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Flesh wounds

January 12, 2014 - Harry Eagar
What I don't know about cosmetics would fill a boxcar, and until today I would have said I didn't care. But Arts & Letters Daily led me to an article by Sasha Archibald about the unexpectedly exciting life and strange death of Max Factor.

An immigrant success story if there ever was one, Max Faktorowicz had more impact on even my life than I had any idea of.

One factoid that Archibald leaves out is that, according to Hemingway, Max Factor had a contract to supply makeup to the Romanian Army. Hemingway was making his point that no general could be sure of victory unless he was fighting the Romanians. This was true enough, as the Battle of Stalingrad demonstrated, but probably had more to do with the resentments of peasant soldiers than the vanity of their officers.

I have not checked Hemingway's claim but while he could not be trusted to tell the truth about himself, he was always scrupulous about such other-directed statements, a legacy of his newspaper days.

It makes you think, though. What if Richard Nixon had retained the Max Factor company (Max himself was by then dead) before he went on teevee in 1960? We could have cheap tropical holidays in Cuba instead of spending $500 a night to drink on Maui.


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