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Massad Ayoob on Guns

Want to Comment on a blog post? Look for and click on the blue No Comments or # Comments at the end of each post.



Massad Ayoob

CHARLTON HESTON AND THE PRICE OF DEFENDING RIGHTS

Friday, July 21st, 2017

Charlton Heston knew Martin Luther King, and marched alongside him for the civil rights of African-Americans.  Sadly, the American Left was blinded to that when he became a spokesman for, and later president of, the National Rifle Association.

I recently picked up the excellent biography “Charlton Heston: Hollywood’s Last Icon” by Marc Eliot.  In his acknowledgements, Eliot writes, “Grover Norquist gave me an overview of Heston’s involvement with the NRA and a frank assessment of what he thought about the ostracism that followed.” Yes, ostracism seems to be the correct word.

Writes Eliot, “On April 10, 1989, an (NRA) advertisement appeared in Newsweek that pictured a smiling Heston.”  It was his first “outing” as a supporter of gun owners’ civil rights, via the NRA. Eliot: “The fallout was immediate and mostly negative in Hollywood, as he suspected it would be.”  Heston, who had served for two years aboard a B-25 bomber during World War II, had been extremely proud of his high position with the American Film institute.  Eliot continues, “Not long after (the Newsweek blurb appeared), he called Jean Firstenberg. Here is how she remembered that call. ‘He was still on the masthead of the AFI as (a former) president and it meant a great deal to him, but that day he said to me, ‘Jeanie, if you want to take my name off the masthead, I understand.’ How thoughtful of him, knowing there was going to be a political backlash (because of the ad) and not wanting to hurt an organization he cared so deeply about. I never took his name off the masthead.’”

But, the biographer continues, “Most of Hollywood took him off theirs. The only real work he was able to get was a TV film…”

In 1998, the Left became even more choleric against Heston when he was elected President of NRA.  Prominent anti-gunner Josh Sugarmann poured vitriol on Heston and noted, “Whether Mr. Heston does the talking or not, the National Rifle Association remains the same extremist organization that blocks sensible gun laws and markets guns to children.” Heston continued with the NRA, living long enough to be sandbagged as a frail old man with developing Alzheimer’s, by that caricature of journalists, Michael Moore.

Charlton Heston passed a little more than nine years ago. Impartial historians will remember him as a fighter for civil rights, with Dr. King (himself a gun owner, by the way) and with the NRA.

He paid a high price for his ethics and his commitment to civil rights.  How many here have suffered ostracism – in the neighborhood, in the family, in the workplace, or elsewhere – for the same thing?  You are invited to share your experiences here.

17 Responses to “CHARLTON HESTON AND THE PRICE OF DEFENDING RIGHTS”

  1. Emily Says:

    That would be “how many here have suffered ostracism” Not ‘hear’.

  2. Dave (the Liberal, non-Uncle one) Says:

    Mas, I don’t understand, “But, the biographer continues, ‘Most of Hollywood took him off theirs. The only real work he was able to get was a TV film…'”

    According to his filmography at Wikipedia:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlton_Heston_filmography

    between 1989, the year he appeared in the NRA ad, and 2003, the year he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease, he made at least one non-TV movie, and sometimes more than one, every year. If you look at his output in prior years, he may have had a higher average number of movies per year or better roles but in 1989 when the issue first arose he was 66 years old and, with a few exceptions, actors get fewer and poorer roles as they grow older. That’s not to say that his support of the NRA didn’t hurt him, but he certainly continued to work.

  3. Dave (the Liberal, non-Uncle one) Says:

    Correction: I meant to say, “sometimes more than one, almost every year. He missed only 2-3 years and made 4 movies in 2001.” Sorry, someone came to the door and I pressed Submit without proofreading first.

  4. eddiebob Says:

    Actor Ben Stein has often commented that liberals in Hollywood are bullies. His conservative views has cost him dearly.

    I know this is a gun/2A oriented site, but liberals are not only trying to control guns, but change this country in profound ways. Mas often recommends books on this site, so hear are two you might find enlightening.

    I suggest reading Sharyl Attkisson’s new book, “The Smear: How Shady Political Operatives and Fake News Control What You See, What You Think and How You Vote.”

    “The Intimidation Game,” by Wall Street Journal reporter, Kimberley Strassel, exposes how non elected government employees shut down free speech.

    I have no connection with either author or their publishers.

  5. Alan Michalcewicz Says:

    I remember how kind he was to many of that crowd that gave him a bad time during the Rodney King riots. So many of that anti- gun crowd quietly but desperately approached him and asked: “Have you got anything I can loan for a few days…”

  6. Jacob Morgan Says:

    Charlton used to say that he supported civil rights before it was fashionable to do so. I am sure he felt the same way about gun rights.

    His last leading role was in A Man for All Seasons, 1988. After that they were bit roles, e.g., a couple of lines in one of the Wayne’s World movies.

  7. Roger Willco Says:

    Thankfully I haven’t felt ostracized, even though I live in New Jersey. Many people I’ve met don’t want guns for themselves, but they are OK with others having them. Some people seem to want guns, but they are too afraid of them to actually get the paperwork, buy a gun, and train with it. They do recognize that people without guns are vulnerable, but they can’t break out of their comfort zone and take the next step. My guess is that people feel the same way about prepping. Thinking about disaster scenarios is painful, so they would rather just bury those unpleasant thoughts and hope nothing bad ever happens to them.

    Charlton Heston brings back great memories. I have a T-shirt commemorating his famous speech, certainly one of the greatest speeches of the twentieth century. I remember hearing how the Brits were shocked by his statement “…from my cold, dead hands.”

    In April 2011 I was at Knob Creek Gun Range in Kentucky. Two weekends out of the year they have a machine gun shoot, and even a couple of cannons are there. I was standing in line to fire a tommy gun (Thompson Submachine gun). A thirty-something father was behind me with his teenage daughter, maybe she was 14 or 15. I remarked at how fun it would be to watch people in London, Paris, Rome and Berlin watch teenage American girls shoot fully-automatic guns! They would be so shocked! What a hoot!

    You know you live in a great country when you are allowed to fire machine guns in peacetime. Oh yeah!

  8. TN_MAN Says:

    I well remember the vitriol poured onto Heston after he became President of the NRA.

    He especially got a double-dose from Leftist Hollywood. Since he was a major Hollywood actor himself, his actions were viewed as treason by the Leftist faithful in the entertainment industry.

    Yes, the limitless arrogance, hypocrisy, and self-righteousness of the American Left was on full display. Here is only one example:

    http://www.breitbart.com/big-hollywood/2010/09/09/of-george-clooney-charlton-heston-and-real-class/

  9. Long Island Mike Says:

    First time I saw Mr Heston was in 1998 at the NRA Annual Meeting in Philadelphia. He was an awesome pesence on stage. Crowd went absolutely wild. God Bless his soul.

  10. Spencer B. Says:

    Lieberals and antis everywhere are true bullies and just horrid psycho/sociopaths without a doubt! They represent the worst of humanity by attacking others for no reason other than their own pleasure and edification.

    I have many stories I could share yet am electing not to do so for two primary reasons. These being that I do not give a flying monkey’s rat’s azz what any such dummies think about me and that there is no need to recant negativity and therefore validate it.

    One thing I will share here is that I have gotten much more crap from losers/idiots for supporting POTUS Trump than for firearms ownership and use. Though being a Hunter ranks high at times.

  11. Spencer B. Says:

    Report not recant! Ooops.

    Figure I better clear that up before someone such as Emily above (or probably, myself on some other blog entry here lol) has something to say about it.

    🙂

  12. Al in Missouri Says:

    Does being a TRUMP Supporter qualify as having suffered ostracism? LOL

  13. Tom606 Says:

    If the liberal hypocrites in Follywood have their way, we lowly peasants would not even be able to possess wooden staffs like the one Mr. Heston carried as Moses, while the phony elites of the entertainment industry are protected 24/7 by bodyguards armed with selective fire guns, real assault weapons.

  14. Joel Says:

    On 5/20/2000 NRA President Heston gave a speech to the NRA Annual Meeting. It included the famous “cold, dead hands” line. For me, that showed unity and commitment during the era of Clinton and the lurking shadow of Gore. It was heartening to feel the association pull together and say “no” to the transformative progressives. No, we will not hand over our rights one by one.

  15. John Smith Says:

    Hi Mas,

    I normally don’t like to complain and bitch and moan, but you asked about it so I’ll answer (forgive me for using the “John Smith” alias but I don’t want to take a chance of further ending my already terminal performance career).

    I am a musician and a highly regarded one. I’ve worked mainly in the big theater Pit Orchestras in one of the largest American Cities and also in several big cities in Europe (have to be fairly general about this). After about 25 great years performing I retired from full time playing to pursue a second career in health science. But after a few years, I missed playing in Musical Theater and helped out a local amateur theater company. With my pro-level abilities this quickly led to a second climb up the ladder and soon I found myself employed as the staff trumpet player for a small, but professional music theater in the (large) city where I now live. The pay I was getting per show at this relatively small theater was about 1/3rd of what I was making for the major theaters back in the day, but I was enjoying myself, and particularly enjoying the “rock-star” status I had among the “up and coming” actors and musicians working around me, and also the level of appreciation coming from the Producers who owned the theater was sincere and high. I worked there for three years.

    But then, with the coming of the 2016 election and particularly when Trump won the nomination, things changed. They all knew I wasn’t an extreme left-winger (pretty much everybody else at the theater was and is). But as we sat in the pit each day before show time, the political discussions were becoming more and more fierce. I kept my head low and rarely said anything, but my silence during these ranting talks (“they should hang Trump”, etc.) was clearly viewed as tacit approval of Trump and non-approval for the Hildebeast running against him. I heard rumors that I was being referred to behind my back as that “Trump guy”.

    And sure enough, when the next show was going to be starting rehearsals for its multi-month run at the theater, after years playing there, I did not get the call. I was invited to the opening night performance, and who did I see playing my instrument, but a semi-pro player who NEVER would have been hired by the big theaters I played at throughout my career. He didn’t play many wrong notes, but he also played it “safe” and didn’t play the harder stuff. Over all his performance was very “safe”. And no better than what a good college player could do. But I’m sure they were saving some money, as what they paid me, though not a lot was a lot more than what they were paying the other musicians. But I don’t think the money was the issue, as that money difference between what they paid me and what they paid the other younger musicians had been a non-issue for all the years I worked there (with the exception of the first show run I did before asking for the raise). It’s clear to me that they preferred a mediocre performer that shared their lemming views of the world, then even a moderately-right winger like me.

    Given the increasing academic load I am under as I approach the finish of my degree in a particular branch of Health Science, it’s probably just as well for me to have more time to study and learn well. But it still makes me sad. But as least with great people to admire such as Charlton Heston and also Tom Selleck, who I think pretty much as to be Executive Producer for any production he wants to be involved with, I do have great company!

    Thanks for reading this.

    Sincerely,

    “John Smith”

  16. RichNH Says:

    Generally speaking,

    Conservatives think Liberals have bad ideas,

    Liberals think Conservatives are bad people.

    Sometimes it’s ostracism, other times it’s being the butt of jokes, the object of ridicule and the target of derogatory comments, especially in corporate offices here in the northeast.

  17. Dennis Says:

    I believe this fits the conversation-

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/3a3406840c5ce2ada3d55eb6daf65a0443ae009b1c65cd4d8c43039f57c328b4.jpg

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