Charlie Sheen and the bedlamite approach to insanity

England’s Bethlem Royal Hospital, founded in the 13th Century as part of a convent, eventually transformed itself into the world’s first facility dedicated to the mentally ill.  By the 16th Century, when it housed only the mentally ill, it was famous for the cruelty with which those patients were treated.  The word “bedlam,” which describes a situation that is completely out of control, is a bastardization of the hospital’s name.

For centuries, Bethlem Royal Hospital was also once of London’s most popular tourist attractions.  For a penny, people could walk through the facility, staring at the inmates, many of whom were chained to walls, lying in their own filth.  It was considered a good show to see the crazy people rant and rave.  No wonder, then, that many British people chose to incarcerate mentally ill relatives in their own homes (rather as Rochester did with Bertha).  Those homes may have become prisons, but at least they were safe and private.

The practice of making insanity a public show changed only when people realized the indecency and immortality of laughing and staring at people who were helpless victims of their own mental illnesses.  People of good will now think to themselves, “I never would sink to such a low practice.”

Apparently the American media is not made up of people of good will.  For as long as I’ve been aware of him, Charlie Sheen has been a substance abuser and a loathsome individual.  Now, though, it’s apparent that his vices have caught up with him and rendered him mentally ill.  Reading the transcripts of his interviews his definite evidence that he has parted with reality.  Normal people, even eccentric people, do not say “I am on a drug, it’s called Charlie Sheen.  It’s not available because if you try it you will die. Your face will melt off and your children will weep over your exploded body.”

In a decent world, Sheen would get the treatment he requires.  In an indecent world, he’s paraded around for the media’s profit, just as the inmates at Bethlem Hospital were once paraded around for the profit of their ostensible caretakers.  It’s embarrassing to watch someone sink into such complete degradation.

Some might say that Sheen wants this publicity.  He’s actively seeking it, after all, as he has done for the length of his career.  There’s a difference, though, between a mentally functioning person (even a low functioning person) taking appropriate steps to advance his career, and a mentally ill person treading that same path.  It reminds me of the arguments the ACLU always makes about the paranoid schizophrenics on the streets of San Francisco:  “They want to be there.”  Yes, that’s true.  They do indeed want to live on the streets, eating garbage, crawling with lice, and having suppurating wounds all over their body.  But they want to live that way because they’re crazy as loons.  Their desire to be dysfunctional (starving, filthy and diseased) on the streets is evidence of their insanity.  A decent society, rather than saying “Great, eat garbage,” helps them out.

I find the Sheen spectacle disturbing, just as I find Lindsay Lohan’s collapse disturbing, and Miley Cyrus’ journey from wholesome comedienne to drug-experimenting slut disturbing.  All of these people are victims of Hollywood, which cultivates their weaknesses, addictions and insanity for its collective profit, and then further profits from their spectacular, pathetic, demeaning, and always very public, implosions.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News

When Hollywood Jews openly supported the Promised Land

Hat tip:  Sadie

Hollywood hates government

Someone took the time to track the nature of the bad guys in Hollywood action flicks from the 1980s to the present.  It won’t come as a surprise to any of you that she discovered that “the overall winner of the villain tally is American military/government/law enforcement.”  In the 1980s, Russians appeared, but not as often as our own people.  And since 2001, no Middle Easterners have appeared at all. Definitely check out her post, and then come back and talk to me.

The gal who wrote the post sees the statistics as signs that America has an innate distrust of government, which would seem to indicate a libertarian stance to Hollywood.  That’s hard to believe given Hollywood’s over-the-top Progressivism.  Of course, Hollywood could recognize that the audience for its action flicks is anti-Big Government, and could be giving the public what it wants, but I don’t think so.  I’m putting my own biases up front here, but the tone of Hollywood movies is such that I think the choice of enemies has more to do with an innate dislike of America itself, rather than a distrust of big government.

What say you?

(Hat tip:  Lulu)

And I thought I just disliked him because his films are boring and pompous

I never liked Jean-Luc Godard movies.  I go to movies to be entertained, not bored.  He failed my simple test.

Aside from being (in my mind) a boring film maker, it turns out that he is, as well, a deep, blatant, vicious antisemite.  Of course, if you’re a New York Times consumer, you’d never know that.  And what’s really bad is that the New York Times doesn’t avoid Godard’s antisemitism because the Times is itself ignorant of Godard’s ugly side.  Nope, the Times is well aware of it.  It’s approach, therefore, is to gloss over, explain away, and excuse his depravity.

I doubt anyone, with a straight face, can disagree with me when I say that the Times would have responded differently if evidence ever emerged that Godard had said “I dislike gays/blacks/Asians/Hispanics/Muslims/other victim group that suits the Times’ criteria.”

They’ve always gotten it bass-ackward when it comes to religion and morality

The Chris Coons-Christine O’Donnell debate over the First Amendment has cast into stark relief the fact that the Left believes the First Amendment’s purpose is to keep religious people out of the public square.  I’ve blogged on this point before, so I won’t belabor it.  I’ll only say briefly that the Amendment’s language, the historical context, and the Founder’s contemporaneous writings all establish conclusively that they didn’t want the government to meddle in religion, not vice versa.

While looking for something else, I stumbled across a monologue from a Hollywood movie that perfectly sums up the Leftist view about the First Amendment, a view supported only by wishful thinking and religious animus, without any historical or textual support.  The movie is The Contender, which came out in 2000.   The plot is simple.  Democratic VP dies in office; President picks perfect liberal female politician to replace him; evil, hyper-religious Republican seeks to destroy her with footage showing her cheerfully participating in a gang bang; female politician refuses to defend herself; perfect Democratic president, knowing her rectitude, understands that it’s all a fake, and gets her appointed as VP.  End of morality story.

I’ve often cited to the movie as an example of navel gazing, because there’s a scene where the perfect liberal female plays solo basketball, all the while monologuing about how her own intuitive moral sense is the only guide she and the world need.  I can’t find the language, though, so you’ll just have to accept as true my take on it.

While I was looking for that language, though, I stumbled across some other language, which I haven’t thought about in years, and wouldn’t have thought about but for the Coons/O’Donnell debate.  This is from the end of the movie, when the triumphant perfect liberal female, in an address to Congress, puts the evil Republicans in their place, and provides spiritual manna to the good Democrats (emphasis mine):

And, Mr. Chairman, I stand for the separation of Church and State, and the reason that I stand for that is the same reason that I believe our forefathers did. It is not there to protect religion from the grasp of government but to protect our government from the grasp of religious fanaticism. Now, I may be an atheist, but that does not mean I do not go to church. I do go to church. The church I go to is the one that emancipated the slaves, that gave women the right to vote, that gave us every freedom that we hold dear. My church is this very Chapel of Democracy that we sit in together, and I do not need God to tell me what are my moral absolutes. I need my heart, my brain, and this church.

Do I need to add anything here?  No?  I didn’t think so.

The next Narnia movie

They seem to have deviated significantly from the book (which simply describes a series of picaresque adventures), and it’s in 3D, which gives me a headache, but it actually still looks like a good movie.  I’ll certainly be at the theater to see it:

Why are we still paying to be insulted? — Boardwalk Empire & why I don’t like it *UPDATED*

HBO has recently premiered Boardwalk Empire, a lavish new series that seeks to recreate Atlantic City chicanery during the Prohibition era.  HBO really went to town on this one.  Not only did it get Martin Scorcese to direct (leading me to ask my husband, disingenuously, “didn’t he used to direct real movies?”), it’s obvious that HBO was ready to spend generously on the production itself.  The sets and costumes are gorgeous.  For a pedantic purist — and I am one — it’s an A+ job.

I’d almost enjoy watching the show if it wasn’t for that pesky little problem that crops up in so many Hollywood products:  the need to sling gratuitous insults at Republicans.

I blogged at length about this phenomenon after plunking down ten of my hard-earned after-tax dollars to see Julie & Julia.  That movie was sold as a charming romantic comedy/biopic, one that compared Julia Child’s love life to that of a modern young woman who undertook to bake a Julia Child recipe every day for a year.

It was another movie with lavish production values and a loving tone.  Meryl Streep played Child with shrieking verve, while Amy Adams was the neurotic Julie of the present day.  I’m not sure I would have liked the movie that much under any circumstances, given that Streep was exhausting and Adams irritating, but the movie lost me completely with its gratuitous swipes at Republicans.  As I wrote a little over a year ago:

I started getting uncomfortable when Julia Child and her husband used the fact that Julia’s Pasadena-based father was visiting to do a little McCarthy and Republican bashing.  Still, it’s pretty much de rigueur in movies that involve the 1950s for filmmakers to show their liberal bona fides by bashing McCarthy.  We’ve known since the 60s that Hollywood will never accept that old Joe was right, and the government did have a ridiculous number of communists and communist sympathizers anxious to do harm to the United States.  In Hollywood-land, only the excesses of McCarthyism (and there were indeed such excesses) live on in collective memory.  I therefore stayed with the movie despite this pro forma McCarthy indictment.

Where the movie lost me was during a scene in the modern era.  Its genesis is the fact that Julie, whose blog is taking off, is expecting a famous food publisher for dinner.  The night before the planned dinner she had made Julia’s Boeuf Bourguignon — and then burned it. The next day, she calls in sick to work so that she could remake the time consuming dish.  She carefully (and falsely) blogs that she is sick and then blogs later that, miraculously, she is well again, so as to lend an air of verisimilitude to an otherwise unconvincing narrative.

On her return to work the next day, she discovers that her boss has read this false blog entry, and is offended that she’d referred to work and that she’d obviously lied about her health.  Then (and I’m quoting from memory here), this bit of dialogue emerges from the bosses mouth:  “You’re lucky I’m a nice guy.  If I were a Republican, you’d be fired.  But I’m not (or I’m trying not to be) a schmuck.”  (Half the Marin audience laughed.)

Boardwalk Empire does exactly the same thing:  it throws in a swipe at Republicans that does absolutely nothing to advance the plot, but simply allows the Hollywood types to indulge in their usual mean-spirited nudging and winking at their fellow liberals.  To understand just how offensive the dialogue I’ll quote is, you need a little background.

The series begins at the very end of 1919, right before Prohibition went into effect.  We’re introduced to Enoch ‘Nucky’ Thompson, Treasurer for Atlantic City’s council. Within minutes we learn that, while he affects a pious exterior, and sells himself to the public as a devout prohibitionist, he is in fact planning to ally himself with independent rum runners, as well as the Chicago and New York mafia, in order to enrich himself and his cronies. He is, in a word, despicable.

Within the first few minutes of the movie, Nucky attends a New Year’s Eve dinner with his fellow council members and the mayor. All are eagerly awaiting Prohibition’s spoils. It is within this context that the following dialogue ensues:

Nucky: Mr. Mayor, Friends, fellow members of the City Council.  As you know, in less than 2 hours, liquor will be declared illegal by decree of the distinguished gentlemen of our nation’s Congress.

Assembled councilmen: Boo! Hiss!

Nucky: To those beautiful, ignorant bastards.

Assembled councilmen: Hear, hear!

Nucky: Rest assured that, dry though the country may be, I am in the midst of concluding arrangements and will keep Atlantic City wet as a mermaid’s t**t.

Mayor: Gee.  You’re f***ing mermaids now?

Nucky: Every vote counts, Mr. Mayor.

Unknown council member: A Republican through and through!

Did that last line add anything to the scene? I don’t think so. It simply showed that Martin Scorcese and friends are so lost in a world of Republican-hating that it leaks out of them constantly, like gas from a swamp.

The thing is that, as long as the public pays, these Hollywood types get away with this kind of crude disrespect.  We go to the movies and say, “Well, what can you do?  Other than that, it was a good movie.”  And we keep on paying for HBO because it feeds us sports and tolerable movies and other amusing stuff.

But really, shouldn’t we be making some sacrifices here?  I can live without a few movies if it means sending a message to Hollywood that it is not all right to take gratuitous swipes at half the movie-going population.  Can you?

UPDATE:  Elwin, in the comment, advises me that Nucky was, in fact, a Republican, a bit of information for which I am most appreciative.  I don’t think that changes the point I was making, which is that the throwaway line about Republicans was gratuitous in context.  This is not a serious documentary that looks at the political scene locally, in Atlantic City, and nationally.  In that case, one would a scholarly approach to the town’s political make-up that discusses the political parties and the nature of those parties at that time.  Instead, the characters are introduced simply as crooks and the line exists only to insult.

UPDATE II:  Apropos the Julia & Julie post to which I linked, a very reputable, erudite, learned scholar has advised me that McCarthy was every bit as vile as history has painted him.  There were communists in the government and the military, says my friend, but McCarthy came along after this threat had been removed, and simply used the backwash to destroy people for his own satisfaction.

The problem, as I see it, is that Leftist historians use McCarthy’s foul acts to hide the fact that the Communists had, in fact, infiltrated government.  He becomes the historic straw man for the very real threat to America’s constitutional integrity and national security.