Ok, my wife rented this, as it’s available at your local Redbox this week. I wasn’t going to watch it, but now that I have I should say something. This was probably the gayest movie I’ve ever seen, and I’m a fan of lesbian dramas. There’s something about men going at it on screen that makes me uncomfortable; can’t help it.
Michael Douglas pulls off an amazing performance as Liberace, showing the many facets of this legendary entertainer. Matt Damon’s role is equally as impressive, as the two live out the memoir of Liberace’s live-in boyfriend. The story clicked because of its direct “gay marriage” aspects, where the two lived as though married for about four years. With gay marriage a hot button issue today it is easy to see why the film was greenlighted.
Perhaps knowing that both actors are actually straight factored into perceptions of the film and how it was received. Jim Carrey’s I Love You Phillip Morris worked similarly. Carrey and Ewan McGregor had an incredibly moving relationship on screen, more so even than Douglas and Damon — which is strained and often creepy.
The drama is tense in Candelabra, because of Liberace, his twisted persona, advanced age and obsessions. There is a doomed quality from the beginning, and Damon is cautious and jittery as Douglas makes his move. The age disparity is hard to overcome — for the audience — even though Damon’s character does just that. The characters are complex, and the events range from laugh out loud absurd to the expected and inevitable.
Another ridiculous aspect to that world is the in-the-closet nature of fame back in the day. Liberace was so flamboyantly flaming, perhaps the most out and in your face gay man in America, and yet the public relations machine persisted, and middle America bought that he was supposedly straight. His life was defined by non-disclosure agreements and payoffs to ex-lovers. It’s all a fascinating and unexpectedly true to life telling.
“The War on Drugs was the biggest swindle I’ve ever seen, globally.”
-Neill Franklin, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP)
Bonus hypocrisy from the US State Dept. itself:
“We urge Ukraine’s leaders to respect their people’s right to freedom of expression and assembly…
We call on the Government of Ukraine to foster a positive environment for civil society…
and to protect the rights of all Ukrainians to express their views on their country’s future in a constructive and peaceful manner
in [Kiev] and in other parts of the country.
Violence and intimidation should have no place in today’s Ukraine.”"
Violence and intimidation of protesters holds a near and dear place in the United States itself though. Are memories that short over at the State Department?
Much concern for the Ukrainian protesters — a large chunk of whom are neonazis, apparently, and many others are “color revolution” stooges of western imperial meddling, in other words: On The Payroll. This is the same old story, and the US media is always complicit in selling Uncle Sam’s self-interested tall tales to the rubes.
by William Blum | The Anti-Empire Report
Imagine a documentary film about the Holocaust which makes no mention of Nazi Germany.
Imagine a documentary film about the 1965-66 slaughter of as many as a million “communists” in Indonesia which makes no mention of the key role in the killing played by the United States.
But there’s no need to imagine it. It’s been made, and was released this past summer. It’s called “The Act of Killing” and makes no mention of the American role. Two articles in the Washington Post about the film made no such mention either. The Indonesian massacre, along with the jailing without trial of about a million others and the widespread use of torture and rape, ranks as one of the great crimes of the twentieth century and is certainly well known amongst those with at least a modest interest in modern history.
Here’s an email I sent to the Washington Post writer who reviewed the film:
“The fact that you can write about this historical event and not mention a word about the US government role is a sad commentary on your intellect and social conscience. If the film itself omits any serious mention of the US role, that is a condemnation of the filmmaker, and of you for not pointing this out. So the ignorance and brainwashing of the American people about their country’s foreign policy (i.e., holocaust) continues decade after decade, thanks to media people like Mr. Oppenheimer [one of the filmmakers] and yourself.”
The Post reviewer, rather than being offended by my intemperate language, was actually taken with what I said and she asked me to send her an article outlining the US role in Indonesia, which she would try to get published in the Post as an op-ed. I did so and she wrote me that she very much appreciated what I had sent her. But – as I was pretty sure would happen – the Post did not print what I wrote. So this incident may have had the sole saving grace of enlightening a Washington Post writer about the journalistic standards and politics of her own newspaper.
And now, just out, we have the film “Long Walk to Freedom” based on Nelson Mandela’s 1994 autobiography of the same name. The heroic Mandela spent close to 28 years in prison at the hands of the apartheid South African government. His arrest and imprisonment were the direct result of a CIA operation. But the film makes no mention of the role played by the CIA or any other agency of the United States.
In fairness to the makers of the film, Mandela himself, in his book, declined to accuse the CIA for his imprisonment, writing: “The story has never been confirmed and I have never seen any reliable evidence as to the truth of it.”
Well, Mr. Mandela and the filmmaker should read what I wrote and documented on the subject some years after Mandela’s book came out, in my own book: Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower (2000). It’s not quite a “smoking gun”, but I think it convinces almost all readers that what happened in South Africa in 1962 was another of the CIA operations we’ve all come to know and love. And almost all my sources were available to Mandela at the time he wrote his autobiography. There has been speculation about what finally led to Mandela’s release from prison; perhaps a deal was made concerning his post-prison behavior.
From a purely educational point of view, seeing films such as the two discussed here may well be worse than not exposing your mind at all to any pop culture treatment of American history or foreign policy.
During the US federal government shutdown in October over a budgetary dispute, Washington Post columnist Max Fisher wondered if there had ever been anything like this in another country. He decided that “there actually is one foreign precedent: Australia did this once. In 1975, the Australian government shut down because the legislature had failed to fund it, deadlocked by a budgetary squabble. It looked a lot like the U.S. shutdown of today, or the 17 previous U.S. shutdowns.” 2
Except for what Fisher fails to tell us: that it strongly appears that the CIA used the occasion to force a regime change in Australia, whereby the Governor General, John Kerr – a man who had been intimately involved with CIA fronts for a number of years – discharged Edward Gough Whitlam, the democratically-elected prime minister whose various policies had been a thorn in the side of the United States, and the CIA in particular.
I must again cite my own writing, for the story of the CIA coup in Australia – as far as I know – is not described in any kind of detail anywhere other than in my book Killing Hope: U.S. Military and C.I.A. Interventions Since World War II (2004).
There are those in the United States and Germany these days who insist that the National Security Agency is no match for the East German Ministry for State Security, or Stasi, which, during the Cold War, employed an estimated 190,000 part-time secret informants, and an additional 90,000 officers full time, in a spying operation that permeated both East and West Germany. Since the end of the Cold War, revelations from the Stasi files have led to thousands of collaborators being chased from public life. Even now, new accusations of a Stasi association can hound politicians and celebrities in Germany. 3
All that of course stems from an era before almost all information and secrets became electronic. It was largely labor intensive. In the digital age, the NSA has very little need for individuals to spy on their friends, acquaintances, and co-workers. (In any event, the FBI takes care of that department very well.)
Can we ever expect that NSA employees will suffer public disgrace as numerous Stasi employees and informants have? No more than war criminals Bush and Cheney have been punished in any way. Only those who have exposed NSA crimes have been punished, like Edward Snowden and several other whistleblowers.