Sunday, April 06, 2008

Goodnight, Chuck.

Charlton Heston has finally died.

The Ben Hur actor championed the 2nd amendment and once stood as president of the NRA, boasting his right to own a gun would never be revoked. He famously held a rifle over his head to declare, "From my cold, dead hands!!" Considering Charlton Heston had Alzheimers, the only thing now being pried from his cold, dead hands is a plastic cup of lime jello.

Heston was a notorious god-fearing, conservative homophobe from another generation. And yet for all I am supposed to detest him, I can't say good riddance. The craggily handsome actor was not afraid to speak his mind.

He marched in the civil rights movement of the 1950's, and yet in the 90's he quit Actors Equity because their refusal to allow a white person to play an asian in Miss Saigon he considered to be "obscenely racist." We're left to suppose that white actors in black-face, or Mickey Rooney playing asian in "Breakfast at Tiffany's" was obscenely unracist?

Heston had a lot backward, but he remained a rabble rousing American --something we should appreciate and hold onto. He once said, "Political Correctness is tyranny with manners." If Americans were politically correct, he argued, we'd never have resisted King George, and would still be subject to the British Crown.

Considering the recent the plummet of the American peso, we may be better off in Britain. But, frankly, I am with Charlton Heston. I'd rather be politically incorrect than bow to anyone, and definitely not to that old bag in Buckingham palace.

When another uniquely American man, Michael Moore, tricked Heston in the film "Bowling for Columbine," essentially blaming him and the NRA for the Columbine High School massacre, I couldn't help but feel sorry for the old man. Am I the only one who felt the ambush was unfair?
Personally, I'm not a republican. Neither am I a staunch democrat.

Similarly, I have mixed feelings for the man once known as Charlton Heston.


Sancho said...

Jesse, I think you make a very good point about Mister Heston. When I heard about his death, I wanted to be happy that a man who was so adamantly opposed to so many things i believe in was gone... but I couldn't. I was unable to put into words why, but you've done that for me, thank you!

He had opinions, he believed in certain ideals, and he fought for them. Instead of blindly following something or someone because he was told to, Heston championed those causes he believed in.

Also, I have to agree that I was unhappy with how Michael Moore went about his interview with Heston. He blatantly lied as to why he wanted to interview him and then hit an aging man, with onset Alzheimer's, with accusations and questions out of left field. Bad form.

--Danny M

You said...

Michael Moore's Documentaries, while extremely entertaining, seem to consistently focus solely on documenting Michael Moore's Agenda and what he wants us to think. Somehow I think that his most interesting, unbiased footage probably ends up on the cutting room floor.

I agree with you Jesse, Moore totally ambushed Heston in his film for what appeared only to be for dramatic effect. That, coupled with Moore's usual overflowing dose of shameless self-promotion.

Joe Moore said...

I had a similar feeling, and I hate to beat a dead horse here, but I couldn't be joyous about CH's death. Not like the joy I felt when Falwell died.

And you make a very valid point, that he stood up for what he believed in, and we should respect that. Because that's what America is all about, letting people of opposing opinions have those opinions. That's America. We don't have to agree with him, but he has a right to say it.

Jesse said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I'm Mike, from LA. I saw your Chuck Heston post. I am a singer (I sing with LA Opera) and I have a regular gig at the church where Mr. Heston often attended. It's called St. Matthew's Episcopal, it's in the Palisades just north of Sunset.

Though I'm not really religious now, Jesus pays me to come to church and sing ;) I did grow up in the midwest, was brought up in a religious household and remember watching "The Ten Commandments" and "Ben Hur". After college in Texas I moved to LA, began singing professionally and got a church job. My very first Easter service at St. Matt's, a parishioner got up to read the text about how God saved his people at the Red Sea. He started to read in the candle-lit church and I immeadiately recongnized the voice. It was Chuck Heston! Moses was reading to me about the parting of the Red Sea. Holy Crap!

Over the years I have seen him off and on in services. I'm pretty out at the chruch, even came to a church rehearsal one time in drag and sang a big solo with the chruch orchestra in platform heels, white fishnets and a wig....the rehearsal on Halloween. But Mr. Heston was always very friendly. Came and shook my hand one time after a solo I sang for communion one time. Though he was supposedly homophobic he had no problem attending a church that's pretty outspoken about it's desire to include everyone.

I have been asked to sing at his funeral/memorial service this week. It will be a private service. Like you, despite his recent conservative past, I will honor his outspoken individualism and his artistic legacy. Thanks for the post.

You said...

Hey Mike,

You just totally brought me down Memory Lane. I used to live in the Palisades on Castellammare Drive out by the beach. I'm pretty familiar with the area yet for the life of me can't seem to place St. Matthew's Episcopal? Is that in the center of town near Swarthmore? (RIP Mort's Deli BTW)

And out of curiosity, what exactly will you be singing at Mr. Heston's funeral?

xoxo You!

Anonymous said...

Hey You,
There will be vocal quartet singing. All four of us are pros who sing in the LA area. As of today we're supposed to sing two relatively unknown pieces. One is titled Easter Song, the other is called My Master From a Garden Rose. There may be some solo work too, we don't know yet. The church is west of Palisades Village up Bienveneda. You know where that is? It's a little north and east of Pali High. FYI I like your blog too. -MIKE