Friday, January 16, 2009

Movie Star Heroes Defined by Their Times

I received a forwarded email today (yes, THAT kind) which prompted today's rant post. Let's take a little jaunt back to 1943 to consider it.

Average cost of a new house: $3,600. A gallon of gas set you back 15 cents. A Coke was a nickel. Casablanca deservedly won the Best Picture Oscar. Actress Lauren Bacall appeared on the March cover of Harper's Bazaar. She looks kind of somber for a glamourous movie star. Dinah Shore assured radio listeners "You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To," Frank Sinatra warned "People Will Say We're in Love," and Kay Kyser and his Orchestra asked folks to "Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition." Welcome to the middle of World War II. A whole lot of movie stars went off to serve in the war - the one after the war to end all wars.

The email I received names many great actors: Alec Guinness, Donald Pleasance, David Niven, Jimmy Stewart, Clark Gable, Ernest Borgnine, Charles Durning, Charles Bronson, George C. Scott, Eddie Albert, Brian Keith, Tyrone Power and several others. It details some of their service in the face of danger.

Sadly, though, the writer has an axe to grind. The message reads "In contrast to the ideals, opinions and feelings of today's "Hollywonk," the real actors of yester-year loved the United States. They had both class and integrity. With the advent of World War II many of our actors went to fight rather than stand and rant against this country we all love."

The email concludes
So how do you feel the real heroes of the silver screen acted when compared to the hollywonks today who spew out anti-American dribble as they bite the hand that feeds them? Can you imagine these stars of yester-year saying they hate our flag, making anti-war speeches, and marching in anti-American parades.

I completely agree that it was wonderful that these guys served their country. It's a total shame that the writer spews out hatred toward those who dare to question a failed foreign policy of a lying administration. Nothing like labeling someone "anti-American" to make a real showstopper. I'll bet if you asked the paraders, they'd tell you they are anti-war, not anti-American. And that they pretty much like the flag.

Lumping "saying they hate our flag" and "marching in anti-American parades" with "making anti-war speeches" is just so much bull feathers. You'll note that the writer at least was truthful in categorizing the speeches as "anti-war" rather than "anti-American."

Who the hell is truly in favor of war except a madman?

But by throwing them all in together, the writer makes you feel like if you're against the war, you're against America.


Those movie heroes were serving during WWII. That was a whole lot different than Vietnam, and certainly VERY different than today's war.

A hero doesn't just blindly go off into any old stupid war. That doesn't take anything away from these great stars and their service. But I strongly object to using their deeds to justify denigrating more recent movie stars who are politically active. In some cases, it takes as much courage to "stand and rant" against a government to help save the country you love. If only more Germans had done so, maybe none of those movie stars would have had to go fight Hitler in 1943.

Current day movie stars who use their celebrity to advocate for worthwhile causes are heroes too. Yes, I'm talking about you, John Cusack. Among others.

My motto? QUESTION AUTHORITY. If they're doing the right thing, they will be able to take the scrutiny. If not, THROW THE BUMS OUT.

What do you think?


Beth said...

Excellent post. And I agree - "Question authority."

Love your tube map - I was recently in London staying right near Oxford Circus!

Thanks for visiting my blog and I checked out the link for the meaning of those lyrics. I knew they couldn't have been lewd or sinister - the song is too beautiful.

Bee said...

I agree with you, too. I think that sometimes the best way to "love America" is by criticizing it. We should be deeply grateful that we can.

Also, I love John Cusack!!

JaneyV said...

I so agree. The cost of modern warfare in human terms is enormous. The reasons for getting into it are invariably financial. If it were otherwise why would Robert Mugabe still be in power? All moral decisions must stand up to interrogation. To make the decision whether or not to wage war on another people is a deeply moral choice. One must be absolutely sure that it is the just course of action. If it doesn't stand up to scrutiny then, as you say, kick the bums the heck out of office.

Thanks for visiting my blog. It seems we do have a lot in common indeed! I have long wished to visit Oregon. The trip to Washington was wonderful. next time we'll venture a little further south. I live you pictures of the lakes of Killarney. I know the area well. I'm from Limerick and we spent many a summer in Kerry wishing it would stop raining. I adore the place. Great beaches!

JaneyV said...

Argh! my typing gets so bad when I'm tired. I meant to say I love your pictures of the Lakes of Killarney.

I need some z's methinks!

Shana said...

I agree with whatever John Cusak says. Or as we like to call him, Cute-zak.

That's what this post was about, right?

: )

Fantastic Forrest said...

Beth, Bee, Janey and Shana - I am filled with love. I love all your blogs, I love that we all agree on challenging those in charge (except, of course, when it's our children challenging us!) and I love John Cusack. Deeply. If only there wasn't that pesky restraining order.