Steve Martin is a smart guy. Everyone knows it. He writes books and plays. He acts in movies. He’s very clever on Twitter (seriously, here is the link; he’s hilarious https://twitter.com/stevemartintogo) He dances around with arrows on his head (not anymore, he smartened up!) he is also an inveterate intellectual name dropper. Littered through The Underpants are references to writers, classical fictional characters, philosophers, mathematicians. You name it, Martin throws it in there. Since we figured someone at LWT should look these names up at some point, here is a partial list that took minutes of research. We do the work so you don’t have to.
Schiller – Friedrich Schiller was an 18th century poet, playwright, philosopher, and doctor, who also happened to be best buds with Goethe. The duo was angry at the state of criticism in Germany and wrote a series of scathing poems about it (a strategy LWT might deploy the next time we get reviews we don’t like). Considered Germany’s most important dramatist, he once skipped out on his duties as an army regimental doctor to go to an opening night, proving that taking the train from New York to New Haven really isn’t that bad.
Don Juan – a fictional man about town, good with the ladies, tough in a brawl, a gambler and all around roustabout. Think James Bond without the spying. His story has been retold hundreds of times from the early 17th century to the present day. I know the guy was supposedly smooth, but that’s a bit much.
Tristan and Isolde – An opera written by the German Richard Wagner, one known for its influence on 20th century music. And because Wagner wrote it because he was inspired by a woman not his wife. And because the lead tenor playing Tristan, Ludwig Schnorr von Carolsfeld, croaked after singing the role only four times. Too much stress they said (really it was a combination of rheumatism and his excessive weight).
The Loch Ness Monster – We at LWT would love to think it’s real. Just because that’s pretty fun to do.
Part Two: Nietzsche, Freud, Descartes and Rudolph Valentino (basically all the stuff you didn’t read in college, except for Valentino.)