Whether you thought Charlton Heston was a God-fearing man who could actually make God fear him or another crazed gun nut who would shoot his mouth off faster than a bullet-spewing MP5, you have to admit he was a man worth admiring. Even if his opinions made you wish he’d croak just so you could pull his gun from cold dirty stinking paws, the damn dirty ape.
Heston and I wouldn’t get along politically on every issue on the scale. He supported the last three winning Republicans for president, and I consider George Bush and his son getting elected another sign that God may not exist. He was pro-life, and I’m pro-shut-the-hell-up. He supported gun rights and even ran the National Rifle Association, and I choose not to own guns or hunt because anything that involves getting up at 5 a.m. should be outlawed and used as torture on our enemies.
He held some opinions as bold as his voice, and he made no bones about sharing them with the world, whether they wanted to hear them or not. He practically started the celebrity pundit movement. Heston became one of the first celebrities to use his celebrity sway to try and affect public opinion. Without Heston, people with polar views like Susan Sarandon, Barbara Streisand and George Clooney wouldn’t spend every waking minute in front of a camera telling the world what they should and shouldn’t do. Damn you bastards! You blew it out of proportion! Damn you all to Hell!
Now that he’s passed on, a lot of people will remember him for the stances he took, especially those who didn’t agree with him. Those people need to get a pro-life.
Heston was, at his deepest core, an actor and a movie star. That’s what he did for a living. It’s hard to erase some of the images his activism created. Who can forget Heston standing before a group of gun crazies behind the podium with a musket that could rip a hole in a Buick in his wrinkled grip as he hoisted in the air and exclaiming in that deep, baritone voice “From my cold dead hands”? I can’t because all I could think was, “At least give us some other options.”
But that shouldn’t be what he’s remembered for, and even though it was a big part of his life, a lot of the media retrospectives trotted out that very image on just about every airwave that’s shot across the dark American sky. I’m sure a lot of middle aged, Red state Republicans didn’t have to take their Viagra that night, but Heston had a greater impact on the world.
This is the guy whose performances in movies helped anchor them in the rough waters of time like “Ben Hur,” “The Ten Commandments,” “Planet of the Apes,” “Soylent Green” and “Wayne’s World 2.”
This is the guy who told the world that soylent green was people, told Ramses that he would get his ass kicked by God if he didn’t let his people go and told unaware audiences that apes destroyed America, which I’m sure was some kind of thinly veiled rally for intelligent design, but that would destroy my point.
Politics seems to be creeping into every facet of our culture these days like some flesh hungry blob that oozes into every crevice and crack. It’s become so entrenched in our psyche that we let it think for us, speak for us and even act for us, and trying to separate it is like trying to separate coffee and milk with nothing but your bare hands.
Don’t remember him for “From my cold dead hands.” Remember him for “Get your stinking paws off of me, you damn dirty apes.” You can even remember him by combining the two. “Get your cold dead hands off of my gun, you damn dirty apes.” At least it’s a step.