| “The dream of every society is total control.” ~ Gore Vidal
The classic Hollywood film ending is boy and girl kissing. For many viewers, an ideal to attain. And for most, a fantasy spawning insecurity and concerns of inferiority.
Cut to the chase. The basic true storyline suddenly coming out of Hollywood is that forced sexual interaction has often been an initiatory career move. While news of Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, and Dustin Hoffman portrays the abusive frat party side, Grace Jones described another way to deal with it:
“Musician, actress and model Grace Jones has revealed she was sexually harassed when she landed her first big acting role. … Jones said the unnamed producer on the Ossie Davis-directed film asked her to bring her portfolio to his house so that he could make a final call on her casting.Considering a long history of news headline divorces and other sordid tales, it is not very surprising that Hollywood is experiencing the night of the living apocalypse. Apocalypse actually means “uncover, disclose, reveal,” and tinsel town's uncovering is about the uncoverings that have happened in movie set trailers, dressing rooms and god knows where else. While the brunt of the celebrity shakedown is reflective of an entitled, colonial-minded patriarchy of male-chauvinistic proportions, Kevin Spacey’s track record reveals that it is also about predatory and addictive sexual behavior regardless of gender preference.
The name “Hollywood” itself, according to the story, is born of an elitist mis-hearing, a kind of sad verbal joke reflecting both colonialism and the birth of franchising:
“According to the diary of H. J. Whitley, known as the ‘Father of Hollywood,’ on his honeymoon in 1886 he stood at the top of the hill looking out over the valley. Along came a Chinese man in a wagon carrying wood. The man got out of the wagon and bowed. The Chinese man was asked what he was doing and replied, “I holly-wood,” meaning ‘hauling wood.’ H. J. Whitley had an epiphany and decided to name his new town Hollywood. ‘Holly’ would represent England and ‘wood’ would represent his Scottish heritage. Whitley had already started over 100 towns across the western United States.”Whitley was also a banker, along with being “one of the nation's most successful land developers” ― the phrase “land developer” flies in the face of respect for Native Peoples (and Mother Earth) who were grossly stereotyped by the film industrial complex; John Wayne film The Big Trail in 1930, propagandizing manifest destiny with the career of the Duke and Co.wboys vs. Indians false narratives.
For a true Native perspective from films, see:
“Indie Native Film Neither Wolf Nor Dog – Beats Hollywood Stats at Box Office” & “50 Must-See Modern Native Films and Performances”
As with some of the kind-hearted and/or simply ‘do it so it looks good’ billionaires of today, “Whitley donated large parcels of land and money for civic use. The donations were used to finance public schools, libraries, parks, landscaping, streets, transportation, lighting and churches.”
The bigger picture
The dust jacket flap notes to Gore Vidal’s Hollywood: A Novel of America in the 1920s allude to the significance of the inception of slick propaganda and its use on the geo-political stage: “Hollywood, America’s other capital, is perfecting the art of image making...” and “...America on the eve of its plummet from isolation and its subsequent rise to world hegemony.”
Hollywood is the spit-polished side of the coin whose tarnished other is Washington D(ivide)&C(onquer).
Many will remember the spectacle run-up to the Invasion & Occupation of Iraq – a mainstream media, government-approved, propagandic, video-game, Hollywood, theatrical extravaganza ― resulting in chaos, death, birth-defects, toxic residue and other ‘blockbuster’ actualities.
The propagandateers of the modern spectacle are akin to those whose greed makes money off of history books, whose violence perpetuates the brainwashing of students to become good warriors for their latest battles and good spectators to their CIA-approved Hollywood 3-D glasses drone-bombing bloodshed.
Historian, professor, author, and activist Howard Zinn was a bombardier in the Air Force in World War II and dropped bombs (only finding out later that some had napalm) on Germany, France, Czechoslovakia, Hungary. After the war he visited a town in France; and he realized the dehumanization of war, the numbness of being in the air and far-removed from the victims devastated by those bombs. His writings and legacy of activism are now a guidepost for many.
The poet, publisher, and painter Lawrence Ferlinghetti served in the Navy during WW II and when he saw the bombed-out city of Nagasaki he became an “instant pacifist,” having seen “human flesh fused to a teacup, and bones and hair sticking out of this mulch, every single building flattened and pulverized.” And he later said, [The U.S.] “never would have dropped the bomb if the Japanese had had white skin. It was a monstrous, racist act.”
Another not ready for “Entertainment Tonight” bit of trivia is that in 1915, The Birth of a Nation (originally called The Clansman, pro Ku Klux Klan) was the first 12-reel film and first film shown in the White House.
Speaking of Gore Vidal, I'm a long-time fan so when reading the recent news – “Netflix says it also will refuse to release the film "Gore," in which Spacey stars as the writer Gore Vidal and also acted as producer” – I had mixed feelings. I can understand Netflix's in the heat of the moment choice yet it also reflects a bias because the message of the movie (or at least learning about Vidal) is probably a significant one and relevant to the day's geo-political and imperial shenanigans of which Vidal was consistently outspoken throughout his career, a veritable gadfly in society's greasy ointment.
In 2002, after the 9-11-2001 Attacks, Vidal published a small book (pamphlet), borrowing the title from a phrase/thesis of historian Charles Beard, “Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace” – perhaps the concisest definition ever of the machinations of the USEmpire which has been at war 224 of its 241 years and whose humongous military budget could solve nearly all of the world's economic and material suffering woes.
One of the book's eye-openers for me was a 20-page listing of where and when US forces had been or are involved, including headers such as: “Current Operations, Other Operations, Counterdrug Operations, Completed Operations, Cold War Era.”
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Is Netflix not going to show umpteen other movies with known and unknown molesters, sex addicts, and rapists? Is Netflix not going to show umpteen war propaganda movies? Is Netflix going to run a background check on all cast & crew – and subscribers?!
These questions are, of course, not to condone Spacey's or anyone else's misbehaving addictions, rather to raise the question: Where does one draw a line, if at all, regarding censorship? And why not let the viewers decide? Oh yeah, Netflix is in the business of selling movies.
Rick (Bogey) and Ilsa (Bacall) may “always have Paris,” so at least we have the documentary “Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia (2014)”
Trailer, Full length.
1 - “Grace Jones says she was sexually harassed during casting for first big film”
2 - Hollywood
3 - H.J. Whitley
4 - “Howard Zinn, ‘Just and Unjust Wars’”
5 - “Seeing Nagasaki After the Atomic Bombing Made Lawrence Ferlinghetti an ‘Instant Pacifist’”
6 - “Netflix boots Kevin Spacey from 'House of Cards'”
7 - “Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace: How We Got to Be So Hated” - Gore Vidal, Thunder's Mouth Press/Nation Books, 2002.
Mankh (Walter E. Harris III) is an essayist and resident poet at Axis of Logic. In addition to his work as a writer, he is a small press publisher and Turtle Islander. This essay includes excerpts from his new book of nonfiction with a poetic touch, “photo albums of the heart-mind”.
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