On This Gay Day: Philosopher Roland Barthes was born

Roland Barthes was born on this day in 1915 

Roland Barthes was a prominent French literary theorist and semiotician whose work had a profound impact on the fields of literary criticism, cultural studies, and semiotics.

Born in 1915 in Cherbourg, France, Barthes grew up to become one of the leading figures in structuralism and post-structuralism, two influential intellectual movements of the 20th century. His intellectual journey was characterised by a deep engagement with the complexities of language, culture, and the interpretation of signs and symbols.

Barthes’ most famous work is Mythologies, published in 1957, where he analysed everyday objects, practices, and cultural phenomena as symbols and signs that reflect deeper cultural and social meanings.

Through this collection of essays, he demonstrated how seemingly mundane things, like a glass of wine or a wrestling match, can carry profound cultural and ideological messages. This approach emphasised the importance of semiotics, the study of signs, in understanding culture and communication.

Another pivotal work by Barthes is The Death of the Author (1967), where he challenged the traditional notion of authorship and argued that the reader’s interpretation and engagement with a text are equally, if not more, important than the author’s intentions. This concept opened up new avenues for literary interpretation and contributed to the development of reader-response theory, which focuses on the role of the reader in shaping a text’s meaning.

Throughout his career, Roland Barthes made significant contributions to the study of language, literature, and culture. His innovative ideas on semiotics, authorship, and the interpretation of signs continue to influence scholars across various disciplines, making him a lasting and influential figure in the world of literary theory and cultural studies.

Roland Barthes’ work remains essential for anyone interested in understanding the complex relationship between language, culture, and meaning.

On the 25th of February 1980 he was hit by a laundry van as he walked through the streets of Paris. He died of his injuries on 26th March.

Ryan Murphy celebrates his birthday today

Television writer and producer Ryan Murphy was born on this day in 1965. He’s been responsible for swathes of popular television shows from Nip/Tuck to Pose, Ratched, 9-1-1, Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, American Horror Story, and Glee. 

He’s been described as one of the most powerful men in television due to his development deal with Netflix which allows him to create multiple shows, and over the years he’s been behind some of our all-time favourities.

Murphy began his career as a journalist but moved into the film and television work when Stephen Spielberg purchased a script written by Murphy called Why Can’t I Be Audrey Hepburn? For many years it was one of the most talked about scripts in Hollywood, but it never got made.

Murphy went on to create his first TV series in 1999. Alongside Gina Matthews he created Popular a teen comedy drama that ran for two seasons.  He then created the drama Nip / Tuck which was a huge success and the very popular Glee. 

Ryan Murphy adapted Augusten Burrows memoir Running with Scissors into a feature film, and also penned the script for the film version of Elizabeth Gilbert’s best-seller Eat, Pray, Love.

In 2012 he the comedy series The New Normal which was based around his own experiences of a child via surrogate. While in 2014 he was behind the creation of the film version of Larry Kramer’s play The Normal Heart. 

Other successful projects from Murphy are the TV series Feud, Scream Queens, The Politician, The Boys in the Band, the documentary Circus of Books, The Prom, Hollywood and Halston. 

It’s Nikki Blonsky’s birthday too

Actor Nikki Blonsky is best known for playing the lead character Tracy Turnbald in the 2007 musical Hairspray. She was born on this day in 1988.

Her role in the musical adaptation of the John Water’s film was Blonsky’s screen debut. She later went on to appear in the television series Huge and Valemont, and appeared in the television series Smash and the film Geography Club. 

Alongside her work as an actor Blonsly also works as a make-up artist and hair stylist. In 2020 she shared with the world that she’s a lesbian via a video posted to social media sit Tik Tok. In 2022 she announced her engagement to partner Hailey Jo Jenson.

OIP Staff, AI technology assisted in the creation of this post. This report was first published in 2023. 

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