Thursday, March 9

I'm Just Spitballin' Here, You Understand, But Wouldn't It Be More Efficient If You Just Issued the Corrections Along With the Column?


A bunch of readers, sympathetic and otherwise, have chastised me for exaggerating in my column today [warning: don't go there]. They say it's unfair to say that Hollywood every made outright pro-Communist movies. I don't understand this criticism. A fair criticism would be that most of the really famous pro-Communist films were made during World War II and therefore they shouldn't be judged as films in favor of an enemy but in favor of a friend. I don't think that criticism works that well, but it's better than denying that such films were ever made. A few examples off the top of my head: Mission to Moscow, North Star, Red Star, Song of Russia. More recently, one could certainly argue that everything remotely political made by Oliver Stone was either pro-communist and/or anti-American in one respect or another. Most, though certainly not all, Vietnam movies start from the premise that America was wrong, both morally and strategically for being there. I could go on, but I think this should do for now.

The comment in question:
And I'm not even going to get into all of the pro-Communist and anti-American movies Hollywood has churned out over the last 60 years.

So we go from churning out Commie propaganda for the last 60 years to pro-Soviet films during the war, plus Oliver Stone. Uh-huh. Case closed.

(Before we move along: I have a lifelong fascination with Hollywood films of the 30s and 40s. I know Mission to Moscow in part because that's also a number Glenn Miller did with the Army Air Force Band. I've seen Song of Russia, but I didn't remember it until I looked it up. The North Star is interesting (again, I had to look it up), first because the script is by Lillian Hellman, and second because it was later re-edited to de-emphasize the good Russians and re-released as Armored Attack, a factoid Jonah must not have had handy. And Red Star I cannot find anywhere, including a 250-page book on Hollywood Films of the 40s, which rarely fails me. But our Doughboy has all these on the top of his head!)

But this isn't the worst of the thing, if you can believe it. That's just the part he wasn't going to get into. Instead we take off from some "reported" Hollywood gossip:
that Barbra Streisand not only discourages eye contact among staff, but that she required hotel workers to leave her presence only by walking backward....

I bring this up because when I hear a movie-star boast that he's "proud to be out of touch," this is the sort of thing I think of.

on his way to accusing Hollywood of something less than an all-embracing racial harmony in the Forties:
Clooney wants to buy some grace on the cheap by getting credit for McDaniel's Oscar, and we might as well give it to him. But he should expect to carry some of the baggage as well. After all, while McDaniel's wonderful performance was certainly something to be proud of, the role she won it for — an archetypal Aunt Jemima — is hardly the sort of thing they like to encourage at the Image Awards. According to an illuminating 1999 article by Leonard Leff in The Atlantic , when McDaniel received her statue, she told the assembled Academy that she hoped she'd "always be a credit to my race."

It takes a certain something to criticize race relations in Hollywood seventy years ago when you're writing for an organization which was informing us forty years ago that Negroes weren't capable of self-government because they have little tiny heads, and which was still trashing Martin Luther King fifteen years after his death, let alone when you're the guy who six months ago urged the suffering and dying of New Orleans to "grow some gills". Some might term that certain something "chutzpah"; others, the abject worthlessness of a human greasespot. Or so it's been reported.

And I don't get it, really I don't. Why do you give a fuck what George Clooney thinks? And assuming you do--why write a column about that comment of his that's been howled about for whatever reason for the last three days? And if you guys are so all-fired concerned about Hollywood, why'd you pick the fight with it in the first place? Just come out and admit that Joe McCarthy was a lyin' drunk, and Roy Cohn possibly the most disgusting piece of garbage post-war America has produced, before the current era, anyway, then say "It's all just entertainment" and let it go? What the Fuck is the problem? You'll be doing us all a favor, and especially yourself. And go cold turkey. Gushing about Star Wars is worse than trying to convict the Hollywood Ten in 2006.


julia said...

the archetypical Aunt Jemima?

Good lord, the man can't even keep his racial stereotypes straight. Mammies did not cook. Mammies took care of children.

Of course, they were of african descent, and wore kerchiefs around their heads.

Well, look who raised him.

D. Sidhe said...

When I hear stories about people who "discourage eye contact" and demand people leave their presence by walking backward, I think of Dubya.
It's one of those trademarks of sociopaths, btw. I don't like Barbra much, but she's never shown any indication of so being.

I'm going with "abject worthlessness of a human greasepot", btw.
"Off the top of my head" is one of those fabulous phrases.
It's right up there with people in an IRC conversation who are silent for a few moments before spouting facts regarding whatever you just said. It's all about the google.

R.Porrofatto said...

I think it was some time in the 50's that the fact the Soviet Union was our ally during WWII was flushed down the memory hole. By then we'd already established the idea that the U.S, instead of the Soviets, were responsible for the defeat of Germany, and that the dropping of the atom bomb, or certainly the second one on Nagasaki, had nothing to do with Stalin and post-war realpolitik.

All that is my way of asking, how on earth did we get to a point where a sophomore like Johan Goldberg can talk about exaggerating "my column" and not be referring to his sexual inadequacies?

HP said...

Let's hope Jonah never hears "Stalin Wasn't Stallin'" by the Golden Gate Jubilee Quartet. If you push all of his buttons at once, I hear he reboots.

Cynthia said...

Why does he care what Clooney thinks? Because he has a column to write and hasn't an original thought "off the top" of his head, so he pulls a Hollywood strawman out of his ass.

Houston said...

Somebody tell me, please, why that bloviating bag of shit is being carried by the L.A. Times? He has no expertise at anything. He has no credentials, no interesting life experiences, nada, zip, nothing. In these four sentences I have given him more of my attention that I ordinarily would. Let's move on and skewer more interesting people.

thepoetryman said...

"Just come out and admit that Joe McCarthy was a lyin' drunk, and Roy Cohn possibly the most disgusting piece of garbage post-war America has produced, before the current era, anyway, then say "It's all just entertainment" and let it go?"

Enough said!


Texas Jaye said...

How can the most powerful government and culture on earth be destroyed by communists? What difference would it make if Americans in government or other fields were communists? I thought we could have freedom of thought, too.

The only thing that can pull us down is this obsession with denial that we have that if we are not communists then everything is okay in America as long as we are not communist. We can hate each other, engage in ridiculous conflicts, install dictators, hound little people, make excuses for big people, abuse our children and ourselves, but we are not commies.

McCarthy was drunk and Cohn was a self loathing bastard, and even if there were commies and I suppose there were, it didn't make us any more or less able to completely dominate the world in the last century. If that is a messure of greatness...

And while we are at it, let's not forget that fabulous red-baiting son of a bitch Nixon, too.

What is great about Clooney's film is we are doing it all over again with this new word for people we hate--liberals. Hell most Americans have no fucking idea what communism means, nor do they understand that Thomas Jefferson was a liberal. Most Americans really wouldn't like him, either.

We just don't have good journalism on television or in print to really defend liberalism and free thought. Someone might pull their ads and cancel their subscription.