor for Marvel progenitor Timely Comics. It was under these circumstances that, in his 1947 book Secrets Behind The Comics, Lee made a silly, offhanded promise: For the kingly sum of one entire American dollar, he would critique any reader's aspiring comic book artwork.
Fast forward to 1972. The Marvel revolution was in full swing, with Lee and artist Jack Kirby having birthed the characters that are currently steamrolling cinemas straight on through the new millennium. That's when budding comic artist Russell Maheras, having no doubt unearthed Lee's decades-old promise from the dregs of a dusty bargain bin, decided to take the man up on his offer. So he jokingly sent him his ultra-clever spoof, Souperman, along with two crisp bucks (because inflation).
Unsurprisingly, Lee, by then Marvel Comics' editor-in-chief, promptly round-filed the artwork and used the $2 to fill up his car with gas, this being the early '70s and all. We're lying, of course: Lee, being 100 percent the big ol' sweetheart his onscreen persona implies, replied with a thorough and thoughtful critique, praising Maheras's backgrounds and storyboarding ability, but noting that he needed some serious study in human anatomy if he ever hoped to truly capture the essence of an impossibly muscular man in tights.
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