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Charlton Heston dead at 84
April 5, 2008 9:51 PM   Subscribe


 
Give him some time to chill, and then I believe there's a gun that needs some prying.
posted by Schlimmbesserung at 9:54 PM on April 5, 2008 [183 favorites]


I so thought about saying that, but decided it wasn't appropriate for an obit post, even in this case.
posted by cerebus19 at 9:56 PM on April 5, 2008 [2 favorites]


So long, Bright Eyes.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:57 PM on April 5, 2008 [2 favorites]


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posted by crazy finger at 9:58 PM on April 5, 2008


Give him some time to chill, and then I believe there's a gun that needs some prying.

I was going to say that! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!
posted by dw at 9:59 PM on April 5, 2008




"Take your stinking paws off me, you damn dirty ape!"* -- so sayeth Moses.

Lest we forget Heston's interview with Michael Moore' in 'Bowling for Columbine.'
posted by ericb at 10:01 PM on April 5, 2008


Give him some time to chill, and then I believe there's a gun that needs some prying.

From my cold dead hands!
posted by ericb at 10:03 PM on April 5, 2008


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posted by Iridic at 10:03 PM on April 5, 2008


I think his influence on American society through his work with the NRA has been detrimental to our country. But at I acknowledge that he's had quite the influence, both in film and politics. I never did particularly like the way he was portrayed by Michael Moore. It made Heston seem old and confused. Maybe he was. But while I very much disagreed with a number of his positions, he never struck me as an evil man. Just one that had passionate beliefs that I couldn't quite reconcile with my own. I wish his remaining family and friends well and I hope that history treats him kindly.
posted by afflatus at 10:04 PM on April 5, 2008 [5 favorites]


With his large, muscular build, well-boned face and sonorous voice, Heston proved the ideal star during the period when Hollywood was filling movie screens with panoramas depicting the religious and historical past. ''I have a face that belongs in another century,'' he often remarked. -- NYT obit

"well-boned" face?
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:11 PM on April 5, 2008 [3 favorites]


wikipedia
posted by Brian B. at 10:11 PM on April 5, 2008


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posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 10:12 PM on April 5, 2008


So can we have the rifle now?
posted by jfrancis at 10:15 PM on April 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


A great guy, and one of my favorite actors. If everyone in the NRA was as civil and classy as he was, they'd have a lot more supporters.

3 Rules for being a man:

1. No Whining
2. Suck it up and take it
3. What would Charlton Heston do?

Godspeed, Chuck.
posted by Scoo at 10:15 PM on April 5, 2008 [2 favorites]


What exactly is wrong with gun ownership? It's a Constitutionally enshrined right, and for a reason. Being upset that Charlton Heston represented the 2nd amendment's strongest defender is kind of like getting angry over the ACLU defending hateful (but entirely lawful) speech
posted by polyhedron at 10:15 PM on April 5, 2008 [14 favorites]


I never did particularly like the way he was portrayed by Michael Moore. It made Heston seem old and confused.

Heston was suffering from Alzheimer's during that interview. Pretty crappy to portray his confused rambling as racist, when he had actually been a civil rights activist. (Pretty stupid, too, because it did a lot to undermine any last vestiges of credibility the film may have had as an attempt at fair-minded investigation of a complex issue. /derail)
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 10:15 PM on April 5, 2008 [19 favorites]


He was a man, an actor, an activist, a son, a husband, a father, a grandfather. We don't agree with his politics or everything he said or stood for. He's dead. Can the snark rest for just a little while? I'm sure it won't. Never mind.
posted by wv kay in ga at 10:16 PM on April 5, 2008 [4 favorites]


Interesting. Apparently his conservative grandstanding came relatively late in his life. From Wikipedia:
In 1956 Heston campaigned for Presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson and John F. Kennedy in 1960. In 1961, in Oklahoma on a publicity tour, he joined a picket line at the segregated theater premiering his movie. During the civil rights march held in Washington, D.C. in 1963, he accompanied Martin Luther King Jr., wearing a sign that read "All Men Are Created Equal"...In 1968, following the assassination of Senator Robert F. Kennedy, Heston appeared on The Joey Bishop Show and, along with fellow actors Gregory Peck, Kirk Douglas and James Stewart, called for public support for President Johnson's Gun Control Act of 1968.

He was an opponent of McCarthyism and racial segregation, seeing it as helping the cause of Communism worldwide. He opposed the Vietnam War and considered Richard Nixon a disaster for America.
Huh. What shifted his opinions so dramatically?
posted by Iridic at 10:16 PM on April 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


,
posted by [son] QUAALUDE at 10:18 PM on April 5, 2008


Funny, I love guns, yet I still thought he was a bit of a special case. Sad though, that it turned out he wasn't immortal; condolences to family, as if they are reading this.
posted by Stonestock Relentless at 10:19 PM on April 5, 2008


°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°°
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
A period won't do it, this time. Here's a salute to you, Mr. Heston.
posted by paulsc at 10:22 PM on April 5, 2008


Times like these... times when we discuss here on Metafilter the death of a controversial individual... makes me feel all conflicted inside. I feel like I should simply be offering my condolences, but then I also feel that to simply say nothing about what I truly thought of the individual would be to wash over the misdeeds and crimes that I feel the individual has committed.

But I think the best thing to do here is to simply offer the standard full-stop, rather than speak ill of the dead. The man was definitely flawed, no doubt about that, but were I to speak ill of him I would be acting just as disrespectfully as he had acted to the victims of Columbine.

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posted by Effigy2000 at 10:22 PM on April 5, 2008


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posted by gyc at 10:22 PM on April 5, 2008


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posted by The Light Fantastic at 10:23 PM on April 5, 2008


Being upset that Charlton Heston represented the 2nd amendment's strongest defender is kind of like getting angry over the ACLU defending hateful (but entirely lawful) speech

But here's the thing: you can support gun rights (as I do) AND still think that the NRA is fueled by a tremendous amount of crazy talk (some of which -- though by no means all -- came from Heston in his later days). They represent one political position of gun owners, but they most certainly do not represent the politics of all gun owners.

Having said that, I agree with IRFH that Michael Moore's portrayal of Heston in Bowling for Columbine was a cheap shot.
posted by scody at 10:26 PM on April 5, 2008 [5 favorites]


He was actually 83. He would've been 84 in October.
posted by ryanhealy at 10:27 PM on April 5, 2008 [2 favorites]




I disagree when you say that it undermined the last vestiges of credibility for Bowling For Columbine, but at same time, I do think it was rather a low point as I mentioned earlier. I thought it was an excellent movie (by and large) and made its point well, but the bit with Heston was cruel and petty.

As for gun ownership being a Constitutionally enshrined right...well, that really hasn't been tested curiously enough. It's there in the Constitution but what it means legally has been surprisingly ill defined. The Supreme Court is about to hear the first case squarely aimed at indivdual vs group gun ownership. I strongly suspect they will take an individual gun ownership stance, but at this point, the interpretation is formed by social groups, not by the courts.

And I know it's probably too much to ask, but lets try for obitfilter that has more content and context to it in the future. The man was 84 years old. He had an extensive career in film, politics and society. It deserves more than a single link (even if I'm not wild about him) and if you can't come up with more than one link, you aren't the person to make the post. Don't worry about timeliness, I assure you that people will find it on the AP wire.
posted by afflatus at 10:27 PM on April 5, 2008 [8 favorites]


Huh. What shifted his opinions so dramatically?

According to wikipedia, he also opposed abortion, and many men suddenly switched sides emotionally when women started demanding equality, during a time when machismo fell out of favor.
posted by Brian B. at 10:28 PM on April 5, 2008


Yeah, the post could stand some fleshing-out, but w/e.

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posted by exlotuseater at 10:29 PM on April 5, 2008 [2 favorites]


Condolences.

No getting around his position in the history of movies. Heston was a staple of network movie reruns all through my childhood -- you didn't grow up in the 1960s and 1970s without seeing his craggy face and hearing his booming voice in "The Ten Commandments" and the like. The obits will all focus on those movies, but it shouldn't be forgotten that he delivered plenty of good performances in non-epic/costume drama movies, too, like Orson Welles' "Touch of Evil."
posted by blucevalo at 10:29 PM on April 5, 2008


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posted by Mikey-San at 10:32 PM on April 5, 2008


Great man...RIP
posted by markulus at 10:33 PM on April 5, 2008


Well, you know, Heston was the President of the NRA at the time of Moore's interview with him. If you ask me, that means that it was ok for Moore to ask a tough question or two.
posted by washburn at 10:37 PM on April 5, 2008 [17 favorites]


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posted by Mr_Zero at 10:39 PM on April 5, 2008


jesus christ, I hope the Nuge doesn't a sound byte.
posted by Mr_Zero at 10:41 PM on April 5, 2008


The wikipedia article makes me realize what I thought I knew was a 1-dimensional, 1-note caricature that I got from Bowling for Columbine. What an interesting life.

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posted by tarheelcoxn at 10:48 PM on April 5, 2008


I liked the guy even though he was gun nuts and really felt like kicking Michael Moore in the nuts when he set him up for Bowling for Columbine.

Rest in Peace, you dirty ape!
posted by fenriq at 10:53 PM on April 5, 2008


          (_/-------------_______________________)
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           ; |--------(-||_______________________|
           ; |--------(-| ____________|
           ; \__________/'
         _/__         ___;
      ,~~    |  __--~~
     '        ~~| (    |
    '      '~~  `____'
   '      '
  '      `
 '       `
'--------`
posted by felix betachat at 10:56 PM on April 5, 2008 [25 favorites]


.

A fascinating guy, and regardless of what you think about any of his stances in particular, I think it's safe to say that he was not one to back down on issues that he felt strongly about.

But that we could all die having lived such interesting lives.
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:01 PM on April 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


He's not dead; he's just reloading. Here's some fossilized 80's pop music to watch while we wait: http://youtube.com/watch?v=yWa3ouFWwJs
posted by freshwater_pr0n at 11:04 PM on April 5, 2008


Well, you know, Heston was the President of the NRA at the time of Moore's interview with him. If you ask me, that means that it was ok for Moore to ask a tough question or two.

That was Michael Moore's argument too, and I can't help but agree.
posted by banished at 11:06 PM on April 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


Cross over to the other side of the river now, and rest under the cool of the shade.
posted by Senator at 11:07 PM on April 5, 2008


Wayne: [looks at camera] Do we have to put up with this? I mean, can't we get a better actor? I know it's a small part, but I think we can do better than this.
[person from set crew comes in and replaces actor with Charlton Heston]
Good Actor: Gordon Street? Ah, yes, Gordon Street. I once knew a girl who lived on Gordon Street. Long time ago, when I was a young man. Not a day passes I don't think her and the promise that I made which I will always keep. That one perfect day on Gordon Street. That's uh, five blocks up, two over.
Wayne: [choking back tears] Thank you.

posted by kirkaracha at 11:17 PM on April 5, 2008 [6 favorites]


The life of Charlton Heston: the second greatest story every told.
posted by GuyZero at 11:19 PM on April 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


As Voltaire once may or may not have stated, depending on who you ask, I disagreed with some of what Charlton Heston said, but would fight to the death for his right to say it. ...Okay. So I wouldn't actually fight because I don't believe violence resolves anything. Certainly not to the death, cuz I kinda like living. You know what I mean. He was a respected man, loved by many, a talented actor, and a damn fine hooman bean.

Thank you Mr. Heston for your work on Peer Gynt, The Greatest Show On Earth, Pony Express, The Ten Commandments, Touch Of Evil, Ben-Hur, The Greatest Story Ever Told, Planet Of The Apes, Julius Caesar, The Omega Man, Antony and Cleopatra, Soylent Green, Airport 1975, Earthquake, Midway, Two Minute Warning, A Man For All Seasons, True Lies, and all that other stuff. Humanity is eternally in your debt. Thank you for taking yourself too seriously when you did, and thank you for not taking yourself too seriously when it was funny. Thank you for your life, kind sir. You leave us humbled and thoughtful.


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posted by ZachsMind at 11:19 PM on April 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


Mr. Heston was excellent as Cardinal Richelieu in Richard Lester's Three Musketeers and Four Mustketeers.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:19 PM on April 5, 2008


Ben Hur can finally rest now.
posted by Lynsey at 11:20 PM on April 5, 2008


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posted by katillathehun at 11:29 PM on April 5, 2008 [2 favorites]


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posted by Seekerofsplendor at 11:30 PM on April 5, 2008


Oh yeah, Im putting my paws all over that corpse.
posted by damn dirty ape at 11:34 PM on April 5, 2008 [26 favorites]


OK, I'm just going to say this, so please don't jump all over me, but: why is it when someone I didn't know personally and couldn't stand when they were alive dies I'm all of a sudden expected to say nice things about them? I have never understood this. This same thing happened when Jerry Falwell died, although he was a far, far more horrible human being than Heston. Heston was a B-movie actor whose actions as a political organizer later in life have caused untold harm. I'm not going to piss on his grave, but I'm not going to pretend I worshipped him either. It's distasteful.
posted by DecemberBoy at 11:37 PM on April 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


Heston was suffering from Alzheimer's during that interview. Pretty crappy to portray his confused rambling as racist, when he had actually been a civil rights activist.

Pretty bizarre, telling and damning — take your pick — of the NRA to place a confused, rambling, mentally ill fool at the head of its organization, who chooses to try to legitimize its cause by storming a town that is freshly dealing with children being shot to death and telling its residents to suck it up.

One would think a so-called "civil rights activist" would have been just infinitesimally more considerate of other human beings. For him, I can only surmise that anyone not packing heat is sub-human and not worthy of any dignity or respect in a time of grief. For that alone, he deserves no respect or consideration. Fuck that guy, seriously.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:37 PM on April 5, 2008 [11 favorites]


Well, you know, Heston was the President of the NRA at the time of Moore's interview with him.

True, and remember that the news of his Alzheimer's hadn't yet broke when the interview was conducted.

Of course, that bit (especially the part afterwards, when Moore leaves the photograph on the doorstep for that extra guilt-tripping/tear-jerking effect) *is* what ultimately killed the film.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:39 PM on April 5, 2008


OK, I'm just going to say this, so please don't jump all over me, but: why is it when someone I didn't know personally and couldn't stand when they were alive dies I'm all of a sudden expected to say nice things about them?

Mostly because it makes you look like a better person.
posted by b1tr0t at 11:45 PM on April 5, 2008 [4 favorites]


And that is the important thing.
posted by Dr. Curare at 11:49 PM on April 5, 2008 [1 favorite]


"Decent person turns into a dick as his mental faculties fail" is hardly a unique story.

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posted by Pope Guilty at 11:50 PM on April 5, 2008 [2 favorites]


DecemberBoy: "I'm not going to piss on his grave, but I'm not going to pretend I worshipped him either. It's distasteful."

I determined long ago that these obit threads in MeFi are distasteful from the get go. By design, sorta by necessity, it's insensitive for the lot of us to virtually step into this cyber space and waft eloquent or vomit bile in regards to the most recently deceased famous person, as if it matters.

These obit threads are also, for some, kinda ..oh gee i dunno, therapeutic maybe? Is that the right word? They're not really necessary, and yet for reasons I can't quite fathom and would probably prefer not understanding, I kinda like it when MeFi does this.

If you hated the guy, you can virtually dance on his grave. If you adored the guy, this is your chance to say a last few words in a way that doesn't hurt anybody, doesn't mean anything, but it means something to you, and the people who read this can opt to decide if it means something to them. No harm no foul and all that.

If you didn't worship him, but didn't hate him, this would be a chance to kinda come to grips with that, and decide where you stand, if you stand at all, with how you feel about a given celebrity, but let's be perfectly frank here: it doesn't matter a box of animal crackers where any of us stand. None of us knew him personally. You either liked his body of work or you didn't. You either agree with his political views or you don't. Makes no difference to him. He's dead.

So if you wanna piss on his grave in here, go right ahead. If you wanna defend him, you can do that too. Funerals. Wakes. Memorials. Threads like this. They're not for the dead. They're for the living.
posted by ZachsMind at 11:56 PM on April 5, 2008 [21 favorites]


Mostly because it makes you look like a better person.

Which is awesome, because it shifts the standard of being a better person from what you do and believe to your adherence to a set of social conventions; it becomes more important to give the appearance of decency than to be decent.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:57 PM on April 5, 2008 [14 favorites]


"Pharaoh of Egypt! You have not yet obeyed the Lord. Let my pistols go."
posted by isopraxis at 12:01 AM on April 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


What a great voice he had.

Today, Ben Hur would be directed by Michael Bay and star Keanu Reeves. The great race would all be CGI, and everyone would speak with faux English accents that occasionally lapse back to Californian.

The first Planet of the Apes is one of my all time favorite films. Wonderfully subversive in its damning indictment of religious orthodoxy.

I love how he voiced the word "Omega" in Beneath the Planet of the Apes.

When Clinton was president I saw bumper stickers that read "My president is Charlton Heston".
posted by Tube at 12:08 AM on April 6, 2008


I guess we know who'll get the most applause next year on the Oscars' Roll Call Of Death segment.

Anyway, I enjoyed his acting work. RIP, man.
posted by ktoad at 12:09 AM on April 6, 2008


Iridic writes "Huh. What shifted his opinions so dramatically?"

Well, obviously I don't know. I can tell you this though: I've always been a supporter of the 2nd Amendment, because I support the Constitution as an indivisible document, despite an emotional aversion to guns. In the last seven years, that emotional aversion has been eroded by an increasing awareness that guns -- force -- may be the last bulwark of freedom.
posted by orthogonality at 12:15 AM on April 6, 2008 [7 favorites]


Now Moses went up from the plains of Moab to mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is opposite Jericho. And the LORD showed him all the land… Then the LORD said to him, ‘This is the land which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, "I will give it to your descendants"; I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not go over there.’ So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD. And He buried him in the valley in the land of Moab, opposite Beth-peor; but no man knows his burial place to this day. Although Moses was one hundred and twenty years old when he died, his eye was not dim, nor his vigor abated
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:19 AM on April 6, 2008


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posted by Krrrlson at 12:40 AM on April 6, 2008


Well, you know, Heston was the President of the NRA at the time of Moore's interview with him.

Yes. I didn't see the interview; if it was particularly cruel, maybe Moore should have left it out of the film, but the NRA shouldn't have retained a mentally incapacitated man as their president and spokesman. At the least, someone at the NRA should have made sure the interview never happened.

Huh. What shifted his opinions so dramatically?

By the look of it, Heston's opinions didn't shift. When he was younger, he, like many younger people, developed beliefs that at the time marked him as a liberal politically and made him a natural Democrat. But I bet he laughed at hippies. When he was in his 70s and 80s, he was probably still for Martin Luther King and his ideas (and still laughing at hippies), but now that just makes you normal.

He didn't become a Republican until he was in his 60s and he realized that his beliefs fit the contemporary version of the Republican party more than they fit the contemporary version of the Democratic party. By that time, he (like Tipper Gore and many other conservatives) was complaining about Ice T's "Cop Killer" lyrics, but it was the culture that had changed; I'm sure Heston would have been against "Cop Killer" in the 1940s or 1950s, too, if such a song had been allowed to exist then.

And he probably was always against gun control, but it just wasn't a big thing when he was younger. He wasn't a gun control activist until he was in his 70s, when he was essentially retired and when there was a stronger movement to make it actually harder to get guns. By that time, he was a cranky old man ready to say stuff like, "Mr. Clinton, sir, America didn’t trust you with our health care system. America didn’t trust you with gays in the military. America doesn’t trust you with our 21-year-old daughters, and we sure, Lord, don’t trust you with our guns. Mr. Clinton, get off our lawns!"
posted by pracowity at 12:40 AM on April 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


Of course, that bit (especially the part afterwards, when Moore leaves the photograph on the doorstep for that extra guilt-tripping/tear-jerking effect) *is* what ultimately killed the film.

Killed the film? How? By giving it an Oscar? By somehow making it one of the top grossing documentaries of all time? You mean some sort of death by kindness? Or do you mean that when Rush Limbaugh told you what to think about the film, the Heston interview was what he brought up? The fact that it was wrong to interview the heard of the NRA and make him feel bad about spitting on those kids' graves because he was senile?

What?
posted by cytherea at 12:55 AM on April 6, 2008 [10 favorites]


By the look of it, Heston's opinions didn't shift. When he was younger, he, like many younger people, developed beliefs that at the time marked him as a liberal politically and made him a natural Democrat. But I bet he laughed at hippies. When he was in his 70s and 80s, he was probably still for Martin Luther King and his ideas (and still laughing at hippies), but now that just makes you normal.

What the hell are you talking about? What is the name of your planet in bizzarro world? You're seriously contending that the Democratic and Republican parties have moved to the *left* since the sixties?
posted by cytherea at 1:04 AM on April 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


I grew up enjoying his movies, even the cheesy ones, so thank you, Mr. Heston, for entertaining me.

And for those who will always remember him as Moses...this YouTube clip is for you.
posted by mosk at 1:09 AM on April 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


Or do you mean that when Rush Limbaugh told you what to think about the film, the Heston interview was what he brought up? The fact that it was wrong to interview the heard of the NRA and make him feel bad about spitting on those kids' graves because he was senile?

So presumably being better than that yourself, can we safely put you down as being against spitting on the senile guy's grave, too?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:12 AM on April 6, 2008


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posted by mattr at 1:19 AM on April 6, 2008


....is kind of like getting angry over the ACLU defending hateful (but entirely lawful) speech

Words don't kill. Guns do.
posted by cmgonzalez at 1:21 AM on April 6, 2008


And he probably was always against gun control, but it just wasn't a big thing when he was younger.

He wasn't, though, which is part of what makes his story interesting. He supported gun control after the Kennedy assasination. His is possibly an instructive story, no matter which side of the issue you tend to fall on.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:23 AM on April 6, 2008


Though as far as his acting went, I liked his work.
posted by cmgonzalez at 1:25 AM on April 6, 2008


Curiously, few people seem to give Fred Phelps a pass, despite all the harassment he's given the families of dead soldiers at their funerals. When Phelps dies, all his surviving relatives need to do is claim he had a neurological disease, and that this invalidates any and all criticism of the man's behavior.

Or Phelps just needs to somehow get a couple quotable lines into a few decades-old B-movies, because being a worse actor than Bill Shatner in some shitty sci-fi movies is clearly justification enough to look past the morally heinous act of collecting a few hundred shrill gun nuts together, in order to harass the grieving parents of murdered children to make a point.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:27 AM on April 6, 2008 [9 favorites]


"Now Moses went up from the plains of Moab to mount Nebo"
Moses mounted Nebo? I never knew that, the dirty old man.
posted by vivelame at 1:34 AM on April 6, 2008


Strange how in his death, it seems Heston's best known role was in Bowling for Columbine. Shame.

Today, I mourn the death of one of the last great iconic actors from the golden age of Hollywood. Gun-right activism aside, he was Legend. There is no denying the cultural mark he has left on spring-time television viewership and trips to Manhattan.

We can hate him for his gun-toting ways, for his anti-abortion stance, and his other conservative credentials; but the man who lobbied for JFK, picketed his own movie because the theater was segregated, and marched with Dr. King in 1963, has earned my respect.

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posted by jabberjaw at 1:34 AM on April 6, 2008 [4 favorites]


cytherea writes "You're seriously contending that the Democratic and Republican parties have moved to the *left* since the sixties?"

I won't speak for pracowity, but culture has moved left: lifestyles that were kept secret or despised or condemned in the sixties (homosexulity, interracial relationships, single motherhood, atheism, etc.) are now more-or-less accepted. In part because of the courageous advocacy of people like Mr. Heston.

Let's not get hung-up on, let's not make a litmus test, of gun rights advocacy. One can be a liberal and for gun ownership rights.
posted by orthogonality at 1:43 AM on April 6, 2008 [3 favorites]


Which is awesome, because it shifts the standard of being a better person from what you do and believe to your adherence to a set of social conventions; it becomes more important to give the appearance of decency than to be decent.


Controling one's impulse to speak ill of the dead, tamping down that impulse to unleash one's hate, is probably decent practice.

We can't blame Heston for the bad gun laws and gun culture in the US outright. His best movies are classics.

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posted by vrakatar at 1:44 AM on April 6, 2008



Controling one's impulse to speak ill of the dead, tamping down that impulse to unleash one's hate, is probably decent practice.


But WHY? Why shouldn't we "speak ill of the dead" if the dead are assholes? I mean, there are people in this thread lauding The Omega Man and Airport 1975 and Return Of The Son Of The Illegitimate Daughter Of The Planet Of The Apes as good movies. That's just completely ridiculous. Pretend I'm a Martian and explain to me why people pretend to say nice things about someone who was widely despised yesterday. Because it's a social convention and we don't dare question it?
posted by DecemberBoy at 2:05 AM on April 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


Any chance we can skip the part of the thread where we start calling each other names?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:06 AM on April 6, 2008 [4 favorites]


DecemberBoy writes "Because it's a social convention and we don't dare question it?"

Because the dead can't reply to the living's attacks, and because we'll all all too soon be in their six-feet-under position.
posted by orthogonality at 2:21 AM on April 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's Raining Florence Henderson wrote:

"Any chance we can skip the part of the thread where we start calling each other names?"

What... and miss all the fun?...
posted by milkwood at 2:37 AM on April 6, 2008


Controling one's impulse to speak ill of the dead, tamping down that impulse to unleash one's hate, is probably decent practice.

Yes, but there's a difference between hate and criticism, first of all. It's entirely appropriate to engage in debate about the deeds and words of public figures, whether they are dead or alive.

Secondly, it's not hard to think of extreme examples of individuals no one would suggest we not speak ill of. . .
posted by flotson at 2:40 AM on April 6, 2008


Spitting on the dead?
Tasteless.
Period.

I've just about had it with this place.
posted by Dizzy at 2:44 AM on April 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


I don't think we should speak ill of the dead if they're small time assholes. My grandfather died about a decade ago, he didn't treat me awesome, but I'd never really say much more than that outside of very close personal relationships. Because, being silent about him doesn't make me complicit in anything.

Big time assholes though? It's my opinion that being silent about them, in life or death, does involve a sort of complicity. Which makes the "be decent, and don't speak ill" kind of laughably gross.

I don't know how anyone who says that sort of thing can't feel gross by the closeness that statement shares with the statements that women have been told to be nice and decent and not say anything. Or other minorities have been told.

I think there's a real pathology in secret hoarding, and keeping the dead, and the great ills they propagate, quiet can only be harmful.

(I don't have a dog in the race either, other than I could probably be described as a lefty who believes in 2nd amendment rights. I barely know anything about Heston. And I am sorry for his family's loss.)
posted by birdie birdington at 2:44 AM on April 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


I didn't like him much and I'm not sad about his death, but RIP anyway dude.
posted by zouhair at 2:46 AM on April 6, 2008


Meta.

Absolutely disgusting, people.

An obit thread that links to "comingsoon.net" - ? What are you saying - that Zombie Charlton Heston will soon appear to commence his reign of terror? Please show just a little respect in future, and break such news by linking to "justleft.net" or "notcominganymorecausehe'sdead.com". You assholes make me SICK.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 2:54 AM on April 6, 2008


I don't think we should speak ill of the dead if they're small time assholes.

I was thinking the same thing but just didn't know how to word it--thanks!
posted by hadjiboy at 2:59 AM on April 6, 2008


You're seriously contending that the Democratic and Republican parties have moved to the *left* since the sixties?

Yes, though not particularly since the 1960s. I'm saying Heston, born in 1924 and probably fully formed socially by about the end of WWII, would have seen the memberships of both major parties in the US shift to the left as succeeding generations slowly shifted the country that way. Things that look stodgy to you now would have been pretty liberal when he was in his 20s.

Look who was running the Democratic Party in the 1960s -- old white guys, ex-military types, Sinatra fans. Vietnam was a Democratic war continued by Republicans. Now the nomination is going to go to a black man or a white woman. Neither has done military service and both have done drugs.

There are women and minorities of both parties in high office and running big corporations. Sex and drugs and rock and roll are old-fashioned. All sorts of people who would have been shunned or confined as perverts, freaks, trash (non-whites, gays, transsexuals, vegetarians, alcoholics and other sorts of addicts, Mormons, test-tube babies, people on medication for various mental problems, etc.) are now accepted in both parties. Just open an old magazine or two, read the articles, look at the ads. I don't have to very tediously list all the changes.

Relative to each other, the two major parties may have moved a little bit towards the center, so that each is a bit more like the other, but the center of American society continues to slide to the left (relative to preceding generations) and the parties can only follow.

He supported gun control after the Kennedy assassination.

Yes, but that was after the RFK assassination, when Heston was still a Democrat and people were killing his politicians. It was starting to look like shooting was becoming a part of the normal political process in America, and all sorts of folk were saying that gun ownership is fine but the nuts should not be allowed to own guns. What were his beliefs before the big 1960s assassinations?
posted by pracowity at 3:06 AM on April 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


/falls down on his knees on a beach and shakes his fists in the air
posted by slimepuppy at 3:18 AM on April 6, 2008


.
posted by Smart Dalek at 3:42 AM on April 6, 2008


He put his vest on.

And he was a master masticator among scenery chewers. May you take your gun up to Heaven. I love me some Ten Commandments.
posted by louche mustachio at 3:58 AM on April 6, 2008


If there's anyone watching films three hundred years from now, they will, in fact, be watching some in which Charlton Heston starred. Offhand I can't think of a better depiction of a dystopian future on screen before 1968's Planet of the Apes, and none that synced quite so well with the events of the time. Firehoses? Fears of miscegnation? Denial of civil rights? Seeing these together with rocket ships and space travel was a head trip then and it's the root of many a socially conscious SF head trip now. Thanks for the memories, Mr. Heston.

.
posted by cupcakeninja at 4:14 AM on April 6, 2008


Strange how in his death, it seems Heston's best known role was in Bowling for Columbine.

I really think that's only true of this thread and/or a certain section of Mefites though. To the public at large, he's still better known for other stuff.

I remember being thrilled when he shows up in Branagh's Hamlet as the Player King. Absolutely perfect casting.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 4:36 AM on April 6, 2008


A bizarre bit of information, from a CH trivia page:

"Charlton was hired by the F.B.I during the April 1993 Waco stand-off with cult leader David Koresh, to play the voice of God while communicating with him. However the plan was never used."
posted by taz at 4:38 AM on April 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Soylent Green is made out of people.

Au contraire; Soylent Green is made out of Charlton Heston.

My favourite Heston movie line: So far, this is not blowing my skirt up, gentlemen.
posted by bwg at 4:42 AM on April 6, 2008


Meta. Absolutely disgusting, people.

When you link to Metatalk because your delicate sensibilities have been offended (what, in yet another fucking useless obit thread, some people were assholes and other people were offended by the lack of respect for the departed? Perish the very thought!), it's standard procedure not to link to Metatalk, but to open a thread in which the ritual grievances can be aired and actually link to that.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:43 AM on April 6, 2008


You need to read that comment again, Stav. And double check who posted it.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 4:46 AM on April 6, 2008


...it's standard procedure not to link to Metatalk, but to open a thread...

Guess he was just so disgusted that he just couldn't be bothered.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:46 AM on April 6, 2008


You need to read that comment again, Stav. And double check who posted it.

Preposterous! It's standard procedure to read each comment only once and then release one's zombie army upon the commentator or commentatoress as the case may be, while simultaneously infoming metatalk that a metatalk thread has not been opened via opening a metatalk thread referencing the non-opening issue as per standard procedure. You make me SICK Lentrohamsanin, you horrible Zombie-botherer!
posted by the quidnunc kid at 5:03 AM on April 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Heston was a B-movie actor

a few decades-old B-movies

when insulting people, it is wise not to come off as totally ignorant in the process
posted by pyramid termite at 5:15 AM on April 6, 2008 [6 favorites]


Charlton Heston is an axiom of the cinema.

Sorry, can't find the full text online. Worth a read, though: it's craziness.

Also: RIP, Chuckles. You were a better actor than most people realize.
posted by Dr. Wu at 5:20 AM on April 6, 2008


.
posted by aerotive at 5:21 AM on April 6, 2008


Oops.
posted by Dr. Wu at 5:22 AM on April 6, 2008


Mostly because it makes you look like a better person.

Which is awesome, because it shifts the standard of being a better person from what you do and believe to your adherence to a set of social conventions; it becomes more important to give the appearance of decency than to be decent.


The inability of some people to see the part of the Venn diagram where these things overlap is what makes Metafilter such a wacky place.
posted by Bookhouse at 5:29 AM on April 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'm personally torn about gun control. On the one hand, there are a whole lot of crazy fucks getting guns and turning them on society. On the other hand, there are like a billion guns in circulation and no laws passed are going to have much effect on that at this point. As a rational and reasonable person, if it would solve the problem of crazy or malicious people getting guns and blowing away innocents, I would gladly be willing to not own any myself (and I don't own any myself). But alas, I don't think anything is going to change things at this point, at least not for the better.

I would not call Heston's movies B-movies, at least not all of them. At least some are timeless classics that will be watched by future generations, probably forever. While I disagree with the man's politics, and was saddened by what he became later in life, many of his films will *easily* withstand the test of time.
posted by jamstigator at 5:31 AM on April 6, 2008


RIP Moses, you won't soon be forgotten.



(...but then again, neither will I soon forget LobsterMitten's oh so perceptive question: "well-boned" face?...)
posted by fairmettle at 5:42 AM on April 6, 2008


You're seriously contending that the Democratic and Republican parties have moved to the *left* since the sixties?

cytheria, in some senses that's exactly what happened. Despite an arguable "conservative" resurgence in the late 1980s-1990s, the country as a whole is to the left of where it was forty years ago. Abortion, while controversial, is enshrined in law. Homosexuality, while divisive, is an undeniable fact of the American landscape. Racism, while by no means disappeared, is a political unforgivable sin. Sexism hasn't gone anywhere either, but there are more women in college than men. Even the most "conservative" types can no longer get away with denying these things (except for abortion rights). So while the GOP may, for example, oppose homosexual marriage, the suggestion that homosexual activity should be banned is a non-starter on both sides of the aisle, and denying that the issue exists is completely impossible. The idea of rolling back sexual equality is laughable.

If anything, the current (though quite possibly receding) conservative renaissance is due to the fact that the zenith of 20th-century American liberalism, the Great Society, seems to have been a bad idea.
posted by valkyryn at 5:44 AM on April 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


You make me SICK Lentrohamsanin, you horrible Zombie-botherer!

I'm sorry to hear you say that. I hope one day you can unharden your heart and open yourself to the wonderful mouldering shambling future that the universe wants for you (apart from the bits that have dropped off).

posted by Lentrohamsanin at 5:52 AM on April 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wow. Back when I worked at a chain bookstore, we had a Heston in for a signing. I was supervisor during the event, and as you can imagine it was a mob scene. The event was your usual 'say-hello-shake-hands-get-signature-then-move-on' deal. One guy wouldn't move on. My manager went over to him: 'Sir you have to move on.' 'I'm here to see Mr. Heston!' 'And you did, now it's other people's turn.' 'My wife has cancer!' 'That's terrible, sir, but you still have to let other people through.' 'I'm gonna kick you in the nuts!' 'Then I'll call the cops!' No you won't!' My manager started dialing. The guy took off.

Later as things started to break up I spotted a trio of people waiting by the door that led to the loading dock. There was this woman with a terrible skin condition that made her look like her face was erupting, another woman with this spooky, paralyzed rictus of a smile, and a young man with three Planet Of The Apes videotapes under his arm and an 'I left the planet three days ago' look on his face.

'Can I help you people?' I asked. 'He's coming back?' they asked eagerly. 'I don't think so, but I can't have you loitering here. Let me go check.' I walked out to the loading dock and watched heston's limosuine pull away. 'He's gone.' I told them. 'Awww, he's gone,' they gasped in disappointment.

So after meeting some of Heston's fans, I fully understand his desire to arm himself.
posted by jonmc at 5:54 AM on April 6, 2008 [13 favorites]


that bit (especially the part afterwards, when Moore leaves the photograph on the doorstep for that extra guilt-tripping/tear-jerking effect) *is* what ultimately killed the film.

And turned me off Moore forever.

RIP MR. Heston. Hopefully you're riding into the sunset with that hottie Nova. Also the Obit I read failed to mention Soylent Green, And the Omega Man; Which I find odd since the recent release of I am Legend. Perhaps the obit was pre-written as so many are these days.
posted by Gungho at 5:56 AM on April 6, 2008


Abortion, while controversial, is enshrined in law. Homosexuality, while divisive, is an undeniable fact of the American landscape. Racism, while by no means disappeared, is a political unforgivable sin. Sexism hasn't gone anywhere either, but there are more women in college than men.

Other than abortion rights, none of these are really left/right issues, they are civil rights issues that (should) cut across party lines. I think what you're really talking about is that there's less obvious or socially acceptable bigotry today than there was 20, 40 or 60 years ago. Again, not so much a left/right divide. As for government activism to help the poor (the goals of the traditional left), that's pretty much gone.
posted by psmealey at 5:59 AM on April 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


He was actually 83. He would've been 84 in October.

He was in his 84th year so that's what goes on the death certificate, and in obits, etc.
posted by zarah at 6:12 AM on April 6, 2008


You need to read that comment again, Stav. And double check who posted it.

I haven't got a clue what you're talking about. If it's an amusing gag of some kind, it's too obscure and/or deadpan for me to figure out, at least.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:28 AM on April 6, 2008


I wonder if it'll be like this when Tom Cruise kicks.
posted by DenOfSizer at 6:33 AM on April 6, 2008


.

i shed that not for the dead piece of shit, but because there are those in this thread who cry for him.
posted by gman at 6:40 AM on April 6, 2008


If all these christians just happen to be right.......I sure hope there will be an internet connection for me in hell. I can't wait to read metafilter's thread on the demise of G.W. Bush
.
posted by notreally at 6:48 AM on April 6, 2008


Any chance we can skip the part of the thread where we start calling each other names?

On quick read, I thought this said, "any chance we can skip to the part of the thread where we start calling each other names," and I thought, may as well because those dots just become kind of monotonous anyway. Then I thought, well, we are already at the name-calling part and quickly degenerating to the part where people invoke meta (and some people, presumably wizened old timers or something, lecture on what the standard procedure for meta is).

It makes me wish that famous people did not have to die.
posted by Slap Factory at 6:51 AM on April 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


If all these christians just happen to be right.......

..then somewhere Moses is taking heston aside and saying 'Dude, that was so not me....'
posted by jonmc at 6:51 AM on April 6, 2008


The thing that always annoyed me about Heston and the NRA is what scody mentioned. The NRA does *not* simply support gun ownership, but also a whole host of right wing insanity. I own guns, I like to shoot guns, I don't think guns should be outlawed, and I lothe the NRA with a passion because while I am a gun owner I'm not a right wing loon.

I also take exception to the entire raft of self denfese and "the 2nd Amendment protects the 1st" BS that Heston not only spewed but apparently genuinely believed.

Statistics show that gun ownership is a singularly ineffective form of self defense, that guns kept for that purpose are vastly more likely to be used in the accidental death of a family member than the deliberate death of a criminal, etc. As for guns being the last bulwark of freedom, the concept is so laughable that I'm stunned anyone takes it seriously. Me and my .22 rifle are going to mean exactly diddily against the US army, and it is the height of genuinely insane self agrandizement to believe otherwise.

All of which is significant becuase Heston was deeply involved in perpetuating the self defense lie, the "guns protect freedom" lie, and the entire batshit insane agenda of the NRA. Yes, he was also an actor, but his biggest impact on contemporary America was through his NRA activism. Maybe in 100 or 200 years it will be the acting that people most remember, but today its the guns, the lies, and the vicious right wing insanity.

I like guns because they are nifty from an engineering standpoint, and fun to shoot. I claim no other reason and look with a mixture of pity and scorn on those who delude themselves into thinking that there are other reasons. This is 2008, not 1776, there are no bears wandering in our back yards, and no hordes of righteously pissed indians seeking justifiable vengence on the European assholes who stole their land; if you are not in the military and think your gun has a function beyond entertainment you should seek professional help.
posted by sotonohito at 6:57 AM on April 6, 2008 [22 favorites]


Mercifully, he won't be remembered for his acting abilities.

Instead, he'll be remembered as an angry, selfish, paranoid man who was scared to death that those Damn Dirty Liberals might take his gun away. How dare they care more about the thousands of victims of gun violence than they do about him!
posted by Jatayu das at 6:58 AM on April 6, 2008


(dot)
posted by fixedgear at 7:06 AM on April 6, 2008


Me and my .22 rifle are going to mean exactly diddily against the US army

for the umpteenth time, when the u s army manages to win in iraq, you can start making that argument

the utter ignorance of the history and tactics of guerrilla warfare this statement shows is amazing - the fact is that civilian arms combined with sabotage and asset destruction would make the so called gun nuts of america formidable enemies

americans are better educated, better trained and have better resources than the iraqis do - if the army's having trouble with the iraqis, they'll have real trouble with americans
posted by pyramid termite at 7:14 AM on April 6, 2008 [9 favorites]


 
posted by grouse at 7:17 AM on April 6, 2008


pyramid termite Private ownership of civilian grade firearms will, at absolute best, make starting a guerrilla insurgency easier, it is hardly a critical factor. The most successful of guerrilla movements, Mao's, actually started virtually unarmed. One of the primary ingredients in a guerrilla movemnt is getting guns and ammo from the outside or stealing them from the occupying force.

A large percentage of the weaponry used against the US forces in Iraq comes from former Iraqi Army supply dumps that were (due to criminal neglance and incompetence on the part of Bush) not secured by US forces. I don't have statistics, but I'd be stunned if even 10% of the material used by the Iraqi insurgency came from private citizens. Warlords maybe, but just Joe Iraqi with a gun? Not a chance.
posted by sotonohito at 7:26 AM on April 6, 2008


Heston was a B-movie actor...

Crazy talk.
posted by Scoo at 7:29 AM on April 6, 2008


.
posted by wrapper at 7:41 AM on April 6, 2008


One of the primary ingredients in a guerrilla movemnt is getting guns and ammo from the outside or stealing them from the occupying force.

that's right - and doing so is much easier when you've got some decent weapons to begin with

another thing -

This is 2008, not 1776, there are no bears wandering in our back yards

there are if you live in northern michigan
posted by pyramid termite at 7:41 AM on April 6, 2008


Also the Obit I read failed to mention Soylent Green, And the Omega Man;

Completely bizarre especially given the resurgence of science fiction in film and TV over the past 10 years. I'd argue that you can't speak knowledgeably about science fiction movies until you've seen Heston's Planet of the Apes, Soylent Green, and The Omega Man. Heston was the actor that Arnold Schwarzenegger can only, in his dreams, desperately wish that he was.

The equivalent today would be like giving Martin Sheen or Jack Nicholson a leading role as an sci-fi/action start and having them end up being pivotal examples of the genre.
Legendary actor, civil rights leader and political activist Charlton Heston passed away today, at the age of 84. He died at his home with Lydia, his wife of 64 years, at his side
Really, what more do you want, after that?

americans are better educated, better trained and have better resources than the iraqis do - if the army's having trouble with the iraqis, they'll have real trouble with americans

On the other hand, the situation in Iraq before the fall of Saddam Hussein seems to argue against the "widespread gun ownership will allow the people to rebel against an oppressive government" and the current situation certainly disproves the "an armed society is a polite society" maxim. As far as Charlton Heston's role in promoting all of that? Who cares? When you've 75+ years old, you can crankily rant about whatever you want.
posted by deanc at 7:43 AM on April 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


On the other hand, the situation in Iraq before the fall of Saddam Hussein seems to argue against the "widespread gun ownership will allow the people to rebel against an oppressive government"

i wonder what the kurds think about that

fact - even after extreme measures, including genocide, saddam was not able to completely suppress the kurdish rebels
posted by pyramid termite at 8:02 AM on April 6, 2008


Even Michael Moore seems to mourn his passing. Check out his website.
posted by e40 at 8:16 AM on April 6, 2008


Sidney Poitier, Harry Belafonte, & Charlton Heston at the March on Washington.

A large percentage of the weaponry used against the US forces in Iraq comes from former Iraqi Army supply dumps

And a large percentage of the insurgents are former Iraqi soldiers that we fired after conquering their country.

i wonder what the kurds think about that

"Good thing there were no-fly zones," maybe? Saddam used helicopter gunships to suppress the 1991 uprisings that took over most of the cities in Iraq.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:23 AM on April 6, 2008



Well, obviously I don't know. I can tell you this though: I've always been a supporter of the 2nd Amendment, because I support the Constitution as an indivisible document, despite an emotional aversion to guns. In the last seven years, that emotional aversion has been eroded by an increasing awareness that guns -- force -- may be the last bulwark of freedom.
posted by orthogonality at 3:15 AM on April 6 [1 favorite +] [!]


Well, that depends on that sticky little opening line about a militia. And while I don't have a gun, I'm not out and out opposed to having them. I AM opposed to the jerks at the NRA who think there shouldn't be any test, any check, on people before people can buy them. There are 30 or so people at Virginia Tech who'd be alive if proper care were taken. The NRA is seriously fucked up, seeming to get worse by the year.

None of which has to do directly with Charlton Heston, whose work I respected. As to what happened to him--the late 1960s happened. He went conservative.
posted by etaoin at 8:24 AM on April 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


FUck this "don't speak ill of the dead" crap because "they can't respond." They don't need to; their supporters are apparently still alive.

If I can't speak ill of the dead, then how can I give any opinion of Adolf Hitler? He's dead, right?
posted by grubi at 8:26 AM on April 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


then how can I give any opinion of Adolf Hitler?

By making a run to the store and picking up some Perspective. You seem to be out.
posted by Cyrano at 8:30 AM on April 6, 2008 [6 favorites]


"Good thing there were no-fly zones," maybe?

you didn't read the link i provided did you? if you had, you'd have realized that he'd been trying and failing to suppress kurdish rebels for years before the no-fly zone

but to hell with this - here, watch a chariot race
posted by pyramid termite at 8:36 AM on April 6, 2008


.
posted by josher71 at 8:36 AM on April 6, 2008


The American tv snippets I had seen over the years of Mr. Heston without having sat through The Ten commandments or probably any of his other movies left me thinking he was quite a nut. Then I watched The Omega Man over this winter by chance, late one night, and I really liked it. I don't seem to require the people who entertain me to have the exact same opinions and beliefs that I do. That would be weird (and boring!).
posted by BridgetR at 8:53 AM on April 6, 2008


Of course, that bit (especially the part afterwards, when Moore leaves the photograph on the doorstep for that extra guilt-tripping/tear-jerking effect) *is* what ultimately killed the film.

Turnabout is fair play, if they can get people to cry about guns, then others can cry about children who were shot. I'm a fan of his Heston's charm and talent, but I know not to confuse the personal life of an artist with their work, and that goes both ways. Heston lobbied against city councils in urban areas by romanticizing cheap handguns to be sold without hindrance during crime and drug epidemics. It would be justified to label this as a genocidal tendency, and it was worsened by what their other hand was doing. During Heston's presidency, the NRA became a political haven for neo-nazi's and was a much needed legitimate shadow for the disappearing KKK and all violent anti-government militias to lurk in. The NRA and supporters promoted an aggressive prison building program and lobbied for mandatory sentencing to distract the issue from guns. Sadly, and much worse for the NRA, is that during Heston's presidency, a traditional sporting organization became anti-sportsman, and without hesitation it seems, they used hunting and hunter safety to camouflage the promotion and organizing of those who collected automatic weapons and who never hiked a day in their life. Rather, they spent their free time and money shooting rapid fire at human targets and praising the NRA on bumpers. Instead of lobbying for wildlife conservation domestically as the sportsmen were doing, they lobbied for the importation of cheap communist made assault rifles. That's Heston's legacy. I wouldn't even spend too much time blaming the guy, the big donors obviously knew they needed the ideal man film star to get away with so much.

.
posted by Brian B. at 8:54 AM on April 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


The Agony and the Ecstasy of his passing has left me speechless.
posted by Sailormom at 8:57 AM on April 6, 2008


Charlton Heston's obituary thread on metafiler
Godwinned by grubi.
This is why we can't have nice things, children.
posted by lothar at 9:11 AM on April 6, 2008


As far as I can remember, Heston checked into an alcohol rehab clinic shortly after the "Bowling for Columbine" release. Presumably, his Alzheimer's was also quite developed by then. This was a man with seriously impaired judgement, who clearly was installed as figurehead "president" of the NRA in a PR move. A very, very sick man, in the most literal sense, as it was plainly to be seen in that infamous interview.

So, I will withhold my venom from the man who, when in his full possession of his mental faculties, had an impressive acting career as well as supporting civil rights, and direct it to the cynical merchants of death who so clearly took advantage of his sickness later on...

RIP, Mr. Heston.

.
posted by Skeptic at 9:11 AM on April 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


So long, Cheston.

.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 9:17 AM on April 6, 2008


.

Guess he's not the Omega man after all.
posted by pedmands at 9:21 AM on April 6, 2008


explain to me why people pretend to say nice things about someone who was widely despised yesterday.

Aside from earlier offered explanations how internet gives opportunity to dance/spit on the deceased's grave, I challenge the "widely" part of your assertion. Chalk it up to the media's spin on polarized issues like gun control for coloring perception of C.H. as universally "despised." Enough remembrances of his screen presence here testify to a legacy, perhaps compromised, but not outdone, by C.H.'s alliance with NRA.

why is it when someone I didn't know personally and couldn't stand
I'd save my vitriol for those whom I do know personally and can't stand,
but I'm too chickensh!t to confront them so I save it for strangers whom it's easier and safer to malign than my immediate, real-life nemeses.

Mercifully, he won't be remembered for his acting abilities.

Too many americans' memories are imprinted with what was seen on screen, even above the actor's non-celebrity accomplishments. James Stewart had a postage stamp commemorating, according to its mini-statement, all his best-known movies yet no mention of his military service including reaching brigadier-general rank.

Many people, Heston included, are way more complex than the two-dimensional personas projected on screen, edited-to-taste by documentarians and solidified in public perception. Thus, while I disagree with his gun control views and even some of those actions, I respect his passion for his beliefs throughout his career, and can celebrate the mark he left on american cinema.
posted by skyper at 9:27 AM on April 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


.

Fuck that guy, seriously.
posted by Blazecock Pileon


Blazecock Pileon, always taking the high road.
posted by Dennis Murphy at 9:53 AM on April 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Chuck seemed to love having stuff around his neck.
posted by stargell at 10:01 AM on April 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Just as I would have not defended someone who argued in favor of preserving the Constitution's provision stating that a black should count as three/fifths of a citizen; so, too, shall I choose not to defend or respect a man who devoted a significant portion of his life to ensuring that humans have the easiest and most convenient means of killing one another.
posted by flarbuse at 10:02 AM on April 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


I think it's ridiculous that some say he was a sub par actor in B-movies. If those were B-movies, show me the A-movies? And seriously, there was some great cinema in that rough face and booming voice. Charlton Heston was and is great to watch, and for those who mock his acting, I think you need to take out your blockbuster card and watch Ben Hur, The Omega Man, Soylent Green, Planet of the Apes, and a hell of lot of films I can't remember right now.

So, let's put that bugbear to rest.

Why don't we speak ill of the dead? Part of it is tradition and a good tradition it is. That doesn't mean that we shouldn't criticize nor discuss the effects of their life in summation, but we should insult nor slander the dead. There is something profoundly humbling about someone dying, and in recognition of that humility, we affirm a positive brotherhood with all souls living and dead. We respect the dead because we realize that ultimately they are human like we are, and are one step further on the journey that we are all set upon. Because in the end, no quip or epithet is worth it.

.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 10:06 AM on April 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


I have nothing bad to say about Heston but do note that when someone dies who may be very disliked by some people, the convention is that no evil be said of the dead person. After time has passed, it is permissible as an "assessment." One take: the dead person unable to defend himself. But then biographers etc seem not to worry about this ...just an odd thing worth noting, I think.
posted by Postroad at 10:08 AM on April 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'd rather go to hell with Heston than heaven with M. Moore. Actually I can't think of anything, including sex, a beer, space travel, bowling, dying, that I hadn't rather do with Heston than Moore.
That said, if Moore proceeds me in death, I'll not shit on his grave.
posted by dawson at 10:09 AM on April 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


being a worse actor than Bill Shatner in some shitty sci-fi movies is clearly justification enough to look past the morally heinous act of collecting a few hundred shrill gun nuts together, in order to harass the grieving parents of murdered children to make a point.

Um, everyone's a worse actor than Shatner. Shatner is the epitome of acting, the acme to which all lesser actors aspire. I personally rank Heston at 8.75 Shatners, which is pretty damn good. Olivier was only 9.1 Shatners.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 10:18 AM on April 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


including sex, a beer, space travel, bowling, dying, that I hadn't rather do with Heston than Moore.

Dawson, isn't it slightly ironic that Moore would likely chat with you over beers while bowling if you were dying, while Heston would have never considered it?
posted by Brian B. at 10:24 AM on April 6, 2008


This is an ugly thread. The hate is baffling to me, honestly. Heston didn't advocate shooting people; he advocated gun ownership, which many read as the same thing, but which I think he did not. Mostly because no one advocates mass murder via firearm or any other means, with a few charming exceptions. What we're talking about here is a difference of opinion -- Heston and people like him think that gun ownership makes us safer, and while there are a million and one holes in that argument, I don't think it's fair to take him to task for what you see as the consequences of that opinion when in truth he is not ultimately responsible for how that opinion, enacted as public policy, plays out in the real world. Put a less convoluted way, it is not Charlton Heston's fault that there are guns, or that people have access to them, and certainly not that they use them in the commission of crimes, etc. One side says that we'd all be better off if no one had them. Another side says we'd all be better off if we all had equal means to protect ourselves from others who do have them, and will have them no matter what. Is there an evil side here? I don't see it. One side or the other may be misguided -- one side may be wrong -- which is fuel for debate, for argument. But I don't think either side is advocating a position that is inherently bad. They want the same thing -- safety -- but are very very divided on how to go about getting it. Why is it necessary to godwin the person who disagrees with you?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 10:26 AM on April 6, 2008 [3 favorites]


Just as I would have not defended someone who argued in favor of preserving the Constitution's provision stating that a black should count as three/fifths of a citizen; so, too, shall I choose not to defend or respect a man who devoted a significant portion of his life to ensuring that humans have the easiest and most convenient means of killing one another.

the irony being that the reason we no longer have a constitution that counts blacks as 3/5ths of a citizen is because a bunch of humans used the easiest and most convenient means of killing one another to force that change
posted by pyramid termite at 10:28 AM on April 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Dawson, isn't it slightly ironic that Moore would likely chat with you over beers while bowling if you were dying, while Heston would have never considered it?

no, heston would probably be calling 911 if i was dying - i'm sure i'd find that more helpful than drinking beer and bowling
posted by pyramid termite at 10:31 AM on April 6, 2008


no, heston would probably be calling 911 if i was dying - i'm sure i'd find that more helpful than drinking beer and bowling

Heston would call 911 if you showed up at his front gate.
posted by Brian B. at 10:38 AM on April 6, 2008


I guess there's plenty of people out there and in here that would tapdance on Heston's grave ..some would even take some lessons, but I figure him laughing with his rather charming smile , if an afterlife exists, thinking that he led an hell of a life. I guess he'd say "tapdance if you so like, I don't care" as that'd be in character.

But do the abovesaid tapdancers hate Heston or what he represented ? I think neither, I guess they are still mad at NRA for being apparently so very effective at promoting possession of gun as a statemet of supporting constitutional rights ; expecially one right they found particularly useful and screw the others, but that's a detail that wasn't that much promoted.

I don't think it is possible to blame actors for selling their own face and acting, even if we don't like the script. Yet I guess there's a difference in acting all goofy and celebritiful pushing Nespresso as if it was cocaine , and acting so to convince that any law implementing a constitutional right must be seen an attempt to render that right useless. This isn't run of the mill advertisement, the actor can't just pretend to be product agnostic and be credible.

Yet I bet some would dismiss this as nonsense, because in some utterly simplistic mind selling a car or selling a gun, it's the same shit. And it may be technically so, but there are very different consequences ; one thing is to make you envious of the Jones, another is to suggest you the Jones are out to take your rights away from you.


Today is one of these , for me, rare moments in which I wished I was sure God existed, so I'd pray him to smack the goddamn 10 commandment tables on some recently passed son of a bitch who knew the shit he was playing, indeed quite an actor.
posted by elpapacito at 10:39 AM on April 6, 2008


Heston would call 911 if you showed up at his front gate.

and if you showed up at his front gate, he'd set a mousetrap
posted by pyramid termite at 10:42 AM on April 6, 2008


Michael Moore is showing a lot more class than some people around here...
posted by Skeptic at 10:44 AM on April 6, 2008


and if you showed up at his front gate, he'd set a mousetrap

R.I.P. Chuck Heston, president of the National Mousetrap Association. Yeah, that works.
posted by Brian B. at 10:46 AM on April 6, 2008


Just as I would have not defended someone who argued in favor of preserving the Constitution's provision stating that a black should count as three/fifths of a citizen

How do you feel about the people who allowed that math in there in the first place? Everyone likes to think they would have been brave and spoken up for the Right Thing had they been there but, do the math, most of us wouldn't have. Hell, most of us probably aren't doing it now.

I swear, the only reason I came into this thread was because I said to myself, "I bet I know how this is going to go. Let's see..."

Famous Person A dies. Person A was an advocate of X. Some people, and not without good cause, don't like X. So Person A was a Bad Person because they supported X!!! I don't care about Y and Z!!! HE SUPPORTED X!!! EVERYTHING IN THE WORLD TANGETNALLY RELATED TO X IS HIS FAULT!!!

Yup. Called it.

Some of you are using the corpse of a dead actor to vent your understandable but poorly focused frustations.

Unless you have a One Strike, Eternally Held Against You rule in real life. In which case you're just an asshole.
posted by Cyrano at 10:51 AM on April 6, 2008 [3 favorites]


sotonohito,

You are incorrect: nytimes , csmonitor.

Much of what the Iraqi insurgency is using is stolen from the old army stockpiles but they had a starting point with the widespread ownership of guns. They didn't have to build their arsenal from scratch.
posted by pandaharma at 10:52 AM on April 6, 2008


when insulting people, it is wise not to come off as totally ignorant in the process

When insulting people, it's advisable not to style your quotes so as to attribute comments to people who didn't write them. Makes you look dishonest, much like your fawning over the deceased.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:02 AM on April 6, 2008


Unless you have a One Strike, Eternally Held Against You rule in real life. In which case you're just an asshole.

That reminds me of the NRA's controversial support of the three strikes rule.
posted by Brian B. at 11:04 AM on April 6, 2008


much like your fawning over the deceased.

Let's not set upa false dichotomy of 'fawning over the deceased' and 'pissing on their grave.' Thanks ever so much.
posted by jonmc at 11:09 AM on April 6, 2008


Jesus, you people are sensitive. This place ain't a church nor are we attending Heston's funeral. We don't post obit threads so we can just leave our "." and pay our respects. You seem to be confusing the context for which "Don't speak ill of the dead" applies.

Heston allowed himself to become a political lightening rod willfully. A MeFi thread critiquing this part of his public life while also honoring his film career and civil rights work demeans neither this site nor the posters. If this offends your delicate sensibilities go join another community.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 11:10 AM on April 6, 2008 [3 favorites]


I own a (hand)gun and go shooting at least once a week. Ever since I purchased my first gun I have gotten at least 3 pieces of mail from the NRA in my mailbox. I dislike the NRA and its attempts to get me to vote certain ways and support certain people. It's annoying. I got the gun because I was 21 and I liked that burst of testosterone that you get from holding it. Then, upon finding out how therapeutic it is to blast away at a target for an hour I developed a true appreciation of firearms. I can't stand the NRA people. They want to take away the rules of owning guns. They want to do away with trigger locks, they want to be able to have hair-triggers, they want mentally ill people to be able to own weapons, they want every tom dick and jane to be carrying a concealed weapon in the fashion of the great old west where justice was a .45.

I would never ever associate myself with those people, I would never put that big NRA sticker on my car. I would hope that anyone who actually did want to represent that organization would go out and meet the people who proudly display their colors.

If you are celebrity you should stand responsible for whatever you attach your face to. Period. Perhaps Mr. Heston was manipulated, perhaps he thought the NRA was something different than what it is, maybe he was mentally ill, I don't know, but that doesn't change the fact that he took that position and allowed those people to use his name, face and celebrity for their own gain. I've read numerous biographies and articles and essays on celebrity and it's pretty clear to me what celebrities are remembered for, "their last big project."

Unfortunately for Mr. Heston his last big project was the NRA and as a result of that decision of his, so is "Bowling for Columbine."

The NRA shitted on his celebrity. Micheal Moore shitted on his celebrity. He was celebrity because he was talented. I don't know of a single person who hasn't seen one of his movies, we watched The Ten Commandments in high school, we watched Ben Hur in film school, we watched Soylent Green because we're nerds. His talent inspired and entertained us. His celebrity saddened us. I think it's perfectly reasonable to shit on him and admire him, all at the same time. Everyone deserves to be judged by their good and their bad decisions.
posted by M Edward at 11:10 AM on April 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


You know the ACLU is actually defending people from the police searching their homes for guns so it's not just Heston that *fingers in ears* MLAH MLAH MLAH CAN'T HEAR YOU MLAH MLAH MLAH*he's got a whole life's work in film and he marched with MLK and lobbied for Kennedy back when *fingers in ears* MLAH MLAH MLAH HE HELD A POLITICAL BELIEF I DISAGREE WITH HE'S EVIL MLAH MLAH MLAH*

.

"But WHY? Why shouldn't we "speak ill of the dead" if the dead are assholes?"

Hell, why shouldn't we fuck dead people? It's just a social convention. They're not using their bodies. So what if I want to get off - it's not like they care. And they can't get pregnant, amirite? aha ha ha!!! And what if they're assholes? Why shouldn't we desicrate their corpse?


You don't have to speak. You can remain silent. It's basic respect and recogniton of common humanity. To piss all over someone that way shows the level of respect one has for humanity in general and the general disbelief that in the face of death all men are equal. And indeed - they are. Death comes to everyone.
And there should be recognition of that. That certain issues, no matter how important they seem now, are finally, small compared to our shared humanity.

Really - why shouldn't we piss in every thread a poster makes, if we think the poster is an asshole?
I mean, it's just a social convention. And if the poster is an asshole - don't they deserve it?

Some things are beyond a single issue or our own ideas of how we think things should be. It's hubris to think our own ideas are so important they transcend our common humanity.

And of course some other people do it (like Fred Phelps) that's why they're assholes.

It's not respect to this specific dead guy. It's recognition of that common humanity. We will die too and the issues will fade and all that will be left is the story or the history of it. And that's a pale thin reflection of what a life lived truly is in it's complexity. It devalues life in favor of a narrow set of acts or ideas (thats the foundation of why I'm against the death penalty btw). It's a crime against all life to think one can define and disregard a person's entire life in such a way.
One either gets that or doesn't.
And you either learn to put the thing down after the fight is over or you just keep fighting - and pretty much for nothing. Because they're dead and they don't care.
So you don't do it, you make that simple pause, that simple recognition if only as an exersize for yourself - so you don't become an obsessive sick fucker. (Far as I know gun control, and other issues, are being discussed in some other threads, it's not like it's not being looked at).
The man is not the issue. Nor is the issue the man.
Recognize that people are more complex than that or you devolve your own self into that kind of fanaticism.
If you can't do that - just for the short period at the time of their death - then yeah, you're probably way too hung up with your issues.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:19 AM on April 6, 2008 [37 favorites]


Heston allowed himself to become a political lightening rod willfully. A MeFi thread critiquing this part of his public life while also honoring his film career and civil rights work demeans neither this site nor the posters. If this offends your delicate sensibilities go join another community.

Actually, taking a moment out from one's day to take a dump on the recently deceased tends to offend a LOT of people's delicate sensibilities, which is part of why there have been MeTas that discuss ditching the obit threads altogether. I think that's a bit much, personally, and I don't see any reason why every obit thread needs to be hagiographic. But I also don't see why an obit thread needs to demonize the deceased, except in certain cases when that's blatantly appropriate. I don't think this is one of them. Others evidently feel differently, and I don't think I'm alone in feeling a little grossed out by them right now, but c'est la vie, y'know?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 11:26 AM on April 6, 2008


Is it respectful to write incoherently in obit threads?
posted by found missing at 11:26 AM on April 6, 2008


Blazecock Pileon, always taking the high road.

As "low road" as it is, apparently, to point out that he might deserve to lose any prior respect he earned because of his heinous behavior in the last two decades, you won't see me gather a few hundred people and bring them to his funeral and harass his grieving family.

Because doing that sort of thing is really what taking the low road is about, in fact that pretty much ranks among the lowest of the low roads, and that was exactly how Charlton Heston decided to conduct himself.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:28 AM on April 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Smedleyman--
I tried to Metamail you-- I wanted to thank you for so articulately and elegantly summing up what I find it too hard to express this morning.
But your profile says your account is disabled.
I truly hope you have not pushed the big red button.
Please respond?
posted by Dizzy at 11:30 AM on April 6, 2008


Seriously, Smedleyman?

"I don't like what Heston did for the NRA after Columbine" = "Hell, why shouldn't we fuck dead people?"

What in the fuck is wrong with you?
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 11:31 AM on April 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


One person's articulate is another person's incoherent.
posted by found missing at 11:31 AM on April 6, 2008


On posting, oh I see now. So long.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 11:32 AM on April 6, 2008




Some things are beyond a single issue or our own ideas of how we think things should be. It's hubris to think our own ideas are so important they transcend our common humanity.


This excatly describes Heston's hubris and his involvement with his single issue of guns, his longest leading role. His organization attacked gun control advocates mercilessly, associating them with unpatriotic communists while NRA members stockpiled AK-47's and preached overthrowing the government. The NRA ousted almost every rural liberal from office to the point where their single-issue dogma ruled the day. Oh, Heston also sold Bibles. In 1995, the year of the Oklahoma City bombing, the US government spent over 8 billion dollars for the care of spinal chord injuries related to gun crimes alone (according to the July 1, 1996 issue of USNWR). They knew what the cost was, and they knew what they were doing. Those born yesterday can't relate too well, but it shouldn't be forgotten so soon while praising Heston. People who watch his movies shouldn't be so baffled, he personified the Omega man and many of his symbolically paranoid characters, and regardless, they should give the authors and directors more credit.
posted by Brian B. at 11:42 AM on April 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Charlton Heston was at the centre of my two favourite films as a young kid, Ben-Hur and The Ten Commandments. I later saw The Agony and the Ecstasy and if I'd seen that in the same era it probably would have been up there too, but in a way I'm glad I waited until I was older, because I think I got more out of it that way. I dunno if it's funny to have a seven-year-old kid say his favourite actor was Charlton Heston, but that's what he was to me. Thanks for being a hero on-screen.
posted by roombythelake at 11:43 AM on April 6, 2008


I fondly remember Heston on SNL where they turned the entire credit sequence into a PotA homage, replacing all the actors with damn dirty. Heston was clearly reading cue cards but just oozed more gravitas than imaginable.

But I'm going to try and forget jonmc relating in this thread that Heston's fans were a danger to him, necessitating firearms, with one proof point being the unfortunate skin condition of one. Blech.
posted by stevil at 11:47 AM on April 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


He may have been a bad man but he sure was electric onscreen.
posted by stinkycheese at 11:58 AM on April 6, 2008


here's a reason to not piss on the dead, but if you didn't already know it, it won't make much difference.
when a person dies, even a person so 'evil, vile and wicked' as Heston whose 'heinous behavior' rivaled that of Mao Zedong, there will always be people who are upset, saddened, feel loss. You don't have to know a person to miss them. How many of my generation miss Mr. Rodgers? Are you sure Dr. King didn't play footsie with the commies? Would you want yr son to emulate Johnny Cash?
Ain't nobody perfect, and even if they were not everyone would agree. So Ida Amin dies and I'm relieved, but I don't go shit oh him in obit internet threads.
That's frat Fark behavior, just do it there. Or at least take it to MetaTalk. Because you are gonna make some people even more upset and sad and... And if you delight in doing that, well that speaks volumes about you then doesn't it?
posted by dawson at 11:59 AM on April 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


"Ever since I purchased my first gun I have gotten at least 3 pieces of mail from the NRA in my mailbox."

Three pieces of mail?

BASTARDS!
posted by mr_crash_davis at 12:00 PM on April 6, 2008 [5 favorites]


I always wanted to congratulate Heston for making the gayest movie in history, Ben Hur.

Also, shouldn't we wait three days before before being completely sure he's gone?
posted by telstar at 12:02 PM on April 6, 2008


"Ever since I purchased my first gun I have gotten at least 3 pieces of mail from the NRA in my mailbox."

Three pieces of paper? How do you go on, sir? You are an inspiration to us all.
posted by jonmc at 12:04 PM on April 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Three pieces of paper?

if you knew how many americans die from paper cuts yearly, you wouldn't be so smart-assed - doesn't it mean anything to you at all that the NRA have found a NEW way to kill people?
posted by pyramid termite at 12:07 PM on April 6, 2008


Blatant MeTa promotion... Not to admin from the bottom, but personally, I think a lot of this does not belong in an obituary post. Civility has been left behind here. It's a good thing you're not all armed.
posted by crataegus at 12:12 PM on April 6, 2008


Idi Amin. with an 'i'. Try nad be marginally coherent, you dolt.

my nads are only coherent when they want to do something
posted by pyramid termite at 12:12 PM on April 6, 2008


And another obit thread winds up in MetaTalk.
posted by jessamyn at 12:14 PM on April 6, 2008


Dawson, chill. Very few of the posts criticizing Heston here are disrespectful to the man's basic human dignity, only to his actions. I think the community here is miles ahead of frat Fark behavior and I have learned a number of things about Heston this morning. In a forum dedicated to the free exchange of ideas, his death is a perfectly valid reason to examine his life, the good and the bad. There is literally nothing here that isn't up to the long established standards of MeFi.

Note that I, personally, have not weighed in on my opinion on the man. Pyramid Termite.

The real question is, why are so many people getting hysterical over reasonable, literate criticism of a man who invited controversy? Instead of attacking the opposition for "pissing on a dead man's grave" why can't you provide counterpoints in the discussion, as others have?
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 12:14 PM on April 6, 2008


Whoo boy, this thread needs a cleanup.
posted by StrikeTheViol at 12:16 PM on April 6, 2008


Oh, Heston also sold Bibles. In 1995, the year of the Oklahoma City bombing, the US government spent over 8 billion dollars for the care of spinal chord injuries related to gun crimes alone (according to the July 1, 1996 issue of USNWR). They knew what the cost was, and they knew what they were doing.

Bibles... spinal cord injuries... "they knew..." okay. So, these gun crimes were all committed by registered gun owners, right? Otherwise, what the hell are you raving about?
posted by Krrrlson at 12:22 PM on April 6, 2008


That's about all. I wonder if Man, that
marvel of the universe, that glorious
paradox who has sent me to the unknown...
still makes war against his brother., and
lets his neighbor's children starve.

posted by null terminated at 12:23 PM on April 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


Whoo boy, this thread needs a cleanup.

By cleanup, you mean deletions? Censorship?
If so, that's a bizarre reaction to people arguing over proper decorum.
(If not, then please disregard, etc.)
posted by stinkycheese at 12:26 PM on April 6, 2008


.
posted by brundlefly at 12:26 PM on April 6, 2008


Heston, eyes wide with, ah, feeling. "You truly are the king of kings!"
posted by telstar at 12:29 PM on April 6, 2008



Idi Amin. with an 'i'. Try nad be marginally coherent, you dolt.

But I was talking about his great aunt, Ida.
posted by dawson at 12:29 PM on April 6, 2008


The man lived to be 84. That's reward enough. Stop asking me to worship him.

If I live to be 84 I invite anybody to spit on my grave. I won't give a shit.

Charlton Heston was a mouthpiece of the worst part of the US right wing. He gets no respect from me, ever. Neither do the gun nuts and "second amendment supporters" crawling out of the ooze here.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 12:40 PM on April 6, 2008


But I was talking about his great aunt, Ida.

Well, she was evil. That cheesecake of hers..tasted like crap.
posted by jonmc at 12:52 PM on April 6, 2008


You guys are a bunch of assholes.

.
posted by kbanas at 12:58 PM on April 6, 2008


In a way, I find it odd that I feel any urge to speak on the man’s behalf, because I actually have very conflicted feelings about him. Towards the end, Heston wrote, spoke, and advocated for some things which I personally feel were profoundly misguided, and if not damaging, at least not helpful to the national character. Nevertheless, I find the misinformation propagated in the rush to demonize the man disheartening. His very public civil rights activism at the height of our country’s need, in my mind, buys him at least the right to be honestly measured, if nothing more. Toward that end – not as a defense of his actions, but as a more accurate account of them than some of the hyperbole being thrown about in-thread – I’d like to highlight a few relevant passages from the article that pyramid termite linked above about the post-Columbine NRA meeting in Denver:
NRA curtails convention

By Kevin Flynn
Denver Rocky Mountain News Staff Writer

The National Rifle Association on Wednesday severely curtailed its national convention in Denver next week out of "profound sympathy and respect" for victims of the Columbine High School shooting.

….

Coincidentally, an NRA billboard along West Colfax Avenue advertising its convention was taken down Wednesday.
….

In a letter to NRA members Wednesday, President Charlton Heston and the group's executive vice president, Wayne LaPierre, said all seminars, workshops, luncheons, exhibits by gun makers and other vendors, and festivities are canceled.

All that's left is a members' reception with Rep. J.C. Watts, R-Okla., and the annual meeting, set for 10 a.m. May 1 in the Colorado Convention Center.

Under its bylaws and New York state law, the NRA must hold an annual meeting.

The NRA convention April 30-May 2 was expected to draw 22,000 members and give the city a $17.9 million economic boost.

"But the tragedy in Littleton last Tuesday calls upon us to take steps, along with dozens of other planned public events, to modify our schedule to show our profound sympathy and respect for the families and communities in the Denver area in their time of great loss," Heston and LaPierre wrote.

Both men said they would still make major addresses at the members' meeting.


April 22, 1999
If Heston also disturbed a private funeral service with hundreds of NRA supporters to score political points a la Phelps as BP has insinuated, I can find no record of it. BP - Perhaps you could provide a link to this event so that we can judge for ourselves. It’s an honest request – I’m genuinely curious to what you are referring, if not the event described in the article above.

And while I’m wasting everybody’s time here, I might as well go ahead and mention what I found the most distressing about the Bowling for Columbine movie. Moore actually came this close to making a profoundly important movie – and then backed off for a cheap shot. What I mean is this: Moore spent a fair amount of time in the movie actually dispelling the myth that gun violence is directly related to gun ownership per capita internationally (which he even brings up to Heston), and then completely backs off of a hard look at what in the US history or character makes us prone to gun violence in order to go back to taking the gun providers to task. Why spend a significant portion of your movie showing that gun ownership isn’t the problem, US American gun ownership is the problem, and then not explore the implications? What a waste.

Okay – I’m going to be away for awhile, so I’ll check back in later if anybody cares.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:04 PM on April 6, 2008 [7 favorites]


I always wanted to congratulate Heston for making the gayest movie in history, Ben Hur.

Spoken like a person who's never seen Spartacus.
posted by FelliniBlank at 1:14 PM on April 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


I was thinking about this thread today as I got a sandwich, and proceeded to talk to my sister to ask her opinion on what I see as a trend. It probably isn't though; it has always been like this. Why do we insist that our understanding of people must be on a single scale, and that any flaw automatically removes any admiration?

Thomas Jefferson owned slaves. He also wrote the Declaration of Independence. Mother Teresa converted the dying. She also was one of the greatest forces of charity and service in the 20th century. Hell, even Nixon – with all his sordid past and his perversion of the law – even he started the EPA and went to China. People have mixed legacies, and I know of few that are totally beyond criticism. Mr. Rogers had a few people pop into his obit thread to say that he was creepy, and he's as good as it gets really.

Charlton Heston was an amazing actor, a force for civil rights when it most needed it, and later on, a voice in strong support of gun ownership. If I disagree with one, I can still respect the others. If I loathe the NRA, I can still respect his acting skills. If I think he's a horrible actor, I can still admire his stand for civil rights when a lot of us would have been hanging around and waiting for it to get better.

Are we so black and white as to be unable to do that? Can we not evaluate a human being as he was? Must we turn every single death into merely a symbol of our politics? You need not respect his views, but I don't think anyone shouldn't be considered that full person, capable of good and evil, leaving behind that which we love and hate. If we can't reconcile these opposing forces in a man, I certainly don't think we can for society.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 1:19 PM on April 6, 2008 [33 favorites]


"Most mortals would be intimidated by meeting the actor who played Moses, Judah Ben-Hur and John the Baptist. But Charlton Heston was an extraordinarily genial and accessible gentleman who made you feel comfortable in his presence.

Michael Moore took advantage of this quality when he trapped Heston with a series of questions about gun control in the 2002 documentary, 'Bowling for Columbine.' No matter what you thought of Heston’s right-wing politics or his enthusiastic promotion of the National Rifle Association, the ambush backfired; Moore ended up with more egg on his face than Heston.

It’s not a moment that Heston fans prefer to remember, yet the 'Columbine' episode does say something about the graciousness of the man, who clearly didn’t have to invite Moore into his home. In interviews, Heston was almost always receptive, interested, willing to talk about his failures as well as his successes. Rarely did he let loose with a flash of ego, yet he was proud of his accomplishments.

Perhaps this even-handed quality was the inevitable result of his humble beginnings in the 1940s, when Heston was dealing with shoestring budgets, appearing in near-amateur productions, trying to make the best of desperate situations. By the time he became a Hollywood star in the 1950s, appearing in several of that era’s showiest blockbusters, he’d experienced such a wide range of showbiz hits and misses that he took nothing for granted." *
posted by ericb at 1:25 PM on April 6, 2008


I can't keep favoriting comments, Lord Chancellor, but what an excellent, poignant post. Thank you.
posted by dawson at 1:25 PM on April 6, 2008


Michael Moore talks about how he got his interview with Heston [starts at 8:30 mark].
posted by ericb at 1:33 PM on April 6, 2008


Must we turn every single death into merely a symbol of our politics?

Yes, they have to, because to realize that other people are merely human might mean that they might have to realize that they *gasp* are merely human.
posted by jonmc at 1:38 PM on April 6, 2008


Spoken like a person who's never seen Spartacus.

'Spartacus' -- gay scene banned in 1960, but restored for in the 1991 re-release.
posted by ericb at 1:53 PM on April 6, 2008


drat, i meant 3 pieces per week, for the last 6 years
posted by M Edward at 2:01 PM on April 6, 2008


drat, i meant 3 pieces per week, for the last 6 years
rational people understood that.
singed, Ida Amin

posted by dawson at 2:09 PM on April 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


. you damn dirty ape!
posted by MythMaker at 2:20 PM on April 6, 2008


Why do we insist that our understanding of people must be on a single scale, and that any flaw automatically removes any admiration?

it's the only weapon the mediocrities of the world have to bring people down to their level
posted by pyramid termite at 2:28 PM on April 6, 2008 [3 favorites]


Lord Chancellor some actions are bad enough that they can't be made up for. Heston was a willing, nay eager, figure in the right wing scorched earth, split the nation twain, demonize liberals, campaign. That made him the enemy, and that's why I don't give a shit about what he did that may or may not have been laudable forty years ago.

He was part of the Limbaugh/Coulter/Rove approach to politics, and he deserves all the scorn we can muster. Indeed, my own response to his death is the result of him and his kind. We liberals didn't decide politics was about personal destruction, scorched earth, and all that other unpleasant stuff. But liberals with brains have realized that as long as only the conservatives do that we lose. I don't want to lose. I'm so damn sick of losing that I'll embrace the tactics of my enemies, so yeah, I'll attack the legacy of Heston.

I love you too pyramid termite.
posted by sotonohito at 2:31 PM on April 6, 2008


MeFolk, let your hatred go!
posted by Busithoth at 2:32 PM on April 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


#Today, Ben Hur would be directed by Michael Bay and star Keanu Reeves. The great race would all be CGI, and everyone would speak with faux English accents that occasionally lapse back to Californian.

The first Planet of the Apes is one of my all time favorite films. Wonderfully subversive in its damning indictment of religious orthodoxy.


True, true and true but Apes, Omega and Soylent Green are three of the most fucked-up, racist and reactionary movies of the '70's. Just ask any reasonably educated brown person familiar with these movies what they saw on the screen with those 3 movies.

"Damned dirty apes" is a not-so-veiled anxiety about the black power movement, Omega, with it's multi-ethnic 'Family' is a repudiation of the 60's and it's anti-war peace movements, if not and effort to conflate them with the crazies like Manson. And then Soylent is just a straight-up apocalyptic depiction of class warfare in an overpopulated world. I'm not sure that anyone could particpate in such a looney trio of right-wing fantasy pics without it being by design.

OTOH, it seems that Heston's liberal alliegences died shortly after King's death. It seems something of a cruel irony that he swung so far into the camp that supports gun-rights after his hero was shot dead.

)I'm also expecting someone to announce Will Smith's participation in an Omega remake any day now...)
posted by vhsiv at 2:39 PM on April 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


*head explodes after reading vhsiv's post*
posted by Lord Chancellor at 2:50 PM on April 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


It seems something of a cruel irony that he swung so far into the camp that supports gun-rights after his hero was shot dead.

like bobby seale?
posted by pyramid termite at 2:58 PM on April 6, 2008


After a deep breath let me offer a better explanation and a question.

I'm scared. I'm not merely scared, I'm outright terified, and terror brings anger. The forces of good seem to be losing on every front to a horde of theocrats, homobigots, racists, and economic aristocracy. Americans seem infinately willing to fuck themselves over economically as long as they can bash queers and deny evolution.

And the people I oppose are winning by a relentless message of hate. By tearing down anyone who dares cross them. By making every political issue into an opportunity to paint their enemies as vile thugs of the highest order.

Look at the '04 elections. A genuine war hero was turned into the byword for cowardace, and the response was nonexistent. The Democratic convention in 2004 actually had teams of writers vetting all speeches to make sure they weren't negative, and Bush took the election on a tide of hate, bigotry, and above all else, relentless negative campaigining.

It isn't just that I selfishly don't want to lose, its that I'm scared of what will happen if this keeps going. It doesn't seem tinfoil hattish to look to a future run by Limbaugh, Coulter, Heston, and their followers and see a truly nightmarish place.

And the keep winning. On every issue, and most elections, they keep winning. In my most hopeful moments I think that maybe, maybe, its gotten bad enough economically that my fellow citizens won't keep fucking themselves just so they can keep gay people down, just so they can put their creationist prattle into the schools. But then reality comes up and smacks me in the teeth, and I see again the nearly unbroken chain of victories that the enemy has achieved.

More important, I see *HOW* they've achieved those victories. And it isn't by clearly reasoned argument. It isn't by being civil. Its by unloosing the most vile torrent of baseless accusations, character assissanation, and appeals to naked tribalism and bigotry that exist.

So I look at what works, and I look at what my fellow liberals are doing, and I say "let's go with what works". I don't like it. Its ugly. My own comments in this thread are ugly, but I just plain don't know what else to do.

I can't just hope that if I'm good things will get better. The stakes are too high for wishful thinking. I know that what the right wing smear machine does works, and I know that the high road that so many here preach simply doesn't. I can't turn from what works, even if I dislike it.

So there's my question: what else works? Really, truly, works. Not "well, it should work" or "it'd work if everyone was nice". That doesn't cut it. What else works?
posted by sotonohito at 3:08 PM on April 6, 2008 [3 favorites]


The first Planet of the Apes is one of my all time favorite films. Wonderfully subversive in its damning indictment of religious orthodoxy.

Generally, I only deem a film "wonderfully subversive" if it seeks to subvert subtly in its subtext, not by having a none-too-sophisticated bashing of the audience over its head. But I do like that movie and all of his science fiction oeuvre.
posted by deanc at 3:16 PM on April 6, 2008


What else works?

To quote one the man who was only a weak imitation of Charlton Heston, this:
"Crush your enemies. See them driven before you, and hear the lamentation of their women."
posted by deanc at 3:19 PM on April 6, 2008


So there's my question: what else works?

being armed - they can't shove a theocracy or an aristocracy down your throat if you and millions like you have enough guns to turn it into a battle

i'm not trying to undercut liberalism, goddamn it, i'm trying to give it teeth and a backbone

the 2nd amendment does not just protect conservatives - where are people going to GET that?
posted by pyramid termite at 3:25 PM on April 6, 2008


But, pyramid termite, outright revolution would be quite bloody and there's a significant chance us on the side of good would lose. I've always maintained that come the revolution I'd probably be one of the first against the wall, especially considering where I live.

When I unloosed my own "right wing smear machine lite" attack on Heston in this thread I too, think that "I'm not trying to undercut liberalism, goddamn it, i'm trying to give it teeth and a backbone", yet you disapproved of that rather spectacularly.
posted by sotonohito at 3:52 PM on April 6, 2008


Perhaps because, sotonohito, some people see a pretty glaring distinction between "right wing smear machine lite" and gun ownership?
posted by nonmerci at 3:54 PM on April 6, 2008


A classic actor, who was in some of the more memorable movies of my lifetime, has passed. He made some bad decisions in his life, he was a human being, and he left this planet having lived a life with stories that would probably make your eyes pop out of their sockets. He lived and loved to extremes that many of us likely find downright intimidating, and he'll be remembered long after all of us are gone.

RIP, Mr. Heston.
posted by dbiedny at 3:56 PM on April 6, 2008


nonmerci I see a distinction between right wing smear tactics and gun ownership. I own guns myself. But Heston's NRA wasn't about gun ownership, it was about right wing smears. The era when the NRA was about hunters and whatnot is long over, and Heston presided over the transformation of the NRA into yet another liberal smearing outfit.
posted by sotonohito at 4:00 PM on April 6, 2008


I'm fairly certain I was responding to this:

"When I unloosed my own "right wing smear machine lite" attack on Heston in this thread I too, think that "I'm not trying to undercut liberalism, goddamn it, i'm trying to give it teeth and a backbone", yet you disapproved of that rather spectacularly.
posted by sotonohito at 3:52 PM on April 6 [+] [!]"


If I understood correctly (and I believe I did), you were responding to pyramid's comment, which went something like:

"being armed - they can't shove a theocracy or an aristocracy down your throat if you and millions like you have enough guns to turn it into a battle

i'm not trying to undercut liberalism, goddamn it, i'm trying to give it teeth and a backbone

the 2nd amendment does not just protect conservatives - where are people going to GET that?
posted by pyramid termite at 3:25 PM on April 6 [+] [!] "


Apologies if I'm being a bit thick, but where in that comment is pyramid advocating the NRA and its policies?
posted by nonmerci at 4:04 PM on April 6, 2008


But, pyramid termite, outright revolution would be quite bloody and there's a significant chance us on the side of good would lose.

it's a risk for both sides, not just one, though - and that has a deterrent effect that might make a revolution unnecessary
posted by pyramid termite at 4:43 PM on April 6, 2008


.
posted by chunking express at 5:43 PM on April 6, 2008


nonmerci Sorry, I misunderstood. I thought you were defending Heston.
posted by sotonohito at 6:18 PM on April 6, 2008


He was actually 83. He would've been 84 in October.

He was in his 84th year so that's what goes on the death certificate, and in obits, etc.
posted by zarah at 9:12 AM on April 6 [+] [!]


I wrote obits for newspapers for years. Never heard this before. You use his actual age at death.
posted by etaoin at 6:52 PM on April 6, 2008


Ah, IMDB is wrong. He was born in 1923, not 1924.
posted by etaoin at 6:59 PM on April 6, 2008


I thought my soylent green tasted extra manly today!
posted by nicwolff at 7:02 PM on April 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


Looks like the NRA got George Bush elected.

The leadership of the National Rifle Association declared political war on Vice President Al Gore today, using speech after speech before more than 2,000 cheering members here to accuse Mr. Gore of trying to ''disarm the country'' and to exhort gun owners to organize against his election this fall.

''The N.R.A. is back,'' said Charlton Heston, the organization's president, who is expected to be elected to an unprecedented third consecutive term. ''All of this spells very serious trouble for a man named Gore.''


So we can basically fault or credit Charlton Heston for the last eight years of Bush/Cheney. Did Heston die of shame?
posted by Brian B. at 7:49 PM on April 6, 2008


Heston's NRA claimed a 95% success rate in the 2004 election, defeating Daschle, and defeating an "anti-hunting" measure called "bear baiting" in Maine and Alaska (where the "hunter" shoots a bear at a bait station - allowed in only 9 states).
posted by Brian B. at 7:58 PM on April 6, 2008


A photoset from the BBC: Iconic moments in the life of Charlton Heston.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:59 PM on April 6, 2008


Looks like the NRA got George Bush elected.

wait, wait, i though ralph nader did that
posted by pyramid termite at 8:01 PM on April 6, 2008


wait, wait, i though ralph nader did that

That was Florida. Heston gets credit for the rest.
posted by Brian B. at 8:08 PM on April 6, 2008


So we can basically fault or credit Charlton Heston for the last eight years of Bush/Cheney.

No. That'd be the Supreme Court.
posted by ericb at 8:08 PM on April 6, 2008


No. That'd be the Supreme Court.

Heston first.
posted by Brian B. at 8:11 PM on April 6, 2008


Heston first.

no, he's in the dug out
posted by pyramid termite at 8:14 PM on April 6, 2008


Just so's you know?

When Margaret Thatcher dies? It's not going to be nice.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 8:29 PM on April 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


235 comments and counting, and nobody's seen fit to mention Heston's single greatest performance--as Long John Silver in Ted Turner's cable-only Treasure Island. It's the finest Silver I've ever seen or ever hope to see, played with complete conviction as a sociopath who can charm you out of your drawers (when he's talking to your face) and next moment slit your throat from behind (if you look away and it's in his interest.) It's really hard to think of another actor who has carried off both sides of such a personality with... not just conviction but panache. It would almost be a privilege to have your throat cut by this Long John.

As totally unexpected fine performances go, this one is right up there with the time Fred MacMurray (The Absent-Minded Professor, Son of Flubber) got dragooned into Double Indemnity and astounded everybody by rising to the occasion and turning in the performance of his career and a first-rate performance by any standard.
posted by jfuller at 8:36 PM on April 6, 2008 [3 favorites]


At a time when Orson Welles couldn't get arrested in Hollywood, Charlton Heston used his clout to help him make Touch of Evil. Charlton Heston has always been ok in my book for that.
posted by pasici at 8:54 PM on April 6, 2008


# like bobby seale?

pyramid, that's a little deceptive because Bobbly Seale and Huey Newton weren't right-wingers as much as they were avant-garde ACLU-type legalistic centrists -- Who would have expected what was essentially a community-service organization to take refuge in the 2nd Amendment? Yet they were reponsible for creating school lunch programs, meals on wheels and free Breakfast Programs well ahead of the curve of many local governments. Yet they carried firearms to police the police in their communities.

It was the Panthers and a fear of the Black Power movement that were the tempate for the machine-gun toting warlike gorillas of PotA and not the school lunch providers and community organizers.

The late '60's and early '70's were a crazy time.
posted by vhsiv at 2:37 AM on April 7, 2008


I enjoyed both Planet of the Apes and Bowling for Columbine. Does that make me some kind of damn, dirty hypocrite? I think it's perfectly possible to both respect Heston as an actor and decry his later association with the NRA. I don't particularly want to dance on his grave (I'm saving my tap shoes for Thatcher), but nor do I believe we need to resist criticising his political choices just because he's dead.
posted by MrMustard at 4:11 AM on April 7, 2008


I'll dance on his grave, if we're being offered the option. Damn dirty right winger.
posted by fourcheesemac at 4:47 AM on April 7, 2008


Can we eat him now?
posted by octobersurprise at 5:49 AM on April 7, 2008


I may not have agreed with the man's stance on things later in life, but death is not the place for a final word...instead...

In true respect...RIP, and continue damning those dirty apes.
posted by samsara at 6:01 AM on April 7, 2008


Did somebody up there compare Heston to Hitler?

Wow. Okay, I'm gonna go now - have a nice morning!
posted by jabberjaw at 10:10 AM on April 7, 2008


Obit threads are ABSOLUTELY the place to discuss someone's failings, and the effect they had on the world, good, and bad.

That said, it's unfortunate that Heston fell into a far less openminded position on race, etc. in his later years, and he can rightly be dressed down for them. i have no love or affection for Chuck Heston over the last few years. But for all the good he did in the 60's, and for being one of the greatest actors of film history,

.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 10:42 AM on April 7, 2008




My favorite Heston moment: As the First Player in Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet. The Priam speech is one of my favorites from Shakespeare, and Heston gave a pitch-perfect reading of it. Absolutely beautiful.
posted by EarBucket at 11:20 AM on April 7, 2008


Can we eat him now?
No, not until Tuesday.
posted by Gungho at 12:49 PM on April 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


re Wayne's World,: I learned more about acting from that one scene in Wayne's World...I think of it all the time when some mediocre actor undermines a moment. Of course, on the other hand, I probably wouldn't have known how to recognize those moments without that scene, so perhaps I should grouse for all the movies and TV shows I've enjoyed less since watching it.
posted by not that girl at 1:48 PM on April 7, 2008


I was up late working on an assignment on Friday night, and Planet of the Apes came on. That was one of my favorite movies as a young kid. RIP Chuck.
posted by Mister_A at 1:56 PM on April 7, 2008


Heston was a good sort. Sincerely. And a pretty good actor if you paid attention. Certainly a total pro. Not only that Planet of the Apes is one of the best movie ever made. And Touch of Evil is even better.

I'm sad he is gone. I really am.

Vargas! VARGAS!
posted by tkchrist at 1:57 PM on April 7, 2008


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