Of George Clooney, Charlton Heston and Real Class

The George Clooney film The American opened in the number one box office spot this last weekend despite a terrible reception from those who actually sat through the film. According to the reviews Clooney plays an armorer turned assassin, which means he makes untraceable lethal firearms for other such political killers. So he makes his living with a gun in his hands as he has in other such films like Three Kings and The Peacemaker.

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I don’t watch Clooney films, not for free, not on TV and not in theaters. My friends know not to ask me to see his films under any circumstances. A position I quickly came to back in 2003 when Hollywood’s supposed “king of cool” took a vicious and idiotic swipe at screen legend Charlton Heston who had just publicly announced that he had been diagnosed with symptoms consistent with Alzheimer’s Disease.

Clooney tastelessly joked, “Charlton Heston announced ‘again’ today that he is suffering from Alzheimer’s.” The needlessly cruel quip was delivered at a National Board of Review film awards ceremony honoring the loudmouthed actor. When called on about the stupid comment, Clooney dismissed any opportunity to apologize. “I don’t care. Charlton Heston is the head of the National Rifle Association. He deserves whatever anyone says about him.”

Heston reacted with his customary intelligent wit and wisdom referring admiringly to Clooney’s late aunt, well-known singer Rosemary Clooney:

“It just goes to show that sometimes class does skip a generation.”

Later, Heston added:

“I don’t know the man — never met him, never even spoken to him, but I feel sorry for George Clooney — one day he may get Alzheimer’s disease. I served my country in World War II. I survived that — I guess I can survive some bad words from this fellow”

Clooney would claimed later he sent Heston a written apology.

Fox’s Bill O’Reilly joined the fray by asking the question, what if a conservative had said something similar to Clooney’s joke about actor Christopher Reeve’s unfortunate and tragic paralysis. In the end, most of Hollywood’s anti-gun lefties merely ignored Clooney’s lack of grace and dignity.

Several years ago, when I was a guest curator of the National Rifle Association Museum’s Real Guns of Reel Hero’s exhibit of famous Hollywood firearms, I was privileged to have met and spent some quality time with Charlton Heston. He was beyond even what one would have expected: gracious, quietly dignified and despite his well earned status as one of Hollywood’s few genuine icons, amazingly down to earth. In other words, everything Clooney, by his own remarks obviously is not.

Around the same time, actor Richard Dreyfuss wrote a glowing tribute to Heston, for of all things, National Review‘s website. In fact it was such a wonderful tribute that the National Rifle Association’s major publication, The American Rifleman, received permission to reprint the piece on their pages. Dreyfuss may be a liberal, but as evidenced by his piece on Heston, he’s still a class act that appreciates the same in others, pointing out that for him the iconic superstar Heston:

“…took me far, far away to places few actors could ever go. The only other actor so comfortable outside of a contemporary era was John Wayne, and Heston could time travel farther. I could never have gotten to Ancient Rome without him, or to Ape City.”

Disagreeing with your opposition doesn’t always have to be contentious, though of course it often can be. But hypocrisy should never be tolerated, especially when it involves Clooney’s kind of tasteless and uninformed attitudes. The superstar hates the NRA and all that it represents — self determination, self defense and tradition with real substance and meaning behind it. So small minded George, in order to cleanse yourself of your hypocrisy, why not swear off making any future films where you carry a gun? How many millions a picture do you get? $15 million? Of course that might cut into your considerable earnings. Or how about donating all of your next film’s salary to Alzheimer’s research?

I won’t hold my breath.

I don’t watch George Clooney movies, but I do have a considerable number of Charlton Heston films in my DVD collection. When The American comes out on DVD I think I’ll hunt up a used copy, lest old George makes his percentage off of me. Then I’ll bring it out to the shooting range unwatched. Maybe a .40 caliber round right through the center of the DVD case or some “00” buckshot obliterating it out on the sporting clay’s range.

That one will be for Charlton Heston, just a one small shot against Hollywood’s left wing hypocrisy and cruelty.

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