Monday, April 15, 2013

On left, on center, on war

Steve Vogel (Washington Post) has an interesting article on Senator Bernie Sanders, Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.

And I was thinking about that and how to work that in but I keep coming back to an article in the e-mails, over 15 visitors have e-mailed it.  And a part of me says, "Don't take the bait," but another part of me is dying to weigh in.

So I'm going to.  As noted here many times, I know Jane Fonda, I like Jane Fonda.

Friends sometimes ask if Jane passes away while the site's still active what will I say?  It won't be a Valentine.  I have nothing but praise for her acting and producing.  I think, late in life, she's become an amazing parent (I mean that as a compliment -- I think she was detached and distant with Vanessa and I don't think I'm speaking out of school -- I believe it's in her book) which demonstrated not just an ability to transform but a desire to become a better person.  I think most of her politics deserve praise.  That's where the air kisses will stop, actually, should she pass before me and this site still be going.

My problem with her politics is not Fox News' problem with her politics but let's get to that. Hollie McKay offers "Jane Fonda tells veterans boycotting her movie 'The Butler' to 'get a life'."  Larry Reyes who was in the Navy doesn't care for Jane Fonda and believes he knows everything about her.

Larry, you're wrong.  There's no ifs-ands-or-buts there.  I've known her for decades and I don't know everything about her.

He's offended that she's in a film called The Butler because she's playing Nancy Reagan.  He's upset because she went to Vietnam:

He told us Fonda had “every right” to protest the Vietnam War and to lobby Capitol Hill to get her message across, but says she bordered on treason when she went to Hanoi, Vietnam, called Americans “war criminals,” and was photographed seated on an anti-aircraft battery, a move she claimed she regretted in her 2005 autobiography.

Did Richard Nixon cross a line?  When he was bombing the dikes?  If you're so intent upon living all these years ago today, then you better have an answer for that?  You also better grasp that if you're calling Jane 'unbalanced' -- the woman was a bulimic.  She was active in her disease at that time.  If you're so appalled by what she did, you should be grateful that she's repeatedly apologized for the anti-aircraft battery photo.  Not, as Fox claims, with "she claimed she regretted in her 2005 autobiography."

Long before Jane Fonda did the end of the 80s interview with Barbara Walters where she spoke of that, she had already spent over a decade addressing that issue and saying she regretted it, that she didn't realize the photographic moment that was taking place but that as someone in the visual arts she should have, and that she wished she could take it back.

 I didn't go to Vietnam.  If I had, I would've been photographed in a lot of similar if not worse moments.  Why?  Because I would have grabbed a seat anywhere.  I would not have connected something to that seat -- and didn't when the photos of Jane emerged.  I would've thought, 'I have been standing all day, I'm sitting down.'

Calling Americans 'war criminals'?  No.  That didn't happen.  She referred to War Crimes and she spoke of some people committing them.  That's reality.  It's reality in Iraq as well.

And if he really cared about the issue of Vietnam -- which he may not -- I would assume he'd have reached some sort of level of calm.  I spent years being enraged by the War Hawks.  I can still get very upset over liars.  But those who honestly believe the Iraq War was the right thing?  Still believe?  I've typed it here before and I'll note it again, I honestly have more respect for them than the indiffierent or the ones who used the Iraq War for political gain -- partisanship.  I am always against the Iraq War, that won't change.  But those who keep up with it today that do support it?  I can have a conversation with them and I can appreciate their sincerity.  I have little tolerance for those on 'my side' that walked away.  (The truth is that most who walked away weren't on my side because my side was about the Iraq War is illegal.  What was done to the Iraqi people was outrageous. My side was not about, "Let's elect some Dems and be okay with them doing the same thing as Republicans!)

Reyes thinks he knows everything because, he explains, he grew up in a military family and heard all about it growing up.

I assume then that that's where he heard all about Nancy Reagan growing up.

[Alleged] Cocks**ker.

That is what she's known for.  If she hadn't been a First Lady, that's all she'd be known for.

I heard about it from Katharine Hepburn, as well as from many others.  Spencer Tracy was largely same-sex attracted by the end of his life but when Nancy was trying to make it in films, the 'family friend' serviced Spencer.  (And it wasn't just Spencer according to Hepburn, it included many others such as Benny Thau.)

I've joked for years that if she passed away while I was doing this site it would read, "Nancy's dead, she gave good head."

Her godmother was the lesbian actress Nazimova.

I don't think giving head or Nazimova's anything to be ashamed of.  I actually think they make her much more interesting than she otherwise would be.

But I also believe I'm probably typing some stuff here about Nance that Reyes never heard of -- I could be wrong.

My point being: No one knows everything, including me.

If he's so opposed to what Jane did in the early seventies, he should be charitable and grasp that this was a woman with bulimia -- active in her disease -- who was trying to make a difference (and I believe she did) and dealing with the government spying on her, the government putting her on an enemy list, the government listening to her phone calls, intercepting her mail and much more.  This is the government that destroyed Jean Seberg.

Jane's playing Nancy Reagan and that's supposedly outrageous.  I could see that about John Cusak playing Richard Nixon.  (Though I see no problem with Robin Williams playing FDR -- in fact, that's the only reason I'd see this film, for Robin who is a friend).

But Jane Fonda is an Academy Award winning actress, two-time Oscar winner.  Reyes doesn't seem to get that or that, regardless of who the woman is, a woman of that stature playing Nancy Reagan is a compliment.

Jane didn't care for Ronald Reagan (I loathed Ronald and felt that Henry Fonda and Bette Davis had the best take on him).  Jane's not on record as having dislike Nancy.  Because she didn't.

There is so much known about Nancy Reagan that Reyes probably's never heard of.  I see Ronald as a raging homophobe, for example.  But Nancy was very close with William Haines and his partner Jimmie Shields.   William Haines was a huge star in the silent era.  He was the Tom Cruise of his day.  Nancy didn't know him then.  MGM told him find a woman to marry and use as a beard or leave the studio.  He chose to continue to be with Jimmie Shields.  So he walked away from stardom.  When Nancy met him, he ran a successful interior design business.  He and Jimmie were valued friends to Nancy -- even when Ronald was governor.

At a time when many political types would have nothing to do with closeted gays, Nancy became strong and public friends with William Haines and Jimmie Shields.

That was a strong stand on her part.  Even her detractors in the entertainment industry gave her credit for that.

She was pro-choice (including as First Lady).

There was a time when Jane thought Tom Hayden might become president.  (Tom is Jane's second husband.)

The idea that she dislikes Nancy is false.  The idea that she can't identify with Nancy is untrue.

I'm curious to see what she'll do with the role.

I don't think she's trying to insult Nancy Reagan.

From the article:

“God only knows how many in our military were affected,” Reyes said. “Jane seems to love everything communist, but when it comes to making money she’s a gold capitalist. It’s my right to protest this film, and if I can stop a few people from seeing it, I will be happy.”

I don't know what he was told growing up but he needs to reconsider it.  Jane's never loved all things Communist.  She flirted with Socialism years ago (and I'm speaking out of school on that but I'm not going to lie).She's never been a Communist.  Her first husband was Roger Vadim -- very funny and very talented and also a confirmed hedonist.  A hedonist and a Communist will not last in bed for more than a few months.  Roger did not loathe Communists but he did find them funny and felt he should do a film like Ninotchka.  (Greta Garbo plays a Communist in that comedy classic.) 

It is Reyes' right to protest the film.

Of course, a smart person waits to see a film before they protest it.  I love World Can't Wait.  But I'm not interested in promoting anything they do anymore.  I thought I would have gotten over it by now but I cannot forgive them for staging a protest against Zero Dark Thirty before they saw the film.  I don't embrace censorship.

In "TV: The Sewer Rises," Ava and I are talking about how disgusting Hannibal is.  I don't believe it belongs on air.  I've asked for no prior restraint.  I did not march and say, "NBC, you must not put this on the air!"  But it's on the air now and I've seen and it has no redeeming cultural value.  It's gore porn. I think it's the worst show on television of this year or any year.  And I waited until I watched it to weigh in.

That's about being informed.

Reyes might want to try that but, honestly, if he doesn't, I'm not going to cry.

That goes to why Robin's the only reason that could get me to see that film.  I loathe Harvey and Bob with a passion.  I think it's hilarious and karmic that Reyes is planning to attack their move for politics.  Harvey and Bob have made a habit of turning the Academy Awards into a blood sport.  They've also demonstrated just how tacky and unartistic they are.  I keep remembering how the Academy recoiled in the early 70s when, they say, a record executive tried to buy an Oscar.  (I disagree with that take and am friends with that executive, so I'm not naming him.)  But has anyone been tackier than the Weinsteins?

And let's be really honest, Gwyneth can't act.  And she's not a star. She can't carry a film. Her mother at least can act.  And yet, Harvey and Bob shoved that no-talent down everyone's throat.  I don't just mean buying the Oscar for Gwyneth -- but there was that.  I also mean, insisting that she be cast in this film or that.  Do you now how many directors gave up on films because Harvey kept insisting coldfish Gwyneth was not just a leading lady but the leading lady they had to cast?

Life hasn't been good for Harvey.  Gwyneth tries to go on Glee and play older sister to pretend her career has some sort of movement.  The reality is, she's backsliding.  She started out as 'the girl' and that's all she is now.  One of the most disappointing trajectories of any Best Actress winner.  I have three friends who walked away from Miramax because Harvey insisted Gwyneth -- with all the appeal of chalk -- had to be the leading lady in their film.

Bob and Harvey are cheap and tacky -- money grubbers -- and that goes to Harvey's background, people like that (music industry types) usually have mob dealings somewhere in the background and most aren't able to transition out of that society or mind-set.  That's why they had to set up base in NYC.  There's no love for them in California.  They've destroyed the independent film.  They've done things that they will never be forgiven for (their attack on Ron and Brian's Beautiful Mind comes to mind).

And so now Reyes wants to protest one of their films?

I do believe you should read the book or listen to the album or see the film before you protest.  But I'm not going to be shedding any tears that that Harvey and Bob are getting a taste of their own medicine.

 Somewhere in the article, and this is why I'm writing about the topic, Jane is called "a liberal activist."  I believe by the reporter (not Reyes).

Jane's not a liberal activist.  Jane's a Democratic Party activist.  There's a difference.  That's one of the things I'll be noting when she passes.  Like many women in the industry, I thought Jane was so much braver than she is.  She toes the line for the Democratic Party.  Even when she knows its wrong.  She won't speak out publicly.  A number of us talk about it and wonder is she getting more conservative with age or was she always like this.  Because a number of us were held to be centrist by comparison.  No one reading this site would mistake me for a centrist.

But unlike Jane, I can call Barack a sexist because that's what he is.  You don't gather with workers and just include men unless you're a sexist (his golfing and basketball games).  You don't refuse to appoint women to this or that unless you're a sexist.  (And Iraq really could have used a woman in that role if only for symbolism.)  You don't call women reporters "sweetie" or obsess over a female politician's appearance unless you're sexist.

I don't think Reyes should hate Jane but if he does, maybe this will make him happy, she's disappointing a lot of people who thought her long promised "third act" was going to be about truth and accountability. 

Bonnie notes that Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Safety Net Scissorhands" went up last night.  On this week's Law and Disorder Radio,  an hour long program that airs Monday mornings at 9:00 a.m. EST on WBAI and around the country throughout the week, hosted by attorneys Heidi Boghosian, Michael S. Smith and Michael Ratner (Center for Constitutional Rights) topics addressed include an update on Russell Maroon Shoatz of the Black Liberation Army (Bret Grote provides an update), with attorney Andrea Costello they discuss the morning after pill and we get to hear some of the documentary It Was Genocide: Armenian Survivor Stories.

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