This Week | Kitt Shapiro

Victoria Adelaide: Can you tell us about your name, Kitt?
Kitt Shapiro: It was my mother’s last name. She didn’t understand why children always got their father’s name, so she made sure I carried her name. Whether I was going to be a boy or a girl, I was going to be named Kitt.

 

VA: Your company, Simple Eartha, is a tribute to your legendary mother, Eartha Kitt. How did it start and what does it mean to you?
KS: Most of my life, my mother always said to me, “When I’m gone, I want you to carry on my legacy. My music, my movies, anything I’ve done in the public eye. You are the only one who knows the person that I am, and it is your job to carry that forward.” The person she was, her values, she wanted that to be known. So, after she died from colon cancer on Christmas day in 2008, I realized I had the duty to carry on her legacy. My mother had always been very much of a writer; she loved to write and to be intellectually stimulated. She would write down all those words that she would call, Kittisms—little coined phrases, some that she made up, others she probably heard and decided to use…

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Interview | Elisabeth Horowitz – Primitive Thinking

Victoria Adelaide: Ms. Horowitz, your book, Pratiquer La Pensée Sauvage (Practice the Savage Mind) was inspired by several anthropologists who ignited your interest in anthropology and your curiosity about primitive thought. Could you tell us about them?
Elisabeth Horowitz: The Savage Mind is the title of a book by Claude Lévi-Strauss. Lévi-Strauss was a French anthropologist who began working in Brazil in the ’30s. He was one of a handful to testify on what primitive thinking is. However, before him, at the end of the 19th century, there were a few other anthropologists who played a crucial role in understanding what primitive thinking is. Among them, there were two English, Sir Edward Burnett Tylor and Sir James George Frazer, and one French, Lucien Lévy-Bruhl. Frazer wrote one of the pillars of international anthropology called The Golden Bough, which set the foundations of what we know today as primitive thinking, compiling tales from explorers and missionaries of previous centuries who traveled to Africa, Oceania, and America. Those stories are related to the thought processes of primitive peoples, how they interact with nature, and the rituals they implement in order to get certain things. Regarding Lucien Lévy-Bruhl, he may not have been as famous as Lévi-Strauss, but I believe he was even more interesting. Lévy-Bruhl had never set foot on those territories, but he compiled all the information found in books on international anthropology to show us how sympathetic magic works, how primitive peoples use images, what mana is, and so on. He wrote many books on the topic. The understanding of what primitive thinking is has truly been pioneered by Frazer in England and Lévy-Bruhl in France.”…

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