Sunday, August 20, 2017

Jerry Lewis RIP

"RIP to Jerry Lewis, a giant of comedy, film,
 and philanthropy" is what he'd want us all to say today.
 --J Elvis Weinstein

"He blatantly tells you on network TV that he is the epitome of 
the socially conscious man, a great humanitarian . . . Actually,
he’s one of the most hostile and unpleasant guys I’ve ever seen."
--Elliot Gould

Jerry Lewis and his brutalized son, Gary.
In 1989, Jerry Lewis's son Joseph talked at length to the National Enquirer. One thing he said that stood out in my mind is that Lewis had a huge master bath in his house. He had back trouble and insisted that the bathroom floor was the only floor hard enough for him to lie on. The bathroom had a TV, an intercom, a mini refrigerator and maybe a kitchenette---I don't remember. He would stay in there for days. I wished I had a bathroom like that.

Lewis's son said that the house had an intercom system and they naturally assumed that they could turn it off in their rooms and have some privacy. But when Lewis moved out and abandoned his wife and children, they discovered that he could sit in his giant bathroom and listen in on them even when they had turned the thing off in their rooms.

Several things from the Enquirer article were confirmed here on a YouTube video of Lewis's 1968 appearance on what looks like a daytime talk show hosted by Joan Rivers. Lewis proudly tells about one time that he belt-whipped his fourteen year old son. He said that he "literally put a couple of welts on his bottom."

No one had the bad taste to ask how he KNEW the kid had welts on his bottom. Obviously, he whipped his son with the kid's pants down. And, again, the kid was fourteen.

In this case, Lewis, who didn't graduate from high school and was held back a year in elementary school, was punishing his son for bad grades.

In the video, Lewis says he sent his son to his room then went to the intercom because "I wanted to hear him cry." It confirms what the Enquirer said about him having the intercom set up so he could lock himself in the bathroom and listen in on his family. They should just be glad CCTV wasn't widely available back then.

I had heard that Lewis bragged to Tom Snyder on The Tomorrow Show that he would spank his sons at parties in front of guests. My impression was that he would have parties and make the kids come down in their pajamas and bathrobes and greet the guests before going to bed and he would become enraged if they didn't do this in exactly the way he wanted.

So. Jerry Lewis, dead at 91.

I think I was fairly nice in recent posts about him. I didn't mock The Day the Clown Cried. I expressed some sympathy for his feelings of inferiority and noted his artistic success. I didn't make fun of the French for taking him seriously.

I was going to write something nice here until I saw that YouTube clip.

The murdering Nazi James Alex Fields, Jr

In school, there were always a few kids who had a not-entirely-grudging admiration for the Nazi military in World War Two. The Brits had more attractive and perhaps better aircraft, but Messerschmitts looked so manly.

In the '70's, there was a report on a TV news magazine. A neo-Nazi explained that he first got into Nazism because he was into military stuff and the Nazis seemed so good at it. He was in the Army himself and got married in an Army uniform with a Nazi armband added (can't they be court martialed for that?)

And now we have this Nazi, James Alex Fields, Jr, who is charged with murder after he drove his car through a crowd of counter demonstrators. His high school teacher said he had written a long paper on the Nazi military. The teacher tried unsuccessfully to steer him away from Nazism. 

Fields joined the Army himself but got kicked out after four months for unknown reasons and he was once accused of beating his disabled mother and threatening her with a knife. He was on medication at the time to control his temper tantrums. In another incident, she told him to take a break from a videogame so he "smacked her in the head" and locked her in the bathroom.

In 2015, Fields went on a school trip to Europe. Fields hated the French and only wanted to visit "the Fatherland", Germany. 

A classmate, Keegan McGrath, told reporters, "He just really laid on about the French being lower than us and inferior to us." He argued with Fields. It became so heated that he went home after a few days because he couldn't stand being in a room with him.

Why did that Nazi bastard get to go to Europe? They never did that at my school.

Fields had taken high school German for two years. He made a Holocaust joke in class.

Well, let's all hope that his life is over and that he'll never see the light of day again.

He was from Kentucky. Defense attorneys have noted that people from out of state are often treated more harshly by courts. Let's hope they're right in this case.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Nolan Gould vs Shia LaBeouf

I saw this thing online. A photographer liked Nolan Gould from Modern Family who was about 12 at the time. He contacted Gould's agent and asked to photograph him. So they said okay. He took pictures of the young fellow on a beach wearing a tuxedo with no shoes. I thought they were pretty good.

See, THAT'S the way an artist should use a celebrity.

Much better than the lazy, stupid Shia LaBeouf performance art crap. They should try to make up for the lack of aesthetics in conceptual or performance art by being interesting or intelligent, but they haven't bothered.

I suppose chanting "He will not divide us" for four to eight years might be art, but it's stupid art. Seems like the intrusion of Nazis created a little interest, a little tension, something for them to triumph over with their refusal to be divided, but LaBeouf and the other "artists" thought their brilliant work was ruined.

It was somewhat less annoying than the paper-bag-on-his-head art.

Do the "artists" make any money off this stuff?

Friday, August 18, 2017

The Naked Witch (1961)

I'm apparently not the only one who does this. You can turn on the same movie night after night and it will put you to sleep. I've been watching The Naked Witch over and over. Directed by Larry Buchanan. It was bankrolled by a Texas drive-in theater owner who wanted as much nudity in it as possible. It was made in 1960, and apparently very little nudity was possible back then.

It was only an hour long. First there's several minutes of documentary narrated by Gary Owens about witchcraft through the ages with paintings as illustrations. Then there's several minutes of travelogue about central Texas which, it turns out, is full of Germans.

Then we get down to the story. A college boy studying the history of witchcraft arrives in Luckenbach, Texas. He inexplicably digs up a witch's grave with his bare hands and steals the stake that was stuck through her causing her to come back to life. Her clothes had disintegrated over the 120 years she had been buried requiring her to walk around bare naked as she seeks revenge.

It was pretty good. When your only purpose in making a movie is to show as much nakedness as possible, you don't think too hard about the storyline. Contrast this with Plan 9 From Outer Space with its four or five separate plots which all come together in the end.  I found myself mindlessly accepting the implausible digging up the grave thing. The story drifts along. A lot of it is silent with narration. The college boy feels guilty about bringing the witch back to life and feels he should help stop her.

I wondered about the children in this movie. The travelogue portion features a German Texan children's choir all dressed in traditional German costume. Did they know they were in a nudie film? They had a close-up of a little German girl cheerfully singing to the camera. Those poor kids couldn't go to their own movie because it was full of nudity. Although, come to think of it, it wasn't released until four years after it was made so some of the kids might have been 18 by then or may have looked old enough to bluff their way in.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Internet Nazis losing their anonymity

I heard that Peter Cvjetanovic, the Nazi pictured above, has his lederhosen in a bunch because he's been publicly identified by pictures published of him in Charlottesville. Cameras are everywhere. You can't publicly proclaim your devotion to Hitler without somebody taking a picture of it. One person recognized a face in the torchlight march as belonging to an anti-Semite who kept showing up at Shia LaBeouf's "He Shall Not Divide Us" "art" project.

Of course, Donald Trump himself is calling for unity. Unity with Nazis. Which is perhaps part of the problem with LaBeouf's meaningless "He Shall Not Divide Us" thing. What's wrong with division?

One guy was disowned by his family.
Pete Tefft, another man photographed at the rally, also had his identity shared by the Twitter account, and his actions have led him to be disowned by his family. “I, along with all of his siblings and his entire family, wish to loudly repudiate my son’s vile, hateful and racist rhetoric and actions,” Tefft’s father, Pearce Tefft, wrote in a letter published online by “We do not know specifically where he learned these beliefs. He did not learn them at home,” the elder Tefft continued, adding: “I have shared my home and hearth with friends and acquaintances of every race, gender and creed. I have taught all of my children that all men and women are created equal. That we must love each other all the same.”
Imagine finding out your idiot son is a Nazi.

It's been suggested that the Nazis are cleverly getting people publicly identified as Nazis in order to burn their bridges behind them, alienate them from their friends and family and limit their job opportunities so that they can't quit Nazism. It might make perfect sense if you're a Nazi, but I don't know.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

All in the Family is why Trump is president

I was watching Norm MacDonald's podcast on YouTube--his interview with Martin Mull. Mull appeared on Norman Lear's Mary Hartman, Mart Hartman, [sic] Fernwood Tonight and America Tonight, so they got on the subject of All in the Family. MacDonald noted that Archie Bunker was objectively more likable than Meathead. He said he had racist relatives who liked the show. I knew racists who liked it, too.

It bothered me even as a kid how anti-working class the show was. Why were all the working class characters dumb racists? Why weren't Meathead and Gloria pro-union?

Meathead took a number of views that weren't exactly liberal. He opposed a group obviously based on the Jewish Defense League only on the grounds of non-violence, not because the JDL was openly racist. When a corporation mistakenly sent money to Edith, he and Gloria were anxious to return it.

This was what went wrong with the Democrats. They started seeing the working class as the enemy and went for corporate money. They became "social liberals" rather that actual liberals, not that they were ever all that socially liberal.

They got away with it for years. Workers still voted Democrat because the Republicans were always slightly worse. Trump showed how bad the Democrats had gotten by showing how little he had to offer working people to get their support.

Charles Schumer, meanwhile announced that "For every blue-collar Democrat we lose in western Pennsylvania, we will pick up two moderate Republicans in the suburbs in Philadelphia, and you can repeat that in Ohio and Illinois and Wisconsin."

Sunday, August 13, 2017

A couple more Shia LaBeouf arrest details

LaBeouf looking more intelligent than usual.

I know I'm running this into the ground, but I sat and listened to a full half hour of Shia LaBeouf shouting racist abuse at police on YouTube. He said some stuff that I didn't see reported before----he talked about shooting the cop in the forehead and said he would like to confront the police while armed with the assault rifle he has at home.

He thinks that a league is a measure of time. A league is about three miles, so even if it were a measure of time, it wouldn't be that long. One of the cops quips that his body cam footage will be on TMZ in about four hours.

A cop says that LaBeouf ran into the hotel lobby. He had yelled at the cops that they were too lazy to chase him. In the lobby, he hid behind a partition. A cop said, "He's not here," so LaBeouf moronically thought the coast was clear and stepped into view at which point he was arrested.

Maybe he was in character. He wasn't speaking in a normal accent and for some reason he kept claiming to be in the National Guard. He kept addressing the cops as "sir". 

I can understand someone being terribly upset at being arrested---not him, because he gets arrested all the time. You'd think he'd have learned by now to stay away from cops instead of asking them for cigarettes. He apologized for being disrespectful to authority which I don't think is a problem, but he said nothing about his abject racism.