A brief history on American gun rights for the Canadian high school drop-out.
Gun control advocate comedian/actor Jim Carrey becomes the latest Hollywood leftie to trash legendary actor and former NRA head Charlton Heston. About his new anti-Heston parody song, Carrey tweeted: "'Cold Dead Hand' is abt u heartless motherf — kers unwilling 2 bend 4 the safety of our kids. Sorry if you're offended by the word safety."
Lyrics include: "Charlton Heston movies are no longer in demand, and his immortal soul may lay forever in the sand. The angels wouldn't take him up to heaven like he'd planned, 'cause they couldn't pry that gun from his cold, dead hand. It takes a cold, dead hand to decide to pull the trigger, takes a cold, dead heart and as near as I can figger, with your cold, dead aim you're tryin' to prove your di— is bigger ... ." You get the idea.
Let's be charitable — call Carrey ignorant, not stupid.
The Canadian high school dropout can be forgiven for his ignorance about American history, including the NRA's role in helping blacks defend themselves against violent white racists. He claims Heston's movies are "no longer in demand." Perhaps this exposes Carrey's lack of religiosity. But he should know that every Easter, for the last 40 years (except 1999), broadcast television has aired "The Ten Commandments." Heston plays Moses. And it's a ratings winner.
Heston's other career roles include John the Baptist, Ben-Hur, El Cid and Michelangelo. Care to stack Heston's body of work next to Carrey's Ace Ventura ("Pet Detective") or his Lloyd Christmas ("Dumb & Dumber")?
Speaking of character, Heston, a cinema rock star, remained married to his college sweetheart, Lydia, for 64 years. Carrey, on the other hand, followed the well-worn Hollywood path: Get famous; get rich; dump the first wife/mother of your kid(s), who stood by you during the tough times; and act out your social life in the tabs to the embarrassment of your kid(s).
This might surprise Carrey, but there was a time when actors, like Heston, supported a cause that threatened both their careers — and their lives.
In 1963, on the day of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech, six men appeared on a television roundtable to discuss that day's March on Washington. These men were singer and civil rights activist Harry Belafonte; James Baldwin, author of the bestselling civil rights call-to-arms "The Fire Next Time"; writer/producer/director Joseph Mankiewicz; and actors Sidney Poitier, Marlon Brando and Heston.
When asked, at this '63 roundtable, why he joined this struggle for equal rights for blacks, Heston said: "Two years ago, I picketed some restaurants in Oklahoma, but with that one exception — up until very recently — like most Americans I expressed my support of civil rights largely by talking about it at cocktail parties, I'm afraid. But again, like many Americans this summer, I could no longer pay only lip service to a cause that was so urgently right, and in a time that is so urgently now."
Back then, many entertainers refused to stick their necks out. Contemporary actors like Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis ("The Campaign") take no risk by mocking the Koch brothers, whose offense is making contributions to Republican candidates. But '63 was a time when the infamous communist witch hunt, known as the Hollywood Blacklist, was just loosening its career-ending grip. In many states, it remained illegal for blacks and whites to marry. It was before the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Just two months earlier, black civil rights activist Medgar Evers was murdered in Mississippi. Eight years earlier, in 1955, Emmett Till, a black boy from Chicago visiting relatives, was murdered in Mississippi, supposedly for making a pass at a white woman. One year earlier, three Mississippi civil rights workers turned up dead in a horrific episode memorialized in the movie "Mississippi Burning." And "Bloody Sunday" took place two years later, in 1965, when authorities brutally attacked civil rights marchers as they crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Photographs and televised images of bloodied and severely injured men and women horrified the world.
A World War II Army staff sergeant, Heston served as a radio operator and aerial gunner. When he died in 2008, Time magazine movie critic Roger Corliss wrote: "In the era of the movie epic, (Heston) was the iconic hero, adding to these films millions in revenue, plenty of muscle and 10 IQ points. ... Heston was the alpha and omega of movie manhood — our civilized ancestor, our elevated destiny. ... El Cid is up there with Lawrence of Arabia ... passionate, eloquent, with a visual and emotional grandeur. ... From start to finish, Heston was a grand, ornery anachronism, the sinewy symbol of a time when Hollywood took itself seriously, when heroes came from history books, not comic books."
The world, Mr. Pet Detective, could use a few more "heartless mother — kers" like Heston.
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