Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Thoroughly Random Subject o' the Day

While looking for some bit of info or other in a google search, I stumbled across the 7-year old controversy over Elia Kazan's special honorary lifetime Oscar. I'm blogging about it because in trying to remember the incident, I came across the following article, which is a wonderful piece of writing and the argument is one I completely agree with. Note: it has a link at the bottom to a second page.

A quick recap. Elia Kazan, famed director of the 50s, was also notable for going before the HUAC and informing on a number of those working in Hollywood - branding them communists and basically ruining their lives from that point forward. In 1999, the Academy awarded him a special lifetime Oscar, and it sparked a lot of anger, ultimately taking the form of some notable attendees refusing to stand or applaud (though many did).

It's particularly useful to remind ourselves that this hubbub happened in Bill Clinton's 1999 at the height of the internet boom. That was when everything was going too well to contemplate the possibility that within a mere 4 years, we'd be about to relive the Joe McCarthy era all over in America. If they had tried this shit today, I flat out guarantee you he'd never have gotten such an award. And if he had, the spectacle of several notables refusing to stand would have looked more like a mass walkout, hissing and booing. For a supposed "liberal," this guy really was scum and a real traitor. Fuck Elia Kazan. And fuck his asshole wife.


Blogger TubaOnFire said...

I never understood that. He was a complete and utter shit. Or the huge applause for Roman Polanski - rapist - a few years ago. It is this bizzare thing in our culture where we so desparately want to forgive some people, but others we just fuck over and over again.

1:38 PM  
Blogger Vanilla Bullshit said...

I am not that miffed with Polanski.

Yes, he fucked a 14 year old. But that is a really tricky line, regardless of what the law says. Very subjective stuff, sex. When I was 16 I nearly fucked a 14 year old and in one million years would not have felt guilt had it happened. And if I could have fucked an older woman at 14 I would've, while scoffing at any notion that I was emotionally unready for such intimacy.

Some states say you can marry at 14. Obviously, Polanski was older. But the thing with sex is it is never about equality - part of the attraction is inequaity. Hell, the fact that men and women are physically unequal is a gigantic part of the heterosexual attraction.

Power imbalances are part of sexuality. I am not saying Polanski fucking a 14 year old is a good thing, but I am equally uncomfortable calling it rape. At 14 you are physically developed to the point that the crime lies in the emotional inequality. And what if the girl really really wanted it? I don't know the facts, so I don't know. But that's the point. I feel uncomfortable labeling something like that "rape" when the act seemed mutual but the statutory part makes it illegal. It might have been a stone cold manipulation, it might have been something else.

Plus, he did survive the Holocaust. And he did create this blog's title.

It's a different class of behavior than Kazan's. Kazan had been a Communist before having a change of heart. So it was cool while he thought it was cool, then once he decided to change parties, he condemned those who didn't make the same decision to leave that he had luxuriously afforded himself, and so he vindictively and unabashedly ruined lives, never once regretting it til the day he died. And, as that article points out, he already WAS honored with Oscars for his directing work - this honorary Oscar was not some oversight makeup job.

5:17 PM  

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