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Posts Tagged ‘The 1970s’

Hollywood Starlet/New-Left Activist

Hollywood Starlet/New-Left Activist

Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat Plus

I think there really are two Jane Fonda’s. The great sexy beautiful baby-faced adorable actress, who is arguably the greatest actress of her generation. With perhaps only Liz Taylor being better. And then there’s the New-Left political activist, that emerges on the American political scene in the late 1960s and is there throughout the 1970s. Who U.S. Military veterans see as The Devil. Who the New-Left/Far-Left in America, see as one of their heroes. Perhaps right of there with Karl Marx and many others. And I think its hard to cover both sides of Jane’s career in one post. But she’s made a huge mark in both careers that she’s had, I’m going to give it a shot.

Its not being against the Vietnam War, that made Jane Fonda controversial. I mean, the country up until the early 1970s, was split on that issue. Its still the worst war that America has ever been in. As far as all of the pain, suffering and deaths and how its effected future president’s and Congress’s and how they go to war. Its how Jane was against this war that really sets her apart. And puts in the anti-war movement in America that makes it easy to portray her as anti-American, if not Un-American. When you accuse the President of the United States of being a war criminal and you take a picture with the enemy and you call Americans soldiers murderers, its easy to see how people who love America would hate you.

The positive side of Jane Fonda’s career. Again, perhaps the best actress of her generation, The Silent Generation, Americans born in the late 1920s and 1930s, primarily. I think only Liz Taylor would be better than Jane. And you look at Jane’s movies like Walk on The Wild Side, The Chase, The China Syndrome, some of the best movies ever and she had a great part and was great in all of them, its easy to see why she’s had such a great career. And inheriting Henry Fonda’s genes, doesn’t hurt either. But as a political activist and I’ll go concentrate on the Vietnam War, perhaps some of her other activities, I probably agree with her on, she stands out as a real New-Left, or Far-Left radical, that has pissed off a lot of Americans. Who by in large would probably like and love her a lot otherwise.

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Angela Davis and Nas visit Lehigh University
This post was originally posted at The New Democrat Plus

Just to talk about this interview for a minute or less, depending on how fast you read. I guess Al Jazeera didn’t think the interviewer was important enough to give out his name. Because I have no idea whose the guy who interviewed Professor Davis on this show. Also this was not what you would call a hard-hitting interview. (Baseball season is close) This was an interview where the two people in it share the same views and where their minds are already made up. The interviewer asked leaning questions to get the person being interviewed to back up what they already think and know. Which is their right of course and opinionated journalism certainly exists. Especially on ideologically leaning news networks like Al Jazeera.

Having said all of that, I agree with Angela Davis when it comes to the prison industrial complex. America being this great liberal democracy that we are, locks up too many people in this country. And part of that has to do with the facts that we arrest send people to prison for too many things. When sending them to even county jail for a shorter sentence, or getting them in halfway houses for non-drug addicted non-violent offenders, or drug rehab for drug offenders, would be a much better more cost-effective way of dealing with people with these conditions.

And another reason why we lock up more people than anyone else and a lot of people on the Left especially the Far-Left aren’t going to want to hear this, we have a lot more dangerous criminals per-capita and in total numbers than anyone else. I mean if you look at some of our super-max and other maximum security prisons, you would be able to see that the inmates who are there, are exactly where they need to be. But that doesn’t excuse how we treat people who aren’t dangerous in this country. And I’m not talking about so-called economic terrorists who steals people’s money by using cons and other scams. But drug offenders meaning users and other low-level non-violent offenders like car thieves. Offenders like that who don’t need to be in prison.

So based on this we need a criminal justice and prison system in this country. You want to live in anarchy, be my guess, but you won’t do it in America. But we need one that treats hard-core criminals for exactly what they are. As threats to society who need to be in prison and then after they are there they need to be treated in a humane responsible way that protect society and people in prison. But also prepares them for life on the outside, assuming they aren’t serving life without. While we come up with a smarter and more responsible system for how we treat low-level non-violent offenders in America.

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Angela Davis
This post was originally posted at The New Democrat Plus

Good to hear the so-called Liberal or Progressive on this show, which of course would’ve been Tom Braden. If you were thinking, Pat Buchanan, you must be as high as a kite on something illegal right now. But good to hear the so-called Liberal or Progressive on this show critique and question communism. You don’t get much of that today from so-called Liberals and Progressives, who really aren’t and much further Left than that to the point they would Democratic Socialists or even Communists themselves today.

To Angela Davis’s credit, she gave up communism in I believe the 1990s and calls herself a Socialist and I believe Democratic Socialist today. Politically she has more in common with Senator Bernie Sanders than President Fidel Castro of the Communist Republic of Cuba. Her ideas are still roughly the same and probably her politics hasn’t changed at all. Except that she no longer embraces communism and would like to see a democratic form of socialism in America. And as Americans tend to get older, we tend to get less radical and moderate more. Even if we start out on the Far-Left like Angela Davis.

As far as outlawing racism, which is what Angela Davis said she was in favor of. I wish they went into that deeper to find out what she means by that. If she’s talking about hate crimes and acts of discrimination by denying people access because of their race, that is already illegal in America. If she’s actually talking about outlawing racist thought and speech and groups even if they don’t commit racist crimes, then that would unconstitutional and a form of fascism. “Toe the party-line and believe and communicate the way we do, or we’ll throw you in jail.” That is un-liberal democratic and shouldn’t be tolerated in America.

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img_0479Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat Plus

Angela Davis should’ve never have been in jail, at least for what she was charged with here. Which was being involved in a Marin County court-house shootout in 1970. They had nothing on her other than the fact that she was legally involved and helping people who were accused in the case, like George Jackson. This was about the California establishment trying to take down a women that they were terrified of. Because she was fighting against racism, the prison industrial complex and wanted a different type of government and economic system. That was different from America’s liberal democratic capitalist system.

And to show you that California had nothing on Professor Davis, just look at the fact that she was found innocent. Even though I doubt she had the personal resources that she would’ve needed to defend herself. But had such a large following and different groups that wanted to help her, she was able to get the defense that she needed and deserved. I’m not a Socialist or Communist obviously. Just read this blog on a regular basis if you’re still not convinced. But I wish there were more Angela Davis’s today regardless of race or gender. People who are willing to take on the prison industrial complex that benefits so many wealthy people and business’s at the expense of everyone else. And will risk their freedom to fight the system.

California didn’t try to put Angela Davis away because she was a criminal, terrorist or did any other illegal activities. They tried to put her away because of her political views and what she was fighting for. Which was a different type of government and economic system for America. Which I would’ve opposed her on, but she has every right as a an American to advocate for it. As well as fighting against the prison industrial complex that puts non-violent offenders away for long periods of time. For committing minor offenses mostly on the so-called War on Drugs and things like shoplifting. It was fascists in California that tried to put Angela away simply because of her political views.
AP Archive: Angela Davis- Radical on Trial

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Free Angela
This post was originally posted at The New Democrat Plus

Freedom of speech in America is not about the right to say things that most of the country already agrees with. Or the right to be friendly, or the right say non-controversial things that people don’t necessarily agree or disagree with, but haven’t thought much about. But freedom of speech is exactly that, the freedom to speak freely. Even if it may intend to offend others. Which is why I’m so against political correctness in America, whether its practiced by the Far-Left or Far-Right. And will defend the Far-Left’s and Far-Right’s ability to speak freely as best as I can. Because political correctness is illiberal and Un-Liberal Democratic. Because it is a form of fascism.

That is exactly what this movie, Free Angela is about. One women’s struggle a UCLA professor in Angela Davis who got that position in her mid-twenties, not just her age, but a young African-American women in the late 1960s early 70s getting such an important position as a great school like UCLA. And she was in a fight for her life to be able to speak against injustice in her community and America as a whole. And even use provocative if not extreme far-left rhetoric to express how she felt about America and the state of the African-American community. She didn’t and doesn’t still have the right to express her feelings about these issues because a lot of people agree with her. But simply because she’s an American with the right to free speech.

And then throw in the fact that she was a Communist back then and even though she’s given up communism since and is a Democratic Socialist today, but back in the late 1960s and early 70s she was a Communist in the heart of the Cold War and she offended too many people. And the establishment in California decided that they can’t have a young African-American women with that much power, that big of a platform and that big of a following loose on the streets. And came up with a bogus case to put her away in jail. Ultimately the good guys and gals won this case and Angela Davis was free in I believe 1971. But she should’ve never of had to go through that as an innocent person.

I’m not defending Professor Davis’s communist and now socialist views. Simply her constitutional right to express them, as a Liberal Democrat myself. I’m not nearly that far to the Left as a center-left Liberal and not a Socialist, but we do agree on the prison industrial complex. Which simply needs to be destroyed and replaced with a responsible and sensible criminal justice policy in this country. If we want to remain a liberal free society. But again Socialists on the Far-Left have as much right to express themselves in America, as Christian-Theocrats and Neoconservatives on the Far-Right. The constitutional right to be heard and express yourself. And that to me at least is what Professor Davis’s case was about.

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Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat Plus

I’m sorry, I wish I could’ve found a better video that would’ve shown all three couples, or groups in this movie that would’ve given you a better idea about what this great romantic comedy is about. But I guess you’re going to have to take my word for it, or see the movie yourself. But this is one my favorite comedies of all-time that I saw again on Friday in preparation to write this blog. This is one of the smartest written and funniest written comedies of all-time, with one of the funniest casts that you could put in a movie. People who should all be in the Comedy Hall of Fame, when you’re talking about Bill Cosby, Richard Pryor, Walter Matthau, Alan Alda, Michael Caine and Jane Fonda.

California Suite is about four out-of-town couples coming to Los Angeles. There, should I go on, is there really anything else you need to know about this movie, I mean isn’t that enough, can I retire now? Fine, I’ll go on, but it is about three out-of-town couples coming to Los Angeles for sort of a little vacation. You have an African-American foursome coming to LA from Chicago. A Jewish-American couple from Philadelphia to attend a, well Bar Mitzvah, what else. A then there’s a divorced couple. The women coming from New York and the man coming from the San Francisco area. And they are meeting in Los Angeles for some reason and they are meeting to talk about their daughter’s future. Apparently little Sally doesn’t like living with Mom and wants to live with Dad instead.

The divorced couple played by Alan Alda and Jane Fonda is interesting to me for several reasons and I’ll give you a few of them. One, the humor in the movie matches Al and Jane, lets call them very well. It is as if the humor in this movie was written for them as far as all the sarcasm and quick-witted jabs and one-liners they deliver in the movie. Alda and Fonda have a very similar sense of humor in real-life, if not the exact same humor and they are both great comedic actors. It’s as if Alda is doing this movie on M*A*S*H as far as the humor between him and Jane. Jane Fonda has a great line in this movie where she tells Bill her ex-husband, “Billy you’re not a hopeless romantic. You’re even worst, you’re a hopeful one”. Sounds like a line she could’ve come up with on her own.

Then there’s the Chicago couple where Bill Cosby and Richard Pryor, well their characters that is take their wives out to Los Angeles from Chicago on vacation. They are both doctors and best friends and yet they try to kill each other in this movie. If you are familiar with the movie Planes, Trains and Automobiles, you’ll love this part of California Suite as well. But this time the two men don’t just know each other, but they are best friends and have their wives with them. It is was one disaster after another for them in LA. Starting first in a rental car coming from the airport to their Beverly Hills hotel. The car overheats and they have to pull over and they all get out, but lock the keys in the car. And it just gets worst for them after that.

Then the couple from Philadelphia played by Walter Matthau and Elaine May. For some reason they fly to Los Angeles separately and the Matthau character meets up with his brother who he hasn’t seen in like forever. His brother played by Herb Edelman, I guess is single and perhaps coming off his fifth divorce and is a playboy. And gets his brother drunk at dinner and sets him up with a hooker to be there for his brother when he gets back to his hotel room. They get drunk together again and do God knows what. The next morning he can’t wake his hooker up and wife is on the way and you can imagine the type of problems he’s now dealing with. And it is really Walter Matthau at his funniest.

This is not a movie for people who only like cookie-cutter humor and need to of heard a joke like ten times from late night TV or their favorite comedians or sitcoms, or whatever before they can understand the one-liner and smart ass cracks in the movie. And the humor in this movie also moves very fast with one great one-liner after another. So you not only need to pay attention to what you’re hearing, but do it quickly, because another quick joke is on the way. Played with I’m sure a lot of comedic improv in it as well, especially in a comedy that has Walter Matthau, Bill Cosby and Richard Pryor in it. And I believe is one of the best comedies of all-time.
Sony Pictures: California Suite 1978 Trailer

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Source: Merv Griffin Show– Hippie Dennis Hopper 

Source: The New Democrat Plus

There is such a thing as being ahead of your time, but I don’t think that applies to Dennis Hopper. Who I consider to be a baby boomer born in the mid-1930s, I believe 1936. He is obviously not a boomer, but he fits into that generation so well, especially the Hippie Culture, the Counter Culture of the 1960s. And a lot if not most of his movies from the 1960s and 70s, had something to do with the current culture of that era and a lot of them were about Hippie Culture. So if he had a movie that didn’t do very well in that era and it was about Hippies, it probably wasn’t because Dennis was ahead of his time. That argument could’ve been made about someone making a counter-culture movie in 1955 or so. But you make a movie like that in the late 1960s and early 1970s, you’re in the perfect time frame for that movie.

Dennis Hopper

Source: Sabotage Times– Hippie Dennis Hopper 

So Dennis’s problem with The Last Movie, perhaps was the title, but anyway it might just have been that the movie wasn’t very good. And I’m saying this as someone who is a big Hopper fan and have liked a lot of his movies. As far as this interview, classic Dennis Hopper I believe, at least from that era. I mean he just did Easy Rider in 1969 and he walks onto the stage as a Hippie drifter. Which is essentially what he played in Easy Rider. He is a man for his times, as he was back then and is still today. So whether he doesn’t do as well as he wants to, it just might be because the movie or his performance wasn’t as good as it needed to be for him to do as well as expected to do. It is easy to put it on the audience, or people you work with, but harder to look at yourself to see where you came up short.
Merv Griffin Show: Dennis Hopper Interview- Easy Rider & The Last Movie: From 1971

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