Saturday, September 08, 2012

I Hate The War

John Rentoul is aware that Tony Blair's already married, right?  His latest embarrassing attempt to announce to the world that he is Mrs. Tony Blair really begs that question.

At what point does a journalist or 'journalist' cross the line into wack job?  It appears John Rentoul did long ago.  He tries to throw some dirt at Archbishop Desmond Tutu, he says the accusations against his beloved Tony are too numerous for him to refute, yet there he is again insisting he will stand by his intended until the stars fall from the skies, until the mountains slide into the seas.

You have to wonder if people like that ever grasp how ridiculous they look.

Rentoul's not alone.  We were calling out Tom Hayden for similar conduct in yesterday's snapshot.

John Rentoul doesn't have an image to protect or save.  But Hayden will pop up in books long after he's dead.  Largely because of Jane Fonda, yes.  Not only did he steal millions from her in what was euphemistically termed a "property settlement" (how sad for a a man of his age to still be living off the money he stole from an ex-wife) but he gets to be a footnote in history because he was married to one of American's most talented actresses, a political activist who put her money where her mouth was, a fitness leader and guru who can-can kicked started an industry (the home video industry) as a result of her brains, talent and sense of timing. 

And Tom?

He held minor public office because Jane was kind enough to fund his campaigns and campaign for him.  He didn't achieve anything for himself.

Today, Tom's apparently semi-aware that the end is near (the liver can only take so much) and that his trophy shelf is thread-bare.  Why else would he be self-promoting the Port Huron Statement?

What was the Port Huron Statement?  Not the Gettysburg Address, to be sure.  Not even really an important paper.  In many ways, the 1962 statement was a reaction to the statement conservative William F. Buckley's Young Americans for Freedom issued two years earlier.  It has some interesting turns of phrases so you can be sure those sections weren't written by Tom who wasn't known then or now for having any gifts with phraseology.

And that's the thing, isn't it?  Tom didn't really "write" it.  He likes to claim that and people in bed with him like to repeat it.   It's like the claim that he "founded the SDS."  Or that he was the first president of the SDS.  I believe the first president of SDS was Alan Haber.  I beleive Haber co-founded Students for a Democratic Society.

Tom helped craft a draft.  Not the final draft.  And of course the document was transcribed at several different drafting periods and the original copies do show that they were transcribed.  You know what transcribed means?  Someone's written it down.  It was written down because it was a group effort.  It's funny in the 40 or so pages Tom Hayden's spends on his only claim to fame (other than "husband of . . .") in Reunion, the only time he allows that anyone else participated is when he rushes to insist that anti-Communist section didn't come from him.  No, not him.

(Tom blames Dick Flacks, I believe that's page 92 but I haven't looked at the book in almost 25 years.)

The reality is that the Port Huron Statement is a product of the SDS.  It is a product of every member of the SDS in 1962.  Without the people transcribing the bull sessions it was written it, it would be forgotten.  Without the give-and-take of all members, it never would have been written.  It is not authored by one person and should not be credited as such. 

And the thing about group authorship?  You're responsible.

At Third, we have Jim's note to the reader and if I object to anything, I can have it noted there.  "C.I. did not participate in the writing of this."  What does that mean?  It means you're responsible.  You can't emerge ten or 20 years later and say, "That's not me!"  Especially if you've falsely claimed more credit than you deserved to begin with.

Meaning Tom Hayden called communism a failure.  He is responsible for that section of the document that he blames on Dick Flacks.  He needs to accept that responsibility.  If his calls now make him uncomfortable, he needs to address that as well.  But he can't pretend, decades after, that a section doesn't represent his position when, for decades, he went along with it in public.

So Tom will be gone soon, we all will.  And his reputation has so little.  A trashy husband who cheated on wives.  A trashy, filthy man who was known for his smell (not a good one) and called a "beast" to his face (as an insult) by many men (that pock marked face reflected a pock marked soul).  The only reason he'll be remembered is because he was married to Jane Fonda.  Since her ex-husbands are all so accomplished except for Tom, they'll have to bring Port Huron.  Ted Turner?  changed the world of communication and news.  Roger Vadim?  Helped change the way the world looked at cinema, more responsible for the use of color for emotion than any other director of the French New Wave. 

And then there's Tom.

Roger and Ted have charisma. 

Tom lacks even that.

So of course they'll take on the Port Huron Statement.

But in 2120, when someone's studying Jane Fonda in film class or acting or women's history or a business class or a feminist activism class, they'll pick up a book and it'll note -- briefly -- that a cad named Tom Hayden existed who could spend a spouse's money, take a spouse's money but couldn't honor a vow or treat a step-child with compassion or keep it in his pants.  But, oh, by the way, he once 'wrote' the Port Huron Statement.

The real kicker will be in the next paragraph where they note that alleged leftist Tom went on to justify empire from 2009 through 2012 and didn't understand why he was seen as a hypocrite when he died.

Wars are started for a lot of reasons, among them lust and rejection.  One has to wonder if Tom had embraced what so many of us see as his dominant and gay side, would he have been less aggressive and hateful?  It's a question a biographer could explore but, sadly, he will have none.

It's over, I'm done writing songs about love
There's a war going on
So I'm holding my gun with a strap and a glove
And I'm writing a song about war
And it goes
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Oh oh oh oh
-- "I Hate The War" (written by Greg Goldberg, on The Ballet's Mattachine!)

The number of US service members the Dept of Defense states died in the Iraq War is [PDF format warning] 4488.

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