There have been three men in and around Hollywood the last century (1900s of course) that have defined masculinity. These three were manly men- not the wife-beating, lyric-spitting, gun-toting (for less-than-good purposes) facade the term “man” usually gets nowadays. These three were law-following, law-making, and law-enforcing men. The majority of the time, not only were they on the right side of the law, they were the law. It just so happens that all these men were very Republican, loved guns, championed the causes of the United States forefathers, sought to end discrimination and segregation, and just plain-old kicked butt.
We start first with John Wayne (born Marion Robert Morrison) who ruled this turf of masculinity from about 1930 to 1960. Charlton Heston (born John Charles Carter) took over around 1959 with Ben-Hur and carried the torch until the 70s. Chuck Norris took over in the 80s with Delta Force, followed by Walker, Texas Ranger, and now pretty much does whatever he wants (like anyone is going to stop him?)
Yesterday, Charlton Heston passed away.
What do you say about a man who played Ben-Hur, Colonel George Taylor, Mark Antony, Mark Antony (again, 20 years later), and Moses? What do you say about a man who, when finished with films for the most part, took up the lead role as president of the National Rifle Association? Charlton pushed for social reforms and called for an end to discrimination against Blacks in the 60s. He promoted a real form of environmentalism- not the one where we save any animal we can at the expense of others lives.
One of my favorite quotes from him (ripped straight from wikipedia, of course) is, as follows:
“…the God fearing, law-abiding, Caucasian, middle- class Protestant-or even worse, evangelical Christian, Midwestern or Southern- or even worse, rural, apparently straight-or even worse, admitted heterosexuals, gun-owning-or even worse, NRA-card-carrying, average working stiff-or even worse, male working stiff-because, not only don’t you count, you are a down-right obstacle to social progress. Your voice deserves a lower decibel level, your opinion is less enlightened, your media access is insignificant, and frankly, mister, you need to wake up, wise up, and learn a little something from your new-America and until you do, would you mind shutting up?”
Clearly, sarcasm is the name of the game in the paragraph above, but isn’t it true? Hasn’t the straight, white, rural, Christian male become somewhat of an oddity? a minority even?
Heston wasn’t loved by everyone, that’s for sure. George Clooney said that Heston deserved the Alzheimer’s that Heston had announced he had in 2002. Alzheimer’s wasn’t his only problem either- at that point he had already beaten prostate cancer.
While the cause of his death is still unreleased, he was a pretty awesome guy. So we remember you, Charlton Heston- as Moses, husband of 64 years, actor, conservative activist, defender of freedom, upholder of the Constitution, and all-around awesome guy. May we never forget your toothy grin.