Occupying Hud’s Spirit

In Cinema, OWS on 26-Oct-11 at 01:35

Writing in the Texas Observer‘s Picture Show, «*Josh Rosenblatt*» discusses the great Patricia Neal/Paul Newman movie Hud and what Hud represents, then and now:

‘[Writer Larry] McMurtry and the film’s director, Martin Ritt, created Hud’s character not just to thrill but to warn. To them he was the embodiment of a growing malignant spirit in the country, a spirit interested only in greed and money and what can be taken. They were hoping to create a late-capitalist American devil.

‘McMurtry and Ritt probably figured that viewers would be appalled by such thinking and by the character behind it. But somewhere along the way, it seems the cautionary element of their movie got lost. In the decades following the movie’s release, Hud became a role model. His rapacious lust, his desire for money and success, his indifference to the lives of other people, his cruelty toward women, his sociopathic need to take, take, take regardless of consequence somehow became traits to be admired rather than abhorred. Look around Texas today and you’ll see far too many Huds, men who see making money as not just the ultimate goal but the only goal, who see women as things to be used and then tossed aside, who look at consumption as the point of life. Homer’s Texas has become Hud’s, a land where capital and commodification trump all.
‘Watching Hud now, I can’t help the feeling that somewhere along the way we missed the point—that plastics, or something far worse, has won again.’
—Josh Rosenblatt

For me, THAT is what Occupy Wall Street is all about … protesting the ever-accelerating epidemic of Hudism that infects every aspect of American life.

Dear Brother

In History, Politics, Republicanism on 25-Oct-11 at 23:26

In a letter President Eisenhower penned to his brother, Edgar Newton Eisenhower, on 8 November 1954, he wrote:

‘Now it is true that I believe this country is following a dangerous trend when it permits too great a degree of centralization of governmental functions. I oppose this — in some instances the fight is a rather desperate one. But to attain any success it is quite clear that the Federal government cannot avoid or escape responsibilities which the mass of the people firmly believe should be undertaken by it. The political processes of our country are such that if a rule of reason is not applied in this effort, we will lose everything — even to a possible and drastic change in the Constitution. This is what I mean by my constant insistence upon “moderation” in government. Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. Among them are H. L. Hunt (you possibly know his background), a few other Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid.‘ [Emphasis mine.]
—Dwight Eisenhower

He probably had the best understanding of his own party than anyone else, before or since. Unfortunately, the “their number is negligible” part is no longer true.

The Third Force: 1958 and Now

In History, Politics, Religion on 26-Aug-11 at 18:21

From the “More Things Change” department comes this paragraph about America’s religious rightwing … in 1958.

Writing in _Life_ Magazine on «9-Jun-1958», Dr. Henry P. Van Dusen, president of the New York Union Seminary and chairman of the Joint Committee of the World Council of Churches and International Missionary Council notes a salient feature of America’s rightwing fundamentalist Christianity that would prove to be unchanged for the next half-century:

‘There are shortcomings in the movement. Its intellectual outlook is quite limited. For the most part, it is blithely indifferent to scientific and historical advances, including the proven results of modern inquiry into the writing of the Bible and the development of the church. Its Christian message tends to be so simple as to be incomplete. Its spirit is all too often narrow, bigoted and intolerant.’
—Life Magazine

You have to thumb through the pages to find the exact article, which is titled, “The Third Force in Christendom,” on page 113.

Also of note in the article is the tidbit that the Rapture is a relatively recent (1850-vintage) American invention. Which says a lot. But, like Dr. Van Dusen notes, historical advances and modern inquiry don’t mean anything. The Left Behind books are Jesus-inspired prophecy. Period.

And, of course, Dr. Van Dusen’s legitimacy is to be rejected as well, if you are part of the ‘Third Force.’ As I was told back in the ’70s, the World Council of Churches is actually a Satanic front; it will help usher in a false religion controlled by the Antichrist. So, you know, dude is just a shill for Lucifer.

I thought as we hit the 21st century that this sort of thing had gotten worse than it was in my childhood. Funny how it turns out to have been pretty much the same all my life. I suppose the only difference between now and then is that the ‘Third Force’ actually wields civil power, having rejected the policy of non-involvement in civil affairs it followed during my early years.

I witnessed the ‘Third Force’ up close and personal; for what it’s worth, take it from me that none of those people should ever allowed anywhere near the reins of state. Unfortunately, we’re probably already past that point.