The Irrepressible Rothbard
Essays of Murray N. Rothbard
Edited by Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.
For once, the Academy Awards were tolerable not the ceremony, which was longer, more boring, and more Politically Correct than ever but the awards themselves. The Unforgiven was neither my favorite picture of the year, nor a particularly good movie or Western, but it was not too bad, and certainly infinitely better than the repellent Crying Game, which it just beat out by a nose. The great Clint Eastwood deserves an Oscar, and so this can be considered a "lifetime award." But he was only able to receive it for a genre hated by left-liberals because he made deep obeisances throughout the movie about the evils of violence, or of revenge, about the torments of "killing a man" and all the rest of the liberal swill. In other words, the hero Eastwood acts, most of the time, like a self-hating, liberal anti-hero. Also, the highly touted photography is another liberal feast: dark, murky, monochromatic. Despite all this, The Unforgiven is redeemed at the end by a magnificent and heroic final sequence, in which Eastwood abandons his kvetching and self-loathing and mows down the bad guys in a superb, action-packed tour de force.
One liberal critic explained that Eastwood could finally be given an award because such a long time had elapsed that he can be "forgiven" for the superb, right-wing Dirty Harry, one of the great movies of our age, directed by the same right-wing Don Siegel who brought us the top science-fiction movie in decades, the superb, scary, "conspiracy-theorist" Invasion of the Body Snatchers (the original, not the crummy, special-effects-driven, remake).
And yet some leftists are never satisfied. Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen bellyached that Morgan Freeman, black sidekick of Eastwood in Unforgiven, is accepted as a person by hero, villain, and the public alike and not constantly noticed or denounced for his race; according to the crackpot Cohen, Eastwood thereby deliberately underplays the "vicious racism" of the Old West and blah blah.
My own candidate for Best Picture was Scent of a Woman, a wonderfully dramatic and romantic old-fashioned "movie-movie," which features a truly bravura acting performance by Al Pacino, the best of his career (for which he was a walkover for the Best Leading Actor award). Pacino, a bitter ex-colonel blinded in a drunken accident, teams up with a refreshing young actor, Chris O'Donnell, as his minder while he has a last fling on the town before committing suicide in the military manner. O'Donnell, a poor scholarship lad in a posh Eastern prep school, faces a moral dilemma: should he snitch on a prank committed by his snotty schoolmates on the sneering, despotic headmaster, marvelously played by a former leading villain on the daytime soap operas? During the wild weekend, Pacino and the young lad learn from each other, and help each other through their respective crises, with Pacino delivering a great stump speech in the finale on the true requisites of becoming a "leader of men." Screenwriter Bo Goldman contributes a stirring screenplay, filled with the kind of sharp dialogue you rarely hear these days where grunts and gropes pass for conversation. Liberal avant-garde critics didn't like Scent of a Woman, calling it "superficial" and "sentimental." Translated: optimistic and life-affirming. That's all you need to know.
Emma Thompson got the Leading Actress award for Howard's End, the best of a poor crop in a typically pretentious, boring E.M. Forster movie that usually gets awards from unduly impressed Americano boobs. Gene Hackman was a solid choice for the villain in Unforgiven, although I would have preferred the sparkling performance of Jack Nicholson as the Queegish Marine martinet in A Few Good Men. A Few Good Men was a so-so movie, but the sort (with Tom Cruise and Nicholson) that usually gets lots of award; for some reason it faded in the pre-award stretch. I'm usually not a great Nicholson fan, finding his eternal puckish leer tiresome, but he played this role to the hilt.
The Best Supporting Actress pick was a steal, since Marisa Tomei, who played a Brooklyn ethnic in the comic My Cousin Vinnie, was the leading actress, in what could scarcely be called a "supporting" role. This continues the common fraudulent practice of studios bumping down leading actors and actresses to the "supporting" category so as to increase their chances for an Oscar. In any case, Miss Tomei's cartoonish stint was far inferior to Miranda Richardson's striking performance in Damage. The award to Tomei is all the more inapt since the genuine star turn in the movie was that of "Cousin Vinnie" himself, the funny and frenetic Joe Pesci, who wasn't nominated for any award at all.
The true victory of the Oscars, however, was negative, in that the outrageously hyped, repellent The Crying Game came away without the Best Picture award. The Crying Game became a hit solely on the basis of an infamous coalition between the producer's outrageous hype and the battery of perverse, nihilistic left-liberal movie critics, who loved the picture beyond endurance. An undistinguished Irish drama about the IRA, the movie was hyped by the notorious Weinstein brothers, owners of Miramax, movie distributors who are unusually obnoxious even for the movie industry. The hype employed the gimmick of imploring critics and audiences alike not to give away the wonderful plot "surprise" of the movie. Critics kept talking about the "surprise," which brings new meaning and new insight to the nature of "love," and, as one critic put it, takes love beyond the "simplicities" of Sound of Music and into the "complexities" of "modern love." And even though the "secret" had been given away by the very fact that the movie's "heroine," British Negress hairdresser Jaye Davidson, was nominated for Best Supporting "Actor," not "Actress," Siskel and Ebert got into a furious fight on their popular TV show, when Ebert screamed at Siskel for "giving away" the precious secret.
The secret? That Jaye Davidson, girl friend of the IRA man's prisoner, whom the IRA man falls in love with, turns out to be a man, a truth, needless to say, graphically presented to the audience. In short, old simplicity means hetero-sex, modern "complexity" means transvestite/transsexual sex.
In fact, this seems to be The Big Cultural Event of the Year: genderbending. Not the old-hat idea that homosexuality is acceptable or good even or even better; but that there is no difference between the sexes at all, that the seemingly natural "boundaries" between the sexes is only an artificial product of male-heterosex-dominated Western culture. Following on the heels of the Crying Game, is the latest hot movie in London, which soon will hit these shores: Orlando, a film of the old Virginia Woolf novel, in which the hero/heroine changes his/her sex every century, a male one century a female the next, and son. Get the picture? And then we have the crazy female anthropologist with the hyphenated name writing an op-ed page in the august New York Times proclaiming that "Western Culture" has imposed the view that there are only two sexes. Instead, there are really five, the Orthodox, Judeo-Christian two, plus three versions of hermaphrodite, whom she claims constitutes 5 percent of the population, which 5 percent have of course been driven into the closet by our repressive culture. Next step: affirmative action quotas for the oppressed victimized hermaphrodite masses, yearning for validation. Yes, we must demand 5 percent hermaphrodites in our faculties, our professions, in the U.S. Senate, etc. Will all the oppressed hermaphrodites please stand up and reveal themselves?
And what about the Siamese Twin masses? When I was a kid, I saw Siamese Twins at a sideshow. Surely they must be a deeply suppressed, even cut-up, 5 percent of the population. Hell, let's make it 10 percent. Ten percent affirmative action quotas for the oppressed Siamese Twin peoples! And let's stop calling them with that disparaging name "Siamese." They are "Native American Twins!"
Sound of Music, oh Sound of Music, you were really a tedious movie, but please, please, Bring it Back! Bring Back the Old Culture before it's too late! Who will deliver us from this horrible FREAK House that our culture has become?
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