Be an empiricist
In socialism and sex!
Read Wilhelm Reich
And remember the Czechs!

—Kenneth Tynan, in a birthday poem to his daughter Tracy

In a letter written to the agent Irving “Swifty” Lazar proposing an autobiography strong on name-dropping—a “conglamouration of stars,” as John Gielgud once put it in a slip of the tongue while acting in a Congreve play—Kenneth Tynan described himself as a talent snob. Quite accurate, too. Right out of the gate the young Kenneth Tynan was a fan—fanatically worshipful of athletes, of musicians, and above all of actors—and fanatical worship easily elides into snobbery.

Later, Tynan was snobbishly pleased at his connections with the talented and...

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