The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

Charlton Heston Dead at 84


Light as we've been in the arena of content lo these past weeks, I thought I should break pattern for but a moment to note that Charlton Heston has passed away this evening at the age of 84.

14 comments :

Vanwall said...

Ah, the first film I remember him from as a kid was a TV showing of "Secret of the Incas" (the film that "Raiders of the Lost Ark" borrowed heavily from) - he'll always be Harry Steele for me. He had a drawling delivery that made you prick up your ears, and a physical presence second only to Lancaster's. Too many sleep-walking roles after "Will Penny" for my tastes, but he was fun in the Musketeer films. Too bad he became such a reactionary fascisti.

Jessica R. said...

I remember always watching "The Ten Commandments" on ABC on Easter. And at that young age I couldn't seperate reality from the movie so I always felt even when I supposedly knew better, that he was Moses, and that was a documentary account. It really feels like Moses is gone, and that's not right.

Philippe L said...

For us, dark and twisted french, Heston was an axiom!

shahn said...

He's always "The Planet of the Apes" for me.

swac said...

Heston marched with Martin Luther King Jr. in 1963. How in the hell do you reconcile that with becoming the NRA's chief mouthpiece a few decades later? What the hell happened to him in that time?

(I'm guessing Ronald Reagan got the CIA to spike his prune juice, but that's just a personal theory of mine.)

Siobhan E. said...

<< swac said...
Heston marched with Martin Luther King Jr. in 1963. How in the hell do you reconcile that with becoming the NRA's chief mouthpiece a few decades later? >>

To play devil's advocate, this seems perfectly consistent to me: both the second and fourteenth Amendments *are* inscribed in our Constitution.

swac said...

Reportedly he was also *for* gun control in '68, following the assassinations of RFK and MLK...

Reno Sepulveda said...

Not inconsistent at all, the first round of Jim Crow laws were designed to disarm blacks. For awhile there, I'd get an autographed picture of Mr. Heston every year thanking me for supporting the NRA.

Although I didn't like his acting very much, there's no doubt he's an icon.

Vanwall said...

When dealing with the output of the likes of Adolph Menjou, John Wayne, Elia Kazan, the late Mr. Heston, et al, I try to separate actor's roles from their real lives if I find their politics distasteful, as they may deliver an excellent film experience regardless, just as I do quote liberal unquote viewpoints - I'm afraid many, if not most actors do not live up too their stated viewpoints anyway, as the general impetus is to do as I say, not as I do when you are engaged in playacting, and it carries over to their real lives, regardless of protests to the contrary.

It would be difficult to find a movie person qualified to cast the first stone, anyway, altho some strive mightily to imply they should. Heston's personal views were and still are large enough to impinge on one's take regarding good or bad assessments of his films, so I usually went along for the ride and hoped it's worth the nickel. No whiners allowed, of either stripe, but after the credits run, the movie folk are just as fallible as I, and if they take a stand on something, history will judge them.

Peter L. Winkler said...

Pauline Kael observed that Heston played heroes the way other actors played villains. I think only Peckinpah and Schaffner really used him well, and he was excellent in Major Dundee and Planet of the Apes.

mister muleboy said...

I never thought that the man could act a lick, but damn if he wasn't a movie star!

SomeNYGuy said...

I guess now we can pry those guns from his "cold, dead hands."

VP81955 said...

My family knew Charlton Heston and his wife dating back to the late 1940s; we used to receive Christmas cards from them for years. Find out more as part of my Heston appreciation at http://community.livejournal.com/carole_and_co/#92580

Tommy O'C said...

Quite a few knee-jerk, reactionary liberals on here. Heston was an icon, a patriot, and a larger-than-life figure. And a better man than most of his detractors.

Gun control is a steady hand.