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Monday, April 07, 2008

Cherry Picking Charlton Heston

I like to think people are more complicated than their public caricature. Perhaps for that reason, I was very attracted to reports about Charlton Heston being a civil rights activist in the 50s & 60s. The last quote is from Heston himself, and I didn't get any big speeches or anything when I googled it this morning after hearing of his death. This is what Wikipedia had to say on the topic:
Heston campaigned for Presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson in 1956 and John F. Kennedy in 1960. When an Oklahoma movie theater premiering his movie was segregated, he joined a picket line outside in 1961. During the civil rights march held in Washington, D.C. in 1963, he accompanied Martin Luther King Jr. In later speeches, Heston said he helped the civil rights cause, "long before Hollywood found it fashionable."
Also, because I don't see any contradiction between gun rights and other civil rights, I guess I like to point out this aspect of Heston's political activism. I'm conveniently ignoring his rhetoric about liberal Hollywood, opposition to affirmative action, and promotion of the myth that the Republican Party offers "the common man" salvation from those elite liberals who what to guarantee his civil liberties and provide him with a social safety net.


Matt Dick said...

In the end, we're all more complicated than one newspaper article can articulate.

If he stood with King in 1963, it's going to be awfully hard to paint him as intolerant, bigoted, etc.

One problem with the radically partisan left today is they they can't hear opposition to any of their planks without painting the object with a very broad brush, which inevitably contains racism, sexism, and all those caricatures.

Standard disclaimers apply re: radical right doing all sorts of bad things, too.

Anonymous said...

How can Moses be dead? Absurd.

Matt Dick said...

Calling him Moses reminds me of a conversation Jim and I had some time ago. Jim and I saw the Chicago stage performance of Jesus Christ Superstar, starring the Jesus and Judas from the movie version. Great show.

In an interview, the actor who played Jesus noted that he'd seen a statistic that some enormous (like 75%) portion of American Christians used an image of him in their heads when they prayed to Jesus. He was unsettled by the idea.

What would it be like to be essentially everyone's vision of Jesus or Moses? Man, that has to be creepy.