Norma Jeane Mortenson (then Baker) was born on June 1, 1926. Had she lived, she would have been 80 years old today. As much as I hate that her light was extinguished so young, I also think that she couldn’t have survived. That maybe we would have had to watch her slowly fade. Instead, she left us in a way, and at a time, that left her an icon.
America has a love affair with Marilyn Monroe, as do I. I’ve always been fascinated by both her life and her myth, and try to remain cognizant that those are two separate things. Separating the life from the myth is part of what killed her, I think. In college, I needed a few hours to complete my graduation requirements. My favorite professor, who had a doctorate in English but a Master’s degree in American Pop Culture, created an independent study class for me – on Marilyn Monroe. The result of that class was one of the best research papers I ever wrote: Angel with a Crooked Halo: America’s Love Affair with Marilyn Monroe. I probably enjoyed creating that paper more than any other, and it introduced me to Norman Mailer, who wrote honestly, harshly, and with heart, when it came to Marilyn. Writing that paper also opened up a love-hate relationship that I have with the late Arthur Miller. I can’t decide, to this day, if I hate him for his emotional After the Fall or love him for The Crucible. He did pen The Misfits, which was one of Marilyn’s great films, and one of the saddest when taken in the context of her life.
Today I’ll be purchasing the 2004 Marilyn Merlot. I already have a 1999 Norma Jeane Merlot that is now valued at $105.00. Not a bad return on my $10 investment. I hope to purchase two of the Marilyn Merlots today – one to drink and one to save. I’m not cellaring my Marilyn wines. I’m collecting them. I’ve read, however, that the 2004 Marilyn is fruity and fun to drink, albeit the price tag also reflects the celebrity and not necessarily the quality. The 30 Second Wine Advisor has a rather nice write-up.
Happy Birthday Marilyn. While you left us too soon, you left us with memories that turned into legend and possibly a rather fun wine.
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