The winner, by a landslide, in naming our award for untruthful legislators, is the Distinguished Lying Cross. Congratulations to DINFOS, and a tip of the hat to all the other finalists. I will award the DLC in four grades: Grade One is the basic decoration; Grade II is the DLC with oak leaves; Grade III is the DLC with oak leaves and crossed swords, and Grade IV will be the DLC with oak leaves, crossed swords, and diamonds.
And now for Charlton Heston. The American Revolution was set apart from all other revolutions because it was fomented and led by the people who had the most to lose by doing so. When the signers of the Declaration of Independence pledged “…our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.” It was not a figure of speech. If the revolution failed, their families would be ruined, and all of them–except for the ones that would hang–would be imprisoned. They were all wealthy men who stood to gain most by toadying to the British, and to lose most by leading a rebellion. And they did it anyway because they believed in it.
Charlton Heston was a man in this tradition. He had a great deal to lose, and he followed his principles regardless. In Hollywood, in the early 1960s, if you wanted to show your support for the civil rights movement, you hired Sydney Poitier for a leading role, or you gave a cocktail party to raise money for the NAACP. You did not actually go and march with radicals and activists like Martin Luther King, Jr., who then enjoyed nothing like his current status. Especially if you were a major star with a lot to lose, because there were a great many people who did not like Dr. King or what he represented. But Heston did just that.
And gun rights. If there is one thing that all of Hollywood agrees on, it is that guns are evil (except in the movies; the more violence the better) and that no one should have them (except people who enough money and influence to get them regardless of restrictive laws). But Charlton Heston did what he did, and it undoubtedly cost him.
In 1992, Heston stood up at the annual stockholder’s meeting of the Time/Warner Corporation and recited the lyrics of an Ice-T rap song called “Cop Killer, ” which celebrated the pleasures of murdering police officers. “Catchy little number, isn’t it?” he said to the assembled T/W suits, and helped thereby to get it taken off the market.
He undoubtedly paid for this, too, because one does not embarrass entertainment-industry suits with impunity. So the next time you watch one of his movies, remember that he was that rarest of Hollywood leading men–a hero offscreen as well.