Thursday, January 19, 2006

Was Michael Crichton a Raging Homophobe Back in 1972? The Issue is Examined, if only Superficially. Also: Shatner Sings

It's clear from the comments on the last post that no one is willing to get on the Gore train with me. That's cool. To each their own politician (and to Hinesy, Condi.) I guess we'll just have to be patient and see how things shake out with the upcoming primary races.

Anyway, I got an awesome link (and a so-so link) for you lucky Inanity-ers today. First the awesome link. William Shatner singing his own Prog version of Elton John's "Rocket Man". Found it on AndrewSullivan.com, but go directly to the video here. It's stunning. It is like a train wreck. But by the end of it, I was thinking Shatner's whacked-out earnestness, the weak video effects, and the overall hyper-surreality of it actually made the performance kind of, well, good? Weird but riveting? Check it out and see what you think. Also, kudos to anyone who can dig up the clip of "The Family Guy" where Stewie sends up this exact performance.

Next up on the link parade, I've got a trailer. It's called When a Stranger Calls and it's a remake of a 1979 move of the same name. So if you wanted to know what the brilliant director of Con Air is up to these days, here you go. Now, for you older readers out there this isn't the origin of the old story about the frightened girl in the house by herself who calls 911 after getting some creepy phone calls and 911 calls her back and says,"The calls are coming from the house! He's in the house with you!" is it? It can't be. There's no way I'm older than that hoary old Mad Killer Story.

Last thing. Last night I was reading Michael Crichton's first novel entitled The Terminal Man. Published in 1972 about the as-of-then unexamined dangers of computer-aided mind control (I know -- in the 35 years since, it's become a scourge, thanks for the heads up, Mikey!). The book's sort of compelling, but overall it's kind of hilarious. Aside from the bad thriller-writing and the way way dated stuff about computers, there were a couple of sentences in there that totally reveal either a) Michael Crichton's own casual homophobia circa 1972, or b) how totally acceptable homophobia was in 1972 America. Here they are. Example 1:
"Moving at sixty-five miles an hour, she shifted across five lanes of traffic and pulled off the freeway at Sunset, heading up into the Hollywood Hills, through an area known locally as the Swish Alps because of the many homosexuals who lived there. People with problems seemed drawn to Los Angeles. The city offered freedom; its price was lack of supports."
Putting "the Swish Alps" aside, so homosexuals in Crichton's 1972 are "people with problems". Interesting. I laughed when I read it because it was pretty outrageous, but then I read this next bit and it made the previous one look PC by comparison. Example 2:
"The interior of the elevator was tacky: plastic panelling made to look like wood, worn green carpeting stained by innumerable pets. She waited impatiently for it to creak up to the third floor. She knew what these buildings were like -- full of hookers, full of gays, full of drugs and transients. You could rent an apartment without a long lease, just month to month. It was that kind of place."
Is it just me or is this amazing? Equating homosexual men with the dregs of society? I especially like how he tucked "gays" right in the middle of "hookers", and "drugs and transients", as if his point wouldn't have been as clear if he'd put it first or last. And the last sentence made me laugh independent of the homophobic stuff -- I guess back in the day, month-to-month apartment leases denoted a Building of Ill-Repute, not just a convenient way to handle one's living arrangements. I wonder if Crichton still feels similarly about homosexuals. I know he's pretty right-wing generally, but I wonder if he's evolved on this point.

Also, this is the movie poster for the movie adaptation (I'm a little in disbelief that they did a film version of this crap). This thing came out before the official MPAA rating system, so at the top of the poster you can see it reads, "Reccomended as Adult Entertainment". Like it's frickin' porn or something. Man, the seventies really creep me out.

Anyway, Friday's almost here, and then the weekend. Peggy's in Beijing right now (where she can't access this blog, by the way - those freedom-loving Chinese), but she'll be back in the ATL on Monday. Ok. Party on. I'm out.

4 comments:

moran said...

That building in "Terminal Man" sounds just like 520 W. Wilson Ave. in Glendale... except we had no elevator. That would have been sweet. That month-to-month lease sure saved my transient ass. It's tough being one of the "problem people."

JudgeHolden said...

Crichton had us all pegged, I think, Mike. We were all gay transient, drug-using prostitutes when you think about it. If not literally, than on a deeply figurative level. Oh, 520. The memories.

Also, the Shatner thing: not good all on its own -- so bad it's good. I watched it a 2nd time and that 3rd Shatner, the one with the untied bow-tie, really left a bad taste in my mouth. Other than that, so bad it's good.

And by the way -- the Shawn on the other post who said that I had indeed expressed my love for the movie Waterworld was not the real Shawn, but in fact Heath. So, no, Heath. Shawn has not given "the nod", so I do NOT concede defeat. May your dirty tricks come back to haunt you, you Mousehunt-loving transient!

moran said...

That Shatner album cover...

Is that a tripod he's holding? Or some sort of grenade launcher? Some sort of tripod/grenade launcher? Or maybe he duct taped a tripod to a grenade launcher - like Sigourney Weaver in Aliens with the flame thrower taped to the machine gun/grenade launcher. Maybe Cameron saw the album cover and got the idea from there - a sly reference to a Sci-Fi icon of years past. That crafty bastard!

Kirk and Ripley would make a wonderful couple. They both enjoy the vastness of space. They both take charge in dangerous situations. If it comes down to it, they will not hesitate to kick alien ass. They also have strong jaw lines and look fantastic in tiny little panties.

nathan said...

I clicked on it the rocketman link and couldn't even watch it. I have a problem feeling too embarrassed to watch people embarrass themselves...it's a strange kind of empathy.

it's a bit like this:

http://www.ifilm.com/ifilmdetail/2433520?htv=12