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February At The Cineforum In Toronto

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The Cineforum, 463 Bathurst below College, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Saturday, January 31, February 7, 14, 21.

7pm: THE SALVADOR DALI FILM FEST Films made by Salvador Dali with Luis Bunuel and Walt Disney. Dali, in his 20s, was told by his teachers he had no talent. He replied, “You are not fit to judge me.” Can you do less? If you can (and too many can) skip this program.

9pm: THE SEX & VIOLENCE CARTOON FEST  Betty Boop, Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Popeye and their pals have been bowdlerized. That is a polite word that means everything that might upset a mother has been censored from their films. Come to this festival to see what too many mothers do not want us to see on TV. P.S. Admission Restricted to 19 & Over.

The Program: Two hours of too much for TV cartoons. Bugs Bunny singlehandedly defeats the Japanese navy (Banned). Red Hot Riding Hood strips in a Hollywood nightclub while her nymphomaniac grandmother tries to rape the wolf. Daffy Duck suffers pronoun trouble and gets his head blown off. Porky Pig skips church and smokes up. Betty Boop stars in a film banned in Britain for making Hell look too cool. Popeye beats the yell out of Bluto. A hot babe drives a sex crazed wolf into paroxysms of lust. Bugs strips Elmer naked, dresses him up as a hooker and plops him into the middle of pack of sex crazed wolves! Much more. WARNING: Includes animation not meant for tender eyes.

Sunday thru Thursday, February 1 thru 20

7pm: LE PATIN LIBRE 3D (2012) Reg Hartt. The most exciting figure skating company in the world was born at The Cineforum in Toronto. They will be at Harbourfront February 16. This will introduce you to them:

http://www.standard.co.uk/goingout/theatre/le-patin-libre-the-figure-skaters-reinventing-dancing-on-ice-9737423.html

http://www.alexandrapalace.com/whats-on/vertical-influences-le-patin-libre/

http://www.sadlerswells.com/whats-on/2014/le-patin-libre/

http://www.theguardian.com/stage/2014/oct/30/le-patin-libre-vertical-influences-review-ice-dance

http://nac-cna.ca/en/dance/event/9792

https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/this-is-contemporary-ice-skating

Friday, February 13, 20, 27.
7pm: FUNDRAISING FILM FEST FOR NATHAN C. LALONDE. Nathan needs to raise $8,000.00 to finish his film. I’m here to help him. You can to. Check out his sites.10934671_759707250782375_299951814_n

http://www.eccentricexhibits.ca/about.html

“The reliance on Property, including the reliance on governments which protect it, is the want of self-reliance.” Ralph Waldo Emerson writes in ON SELF-RELIANCE, “Insist on yourself; never imitate. Your own gift you can present every moment with the cumulative force of a whole life’s cultivation; but of the adopted talent of another you only have an extemporaneous half possession. That which each can do best, none but his Maker can teach him. No man yet knows what it is, nor can, till that person has exhibited it. Where is the master who could have taught Shakespeare? Where is the master who could have instructed Franklin, or Washington, or Bacon, or Newton? Every great man is unique. The Scipionism of Scipio is precisely that part he could not borrow. Shakespeare will never be made by the study of Shakespeare. Do that which is assigned you, and you cannot hope too much or dare too much… “Whoso would be a man, must be a nonconformist. He who would gather immortal palms must not be hindered by the name of goodness, but must explore if it be goodness. Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind. Absolve you to yourself, and you shall have the suffrage of the world. I remember an answer which when quite young I was prompted to make to a valued advisor who was wont to importune me with the dear old doctrines of the church. On my saying, ‘What do I have with the sacredness of traditions, if I live wholly from within?’ my friend suggested, ‘–But these impulses may be from below, not from above,’ I replied. ‘They do not seem to me to be such; but if I am the Devil’s child, I will then live as one from the Devil.’ No law can be sacred to me but that of my own nature. Good and bad are but names transferable to that or this; the only right is what is after my constitution; the only wrong what is against it…I am ashamed to think how easily we capitulate to badges and names, to large societies and dead institutions. “http://www.emersoncentral.com/selfreliance.htm

When I read Charles Chaplin’s MY AUTOBIOGRAPHY I was twenty-four, the same age Chaplin was when he began making movies.

Chaplin spoke about how as a boy he felt the doors open to the sons of the rich were closed to him. “Then I read Emerson’s essay ON SELF-RELIANCE. It was as if I had been handed a golden birthright,” he wrote.

As a result I read ON SELF-RELIANCE.  What a shot of adrenalin!

Specifically those words uttered as a youth: IF I AM THE DEVIL’S CHILD, I WILL LIVE THEN AS ONE FROM THE DEVIL.

The boldness, the courage in that.

To see life as an adventure, to not be turned back from the voyage, to brave any storm, to fear no man or idea not even God yet to love all.

That life and that life only I find worth living.

We have far too many people aspiring to be angels. We could use a few more honest devils.

http://www.abebooks.com/9780865475243/New-Testament-Richmond-Lattimore-0865475245/plp

Matthew 25:14-30English Standard Version (ESV) The Parable of the Talents 14 “For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants[a] and entrusted to them his property. 15 To one he gave five talents,[b] to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16 He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. 17 So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. 18 But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19 Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.[c] You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 22 And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’ 23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ 26 But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+25%3A14-30&version=ESV Footnotes:

(Alternate, poorer translation: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+25%3A14-30&version=ERV).

(talent: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talent_(measurement))

I have always preferred the word “talent” in this parable over the alternate “bags of money” in the second translation because the word “talent” can also mean something for which we have a special gift (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aptitude).  Some people are born with a gift for music, a natural aptitude so great that instruction gets in the way of it. Irving Berlin, for example, was the most prolific songwriter of his generation. He never learned how to read and write music. He hired music students to write down his compositions. Berlin knew what he was doing. “For Christ’s sake don’t take lessons,” he told Ethel Merman the first time he heard her sing.

A history teacher told me the reason the Americans own Canada is because Americans take risks with their money while Canadians bury their money in the back yard.

There is a great story about Warren Beatty (star of BONNIE & CLYDE). Beatty was the most successful actor of his generation at getting women. Asked the secret of his success he said,”I get my face slapped a lot.”

There is a saying in the theater, “Without risk there is no theater.”

I have found that without risk there is no life.

UNTIL ONE IS COMMITTED

Until one is committed there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets: Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. –W. H. Murray, THE SCOTTISH HIMALAYAN EXPEDITION.

LOSING EVERYTHING: THE PRODIGAL SON: Luke 15:11-32J.B. Phillips New Testament (PHILLIPS)

11-19 Then he continued, “Once there was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the property that will come to me.’ So he divided up his property between the two of them. Before very long, the younger son collected all his belongings and went off to a foreign land, where he squandered his wealth in the wildest extravagance. And when he had run through all his money, a terrible famine arose in that country, and he began to feel the pinch. Then he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country who sent him out into the fields to feed the pigs. He got to the point of longing to stuff himself with the food the pigs were eating and not a soul gave him anything. Then he came to his senses and cried aloud, ‘Why, dozens of my father’s hired men have got more food than they can eat and here I am dying of hunger! I will get up and go back to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have done wrong in the sight of Heaven and in your eyes. I don’t deserve to be called your son any more. Please take me on as one of your hired men.”’

20-24 So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still some distance off, his father saw him and his heart went out to him, and he ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. But his son said, ‘Father, I have done wrong in the sight of Heaven and in your eyes. I don’t deserve to be called your son any more ….’ ‘Hurry!’ called out his father to the servants, ‘fetch the best clothes and put them on him! Put a ring on his finger and shoes on his feet, and get that calf we’ve fattened and kill it, and we will have a feast and a celebration! For this is my son—I thought he was dead, and he’s alive again. I thought I had lost him, and he’s found!’ And they began to get the festivities going.

25-32 “But his elder son was out in the fields, and as he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants across to him and enquired what was the meaning of it all. ‘Your brother has arrived, and your father has killed the calf we fattened because he has got him home again safe and sound,’ was the reply. But he was furious and refused to go inside the house. So his father came outside and called him. Then he burst out, ‘Look, how many years have I slaved for you and never disobeyed a single order of yours, and yet you have never given me so much as a young goat, so that I could give my friends a dinner? But when that son of yours arrives, who has spent all your money on prostitutes, for him you kill the calf we’ve fattened!’ But the father replied, ‘My dear son, you have been with me all the time and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and show our joy. For this is your brother; I thought he was dead—and he’s alive. I thought he was lost—and he is found!’”

The son who gets his inheritance, leaves, spends his money on wine, women and song until it is all gone finds that when the money runs out so do the friends. From a high position he is fallen to the lowest. He is like most of us.

The son who stays behind is the person who plays it safe. In his heart there is neither love nor understanding. Many, too damn many, think this parable is about the son who wastes everything he has been given. It isn’t. It is about the one who stays home for his poverty is far greater than that of the son who lost everything.

The son who lost everything returns to find a father glad to be re-united with him. This son has become wise in the ways of the world. He can build up the father’s estates.

When I read THE NEW TESTAMENT I read it as I read any book. The miracles described in it like the turning of water into wine, the feeding of multitudes with a few loaves and fishes, those are things beyond my understanding. Some say they are mere metaphors. I don’t but some do. I look at the fact that the men who followed Jesus followed him to their deaths. On the same day, probably June 29, 67 AD, Peter was crucified and Paul, a Roman Citizen, was beheaded because a citizen could not be crucified. Peter asked, “Please crucify me upside down as I do not deserve to be crucified right side up.”

No man says something like that for a mere metaphor.

I find a richness in THE NEW TESTAMENT I find in no other book. This is why I read it, re-read it and re-re-read it. I have the book in many translations. This makes re-reading especially fruitful for me as I learned how much is gained or lost by the power of one word altered.

By chance I found THE PELICAN NEW TESTAMENT commentaries which are especially helpful. Again, these I have read and re-read and will read again.

Other books I go back to as we go to a well for water are John Neihardt’s BLACK ELK SPEAKS, the Wilhelm/Baynes edition of THE I CHING, Ruth Beebe Hill’s HANTA YO! the Howard Pyle books on KING ARTHUR (and, indeed, many Arthurian romances. I can feel John Steinbeck’s heart breaking in his version, uncompleted, of the story0.

I know that those who say we must accept Jesus or be damned are liars.

The proof? It is in THE NEW TESTAMENT in Acts 10 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts+10&version=PHILLIPS) when Peter says, “I see the Lord is not a respecter of persons but that in all lands those who love God and do good are loved by God.”

I know that when someone who thinks themselves a Christian tells a person who is homosexual they are a sinner and will burn in Hell they are wrong for Paul, whose text in Romans is the one most often used to back up this statement, states that they who judge and condemn do the very things those they judge and condemn do (https://www.biblegateway.com/quicksearch/?quicksearch=Romans+&qs_version=PHILLIPS).

Those who do that are the sons who never left home. They are “good” boys with cold hearts.

Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso said, “It is good taste not bad taste which is the enemy.” I am with them.

One of my favorite NEW TESTAMENT translations is from Greek poet Richmond Lattimore (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12249.New_Testament_Bible_OE_Lattimore).

The most powerful words in the entire NEW TESTAMENT are found in the first chapter of John’s Gospel. Lattimore, I believe, was an atheist until shortly before his death he was baptized as a Roman Catholic mainly due to his translation of Luke. Here is his translation of John.: “Those who accepted him, he gave them power to become children of God, to those who believed in his name, who were born not from blood or from the will of the flesh or from the will of man, but from God.” (http://www.bible-researcher.com/lattimore.html,  http://www.scripturezealot.com/2008/05/28/selections-from-richmond-lattimores-nt-translation/).

Where others translate the Greek word “doulos” as servant Lattimore uses the far less pleasant to our vanity “slave.”

We are all slaves to Truth. Truth is hard master. We are slaves because we have no will of our own except the will to lie when it comes to Truth.

“Truth? What is Truth?” asked Pontius Pilate of Jesus as well we might too.

Inevitably the truth is that which we least desire to speak because in its light we are revealed naked.

I am certain there were many things done by the Prodigal Son in his orgy of spending that he would wish not see the light of day as there are many things in most of our lives we wish would not see the light of day especially when we surrender our minds to alcohol. Nonetheless, they are there. Because they are there in myself I have compassion without weakness for others.

It was people who thought themselves good who imposed Prohibition on Canada and on The United States. Doing that they did great harm to people and greater harm to society by opening the door to organized crime.

On Sundays in a movie theater in Toronto gathers a group that calls itself “The church for those who don’t like church.” (http://www.themeetingplace.mb.ca/#/sunday)

Now the word “church” literally means “community.” Thus they are the community for people who don’t like community.

Which is ridiculous when I think of it.

Nonetheless, they see themselves not only as good people but also as better people than those folk who go to those churches they don’t like.

As for myself, I have always, like Jesus, preferred the company of those the good people damn as sinners.

The only Hell I can imagine is bring stuck for eternity with those who see themselves as saved.

Look at it this way. Jimmy Swaggert is certain he will be in Heaven while he is equally certain his cousin, Jerry Lee Lewis, will be in Hell.

Imagine yourself stuck in Heaven for eternity listening to Swaggert while downstairs in The Hell Fire Club Lewis is banging out the appropriately named “GREAT BALLS OF FIRE.”

For me that would be Hell.

Conventionally we think of those who calls themselves people of God as good and of those who spend time in bordellos (as Judy Henske says, “That is not an Italian desert.”) and saloons as sinners. Bankers are good men. Bums are bad.

The problem is that in any translation of THE NEW TESTAMENT we care to read the only people Jesus damns are priests and lawyers. The Jewish state being a theocracy, these were the politicians of his day. These same are scoundrels in our time.

The slaves, the lowest of the low, were the first to understand the message: “Those who accepted him, he gave them power to become children of God, to those who believed in his name, who were born not from blood or from the will of the flesh or from the will of man, but from God.”

Accepting that message the lowest of the low not only became equal to their masters but also and more importantly equal to God.

That message was revolutionary then. It remains revolutionary now.

“Faith?” mocked Olivia Chow in her run for Mayor of Toronto.

Without Faith we are nothing. If you do not have faith your employer can pay you you will leave them.

We all have faith in some thing. I have Faith in one thing only.

“We have the seed of God in us. Hazel seeds grow hazel trees. Pear seeds grow pear trees. God seeds grow Gods.”–Meister Eckhart (who often got in trouble with the community).

If I have the seed of God in me I do not need THE BIBLE.

“This word I give you is not in the sky that you should ask who has brought it down to us. Nor is it across the sea that you should ask who has brought it to us. No, it is very near that you may have it with you always. It is in your heart and on your tongue,” said Moses (Deuteronomy 30: 14).

Today he would add, “Nor is it in a book that you should ask who has taught us to read?”

Read Lattimore’s translation for what it is, a very good translation.

No translation however is as good as the original.

For the original look in your heart (mind) and on your tongue.

And, please, stay the Hell out of church.–Reg Hartt, 18/01/2015.

Note: By trusting in what THE NEW TESTAMENT says I have been witness to miracles. You will be as well.

There is a power in this woman singing we will never find in a church choir. It is the power not of a life buried but of a life lived.

http://www.wtsbooks.com/common/pdf_links/9780802823021.pdf

http://solifera.lt/download-the-new-testament-pdf

More Judy Henske:

Pray for a tough instructor

THE CORE OF MASCULINITY  1At the memorial service for Judith Merril one person after another spoke about what a hard person she was to love. “You could be talking with her and suddenly she would shout, ‘GET THE HELL OUT OF HERE!‘” they said. I knew Judy from 1968 until her death. She never once in all those years said that to me though I have said it to others. I know why she said it.

Who was Judith Merril? Judith Merril is the mother of modern science fiction. Her contribution?  “Science fiction, I suspect, is now dead, and probably died about the time that Judy closed her anthology and left to found her memorial library to the genre in Toronto. I remember my last sight of her, surrounded by her friends and all the books she loved, shouting me down whenever I tried to argue with her, the strongest woman in a genre for the most part created by timid and weak men.“– J. G. Ballard (author of Crash and Empire of the Sun) .

God knows there is no shortage of timid and weak men.

I discovered later that when I had put my name down to speak there was a great deal of hesitation about allowing me to.

I rose and spoke about the need for a tough teacher, one who would tolerate no bullshit, one who faced with it would say, “GET THE HELL OUT OF HERE!”

The I quoted Rumi’s poem THE CORE OF MASCULINITY.

The core of masculinity does not derive
from being male,
nor friendliness from those who console.
Your old grandmother says, “Maybe you shouldn’t
go to school. You look a little pale.”
Run when you hear that.
A father’s stern slaps are better.
Your bodily soul wants comforting.
The severe father wants spiritual clarity.
He scolds but eventually
leads you into the open.
Pray for a tough instructor
to hear and act and stay within you.

~ Rumi (Translation by Coleman Barks).

I ended by saying, “Judy was that tough instructor. I loved her for it.”

I looked down at the assembled crowd. Those who had spoken before me were squirming in their seats. They were gnashing their teeth.Hatred, pure, fucking undiluted hatred flew from their eyes into mine.

Around them was a sea of people weeping.

I stepped down. The people in charge said, “We were not going to let you speak. Are we ever glad we did.”

In an article that appeared many years ago in TORONTO LIFE magazine the writer said, “Reg Hartt is Toronto’s most loved and loathed film connoisseur.” The loathed part is important. It is the part that earns me that love.

One day at Judy’s place on Beverly Street back in the 1970s a young man spoke about a short film he had made about freedom in which he tore off his clothes and ran through a field in his underwear. When he finished almost everyone looked at him in wonder. Then I said, “I am sorry but that film is not about freedom. You should have taken off your underwear.”

He got angry. He started to shout. The others joined it. Who was I to say his film was not about freedom? Who am I? I am a voice crying in the wilderness.

Then when it got loudest Judy softly said, “Reg is right.”

Timid and weak men abound. They start, stop, start, stop.

When they see someone strong they gather like jackals. They start whisper campaigns. They make telephone calls late at night threatening death. They leave hastily scribbled notes filled with insulting things.

A friend who would be a poet runs from women after he has sex with them.

“We only really learn in conversation after sex,” Judy was fond of saying.

He robs himself of the best part.

God, I loved, love that woman. She died a few years ago. She lives in my heart.

This commentary is from the site where I found Rumi’s THE CORE OF MASCULINITY (http://www.returnofkings.com/29522/a-word-on-masculinity-from-a-13th-century-poet):

(1-2)Being masculine does not derive from simply having a penis, it’s earned.

(3-6) Keep people who want to coddle you at arms length. Those who advise you to “take it easy” or “slow down” may not intentionally seek to harm you but if you heed their advice they will in the long run. Chances are you will hear these words from a woman. It’s no coincidence Rumi chose a grandmother as an example.

(7-9) An ass beating will build more character than a consolation hug. Your body will naturally prefer the latter. I know mine did when my boxing instructor would yell or hit me upside the head whenever I did something wrong.
Bodily comfort and spiritual clarity are posed as opposites in these lines. Could they simultaneously exist? Thinking back to some of the things I have accomplished that I am most proud of, I don’t think they can. My body always fought going to the gym, reading, studying, approaching a girl, even as I write this post my mind protests because it would rather be surfing mindlessly through the internet.

(10-13) There’s no replacement for the tough-as-nails male figure who will be unyielding when you beg for an easy route. His methods might frustrate you at times, hell it may even cause you to throw a tantrum or two but they will help you achieve your goals. This is the instructor you should seek out so you can internalize his habits to apply later on in life.

For most this male figure is a father. Sadly nowadays more and more men are being raised without knowing their fathers, let alone learning life lessons from them. As good of a mother as you may have no woman can ever teach a man how to be a man. Despite what the media says women and men are not the same, we are wired differently. To these men I would recommend they find a mentor (coach, professor, etc.) or learn as much as they can from different men that are admirable.
What happens when you raise a generation of sons without fathers or male mentorship? Well, just look around. You get males who don’t know how to deal with women, are insecure, oversensitive, and complain at the sight of anything that requires real work.

Conclusion: The core of masculinity derives from a masculine mentor and hard work.

I disagreev\ with the need for that tough instructor to be male. Any person who refuses to lie to themselves, male or female, is a tough instructor. I had five tough instructors all women. The first was my mother. The second was a teacher in New Brunswick, Edith Mills. The third was Jane Jacobs who became a friend and mentor after coming to my film programs. The fourth was Judith Merril who I met at Rochdale College. The fifth was Doris Mehegan who ran THE SPACED OUT LIBRARY (now THE MERRIL COLLECTION). These were tough women.

Today there is a great outpouring of tears of sorrow for the CHARLIE HEBDO murdered cartoonists.

There should not be.

If they did what they did knowing it could get them killed our tears should be tears of joy that such heroes existed among us.

If they thought they could do what they did without risking their lives than their actions were irresponsible. There should be no tears at all.

I accept the fact that what I say and do will upset people. I don’t get angry when they get upset. I don’t get angry when, hearing tough instructions those who can’t take them run to comforting arms uttering the lie they know will win them sympathy. I don’t angry when I find anonymous messages on my phone threatening to kill me.

“The function of the artist is to disturb. His duty is to arouse the sleeper, to shake the complacent killers of the world. He reminds the world of its dark ancestry, shows the world its present and points the way to its new birth. He is at once the product and preceptor of his time… In a world terrified of change, he preaches revolution – the principle of life. He is an agitator, a disturber of the peace – quick, impatient, positive, restless and disquieting. He is the creative spirit of life, working in the soul of men.”–Norman Bethune.

Too often people confuse being an entertainer with being an artist.

An entertainer tells us what we want to hear. The prize he seeks is gold.

The artist tells us what we need to hear like an Old Testament Prophet. The prize the artist seeks is best summed up in the word GOD.

Add a “L” to God we get GOLD and everything goes to Hell.

This is why so many truly great artists were murdered. When Victor Hugo got run out of Paris he did not complain. He knew when he wrote what he wrote he risked what he risked.

The thing is we say what we say knowing it can get us killed because if we do not we will die in all the ways that matter.

Churches are supposed to be homes to truth. In the east there is a saying: “The nearer the temple the farther from THE BUDDHA.” In the west there is a like saying: “The nearer the church/synagogue/temple the farther from God.”

Once at a church that saw itself as liberal I quoted Robert Browning’s, “Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp.” I never got to, “Or what’s a heaven for?”

To my surprise the congregation shouted as a body, “WE WON’T HAVE THAT HERE!”

I was forcefully thrown out. No problem. I accepted that and let them do it. I saw a taxi driving by. I flagged it.

“What happened there?” asked the driver.

“I quoted Robert Browning. I said, “‘A man’s reach must exceed his grasp.’ I never got to ‘Or what’s a Heaven for?’ They shouted, “WE WON’T HAVE THAT HERE.’ They threw me out.”

The cab driver said, “My God, they are all losers.”

This is why I do not go to church.

The second rate enshrine the second rate in others. They assemble in groups. They applaud without listening. For them as Marshall McLuhan said, the medium is the message.

Those who speak to be heard do so knowing the words they speak could bring their death. I learned this long ago from another tough instructor. Her name was Edith Mills. She was my home room grade Eleven English teacher in Chipman, New Brunswick.

One week we all had to speak extemporaneously. That is a long word which means “off the cuff.”

When my time came I saw a word coming out which, if used, meant a trip to the principal’s office and the application of the strap.

I looked for another word. I looked hard. There was no other word. I said to myself, “I guess I am getting the strap.”

The next day another student who hated me used the word I had used.

I was furious with her. I went to her after class. I said, “What are you trying to do? Make me look like teacher’s pet? Yesterday I used that word. Nothing happened. Today he uses it. He gets the strap. What is going on? Why didn’t I get the strap?”

She said, “I watched you choosing.I watched you accepting the responsibility of your choice. You were right. It was the right word. He just walked through the door that you opened.”

In that moment I understood the difference between license and liberty.

License says, “He got away with it so I can.” License does not understand the deeper issues.

Liberty says, “If I do this I must pay a price.” Liberty understands the deeper issues and gladly pays the price.

There is only one path that leads to the truth. That path now and always leads to Cavalry and the Cross.

On that cross Jesus asked, “My God, why hast thou forsaken me?”

The answer is that the truth now, always and forever eternally stands alone.maxresdefault

The thing that I am most proud of is that I am this city’s most loathed film connoisseur.

I earned that.

When Katharine Hepburn left home as a young woman to become an actress she was invited to join New York’s prestigious GROUP THEATER (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Group_Theatre_%28New_York%29).

She turned them down. She said, “I want no part of the group dynamic. The group dynamic by nature is always second rate.”

We can and must accept the second rate in others. We can never accept it in our self.

It is not a matter of “MY WAY OR THE HIGHWAY.”

The plain truth is that this is, always has been and always will be the only way.

The harder truth is that on this path we walk alone. (15/01/2015).

These pictures are from THE WONDERFUL SALVADOR DALI DINNER Cooked at The Cineforum by Australian Chef Mark Sleep who lived with me for a while. I met Mark by chance. In my last year in High School (Grade 13) my principal told me, “You have the wrong attitude. If you leave this school today you will starve to death in two weeks.” Not only did I not starve I now know that if I had not left I would have starved. Because I walked out of high school I had the benefit of learning from some of the greatest men and women of our time as well as from many great mean and women our time does not celebrate. Here is my friend and mentor Jane Jacobs:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judith_Merril

Mark-Sleeps-SALVADOR-DALI-DINNER-9-Reg-Hartt-Judith-Merril

I met Judy in 1968. We were more than friends. Shewas one of my mothers. She caused me to be reborn.

I met Judith Merril in 1968. We were more than friends. She was one of my mothers. She caused me to be reborn.

 

judytyper judyroof

 J. G. Ballard (author of Crash and Empire of the Sun) in 1992 on Judith Merril: "Science fiction, I suspect, is now dead, and probably died about the time that Judy closed her anthology and left to found her memorial library to the genre in Toronto. I remember my last sight of her, surrounded by her friends and all the books she loved, shouting me down whenever I tried to argue with her, the strongest woman in a genre for the most part created by timid and weak men."

J. G. Ballard (author of Crash and Empire of the Sun) in 1992 on Judith Merril: “Science fiction, I suspect, is now dead, and probably died about the time that Judy closed her anthology and left to found her memorial library to the genre in Toronto. I remember my last sight of her, surrounded by her friends and all the books she loved, shouting me down whenever I tried to argue with her, the strongest woman in a genre for the most part created by timid and weak men.”

images 210 S-F The Year's Greatest Science-Fiction and Fantasy Judith Merrill Ed Dell056

Look at the posters on the wall behind The Punisher. Some of them promote REG HARTT''S FILM FEST. When yiou comer to The Cineforum  you enter the Marvel Universe.,

Look at the posters on the wall behind The Punisher. Some of them promote REG HARTT”S FILM FEST. When you comer to The Cineforum you enter the Marvel Universe.,

Dirty Dan, a longtime friend from my days at Rochdale College. The man with the fiddle is Marcel who was a wonderful presence here for a long time.

Dirty Dan, a longtime friend from my days at Rochdale College. The man with the fiddle is Marcel who was a wonderful presence here for a long time.

Mark Sleep's SALVADOR DALI DINNER 13

Paul hall, Reg Hartt and the couple who had come to THESALVADOR DALI FILM FEST the night before. They were invited to the Dali Dinner. Good thing too as they took the pictures.

Paul hall, Reg Hartt and the couple who had come to THE SALVADOR DALI FILM FEST the night before. They were invited to the Dali Dinner. Good thing too as they took the pictures.

Mark Sleep's SALVADOR DALI DINNER 11 Mark Sleep's SALVADOR DALI DINNER 10

Jodie Drake, pictured here, was the grandmother of Toronto's jazz and blues scene. We becme friends. Here she is enjoying a dinner at The Cineforum prepared by Chef Mark Sleep from The Salvador Dali cookbook. That was a dinner you could not buy.

Jodie Drake, pictured here, was the grandmother of Toronto’s jazz and blues scene. We became friends. Here she is enjoying a dinner at The Cineforum prepared by Chef Mark Sleep from The Salvador Dali cookbook. That was a dinner you could not buy.

These two ladies were from The Argentine and Spanish Embassies.

These two ladies were from The Argentine and Spanish Embassies.

Mark Sleep's SALVADOR DALI DINNER 6

Doug Eliuk (behind the camera, was one of the head honchos of the NFB in Toronto. Doug served as Canada's Cultural Attache to America. He also was a fine chef. He served as sous Chef to Mark Sleep for The Dali Dinner.

Doug Eliuk (behind the camera, was one of the head honchos of the NFB in Toronto. Doug served as Canada’s Cultural Attache to America. He also was a fine chef. He served as sous Chef to Mark Sleep for The Dali Dinner.

Mark Sleep's SALVADOR DALI DINNER 3 Mark Sleep's SALVADOR DALI DINNER 2

The Salvador Dali Dinner.

The Salvador Dali Dinner.

Mark Sleep, who cooked THE SALVADOR DALI DINNER, seen here with my father and my dog, Spike.

Mark Sleep, who cooked THE SALVADOR DALI DINNER, seen here with my father and my dog, Spike.

merril12 merril8 Dell9772 110084666_amazoncom-the-years-best-sf-judith-merril-books 6384053 31bu5vULEIL._SL500_AA300_ yearsbestsf

 

Garson Kanin told a story of when he first worked with producer Samuel Goldwyn. It is in his book, Hollywood. Goldwyn was arranging to have one of his films open in New York. On the phone he said, “Be sure to put on some chasers.”

“What are chasers?” asked Kanin.

“Chasers are films you use to chase audiences out of the theater. Smart boy! You went to college. You don’t know what chasers are!” said Goldwyn.

There are two worlds which are polar opposites. One is the high flying world of academe. The other is the world of the rough streets in which we have to make our living. In the world of the academy there are rules. On the street there is one rule: get on. If one gets on well enough, one thinks of getting honest. Then if one gets on well enough one thinks of getting honour.

In the days of live vaudeville out of which rose the movies theaters were low places filled with thousands of desperate men and eager women. Audiences were working class or below working class. Folks above working class if they came came with their noses in the air. Prices were kept low to attract a lot of folks. Money was made by offering them everything they might desire once inside from drink to sex. Actresses were viewed as one rank above prostitutes.

With thousands of seats to fill they were filled any sway they could be filled. On the bill was the STAR attraction followed by stars of descending rank followed by performers so bad they literally caused people to leave the theater. This was so that seats could be freed up for the next show.

When the movies took over from live shows the feature attraction would be preceded by a few good short films to allow people who came late to see the film from start to finish plus previews of coming attractions to keep people coming back. Following the main film would be a short film or series of short films that were so bad they caused people to leave.

Bear in mind that people were allowed to walk into a movie at any time during its running. If you had a hot show you needed every seat to be available. At that time theaters sat thousands not hundreds. Also think of the psychological effect on the audience watching a film and seeing people get up and walk out half way through it.

There were sound reasons for using chasers. In his book OF MICE AND MAGIC, the first comprehensive history of American theatrical animated cartoons (and still one of the very best) Leonard Maltin told a story of Paul Terry, producer of TERRYTOONS cartoons staring Mighty Mouse and more asking a theater owner if he showed Terrytoons. The man said, “Yes. I use them as chasers,”

I was on an animation fan site and shared this story. There was a fellow on the site named Ray Pointer who had worked at a number of animation studios, knew Max Fleischer and was considered a God by himself and many of the fans. When I mentioned that cartoons were often used as chasers someone asked what chasers were. I explained what chasers were. Pointer went ballistic. “That’s not true! They never did that!”

I then referred him to Leonard Maltin’s OF MICE AND MAGIC. “Not true!” he wrote.

I then ordered a copy of Garson Kanin’s HOLLYWOOD (which is an excellent book and my copy had disappeared) so I could quote chapter and verse.

“Not true!” shouted Pointer (I know this was in print on a web page nonetheless I could feel the veins in his neck going purple).

Pointer then said, “Leonard Maltin and Jerry Beck don’t like you.”

Like that is supposed to mean something to me.

It was Pointer’s way of making sure his fans paid me nothing but contempt.

Frankly, I do not give a damn whether Leonard or Jerry like me. I like and respect them both. Leonard Maltin worked in the trenches of film history when it was a one man army and he was the army. He has done invaluable work that can not be measured in terms of its importance. It was Maltin who persuaded Disney to open up its vaults and share their long buried treasures. Jerry Beck has worked exclusively in animation history. Again for a long time in a one many army Jerry was the army.

Both men are still potent forces.

And as for Ray Pointer, well, he has been doing truly great work as well (http://www.inkwellimagesink.com/pages/aboutus.shtml). I have all of his dvds here.

I am not so silly that I become blind to the value of a person just because they disagree with me or don’t like me personally.

I mean, who wants to be liked by anyone but themselves first and by others second? Well, frankly, lots of people which is why so many sell themselves short.

Last week on the animation site Cartoon Research (https://www.facebook.com/groups/161346744015168/) a fan posted a video link to Bob Clampett’s animated cartoon TIN PAN ALLEY CATS. He described it as the most racist film he has ever seen.

First off, the film is not racist. There is this attitude prevalent among many white boys that every film made by white folk featuring Black people is racist and must be apologized for.

I got on and said the film is not racist.

Then the shit hit the fan. As I disagreed with the prevailing view I must be attacked.

These boys are not used to someone who can defend themselves.

Bob-Clampett-Bruce-Kirkland2press-0271First off to answer the question who was Bob Clampett?

Bob Clampett is ranked today as one of the greatest directors of animated cartoons ever. I first found his name mentioned in a special animation issue of Film-Comment-150x150FILM COMMENT magazine. That issue introduced me to the idea of animated cartoons as an art form. I decided it was one I wanted to personally study. I began to acquire 16mm prints of the films I had read about. It was not easy. The Canadian 16mm distributors had dropped short films from their catalogs as they cost more in paper work than the films took in in rentals. Only Disney had short cartoons but they did not offer the films I wanted to see.

Fate stepped in when I got a telephone call from a woman whose father had passed away. He had had a 16mm film collection. “How much do you want for it?” I asked.

In that collection were some short animated cartoons. I did my first program. It drew only eight people. When I did a second program the people who then worked with me said, “You only got eight people last time. Why are you doing this again?” I said, “They were eight interesting people.” They said,”You’re crazy.”

“Reg Hartt has had an amazing impact given the size of the venue and the esoteric nature of the programming. He’s had an incredible impact on the city. No one else is doing it. No one else has ever done it.”–Rob Salem, Entertainment Writer, TORONTO STAR.

I do what I do to learn. I want to learn as much as I can learn about everything. After the second animation program the people then working with me said, “How did you know you would get fifty people?” After the third they said, “How did you know you would get 200 people?”

Among those who came out was a young man studying animation at Sheridan College in Oakville. His name was John Kricfalusi. He asked if we could bring programs to Sheridan so that the students there could see the films. I fell in love with John. It was impossible not to. His enthusiasm was contagious. His hunger for knowledge was like my own. He is one of the very few people I have met who have that.

As a result we became great friends. When I went to Europe with my then partner John Dunham in the summer of 1978 I left John in charge of my house, my films, and, most importantly, my dogs.

That fall when I began my programs John found that he had been turned down for second year at Sheridan as his teachers felt he had no talent. Salvador Dali’s teachers thought the same of him. Actually, his teachers were jealous of John. In private conversation with me they had dismissed him and his “disruptive influence.” That means he asked questions they could not answer and thus felt threatened.

That was a good thing because it forced John to rely upon himself.

Justin Smallbridge, Saturday Night, April 1994:

John Kricfalusi enrolled in the animation programme at Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario, generally acknowledged to be one of the best in North America and widely respected throughout the industry. But Kricfalusi found its curriculum placed little stress on technical knowledge and even less on exploring the medium’s potential. ‘There was no education,” Kricfalusi says, blunt about the outcome but more diplomatic in explaining why not. ‘Part of it was my fault. I was more concerned with partying and stuff. I saw mechanically how animation was put together. So it was all right for that. They teach you some really basic technical things. How to draw? No. How to act? No. How to compose? No. No animation skills do you learn in animation school.’

“At the same time as Sheridan’s programme was infuriating him, Kricfalusi was getting a parallel education through a Toronto fixture, Reg Hartt, an eccentric one- man movie compendium who screens his massive collection of prints of classic films in bars, church halls, and his own apartment. A big part of Hartt’s collection consists of the MGM and Warner Bros. work that many agree constitutes animation’s acme — the seven-minute chunks of jazzy, stuttering, rubbery brilliance that careered out of Hollywood during animation’s finest twenty-five years. From Hartt’s screenings, Kricfalusi ‘discovered the Tex Avery cartoons from MGM, which I hadn’t seen much of. I really liked those, and I started to think, ‘Hey, Tex Avery’s my favourite director.’ But then I saw Bob Clampett’s The Great Piggy Bank Robbery,’ a Dick Tracy lampoon.

“For Kricfalusi, it was an animated epiphany: “It was the wildest experience I’d ever felt, like taking acid or something. The next week I went back to Reg Hartt’s and saw Coal Black and De Sebben Dwarves. And the week after I saw Kitty Cornered and Tin Pan Alley Cats. And I thought, ‘Wow, who is this guy?’ Bob Clampett worked for the Warner Bros. animation department (housed in a bungalow on the Warne r lot that the animators dubbed “Termite Terrace”). He invented Daffy Duck, perhaps the most completely unhinged member of the Warner Bros. cartoon pantheon. ‘The cartoons are faster than other cartoons, more caricatured. The jokes are bigger, the expressions are wilder and more subtle at the same time,’ Kricfalusi says. ‘There’s a cartoon language and a lot of people spoke it. But nobody spoke it more fluently than Clampett. ‘”

In his enthusiasm for Bob Clampett’s work John had gotten in touch with Clampett who, hearing that John was going to be allowed to continue at Sheridan, told him to come to Hollywood, find a studio that needed people and to get a job and, more importantly, to earn while he learned.

John dropped by to let me know what he was doing. He gave me Bob Clampett’s telephone number. My programs were then on Sundays at Innis College in Toronto. That particular Sunday I went from 12 noon to 12 midnight to a total of twelve people. I decided that to get through the year I needed to do something new. When I got home I called Bob Clampett. I got his answering machine. The next morning Bob returned my call. He said, “Reg, I’d love to come to Toronto.”

Wow! My year was made.

The next Sunday I announced that Bob Clampett would be in Toronto for three days in the summer of 1979.

Well, my enthusiasm was not shared. One person after another said, “I am only interested in seeing the films.” Everyone advised me to cancel the event as so few were interested. But as I said, I do what I do to learn. I knew I could learn a lot from Bob (in fact, I truly had no idea just how much I would learn thanks to this man in whose debt I am forever in).

Faced with calling Bob and cancelling or finding a way over this hurdle I gave the matter a lot of thought.

A fellow named David Mruz in Minneapolis had created a fanzine titled MINDROT (The Journal Of Animated Cartoons). My friend Ron Hall had turned me on to David. I had sent David a ton of materials. He had given me a lifetime subscription. I decided to ignore Toronto and to go to the world. I bought a two page ad in MINDROT offering 200 animated cartoons over three days and the chance to meet Bob Clampett. (http://wrmilleronline.com/apatoons/apalegacy/).

To the fury of my uncle Douglas Hartt, who at the time was Director General of Public Works Canada, I had turned my back on government funding. One of the things I had noticed about too many people (not all) on government funding is that they have an attitude best summed up in the words, “they think their shit don’t stink.” As well, they are only interested in their friends. They don’t give a damn about other people.

I love the people I meet through my programs one of whom was, of course, John. As a result of our meeting the course of American animation was changed.

When the issue of MINDROT with my ad came out people responded from around the world. I had made the event by donation. I asked for $25 a day. If you did not have money you could help. I wanted as many people as could to meet Bob. Talent comes mainly from the ranks of the poor. I wanted the people who could not afford to pay money to be able to come.

My friend Jaan Pill, whom I had also met through my programs, said he would like to do a piece on Bob for a Canadian film journal. Jaan asked if he could audio record the event. I said, “Sure.” I tried to have Bob video recorded as well but that did not work out.

The event was a great success. CTV, one of Canada’s national television networks, had come on board. They bought the English language rights to Bob’s BEANY AND CECIL TV series (which Groucho Marx had described as the only children’s show on TV adult enough for him to let his kids  watch). The CBC bought the French version of Bob’s show. As well, Bob was given his only major television interview by CTV for the  JOYCE DAVIDSON SHOW (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joyce_Davidson, https://classictvhistory.wordpress.com/tag/joyce-davidson/). This interview is on a par with the one Dick Cavett did with animation director Chuck Jones and, as far as I know, the only TV interview Bob did that was worthy of him.

So, you see, by not seeking government money and by determining not to allow the lack of enthusiasm of others to stand in my way something very good was done.

The two most controversial animated cartoons made by Bob Clampett are COAL BLACK AN DE SEBBEN DWARFS and TIN PAN ALLEY CATS. Both were done in 1943. They are today almost impossible to see in good versions because they belong to a group of cartoons known as THE CENSORED ELEVEN (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censored_Eleven). When TV mogul Ted Turner bought the pre-1948 Warner Film Library from United Artists he asked Bill Cosby to vet the cartoons. Thanks to Cosby these films were and are held back from public view.

This is unfortunate because they are brilliant films.

Bob Clampett had gone to a Duke Ellington Concert at The Club Alabam (http://english89n.blogspot.ca/2007/10/orange-club-alabam.html) in Los Angeles. Talking with the musicians after the show Bob was asked, “Why isn’t Warner Brothers using us on cartoon soundtracks? Max Fleischer is. Walter Lantz is. Why isn’t Warner Brothers?”

Faced with that on the spot question most folks responded with the commitment less, “Here’s my card,” or “Call me.”

Bob said, “I don’t know why. If you fellows want to make a picture I will make one with you.”

Inspired by that year’s Broadway hit CARMEN JONES (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carmen_Jones_%28film%29) Bob decided to do a Black version of SNOW WHITE AND THE SEBBEN DWARFS. Originally the cartoon was titled SO WHITE AND DE SEBBEN DWARFS. Walt Disney called Leon Schlesinger, the producer of LOONEY TUNES and MERRIE MELODIES. He complained about the title saying folks might think Snow White had drifted so the title was changed from SO WHITE AND DE SEBBEN DWARFS to COAL BLACK AND DE SEBBEN DWARFS though in the picture the girl is called “So White.”

In the 1954 film version of CARMEN JONES Otto Preminger cast Dorothy Dandridge. In a prescient move Clampett commissioned Dandridge’s mother, Ruby, to voice the evil queen and her sister Vivian for the voice for So White. Drummer Leo (Zoot) Watson provided the Prince Chawmin’ voice originally intended for Louis Armstrong who got called away on tour (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leo_Watson, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vivian_Dandridge, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruby_Dandridge). Because Mel Blanc’s contract gave him sole voice credit of Warner Cartoons they and the many others who provided voices for Warner Cartoons were not credited (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warner_Bros._Cartoons).

Mel Blanc had asked Leon Schlesinger for a raise. Schlesinger loved to gamble but was penny wise and pound foolish in his cartoon production. When asked about making a feature after the success of Disney’s SNOW WHITE, Schlesinger said, “I need a feature like I need two belly buttons.” Leon’s motto was, “Let Disney make chicken salad and win prizes. I will make chicken shit and make money.” Shortly before his death Leon sold the studio to Warners for under two million. Disney won prizes and made money.

The Musicians union objected to the use of Black musicians on COAL BLACK as they did not belong to the union. Clampett fought the union.

How did Black people react to COAL BLACK?

Some Black Panthers who met with Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Bradley_(American_politician) were asked by the Mayor what they had done earlier that day. They said, “We went to a Bob Clampett animation festival.”

Said Mayor Bradley, “Bob Clampett? He made my favorite cartoon. I saw it in France during World War Two. It’s called COAL BLACK AND DE SEBBEN DWARFS.”

There is  a tendency mostly on the part of White and Black Academics today to condemn all these films as racist.

I have had a long association in Toronto with Chloe Onari who, with her husband Bill Smith, ran THE JAZZ AND BLUES CENTER which was the record store The Beatles, Mick Jagger and many others ordered Black music from. It was at that time the only record store in the world from which one could order Black Jazz music. Remember that America’s first original composer, Scott Joplin, was not allowed to join THE AMERICAN FEDERATION OF MUSICIANS. Why? Because they viewed his music as whore house music.

In addition to the record store Chloe and Bill also published Coda Magazine (http://www.coda1958.com/contact.php). They sponsored shows in Toronto (many to empty houses Toronto being at all times then and now too blase for its own good) and across Canada. The across Canada shows were always sold out. Chloe and Bill knew everybody. Everybody knew and loved them. They still do.

Ronn Mann’s 1981 film IMAGINE THE SOUND with Cecil Taylor was produced in conjunction with Bill and Chloe who spoke so unhappily of Mann that I turned down his request to be interviewed for Mann’s film on Rochdale College, DREAMTOWER). Seeing the finished product I am glad I did. Mann is conventional and mediocre, (http://ilovedocs.com/imagine-the-sound/, http://northern-spy.com/cecil-taylor-documentary-by-ron-mann-imagine-the-sound-1981-excerpt/, http://www.organissimo.org/forum/index.php?/topic/63809-imagine-the-sound-now-on-vod/).

Chloe had many times smoked pot with Louis Armstrong who was particular about whom he smoked pot with. Cecil Taylor has been a frequent visitor to her home. In fact, indirectly, Cecil Taylor is responsible for my Cineforum in Toronto. Chloe told me one day, “Cecil said the key to success in the arts is to find some place small in your own city where you can present your ideas on a regular basis without interference.”

The point of this elaborate interlude is that Chloe and Bill knew all of the musicians involved in the making of these great film works too many today label as racist.

These musicians were not Uncle Toms. They refused to involve themselves in anything no matter how much money they were offered that they felt demeaning to themselves and to Black people. Do not assume that because they smoked pot they lacked discernment. Marihuana heightens and enhances our perceptions enormously. In fact, it does it to such a degree that we can practically read the mind of a person we are talking with. As for LSD, well, until one night in September 1968 at Rochdale College I believed everything I had read and been told about it. After that I realized how blind and how deaf I was.

In a post attacking Clampett’s TIN PAN ALLEY CATS as racist on the site CARTOON RESEARCH that got yanked Keith Scott wrote,  “It’s all about perceptions, and on this we’ll just have to agree to disagree. I don’t see “golliwog,” even in Harman’s frog caricature cartoons … I only see well animated dance and a degree of caricature on, e.g., all the Calloway takeoffs. We are talking animation here, by “cartoonists,” so caricature is going to be part of the equation. And, yes, I’m highly aware of, and saddened by, the vile institutionalized colour bar in place in those times, Hollywood and a million other places. But consider the reactions by those in question: Louis Armstrong met Hugh Harman and told him he loved his caricature; Calloway was reportedly delighted with his cartoon-ization; Vivian Dandridge (the voice of So White) sent a very personal, handwritten letter of appreciation to Clampett two decades after the fact, in the Civil Rights 1960s; Scat Man Crothers told me at a recording session in 1984 that he and all his musician and actor friends loved the caricature pictures; Leroy Hurte of the Four Blackbirds vocal group (MGM and WB cartoons of the 30s) spoke in 1999 of his affection towards “the cartoon guys, who used us and loved us” and he was referring to events from sixty-plus years ago; Eddie Beal, the pianist/musical director of Clampett’s COAL BLACK and TIN PAN became personal friends with Clampett…Sody Clampett told me that Eddie and his brother used to go to dinner with the Clampetts all the way into the 1970s….there are more examples, but if the black performers and musicians took these films as the lighthearted entertainments they were intended to be, and voiced such affection years later for the “cartoon guys” like Clampett, then I cannot take the ultra serious debating here with anything except “we will always have differing opinions.” I am now going to leave this discussion as it is endless and ultimately pointless.”

Voices speaking against the prevailing view on the site that these films (Scott’s and others including my own) were dismissed as “angry grandpas.”

As far as I am concerned ageism is as intolerable as is racism.

Attacked for his view Scott wrote, “One final reaction. You guys dwell on this way too much…in your last comment you used the following: “purely speculative” – “it would seem” – “I don’t know…” – “difficult to imagine” and “might well have” (and if your last sentence is in any way accurate, then plainly and simply those young people you are depicting would have been, as much as you’ll not like reading this, wrong). Is this what 25 years of galloping correctness has wrought?”

The big concern is always the kids. How do these things affect kids?

My generation was the first generation brought up on television in the days when EVERYTHING aired. We were not harmed by them. Kids saw them in theaters when they were first shown. They were not harmed by them. When we later saw them in censored for television versions we were the first to notice something was missing. Today everything a kid can’t see on TV they can see on their computer. Deliberately pulling them from the air only makes them more desirable to see. I am saying the films themselves are not racist. I’ll never forget the day in high school when the English teacher asked me to read from my copy of MACBETH. As I did the rest of the class leafed through their copies trying to find the words I was reading. That was the day I discovered who Thomas Bowdler was for the class that day was not on Shakespeare but on Bowdler. It was forbidden to teachers to talk about Bowdler unless they were asked. Folks who say,”We gotta protect the kids” are cut from the same cloth as he was.

In his OF MICE AND MAGIC (which I can not too highly recommend) Leonard Maltin writes, “It takes one kind of talent to find new paths for established characters, bit it’s even more impressive to create whole new worlds within the framework of a six or seven minute cartoon. Clampett did both. Many independent animators have labored for years to create a short film as personal and unique as COAL BLACK which was just one of a dozen shorts Clampett had ion the assembly line in 1943.”

Michael Barrier’s exhaustive but never exhausting THE HOLLYWOOD CARTOON offers this; “In 1942, as in 1937, Clampett soon tilted the cartoons away from a literal, restrained style. “McKimson’s control became abrasive,” Clampett said, speaking of McKimson’s role as head animator, “it stopped any experimentation. I, in effect, knocked him out of that,” by freeing the unit’s other two experienced animators, Virgil Ross and Rod Scribner, from any duty to answer to McKimson. In this freer atmosphere, Clampett discovered Scribner’s hidden talents.

“Bill Melendez, who was Scribner’s assistant in the early forties, described him as “a tough little guy, kind of gristled, with beady blue eyes, and he had a funny grin all the time, kind of a crooked grin…. He was a fitting partner for Clampett, except that Rod was a little more down to earth, I thought, and perhaps not as creative as Clampett in the story sense. But a lot of fun to work with.” Clampett himself described Scribner as “a little mischievous elf” who harassed the Jones unit, in rooms directly below Clampett’s, by dropping “something like a manhole cover” on the floor to create a tremendous noise,’

“Scribner came to the Schlesinger studio soon after it opened. He was an assistant animator by 1935 and an animator for Avery by the late thirties. Like everyone else in the Avery unit, Scribner worked in McKimson’s shadow; his animation in the Avery cartoons has few distinctive contours. it was under Clampett, in an atmosphere more tolerant of idiosyncrasy, that Scribner flourished. He found ways, Melendez said, of “making the job a little fun and different.” He often animated in ink, with a pen or a brush—the sort of thing that could, and apparently did, create crises in the ink and paint department since Scribner’s drawings were, in Melendez’s words, “very bold and kind of dirty,” and the women transferring his drawings to cels had to choose which ink lines to trace.

“Clampett recalled that soon after he took over the Avery unit, Scribner proposed introducing a “Lichty style” of drawing into the cartoons. Scribner was referring to George Lichty, the newspaper cartoonist whose “Grin and Bear It” panel cartoons were masses of very loose and fluid lines that somehow added up to very lively and funny figures. Animation of such drawings would, if it caught the spirit of the drawings at all, necessarily be very loose and fluid too. “We studied it, and discussed what could be animated what couldn’t,” Clampett said. “And I told him, ‘Now, as we go along here I will try to find places that you can experiment and try some of these things that you have the urge to do.’ Then we’d come to a scene, and I’d say, ‘Okay, Lichty this a little.’ He would be so enthused.”

“This Lichty style asserted itself late in 1942 and early in 1943 in two Clampett cartoons: first in parts of A Tale of Ttvo Kitties, the cartoon that introduced the bird character Tweety, and then to stunning effect in Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs, with an all- black cast. In many of Scribner’s scenes in those cartoons, the characters are highly elastic, squirming like excited rubber bands; their bodies become wildly distorted, almost beyond recognition. A lot of this distortion is visible on the screen, but what is not clearly visible, because it occupies only a single frame of film, is even more spectacular.

“In the early thirties, animators’ extreme distortion of the body—as the characters did impossible things—had destroyed by illusion that the characters were real, but Scribner’s Lichty animation had the opposite effect: it made the characters more believable. It succeeded in part because Scribner could draw much better than most of the animators of the early thirties, but he more significant change was not in draftsmanship. The earlier animators and directors had imposed distortion on their characters for the sake of a gag; they worked from the outside in. Clampett took the opposite approach: he permitted Scribner to introduce distortion only when it could be seen as the expression of a character’s own powerful emotion—the stronger the emotion, the wider the range of acceptable distortion. When Prince Chawmin’ in Coal Black attempts to awaken So White with a kiss, his body writhes with incredible intensity, but Scribner’s animation is not simply wild—it registers an enormous variety of mental states as they flare through the Prince’s brain, everything from extreme overconfidence to frenzied determination to the blackest despair. The animation is both flamboyant and precise, revealing a tumultuous inner life.

“Coal Black is not so much a parody of Snow White And the Seven Dwarfs as a reversal of it; there is no hint of ridicule of the Disney film. The Queen, icily beautiful in Snow White, is in Clampett’s film an Amazon. Snow White,
demure, barely more than a child in the original, becomes So White, a sexy babe. Prince Charming becomes the zoot-suited Prince Chawmin’. COAL BLACK was released four months before Tex Avery’s RED HOT RIDING HOOD which also uses a fairy tale as a starting point and does not really parody it. But otherwise the two cartoons are strikingly different, especially in the way in which their characters are presented. When Avery’s wolf explodes in lust, it is not his passion that Avery shows—as Clampett shows the passion of his characters—but rather elaborations on the idea of lust, as if Avery were seeing how many metaphors for sexual desire he could find before he crossed the boundaries imposed by the Production Code. Avery’s cartoon may in fact be funnier than Clampett’s—at least on a first viewing—because Avery was a better builder of gags, but Clampett’s cartoon is far more exciting, because its emotional content is so much richer and because Clampett had so much keener a sense of how energy could be released through rapid changes in shape.

“Clampett took pains with Coal Black to the point of having Scribner draw a large number of styling sketches that were given to the animators in addition to the character layout drawings. Full-blown Lichty animation appears only in Scribner’s scenes, but the other animators gave to their animation some of the energy of Scribner’s drawings, so Scribner’s hand is visible everywhere, even when it is obvious that particular scenes were not animated by him. This combination—of Scribner’s unique animation, Clampett’s insight into how it could be used most effectively, and the other animators’ willingness to follow Scribner’s lead—produced extraordinary results. In Scribner’s animation, as in Bill Tytla’s, the line between “inner” and “outer” disappears; everything that is going on inside the characters is instantly visible. The characters in Coal Black were the first Warner characters to be fully alive, as the Disney characters were alive, but no one could confuse Clampett’s cartoon with a Disney film.

“The characters in Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs embodied a paradox because they originated in racial stereotypes—always a means of denying individuality rather than creating it. It was as if these abundantly alive creatures had no business being alive at all. They appeared, moreover, when such stereotypes were cresting in the Warner cartoons. Racial stereotypes had hardly been absent from the prewar cartoons: the Warner cartoons started with a stereotypical black character, Bosko himself. Jewish stereotypes popped up occasionally in the Harman-Ising and
Schlesinger Merrie Melodies (as one even did in Disney’s THREE LITTLE PIGS‘lIiHT, when the wolf disguises himself as a peddler), but theywere little more than casual reflections of the dialect humor that was a staple of vaudeville and radio. Likewise, the cartoons using black stereotypes were broad and bland. The characters in those cartoons ate watermelon and rolled dice and did everything that black stereotypes were supposed to do, but there was scarcely a hint that the people who made the films had ever paid much attention to real blacks. (African Americans held only menial jobs in the industry itself.)

“The wartime cartoons with racial stereotypes were much more pointed than their predecessors; here, as in other ways, the Warner animators brandished new skills. Some of the wartime stereotyping portrayed the Japanese enemy as jabbering, bucktoothed runts, but more of it was directed at African Americans. Black characters were now drawn and animated with a sharpness that reflected close observation; but that observation was of performers who themselves conformed to stereotypes. The Stepin Fetchit characters in Avery’s All This and Rabbit Stew (1941) and Chuck Jones’s Angel Puss (1944) are more like Fetchit than Fetchit himself. Fetchit is not caricatured in a way that suggests any criticism of his shuffling and mumbling; those characteristics are simply magnified for what is supposed to be comic effect, but reeks more of contempt (Avery’s Fetchit character was identified on the model sheet as “Tex’s Coon”).

“Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs—so seminal a cartoon in other ways—was also the only Warner cartoon of the World War II period to transcend its origins in racial stereotypes. Clampett traced his conception of the cartoon to a Duke Ellington revue, Jump for Joy, that enjoyed great success in Los Angeles after it opened in July 1941. He said that when he went backstage to meet the performers, “they said to me, ‘Why don’t you ever use us?” Out of that encounter grew visits to the studio by members of the cast, auditions for voices, and work on an all-black musical. Clampett went to a black nightclub, the Club Alabam, and later took his
animators there so that they could study the dancing.

“Coal Black’s characters snap and bounce continuously to bright and jazzy music; Clampett said that he wanted to have black musicians play the entire score, but management turned him down. A black trumpeter and drummer play when Price Chawmin’ is trying to awaken So White with a kiss otherwise the music was composed by Carl Stalling and played by the Warner Bros. orchestra. (Similarly, a few bits by a black trumpeter were permitted in Clampett’s Tin Pan Alley Cats, which he made a few months after Coal Black; the principal character is a cat mode led on Fats Wailer.)

“Clampett said that he invited the performers who came to the studio to criticize the story and the gags as they developed.23 It is impossible to know how free those performers felt to object to anything they found offensive, especially since they may have believed that jobs were riding on their opinions. (Several African American performers provided voices for Coal Black: Zoot Watson is Prince Chawmin’ and Vivian Dandridge is So White.) The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People cons idered the film insulting to African American soldiers—the Sebben Dwarfs are in uniform—and called upon Warner Bros. to withdraw it.

“Coal Black does not, however, contain a great deal of specifically racial elaboration on its basic idea of a reversal of Snow White. One of the dwarfs is a Fetchit character, and when Prince Chawmin’ flashes a brilliant smile, his two front teeth are dice and all his other teeth are gold. But other than that, the characters are comic exaggerations of the kind that one would expect in a cartoon, particularly one of Clampett’s. It is almost incidental that they are black. In contrast to the other wartime cartoons on racial themes, Coal Black bases its appeal not on the stereotypes themselves, but on the energy that Clampett poured into them in response to the energy he found in black dancers and musicians. It is a transforming energy; there is no way to read Coal Black as a commentary on racial stereotypes since it does not condemn them or endorse them, but it does, in the end, render them irrelevant.”

When he saw the budget overruns on COAL BLACK Leon Schlesinger was not happy. Clampett, wanting to do a follow and realizing he would have to cut cost to do so (as Chuck Jones would later do when he created two inexpensive COYOTE AND ROADRUNNER cartoons before and after the much more elaborate WHAT’S OPERA, DOC) brilliantly recycled the Wackyland trip sequence from his 1938, PORKY IN WACKYLAND this time in color to create TIN PAN ALLEY CATS (1943) in which a Fats Waller type cat replaces Porky.

This cartoon was the cause of an epic furor on the CARTOON RESEARCH site when myself and others spoke up for it. The main bone of contention was the wild exaggeration of Black musicians, in particular the lips, in TIN PAN ALLEY CATS but the hallucinatory nature of the scenes themselves cry out for exactly that style of wild distortion. There is nothing that can be perceived as remotely racist in them something lost on the majority of the commentators. This time Clampett was able to use more musicians on the soundtrack which is the work of Eddie Beal and his orchestra.

Wrote Keith Scott: “Sorry, I simply refuse to accept it’s all “minstrel”-based without some proof….Fats Waller, then a famous contemporary pianist-entertainer and hardly a minstrel figure, clearly inspired the lead cat, and Waller’s famous song, “What’s the Matter with Him”?, which the cat repeatedly says, is NOT minstrel dialogue, either. Waller was featured in the same year’s famous Fox feature film STORMY WEATHER, and some of the cartoon’s plotline, about the good vs. bad parts of a soul, are a takeoff on 1943’s other great all-black musical, Warner Bros.’s CABIN IN THE SKY. And how is the jazz playing trumpeter cat a “minstrel” figure?…rather it’s a caricature of a typical early ’40s zoot-suited Central Avenue musician, of which there were hundreds seen nightly throughout the war years if you travelled to S. Central L.A.’s club scene, as hundreds of non-blacks did to be royally entertained. Only the revivalist preacher & Salvation Army band could be argued to be (unintentionally) offensive. Yet a part of that, with the bass-voiced preacher, is a takeoff on an excellently acted all-black church revival scene in the 1940 Fox feature MARYLAND. Have any of the overly righteous contributors above read the two large historical books about Central Avenue and the whole L.A. African American jazz era (1920s-50s), which this cartoon mainly satirizes? The whole “send me outta this world” thing is based on a 30s novelty song about hot jazz music. To make the smug, self-satisfied sweeping statement that it’s all based on “minstrelsy” is arrogantly wrongheaded, and totally inaccurate, animation commentary for a page called Cartoon Research. Call me a bigot or whatever (even though I’m not), but FFS can we get onto a new topic. Or at least contribute some actual facts.”

After the post was completely deleted from CARTOON RESEARCH one fellow messaged me on FACEBOOK: “TIN PAN ALLEY CATS is racist as fuck through today’s lenses. Bob didn’t have a racist streak in him, (neither did Walt Disney) but he was a product of his times. It’s a weak cartoon either way, and certainly not one of his best efforts.”

I replied, “I’ll let Ruthie know you shot me down.”

He replied, “I’m sure she will be terribly concerned (and by “concerned” I mean not give a fuck) to know that some nobody guy on the internet voiced an opinion that upset a self-aggrandizing, pompous asshole. Go be an attention whore somewhere else.”

I replied. “If you had read the post you would realize that I have been a friend of the Clampett family since 1979. People do not invite a nobody to stay in their home.”

He shot back: “Good for you! I know lots of famous people myself. When I said a “nobody” I was referring to myself, and when I said “self-aggrandizing, pompous asshole” I was referring to you. I think you are confusing the terms of “racist” with “mean and degrading.” That the cartoon is not racist is your opinion and your opinion only. That you cannot seem to comprehend that fact is not my problem. I’ve seen it – it’s lazy and racist as all hell. But it’s not mean or malicious. That’s my opinion. As to Bob’s character, I don’t think he had a mean bone in his body.”

Well, at least we agree on one thing: Bob Clampett did not have a mean bone in his body.

And as I said at the start, Leonard Maltin and Jerry Beck may not like me. I don’t give a damn. I fucking love them.

I have been at this since around 6am this morning. It is now 11:35 am. That is enough for now. However this post will be continued.

Part Two: Standing Up To The Anonymice.

Preview of Uncalming Attractions:

January 10 at 10:39am • Like

William Cairns Jonathan, “Reg is clearly like Jesus and Ghandi combined, only better, so I think our continuing this with him is fruitless.”

This led me to create a web poster: Jesus and Ghandi 2 - Copy“REG HARTT IS LIKE JESUS AND GHANDI COMBINED…ONLY BETTER.”

A fellow named Cole Rothacker responded: “I like how a guy who thinks he’s better than Jesus and Ghandi combine is telling others they’re too full of themselves. I don’t care if you’re 70 or 7 years old, you seem like a pretty ignorant bastard to me.”

Edward Foy wrote: “Tell us about the time you explained the Theory of Relativity to Einstein again, Angry Grandpa.”

A friend looking at THE CARTOON RESEARCH before it was deleted wrote: “On so many threads I have read the same style of attacks, mis-interpretations, and passive-aggressive ( some not very passive) behaviours come through. The combination of poor comprehension skills and distance from face-to-face interactions ramps up the brew just below surface.”

Bonus, after all that, from the web, here they are. My personal copies of COAL BLACK and TIN PAN ALLEY CATS are waaaaaayyyyyy better than these. I’ll be showing them in February as part of a special program: FORBIDDEN FRUIT (The Best Kind) Love, Romance And Sex in Hollywood Cartoons From Betty Boop to Bugs Bunny. WARNING: This program will contain material deemed too much for television. Playing at THE CINEFORUM, 463 Bathurst Street, Toronto. Ontario, Canada.

Post Script: I have a huge archive of audio tapes and videos plus the publications I created from my events with Bob Clampett, Friz Freleng, Grim Natwick and Shamus Culhane. I thought serious students would want them. I have a few sets away free of charge to a few people but the rest sit on my shelf gathering dust. That’s okay. I did those events so that I could learn. That others do not want to is not my problem. Grim-Natwick-Letter-002 Grim-Natwick-Letter-001 Grim Natwick 001 Grim Natwick 004 Grim Natwick 003 Grim-Natwick-Betty-Boop

"Your son will learn moreabout film here than at any university in the world," I said to a mother this fall. I was not surprised when she said no. I was surprised when her son did. Some damn fine people speak highly of my work which is more than  can be said of the eunuchs who teach in academia.

“Your son will learn more about film here than at any university in the world,” I said to a mother this fall. I was not surprised when she said no. I was surprised when her son did. Some damn fine people speak highly of my work which is more than can be said of the eunuchs who teach in academia.

John Kricfalusi came to my programs at Innis College in the late 1970s. He was studying animation at Sheridan College. There his teachers showed him what they thought he should see. I showed him everything. Not only that I welcomed him into my life.

John Kricfalusi came to my programs at Innis College in the late 1970s. He was studying animation at Sheridan College. There his teachers showed him what they thought he should see. I showed him everything. Not only that I welcomed him into my life.

DMT 00810462804_10152963145273908_2526782823964375097_n“The initiation of all wise or noble things comes and must come from individuals; generally at first from some one individual. The honor and glory of the average man is that he is capable of following that initiative; that he can respond to wise and noble things: I am not countenancing the sort of ‘hero worship’ which applauds the strong man of genius for forcibly seizing on the government and making it do his bidding in spite of itself. All he can claim is freedom to point the way. The power of compelling others into it is not only inconsistent with the freedom and development of the rest, but corrupting to the strong man himself. It does seem, however, that when the opinions of masses of merely average men are everywhere become or becoming the dominant power, that the counterpoint and corrective to that tendency would be the more andmore pronounced individuality of those who stand on the higher eminences of thought. It is in these circumstances most especially, that exceptional individuals, instead of being deterred, should be encouraged in acting differently from the mass. In other times there was no advantage in doing so, unless they acted not only differently but better. In this age, the mere example of non-conformity, the mere refusal to bend the knee to custom, is itself a service. Precisely because the tyranny of opinion is such as to make eccentricity a reproach, it is desirable, in order to break through that tyranny, that people should be eccentric.

“Eccentricity has always abounded when and where strength of character has abounded; and the amount of eccentricity in a society has generally been proportional to the amount of genius, mental vigor and moral courage it contained. That so few now dare to be eccentric marks the chief danger of the time.”

Mass media for its success depends upon shallow personalities.

A friend of mine posted the Robin Williams image above on FACEBOOK. I made a comment. Dave Marsden, a radio DJ, said, “There you go. Getting all deep on us again.”

That pretty much sums up the vacuousness of main stream media.

Inherent in this statement from Williams is self pity. If there is anything that defines the tenor of our times it is self pity. “Pity me because I am ……” Fill it in with Black, Brown, Yellow, Red, Poor, Queer, uneducated, White, whatever.

SELF PITY
I never saw a wild thing feel sorry for itself.
The small bird will drop frozen dead from the bough of the trees
without ever once having felt sorry for itself.
D. H. Lawrence.

Lawrence (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D._H._Lawrence), in addition to being a great writer and poet, is one of my heroes. The man starved to death at 45. In his lifetime his greatest works were viewed as blasphemous pornography and could not be published.

In Place Of A Curse

At the next vacancy for God, if I am elected,
I shall forgive last the delicately wounded who,
having been slugged no harder than anyone else,
never got up again, neither to fight back,
nor to finger their jaws in painful admiration.
They who are wholly broken, and they in whom mercy is understanding,
I shall embrace at once and lead to pillows in heaven.
But they who are the meek by trade, baiting the best of their betters with extortions of a mock-helplessness,
I shall take last to love, and never wholly.
Let them all in Heaven – I abolish Hell –
but let it be read over them as they enter:
Beware the calculations of the meek, who gambled nothing
gave nothing, and could never receive enough.

John Ciardi.

In a world inundated with a constant stream of mediocrity from radio, television, the movies, the classroom, everywhere those words from Lawrence and Ciardi stand out like diamonds against a background of coal.

From Yashar Polad:

A Message to Young People from Andrei Tarkovsky

What would you like to tell people?

“I don’t know… I think I’d like to say only that they should learn to be alone and try to spend as much time as possible by themselves. I think one of the faults of young people today is that they try to come together around events that are noisy, almost aggressive at times. This desire to be together in order to not feel alone is an unfortunate symptom, in my opinion. Every person needs to learn from childhood how to be spend time with oneself. That doesn’t mean he should be lonely, but that he shouldn’t grow bored with himself because people who grow bored in their own company seem to me in danger, from a self-esteem point of view.”

That message from Yashar coming on the heels of Marsden is invigorating.

The word “eccentric” in the media is often used as a euphemism for homosexual. It was used because papers could get sued if they outright called someone a queer. They handled that, as cowards do, by shooting arrows from hiding.

“Precisely because the tyranny of opinion is such as to make eccentricity a reproach, it is desirable, in order to break through that tyranny, that people should be eccentric.”

We owe more as a species to the men and women who are able to walk alone than we do to those who need the company of the herd.

I accent the homosexual thing because Christian Fundamentalists attack homosexuals non-stop.

When it comes to mobs and terrorists I  prefer to be with the attacked than the attackers.

Always have. Always will. There was a woman in the town I grew up in in New Brunswick people said was a witch. She lived next door to a friend of mine. Every day on the way to school I passed her house. One day, I was around ten, I chose not to pass it. I walked the long walk up to her front door on which I knocked. She invited me in. We talked. Her husband had died during World War Two. Her only child, a daughter, had Down’s Syndrome (what in those days was called “Mongoloid Idiot.”). Her biggest fear was what would happen to her daughter when she joined her husband. She was terribly alone without a trace of self-pity, no anger for those who called her a witch (why waste time on silly people) and one of the strongest people I have ever met.

I visited her often after that.

People said, “What are you? Queer?”

It is damn near always more important to be queer than it is to be what is called normal.

I have multiple copies in different translations of THE NEW TESTAMENT.

That helps me read the book. Doing so, which I have done hundreds of times, I have discovered how much a word translated differently affects the whole.

I also whole heatedly believe in Jesus. Not the Jesus of the Roman Catholic Church, The Church of England or the various sects of the Protestant Churches but the Jesus found in THE NEW TESTAMENT. The church, all churches, teach a different message from the one He taught.

As I have read and re-read them I have found not a single word spoken by Jesus against homosexuals. In fact I have not found a single word Jesus spoke against any one except priests and scholars whom he warns will burn in Hell unless THEY repent.

That’s interesting because it is the opposite of what the smug faced TV preachers like Jerry Falwell and others say.

Many years ago I was walking up a busy street with a dog I had raised as a pup. Suddenly two dogs lunged towards us from the other side of the street. Half way across they stopped in shock as cars whizzed by. They turned to return. The front and rear wheels of a car passed over the smaller of the two. To my surprise he was not killed. He got up and finished crossing the street.

I crossed the street with my guy. I asked him to sit. He did. Then I went to the dog that had gotten run over. I got down on all fours extending my hand towards him palm down saying softly over and over again as I moved my hand towards him, “It is okay.”

The closer my hand got towards him the louder he barked. Finally his jaws snapped shut on my hand. When he saw that I did not pull back from fear he at once stopped barking. He became completely quiet.

At that moment a woman came out of the house next to us. I told her what had happened so that she could take care of him.

“Am I my brother’s keeper?” Cain said to God when asked, “Where is your brother, Abel?” whom Cain had murdered.

There are two strains to humanity. Those who know we are our brother’s keeper and those who say, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

Those who say, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” we find in the extremists of all systems of belief be it the atheistic belief of the Marxist or the religious belief of Christian fundamentalists and Islamic terrorists.

Murder is in their blood. It has nothing to do with God or whether you or they believe in God.
The man who daily does his best to destroy me is a child of that beast as are those who stay silent while he does it.

We live in dark times getting darker.

The most important film I ever saw is Fritz Lang’s METROPOLIS (1926). Before I saw the film I read the novel by Lang’s then wife and screenwriter, Thea Von Harbou. In it she names the machines of the city after the pantheon of the Gods of all the world’s major religions including those found in South America. To better understand the book and the film I read and re-read and read again the foundation works of the major faiths.

The hardest to understand was the most familiar because I read THE BIBLE with an eye towards what I had been taught it said. Then one day everything shifted.

After that day I began to see the great truths expressed everywhere by great writers everywhere. No longer was it a mystery. In fact, the only mystery to me was that it had taken me so long to figure it out.

Along the way I met and continue to meet the most amazing people.

One of the books that impacted me most is C. S. Lewis’s TILL WE HAVE FACES.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Till_We_Have_Faces  http://shawnstallsworth.cmswiki.wikispaces.net/file/view/Faces.pdf/529793062/Faces.pdf

It is the story of Psyche and Cupid. The first half of the book is told by Psyche’s sister, Orual, [pronounced Or’w’ahl] . Her father, a king dies. Orual becomes Queen. A neighboring king declares war on her. She can meet him with her armies meaning many will die or she can meet him one on one with only her life at stake.

She chooses the latter. She trains. She marches out with her army. She fights the king one on one. She is victorious. She returns home filled with the glory of victory. She comes to the moment where her chief general, the man who trained her, says, “Good night,” and goes home to the arms of his wife.

She returns home alone. She says, “In that moment I understood the secret of my father’s rages.”

Whoo Ha!

“My God! My God? Why hast thou forsaken me?” cries out Jesus from the cross with his last breath.

The answer is that we are left alone that we may become our self.

To the best of my knowledge Dave Marsden has not been to my programs. One person who was a regular until her health betrayed her was the late Jane Jacobs who, as I have said before over a beer in her home said to me, “The best part of what you have to offer is what you have to say.”

The mass media is filled with people long on comment and short on understanding. The best thing we can do with our radios and televisions is to turn them off.

We do not get understanding from mass media. We do get manipulation.

For example: straight and narrow
Also found in: Wikipedia.
straight and narrow
n.
The way of proper conduct and moral integrity. Used with the: kept strictly to the straight and narrow.
[Alteration (by misunderstanding) of strait and narrow, from “Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life” (Matthew 7:14) from strait.]

The misunderstanding of strait began with TV preachers and was cemented by gospel singers.

“Strait is the way,” became “Straight is the way.”

Well, a strait is far from straight.

A strait twists and turns. It is very narrow. A strait can only be traveled slowly with great care and caution whereas people can travel fast on a straight road.

Here is Jerry Mander on FOUR ARGUMENTS FOR THE ELIMINATION OF TELEVISION:

http://onthewing.org/user/Ev_Four%20Arguments%20for%20Eliminating%20Television.pdf

One of the first things I learned from three powerful New York women who lived in Toronto and became my friends, Jane Jacobs, Judith Merril and Doris Mehegan, was to view children as adult minds in small bodies.

Too often to “protect” children people lie to them.

Thomas Bowdler(1754 – 1825) re-published an adapted works of Shakespeare to cater for women and children of his time. Bowdler’s edition, stripped of obscenities and blasphemies, was published as The Family Shakespeare (1807). This process of expurgation, especially in regard to published works, became known as bowdlerisation. To bowdlerize a work of literature is to castrate it. In France Edmund Ducis did the same. This prompted the author of THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO and THE THREE MUSKETEERS, Alexandre Duma, to write, “In Rome until Pope Gregory forbade it, doctors had a sign over their doors that said that for a small fee and a twist of the wrist young men could be made perfect for the Papal choir. As those doctors perfected those boys so Ducis and Bowdler have perfected Shakespeare. The minute the kids are brought into the picture and I am told things have to be censored to protect them I know I am dealing with particularly stupid people cut from the same cloth as Bowdler and Ducis. You might argue these films are in poor taste but as both Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso said, “It is good taste not bad taste which is the enemy.” I am with them. By the way, it is the Bowdlerized texts of Shakespeare which are the ones studied in schools which is another of the many reasons one should stay as far away from the classroom as possible.

In a post on Bob Clampett’s animated cartoon TIN PAN ALLEY CATS (1943) on CARTOON RESEARCH, one writer says,

Ted Herrmann “Interesting discussion. I’m actually pro-censorship on this issue. Other than us seventeen collectors, the main audience for these cartoons is children. As the song says, “you’ve got to be carefully taught,” and cartoons like these teach children very carefully indeed.”

and another writes,

William Joseph Griffin “I wouldn’t censor these cartoons, although I do think it would be irresponsible to show them outside of their historical context, I.e. as an example of subtle reinforcement of certain racial, ethnic and gender stereotypes of their times, and their relationship to modern attitudes about same. This would make an excellent teaching tool in lessons of tolerance, acceptance and lingering prejudices. Barring that, just release them on DVD and blu-ray for the hardcore fans already.”

Yeah, right, we are going to ask Warner Brothers to produce a dvd or Blu-ray for seventeen people. The stupidity in that is galling.

Children are not born with a need to learn tolerance. They naturally accept each other regardless of color or background in the playground.

It has become fashion among the academically educated to dismiss Jesus who said, “Unless you be as a child you can not enter the Kingdom of God.”

The extremely fashionable William S. Burroughs, author of NAKED LUNCH, said, “The child see much more clearly than the adult because the child has not chosen what it will and will not see.”

Both these writers think themselves intelligent but exhibit a stupidity that is baffling.

I mean, who the hell wants tolerance?

Prejudice comes from class and social background. Social prejudice is actually the main theme of Jane Jacobs’ THE DEATH AND LIFE OF GREAT AMERICAN CITIES. We  have those whose money allows them to look down on the working class.  They become city social planners. Their plans destroy cities. Everything they do has to be in good taste which, to again quote Dali and Picasso is the enemy.

I messaged Griffin who replied by blocking me. I asked how could someone your age understand so little?

Thing is he’s not alone.

The Rites of Manhood

It’s snowing hard enough that the taxis aren’t running.
I’m walking home, my night’s work finished,
long after midnight, with the whole city to myself,
when across the street I see a very young American sailor
standing over a girl who’s kneeling on the sidewalk
and refuses to get up although he’s yelling at her
to tell him where she lives so he can take her there
before they both freeze. The pair of them are drunk
and my guess is he picked her up in a bar
and later they got separated from his buddies
and at first it was great fun to play at being
an old salt at liberty in a port full of women with
hinges on their heels, but by now he wants only to
find a solution to the infinitely complex
problem of what to do about her before he falls into
the hands of the police or the shore patrol
— and what keeps this from being squalid is
what’s happening to him inside:
if there were other sailors here
it would be possible for him
to abandon her where she is and joke about it
later, but he’s alone and the guilt can’t be
divided into small forgettable pieces;
he’s finding out what it means
to be a man and how different it is
from the way that only hours ago he imagined it.

Alden Nowlan.

This is why I walk alone. Because the guilt can’t be divided into small forgettable pieces. This is what allows terrorists to do what they do.Hepburn The coward travels in packs.

I am with Henry Miller who, in his OPEN LETTER TO SURREALISTS EVERYWHERE, writes, “Below the belt all men are brothers. Man has never known solitude except in the upper regions where one is either a poet or a madman-or a criminal…The brotherhood of man is a permanent delusion common to idealists everywhere in all epochs; it is the reduction of the principle of individualation to the least common denominator of intelligibility. It is what leads the masses to identify with movie stars and megalomaniacs like Hitler and Mussolini…In every age, just as in every life worthy of the name, there is the effort to reestablish that equilibrium which is disturbed by the power and tyranny which a few great individuals exercise over us. This struggle is fundamentally personal and religious. It has nothing to do with liberty and justice, which are idle words signifying nobody knows precisely what…It consists not in denying these exemplars (of the past), but in absorbing them, and eventually surpassing them. Each man has to do this for himself….It is forgotten that the glorious Greeks, whom we never cease admiring, treated their men of genius more shamefully, more cruelly perhaps than any other people we know of. It is forgotten that the mystery which attaches itself to Shakespeare’s life is a mystery only because the English do not wish to admit that Shakespeare was driven mad by the stupidity, non-understanding and intolerance of his countrymen, that he finished his days in a mad-house.

“Life is either a feast or a famine…Right now it is pretty much of a famine…The famine we are living through is a peculiar one in that it occurs in the midst of plenty. It is more of a spiritual famine than a physical one. People are not fighting for bread this time, but for a right to their piece of bread which is a distinction of some importance, Bread, figuratively speaking, is everywhere, but most of us are hungry. Shall I say-especially the poets? I ask because it is the tradition of poets to starve. It is a little strange therefore to find them identifying their physical hunger with the spiritual hunger of the masses. Or is it vice versa? Anyway, now we are all starving, except the rich, to be sure, and the smug bourgeoisie who have never known what it is to starve, either spiritually or physically.

“Originally men killed one another in the direct pursuit of booty-food, weapons, implements, women, and so on. There was a sense to it. Now we have become sympathetic and charitable and brotherly, but we go on killing just the same, and we kill without the least hope of attaining our ends. We kill one another for the benefit of those to come, that they may enjoy a life more abundant (the hell we do).

“…When at last each man realizes that nothing is to be expected from God, or society, or friends, or benevolent tyrants, or democratic governments, or saints, or saviours, or even that holiest of holies, education, when each man realizes that he must work with his own hands to save himself, and that we need expect no mercy, perhaps then…Perhaps! Even then, seeing what manner of men we are, I doubt. The point is that we are doomed…No God is coming to save us. No system of government, no belief will provide us with that liberty and justice which men whistle for with the death-rattle….What distinguishes the majority of men from the few is their inability to act according to their beliefs. The hero is he who raises himself above the crowd…To get men to rally round a cause, a belief, an idea, is always easier than to persuade them to live their own lives.

“The role the artist plays in society is to revive the primitive, anarchic instincts which have been sacrificed for the illusion of living in comfort…
‘”I came not to bring peace, but a sword!’ said the great humanitarian. That is not the utterance of a militarist, nor is it the utterance of a pacifist; it is the utterance of one of the greatest artists who ever lived. If his words mean anything they mean that the struggle for life, for more life, must be carried on day by day. It means that life itself is struggle, perpetual struggle. This sounds almost banal, and in fact it has become banal, thanks to the frog-like perspective of Darwin…

“For my part, I will say that whatever else I may want, I know I don’t want work. To live as an artist I stopped work some ten or twelve years ago…Naturally I was not paid to stop work and live as an artist…if one chooses to live his life in his own way he must pay the penalty…I need no leader and no god. I am my own leader and my own god. I make my own bibles. I believe in myself-that is my whole credo.

“…My books are banned in the only countries where I can be read in my own tongue. I have enough faith in myself however to know that I will eventually make myself heard, if not understood. Everything I write is loaded with dynamite which will one day destroy the barriers erected against me.

“…I am against revolutions because they always involve a return to the status quo both before and after the revolutions. I don’t want to wear a black shirt or a red shirt. I want to wear the shirt to suit my taste…Fuck your capitalistic society! Fuck your Communistic society and your Fascist society and all other societies! Society is made up of individuals. It is the individual who interests me-not the society.

“…Freud created a fiction which helped him pass the time away…

“So long as (man) cannot operate as a savage or less than a savage, and think as a god, or better than god, he will suffer…A man who is full of God is outside of faith…When a man is truly creative he works single-handed and he wants no help. A man acting alone, on faith, can accomplish what trained armies are incapable of doing. To believe in one’s self, in one’s own powers, is apparently the most difficult thing in the world…Whenever an English artist of any value has arisen he has been marked as Public Enemy No. 1.”

This is just a brief excerpt. The complete text can be found here: http://reghartt.ca/cineforum/?p=5651
I have believed in myself for a long time now. That may be too deep for Dave. It is not too deep for everyone.
Come over to my side of the ocean. It is deep. It is scary. It is fun. Said one kid walking out of my programs when it was over, “I did not know this much fun is allowed.
Turn off your radio. Turn off your TV. Turn on your life. Mediocre people cry for compassion, tolerance, understanding. The very words they use show they define themselves as victims.

Truly great men and women don’t ask for compassion, tolerance or understanding. They say, “Fuck you,” to their persecutors. As she was being tied to the stake to be burned alive Joan Of Arc said to the men tying her, “Let me help you.”

Is it any wonder she changed the world?

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THE BIBLE

“I will give a prize to every student who does not miss a day,” my second grade teacher in Chipman, New Brunswick said to the class looking me directly in the eye on my first day.

I grew up in a town called Minto, New Brunswick about sixteen miles away. My father worked for the Canadian Pacific Railroad. His job caused us to move. On what should have been my first day he asked if I would rather spend the day with him than go to school.

“Where is my present?” I asked at year’s end.

“You missed your first day,” the teacher said.

She was my first exposure to THE BIBLE as she read from it every day to us.

I learned to associate THE BIBLE with trickery. I was seven.

I got, however, a far better prize than the trinkets she passed out. My father’s work kept him away from home. That first day he said, “Do you want to go to school or would you rather spend the day with me?” What a wonderful day it was. At the end of it he made homemade ice cream from scratch. I have never tasted better.

The world has the power to wound us only when we let it.

My father’s family is Roman Catholic. My mother’s family is Church of England. A marriage between those two faiths at that time was more frowned upon than that between two people of different skin color.

When it came time for me to start school there was a huge fight between my mother and my dad’s family about whether I would go to public school or to Catholic school. Finally,my mother said, “Why don’t we let him decide?” There was silence.

That night, alone at home well after midnight my mother said, “Do you want to go to Catholic school with the bad kids or to public school with the good kids?”

The next day when I returned from school my Catholic cousins were waiting for me with sticks, stones and names.

I learned the most important lesson of my life that day. I learned that people whom we think of as friends can turn against us all at once for no apparent good reason.

From that moment on I walked alone. Not that I did not have and do not have friends. I did and do. I learned not to need them.

The years passed. I was thirteen. One day I opened a tabloid newspaper to see a word I had never seen before looming large over two pages. The word was “HOMOSEXUALITY.” I did not know what it meant. I read what was written below it. The article said that God hated homosexuals. It added that anyone who killed a homosexual was doing God’s work.

Before I started school my cousin, who was five, and I came across some older boys naked in the bush doing things with their plumbing I had no idea one could do.

I asked my cousin, “What are they doing?”

He replied, “Fucking.”

I said, “What is that?”

He pulled out his penis and said, “Let me show you.”

He was circumcised. I am not. I thought I had a growth on mine. Nonetheless, I had no idea that such a small part of our body could be the source of such great pleasure.

I was six.

So here I am seven years later reading that I am hated by God and that anyone who kills me is doing God a favor.

What I did not know and would not know until I was twenty-four was that what I had read was bullshit.

Not because God does not exist. God does exist despite those who say He does not. The thing is that plain and simple for Christians the Old Testament Laws do not apply.

When it came to admitting Gentiles into the Christian church many insisted they be circumcised. St. Paul makes it clear that to impose one part of the Law is to impose ALL of The Law.  St. Peter added, “Why lay on their backs a burden which neither we nor the fathers could bear?”

One of the most frequently used scriptures on Bible pamphlets comes from the end of Paul’s letter to The Romans:

21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

Now, if this is all we have we might well believe God desires our death. If we move to Chapter Two of Romans, however, the first words we see are these:

Romans 2 New International Version (NIV)

God’s Righteous Judgment
2 You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2 Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. 3 So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? 4 Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?

5 But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. 6 God “will repay each person according to what they have done.”[a] 7 To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. 8 But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. 9 There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; 10 but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 11 For God does not show favoritism.

12 All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. 14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.) 16 This will take place on the day when God judges people’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.

If you have trouble understanding that Paul is stating that as we condemn so we will be condemned.

In one of his parables Jesus tells of a servant who owed his master a vast sum of money, way more than he can repay. The master forgives the debt. He writes it off completely.

The servant, however, is owed money by another person. He goes to him demanding payment. When the man can not pay his debt he has him thrown in jail. The master hears of this. He calls the man to him. “You ungrateful son of a bitch,” he says adding, “I forgave you way more than this man owed you yet you could not find it in your heart to forgive him. Well, fuck you. Into prison with you.”

I have used common words here because the language of the Greek used in the New Testament is the common language of the people. We read it in translation. The translators lack the boldness of the original writers. They use polite language that dulls the impact of the original text. I am not saying the Greek uses the words I have used here. It does not. Through the use of the words I am using the idea is made clearer.

When I read further into Paul I found him saying, “I am convinced that nothing is a sin save to him to whom it is a sin.”

THE BIBLE, in particular THE NEW COVENANT/TESTAMENT has a power no other book has. I first read THE NEW TESTAMENT on a bus ride from Toronto to Hollywood in 1970. I read it not to find faith but simply to see what it says. It was the only book I took with me. I wanted to force myself to read it. By the time I got to Hollywood I had read it through cover to cover five times.

In Detroit a Black fellow got on the bus who sat beside me. Once we had pulled out of the bus station he said, “I have no reason to live.”

I ignored him. He said it a second time. Again I ignored him. Third time I asked him why he had no reason to live. He replied, “I had only one thing in my life I wanted. Last night I got it. Now I have no reason to live.”

“What was that?” I asked.

He replied, “To suck Jimi Hendrix’s cock.”

I said, “Go after Elvis.”

He said, “Cool. I never thought of that.”

From ON LIBERTY by John Stuart Mill; “The initiation of all wise or noble things comes and must come from individuals; generally at first from some one individual. The honor and glory of the average man is that he is capable of following that initiative; that he can respond to wise and noble things: I am not countenancing the sort of ‘hero worship’ which applauds the strong man of genius for forcibly seizing on the government and making it do his bidding in spite of itself. All he can claim is freedom to point the way. The power of compelling others into it is not only inconsistent with the freedom and development of the rest, but corrupting to the strong man himself. It does seem, however, that when the opinions of masses of merely average men are everywhere become or becoming the dominant power, that the
counterpoint and corrective to that tendency would be the more and more pronounced individuality of those who stand on the higher eminences of thought. It is in these circumstances most especially, that exceptional individuals, instead of being deterred, should be encouraged in acting differently from the mass. In other times there was no advantage in doing so, unless they acted not only differently but better. In this age, the mere example of non-conformity, the mere refusal to bend the knee to custom, is itself a service. Precisely because the tyranny of opinion is such as to make eccentricity a reproach, it is desirable, in order to break through that tyranny, that people should be eccentric.

Eccentricity has always abounded when and where strength of character has abounded; and the amount of eccentricity in a society has generally been proportional to the amount of genius, mental vigor and moral courage it contained. That so few now dare to be eccentric marks the chief danger of the time.

“Any fool can make a law. Every fool will keep it.”-Henry David Thoreau.

The bumper sticker says: THE CHRISTIAN RIGHT IS NEITHER CHRISTIAN NOR RIGHT.

The simplest best way for me to demonstrate just how wrong the Christian Right is to to continue being myself.

John Stuart Mill published ON LIBERTY in 1859.

There are even fewer people who dare to be eccentric now than there were in his day which means that it is now even more important to dare to be eccentric.

Over the years I have had many men in my life. Each of them brought so much of value with them that it is impossible for me to see that anything that passed between us was wrong. Further, each of them left at the precise moment that allowed the next one to come in.

One of the greatest French authors, film makers, painters, playwrights, poets, sculptors is Jean Cocteau who wrote, “Whatever the world condemns you for make it your own. It is yourself.”

That takes courage. It especially takes courage when, as in the case of Cocteau, we are a very effeminate young man.

32 “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.

34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn

“‘a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—
36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’[c]
37 “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.

40 “Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. 41 Whoever welcomes a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person as a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. 42 And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.”

No one is better equipped to understand those words than is a homosexual person.

Lie and our fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, family, friends, the world will love us. Speak the truth of our person and we stand condemned.

Speak the truth, however, and WE ARE SET FREE.

Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen I hated myself.

Today I am grateful for the pain I endured. Soft clay needs fire to become better than mud. So do we.

Without faith we are nothing.

In Booker T. Washington’s UP FROM SLAVERY I read how he, as a young Black slave, put his trust in Jesus to lift him up from the bottomless pit of slavery to make him free. I read other Black writers like the great Frederick Douglas who said the same one after another.

On the night I arrived in Toronto from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario I had nothing. No place to stay. No friends. Just enough money to buy a beer. Drinking age was twenty-one.I was eighteen going on nineteen.

No sooner had the waiter dropped a beer in front of me than the police walked into the bar. Seeing the fear on my face an older man said, “Drink your beer and talk with me.”

“You are new in town. Do you have a place to stay,” he said after the police left.

“You should not have gone home with that man. He is a bad person,” said a man I met in the same bar the next night. He said he was a film producer. He offered to help me get a job in the industry.

“Turn around,” he said when I got to the bottom of the long, narrow stairwell that led to the basement of his home out in the middle of I know not where.

As I turned I saw him standing at the top of the stairs with a hammer in his hand. He said, “Give me what I want or I will kill you.”

“Had I warned you would you have believed me,” said the man I had met the first night. I replied, “Not yesterday but from now on, yes.”

One day a few weeks later he said, “I am psychic.”

I laughed. He then told me everything that would happen in my life.

The most dramatic thing he said was that I would celebrate my 35th birthday in a psychiatric hospital after I lost someone very close to me. “Don’t worry. When you come out you will be the richest man on earth,” he said.

On the eve of my 35th birthday I was living at my sister’s home in Hamilton, Ontario.

That year, as Billy had foretold, everyone had turned against me. I decided to take a rest, to shut down completely for the summer. I had two places that were supposed to be open to me in the fall. As a result everything I owned was safe in storage in my sister’s basement.

The first night in her house we were watching a movie on television called THE BEAST MUST DIE.

It ended with the main character putting a rifle in his mouth. At that moment the telephone rang. My sister went to answer it. She came back. She said, “Something terrible has happened.” The man on the television screen blew his brains out.

My family, thinking I was going to kill myself as my brother had, stuck me in McMaster Psychiatric Hospital. There, on June 12, 1981 my sister came to visit with a cake she had made for my 35th birthday. As I stuck the knife into the cake the head psychiatrist came up. He said, “Do you know what is wrong with you?”

I told him, “Nothing. I am on time. I am on schedule. I am right where I am supposed to be.”

I was then. I am now.

People are told the word of God is in THE BIBLE. It is not. In his last great speech (Deuteronomy 30 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Deuteronomy+30&version=NIV    ) Moses states, “11 Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. 12 It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, “Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” 13 Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, “Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” 14 No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.”

In other words: WE ARE BORN KNOWING.

Over the years I have read many of the great foundation books. Except for THE KORAN which teaches that we are the slaves of one who says, “I have no son,” all teach that we have it within us to become the children of Heaven and that we are BORN KNOWING.

In his first letter John writes, “You need not that any man should teach you.” In fact, when Jesus is asked by someone to be their teacher he replies, “You have one teacher, God.”

Contrast that with the many who say they are Christians who ask us to accept them as teachers.

It takes FAITH to believe that we are born knowing. Faith without works is dead. The fruit of faith and works is knowledge.

The purpose of our education system as John Taylor Gatto shows in his great UNDERGROUND HISTORY OF AMERICAN EDUCATION is to create servants/slaves.

Nor is Gatto the only one to say this:

“He who without the Muse’s madness in his soul comes knocking at the door of poesy and thinks that art will make him anything fit to be called a poet, finds that the poetry which he indites in his sober senses is beaten hollow by the poetry of madmen.”-Plato.

“You have no need that any man should teach you.”-1 John 2:27.

“Film students should stay as far away from film schools and film teachers as possible. The only school for the cinema is the cinema.”-Bernardo Bertolucci.

“Most teachers say you should go to school to get your degree to have something to fall back on. Aside from being a huge lie, that also creates a very high level of mediocrity, because nobody who really believes that is going to take the leap of faith required to be a serious artist. Stay out of school.”–Ellis Marsalis to his sons Branford, Delfeayo and Wynton.

“It is, in fact, nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry; for this delicate little plant, aside from stimulation, stands mainly in need of freedom; without this it goes to wrack and ruin without fail. It is a very great mistake to think that the enjoyment of seeing and searching can be promoted by means of coercion and a sense of duty.”–Albert Einstein.

“My schooling not only failed to teach me what it professed to be teaching, but prevented me from being educated to an extent which infuriates me when I think of all I might have learned at home by myself.”–George Bernard Shaw.

“Men are born ignorant, not stupid. They are made stupid by education.”–Bertrand Russell.

“School is an institution built on the axiom that learning is the result of teaching. And institutional wisdom continues to accept this axiom, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.”–Ivan Illich.

“We get three educations. The first is from our parents; the second is from our schoolmasters. The third is from life. The last makes liars of the first two.”-Montesquieu.

“I had wonderful teachers in the first and second grades who taught me everything I know. After that, I’m afraid, the teachers were nice, but they were dopes…I have a lack of ideology, and not because I have an animus against any particular ideology; it’s just that they don’t make sense to me…they get in the way of thinking. I don’t see what use they are…University and uniformity, as ideals, have subtly influenced how people thought about education, politics, economics, government, everything…We are misled by universities and other intellectual institutions to believe that there are separate fields of knowledge. But it’s clear there are no separate fields of knowledge. It is a seamless web.”-Jane Jacobs.

“It is good taste not bad taste which is the enemy.”-Salvador Dali.

“The function of the artist is to disturb. His duty is to arouse the sleeper, to shake the complacent pillars of the world. He reminds the world of its dark ancestry, and shows the world its present and points the way to its new birth. He is at once the product and preceptor of his times.”-Norman Bethune.

“Admit, assume, because, believe, could, doubt, end, expect, faith, forget, forgive, guilt, how, it, mercy, pest, promise, should, sorry, storm, them, us, waste, we,weed-neither these words nor the conceptions for which they stand appear in this book; they are the whiteman’s import to the New World, the newcomer’s contribution to the vocabulary of the man he called Indian. Truly, the parent Indian families possessed neither these terms nor their equivalents.”-Ruth Beebe Hill, HANTA YO.

“So we shall let the reader answer the question for himself, ‘Who is the happier man? He who has braved the storm of life and lived, or he who has stayed securely on the shore and merely existed?”– Hunter S. Thompson (FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS) in his high
school year book at 17.

“Unless you be as a child you can not see the Kingdom of God,” said Jesus.

“The child sees more clearly than the adult (who has already decided what he will and will not see),” writes NAKED LUNCH author William S. Burroughs.

What child ever censored their thoughts? No thought is shameful to a child until s/he is taught it is shameful.

“The reliance on Property, including the reliance on governments which protect it, is the want of self-reliance.” Ralph Waldo Emerson writes in ON SELF-RELIANCE, “Insist on yourself; never imitate. Your own gift you can present every moment with the cumulative force of a whole life’s cultivation; but of the adopted talent of another you only have an extemporaneous half possession. That which each can do best, none but his Maker can teach him. No man yet knows what it is, nor can,
till that person has exhibited it. Where is the master who could have taught Shakespeare? Where is the master who could have instructed Franklin, or Washington, or Bacon, or Newton? Every great man is unique. The Scipionism of Scipio is precisely that part he could not borrow. Shakespeare will never be made by the study of Shakespeare. Do that which is assigned you, and you cannot hope too much or dare too much…

“Whoso would be a man, must be a nonconformist. He who would gather immortal palms must not be hindered by the name of goodness, but must explore if it be goodness. Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind. Absolve you to yourself, and you shall have the suffrage of the world. I remember an answer which when quite young I was prompted to make to a valued advisor who was wont to importune me with the dear old doctrines of the church. On my saying, ‘What do I have with the sacredness of traditions, if I live wholly from within?’ my friend suggested, ‘–But these impulses may be from below, not from above,’ I replied. ‘They do not seem to me to be such; but if I am the Devil’s child, I will then live as one from the Devil.’ No law can be sacred to me but that of my own nature. Good and bad are but names transferable to that or this; the only right is what is after my constitution; the only wrong what is against it…I am ashamed to think how easily we capitulate to badges and names, to large societies and dead institutions.”

How I love those words,”If I am the Devil’s child,I will then live as one from the Devil.”

That takes the courage it seems too few have.

From the time I came home from school at six people have been speaking evilly about me. I would not have it any other way nor should you.

For the young who want to

Talent is what they say
you have after the novel
is published and favorably
reviewed. Beforehand what
you have is a tedious
delusion, a hobby like knitting.

Work is what you have done
after the play is produced
and the audience claps.
Before that friends keep asking
when you are planning to go
out and get a job.

Genius is what they know you
had after the third volume
of remarkable poems. Earlier
they accuse you of withdrawing,
ask why you don’t have a baby,
call you a bum.

The reason people want M.F.A.’s,
take workshops with fancy names
when all you can really
learn is a few techniques,
typing instructions and some-
body else’s mannerisms

is that every artist lacks
a license to hang on the wall
like your optician, your vet
proving you may be a clumsy sadist
whose fillings fall into the stew
but you’re certified a dentist.

The real writer is one
who really writes. Talent
is an invention like phlogiston
after the fact of fire.
Work is its own cure. You have to
like it better than being loved.

Marge Piercy (1936-) Copyright 1982 Circles on the Water: Selected Poems of Marge Piercy Alfred A. Knopf. Notes M.F.A.’s: Master of Fine Arts degrees. phlogiston: invisible hypothetical matter or `principle’ thought to combine with all combustible bodies and be expelled during burning — a concept popular in the 18th century but abandoned once oxygen was discovered.

Work is its own cure. You have to like it better than being loved.” There we find ourselves right back at, “I came not to bring peace but a sword.”

34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn

“‘a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—
36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’[c]
37 “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.

“Writing is a gift. It can not be taught. All I could do by teaching it is destroy the gift in myself and damage it in those I would be teaching.”-CATCHER IN THE RYE author J. D. Salinger after turning down millions of dollars to teach writing at Yale or Harvard.

“It’s all a matter of getting out of the way of yourself, or you’re dead. Standing out of the way and letting what you really know take over.”-William S. Burroughs, author of NAKED LUNCH.

It takes more courage than we think we have to start out on the uncharted sea which is our true life.

John 8:1-11New Living Translation (NLT)

A Woman Caught in Adultery

8 Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, 2 but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. 3 As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd.

4 “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”

6 They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. 7 They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” 8 Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.

9 When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. 10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”

11 “No, Lord,” she said.

And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

And there we have it.

Today we find no shortage of people who say they are Christians. They are quick to throw stones.

Well, let them throw them.

God is not going to cast anyone into Hell for sucking a cock.

Here, from Matthew 25, is THE LAST JUDGEMENT:

The Final Judgment
31 “But when the Son of Man[d] comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. 32 All the nations[e] will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’

37 “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? 39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’

40 “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters,[f] you were doing it to me!’

41 “Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons.[g]42 For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink. 43 I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’

44 “Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’

45 “And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’

46 “And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life.”

When you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sister, you refused to help me.”

There we have it.

People will believe more readily in a book than they will in themselves. Be that book THE BIBLE, THE KORAN, THE COMMUNIST MANIFEST, THE WRITINGS OF CHAIRMAN MAO it does not matter for those who believe only in what is written in books are blind to what is written in each of us.

In the end all the words I can write do not matter.

What matters is simple. Do we have what it takes to walk with those the world sees as damned and to embrace the damned as lovers or do we not.

If we do all things are possible. If we don’t, nothing is possible.

I pity those who don’t. God will not need to send them to Hell for they are living already in the true Hell.

A man said to me, “After I have sex with women I want to get away from them.”

He is not alone. Too many can’t get away from their partner fast enough after that fatal orgasm. It is as if they have done something filthy instead of having shared the greatest physical gift two people can share.

Because I walked out of high school I not only found I did not starve I found that had I not left I would have starved. Many great men and women have come into my life. Chief among them was Judith Merril who said, “We only really learn in conversation after sex.” The poor fellow is missing out on the best part.

Who, you ask, was Judith Merril? Well, J. G. Ballard put it best, “Science fiction, I suspect, is now dead, and probably died about the time that Judy closed her anthology and left to found her memorial library to the genre in Toronto. I remember my last sight of her, surrounded by her friends and all the books she loved, shouting me down whenever I tried to argue with her, the strongest woman in a genre for the most part created by timid and weak men.”

There are too many timid and weak men.

We don’t help them by caving in to their lack of balls.

CRAZY JANE TALKS WITH THE BISHOP

I met the Bishop on the road And much said he and I.
“Those breasts are flat and fallen now,
Those veins must soon run dry;
Live in a heavenly mansion,
Not in some foul pigsty.”

“Fair and foul and near of kin,
And fair needs foul,” I cried,
“My friends are gone, but that’s the truth
Nor grave nor bed denied,
Learned in bodily lowliness
And in the heart’s pride.

“A woman can be proud and stiff
when on love intent;
But love has pitched his mansion in
The place of excrement;
For nothing can be sole or whole
That has not first been rent!”
-William Butler Yeats.

There Yeats has nailed it: Love has pitched his mansion in the place of excrement, in the house of piss and shit.

“There is more faith in honest doubt than in all the creeds and world’s religions combined as one and more doubt in honest faith than in all the world’s Marxist, atheistic hand books.”-Aldous Huxley, THE DEVILS OF LOUDON.

A young man in the American mid-west said to a band leader who came through his town, “Can I play with you.” “Come to New York, kid, and you can play with me.” The kid was 17. He got in Julliard. He refused to take lessons. He went looking for the man his father to enroll him who had set him on fire with his music. Everyone warned him that that man was a junkie, a heroin addict. The boy refused to listen to anyone but himself. Finally he found the junkie. He was living on the street, homeless. “Hey, you can live with me,” said the boy. The junkie moved in, stole his sheet music and records using the money he got to buy drugs. The boy turned into a junkie. One rainy night he was going by a club. He heard music. He went inside, took out his horn, got on stage and joined with the band. He was stining wet. No one said, “You are not with the band.” He was stoned. For over two hours he played variations on one tune. Then he walked back out into the night.

A couple of years passed. He got his first quintet. Someone said, “Hey, you got a junkie in your band. You should get rid of him.”

“There is nothing worse than a dull rhythm section,” he said, adding, “You have got to have that fire. You can’t buy it. If you could buy it they would have it at Newport at the Jazz Festival. He has got the fire I want. He is staying.”

A couple of years later that junkie was playing monkey for the man; singing cover tunes for money people put in a cup. “Hey, John Coltrane! What you doin’ playin’ monkey for the man? Why don’t you let your soul speak through that horn?” said a fellow in the audience.

“Who would want to listen to my soul?” said Coltrane. “Me,” said the man.

Bear in mind that most of the folk there would have been content to hear cover tunes.

Coltrane began to let his soul speak though his horn. Next thing he knew he was flying around the world to play saxophones that had been invented just for him.
The kid who became a junkie? That was Miles Davis. Everyone knows who he is. The junkie who inspired him? Clint Eastwood made a movie about him. That was “The Bird.” That was Charlie Parker. People did not know it then but he was the shaping force in American music. At that time there was not a school on earth that would have allowed Charlie Parker inside its doors while he walked the earth. They all teach his music now.

“We have the seed of God in us,” writes Meister Eckhart, “Pear seeds grow pear trees. Hazel seeds grow hazel trees. God seeds grow God.”

You have the seed of God in you. I don’t give a damn whether you are homosexual or heterosexual. Whatever we are it takes more courage to be who we are than to be who people think we ought to be.

And read THE NEW TESTAMENT. In it you will not find Jesus telling homosexuals they are going to burn in Hell. You will find him telling priests (and only priests) that they are going to burn in Hell.

THE RITES OF MANHOOD

It’s snowing hard enough that the taxis aren’t running.
I’m walking home, my night’s work finished,
long after midnight, with the whole city to myself
when across the street I see a very young American sailor
standing over a girl who’s kneeling on the sidewalk
and refuses to get up although he’s yelling at her
to tell him where she lives so he can take her there
before they both freeze. The pair of them are drunk
and my guess is he picked her up in a bar
and later got separated from his buddies
and at first it was great fun to play at being
an old salt at liberty in a port full of women with
hinges on their heels, but now he wants only
to find a solution to the infinitely more complex
problem of what to do with her before he falls into
the hands of the police or the shore patrol
-and what keeps this from being squalid is
what’s happening to him inside:
if there were other sailors here
it would be possible for him
to abandon her where she is and joke about it
later, but he’s alone and the guilt can’t be
divided into small forgetable pieces;
he’s finding out what it means
to be a man and how different it is
from the way that only hours ago he imagined it.
-Alden Nowlan.

What Happened During the Ice Storm

by Jim Heynen

One winter there was a freezing rain. How beautiful! people said when things outside started to shine with ice. But the freezing rain kept coming. Tree branches glistened like glass. Then broke like glass. Ice thickened on the windows until everything outside blurred. Farmers moved theirlivestock into the barns, and most animals were safe. But not the pheasants. Their eyes froze shut. Some farmers went ice-skating down the gravel roads with clubs to harvest the pheasants that
sat helplessly in the roadside ditches. The boys went out into the freezing rain to find pheasants too. They saw dark spots along a fence. Pheasants, all right. Five or six of them. The boys slid their feet along slowly, trying not to break the ice that covered the snow. They slid up close to the pheasants. The pheasants pulled their heads down between their wings. They couldn’t tell how easy it was to see them huddled there.

The boys stood still in the icy rain. Their breath came out in slow puffs of steam. The pheasants’ breath came out in quick little white puffs. Some of them lifted their heads and turned them from side to side, but they were blindfolded with ice and didn’t flush. The boys had not brought clubs, or sacks, or anything but themselves. They stood over the pheasants, turning their own heads, looking at each other, each expecting the other to do something. To pounce on a pheasant, or to yell Bang! Things around them were shining and dripping with icy rain. The barbed-wire fence. The fence posts. The broken stems of grass. Even the grass seeds. The grass
seeds looked like little yolks inside gelatin whites. And the pheasants looked like unborn birds glazed in egg white. Ice was hardening on the boys’ caps and coats. Soon they would be covered with ice too.

Then one of the boys said, Shh. He was taking off his coat, the thin layer of ice splintering in flakes as he pulled his arms from the sleeves. But the inside of the coat was dry and warm. He covered two of the crouching pheasants with his coat, rounding the back of it over them like a shell. The other boys did the same. They covered all the helpless pheasants. The small gray hens and the larger brown cocks. Now the boys felt the rain soaking through their shirts and freezing. They ran across the slippery fields, unsure of their footing, the ice clinging to their skin as they made their way toward the blurry lights of the house.

“What Happened During the Ice Storm” by Jim Heynen from You Know What Is Right. Copyright © 1985 by
Jim Heynen. Originally appeared in Seattle Review.

When we travel in groups everything depends on what the first person to act does. Had the boy acted as the fathers were acting those pheasants would all have been murdered. He didn’t. Instead they were saved.

That boy is a hero.  Follow his example. Many men today think if we do as he did we are a fag.

Well, this world needs more fags.

As for those who murder with THE BIBLE, well, when you see someone coming to you with a BIBLE in their hands get as far away as you can. In the East they say, “The nearer the temple the farther from the Buddha.” The same saying in the West is,”The nearer the church/synagogue/temple the farther from God.”

THE CORE OF MASCULINITY

The core of masculinity does not derive from
being male, nor friendliness from those who
console. Your old grandmother says, “Maybe
you shouldn’t go to school. You look a little
pale.” Run when you hear that. A father’s
stern slaps are better. Your bodily soul wants
comforting. The severe father wants spiritual
clarity. He scolds, but eventually leads you into
the open. Pray for a tough instructor to hear and
act and stay within you. We have been busy
accumulating solace. Make us afraid of how we were.
-Rumi (translated by Coleman Barks).

WHICH ONE IS GENUINE

I once knew a woman named Benedicta, who
infused everything with the ideal. When one
looked into her eyes one wanted nobility, glory,
beauty, all those qualities that make us love immortality.
But this exquisite woman was too beautiful to
live long; she died in fact shortly after I met her,
and it was I who buried her one day when spring
was waving his encensoir even through the
cemetery gates. It was I who buried her, well
enclosed in a coffin made of a wood scented and
eternal as the treasure boxes of India.
And while my eyes remained fixed on that spot
where my jewel lay entombed, I saw all at once a
tiny human being much like the dead woman,
doing a bizarre dance, violent and hysterical, on
the loose earth. She howled with laughter as she
spoke: “This is me! Benedicta, as she is! I’m
trash, everyone knows it! And the punishment
for your stupidity and your blind head is this:
You’ll have to love what I am!”
I went into a rage and said, “No! No! No! No!”
And in order to give strength to my no, I
stomped the earth so fiercely with my foot that
my leg sank into the freshly turned earth up to
my knee, and like a wolf caught in a trap, I am
now tied, perhaps for the rest of my life, to the
grave of the ideal.
–Charles Baudelaire (translated by Robert Bly).

A hell of a lot of people are trapped in the grave of the ideal.

Shortly after the publication of THE COMMUNIST MANIFESTO and CAPITAL Karl Marx got a letter from some people saying, “We want to create a movement based on the ideas in your books and we want to call it Marxism.”

Marx wrote back, “Call it what you will. I am not a Marxist,”

Too many model their ideas based on what they find that they like in books.

I love it when people say we have to teach children compassion, love, tolerance, understanding.

That usually means they want castrate a work as Thomas Bowdler and Edmund Ducis castrated Shakespeare.

We don’t have to teach these things to children. They understand them intuitively.

For some reason many “adults” forget these things. They are the ones who need to be reminded.

I have said enough. Let me close by saying if you are a guy and you see a hot guy you want to make love with better to have the courage to get your face slapped than to play it safe:

PROVERBS FROM HELL, William Blake.

Improvement makes straight roads; but the crooked roads without improvements are the paths of genius.

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

You never know what is enough unless you know what is more than enough.

What is now proved was once only imagined.

Sooner murder an infant in its cradle than nurse unacted desires.

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom.

He who desires but acts not breeds pestilence.

No bird soars too high, if he soars with is own wings.

If the fool would persist in his folly he would become wise.

Dare to be a fool.–Reg Hartt, 8, 1, 2015.

Every now and then someone gets their tit in a wringer because they took objection to listening to me speak before a film.

Inevitably they say, “I just came for a movie.”

Toronto has no shortage of cinemas one can go to to just see a movie.

Over a beer in her home Jane Jacobs said to me out of the blue, “The best part of what you offer is what you have to say.”

I have referenced this many times. I don’t expect to change anyone’s mind by saying it.

I just weigh it in the scales. Mrs. Jacobs and her husband, Robert, brought their family to Toronto from New York in 1968. Walking along the street they saw a flyer I had posted for a presentation I was doing of the 1923 silent film THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME starring Lon Chaney.

They came back every week until I was forced by the city to close the place. The City of Toronto has a long history of murdering its culture. In that sense the City of Toronto is everything Jane Jacobs warned us against in her books from her first, THE DEATH AND LIFE OF GREAT AMERICAN CITIES to her last, DARK AGE AHEAD. Mrs. Jacobs passed away in 2006. Today, nine years later, everything she warned us about in DARK AGE AHEAD is running rampant. She was not the first to see the abyss into which we are plunging. H. G. Wells wrote about it in THINGS TO COME.

I took Judith Merril, the mother of modern speculative/science fiction (whom I also met in 1968) to see MAD MAX: BEYOND THE THUNDERDOME. “That is where we are going,” said Judy.

Kurt Vonnegut saw what is coming. He wrote about it. Yeats, in SECOND COMING, wrote about it.

A couple of years ago I watched some young fans ask Malcolm McDowell if he thought the character he played in CLOCKWORK ORANGE was responsible for the student riots in Britain.

McDowell laughed. “Are you trying to blame ME for that! Here is the deal. Those students were told that when they finished their courses there would be jobs. Well, there are no jobs. They were lied to. You are going to find that out here.”

That was not what they wanted to hear.

“There goes Reg,” said a classmate in high school when the teacher asked me a question one day. The teacher shouted furiously, “You be quiet. He is the only one in this school who is thinking.”

A friend the year before had asked me to write a piece for this teacher. After he handed it in the teacher read it. Then he said, “You did not write this.”

Everyone gave me shit because he had been found out.

Curious, I went to the teacher and asked, “How did you know he did not write that?”

He replied, “It was too good.”

What a fucking compliment!

That summer I worked in Toronto. My family had moved from Sault Ste. Marie to Oakville for the summer. My father had work there.

I had a wild summer. I dove head first without checking for rocks into the ocean of Toronto’s queer culture. I had been called a queer from the age of six. I did not know what the word meant except that it meant I am different and do not belong.

Later, when I found out what it meant I gave myself over to hate. I hated queers. I hated myself. I was full top to bottom with hate.

The day came when I realized I had to empty myself of all that hate.

I am grateful for that now because I was forced to learn to think for myself or die. I was 17. There is nothing so intoxicating as discovering the very great pleasure our bodies can give us.

That fall back in the Sault I had the teacher who had rejected what I wrote for that friend as too good to be written by him for my home room teacher. “Write about your summers,” he told us.

I thought, “These people will write about their summer job or their trip to Europe. I wonder if he can handle mine?”

So I laid it out holding nothing back.

The next morning when I walked into that classroom I saw my fellow students gathered in horror before what I had written which the teacher had posted.

One girl said, “I hope he does not write something like that on my work. My parents will kill me.”

I wondered what he had written. I walked over to see. He had given me 96 out of 100%. He took four marks off for spelling. On it he had written in a great explosion, “This is a literary orgasm!”

To this day that remains the finest compliment I have received for my writing.

We live in the time of cowards.

I think we have always lived in the time of cowards which is not to say that all people are cowards. Thankfully, they are not all cowards. Just an awful lot of them.

How else to account for the fact that so few stand up to bullies while so many gloat when the bully knives those who oppose him in the back?

In TORONTO LIFE Andrew Clark wrote, “Reg Hartt is Toronto’s high priest of the truth at 24 frames per second,and arguably its most loved and loathed film connoisseur.”

The loathed part is important. It means we are doing something.

A fellow I know who is a gifted artist who had posed nude in his teens thought he would like to work as a stripper. He is considerably younger than myself. I took him down to a male stripclub so he could survey the scene.The boys who were living day to day off their capital asked him, “Is he your sugar daddy?”

I looked at the contempt with which most (again,thankfully, not all) of them looked at the men giving them money making sure that the client knew they are straight.

Yeah, straight and stupid.

Here they are living day to day waiting for someone to toss money at them for a product with an extremely short shelf life, their youth, while these older despised queers had built lives for themselves so rich they could easily afford to throw a couple of hundred or sometimes a couple of thousand dollars to these sex monkeys.

Jean Cocteau was a major figure of the twentieth century. He was a poet, a playwright, an author, a painter, a sculptor, a film maker, an opium addict and a queer. Said Cocteau, “Whatever the world condemns you for make it your own. It is yourself.”

Now that takes balls of which there has always been a shortage in this world.

In native American culture captured men were forced to run a gauntlet of armed warriors who would do their best to kill them. If the captive refused he was killed outright. If he ran the gauntlet and lived not only could he come and go as he pleased it was also desired that he impregnate every woman in the tribe.

There is a deep wisdom in this I will leave the reader to figure out for themselves.

Life forces us to run a gauntlet.

Without opposition we have no foundation. We would sink through the earth as we do water.

When I saw how hate filled I was in my teens (not an unusual thing in our teens) I knew that I had somehow to overcome it.

Today I am glad to have passed through the Hellfire I passed through. As a potter puts soft clay into an oven to transform mud into pottery so the furnace of life if we dare to bathe in its fires transforms us.

Too many people whinge that they are not accepted.

Why on earth do you want to be accepted by the people who reject you?

As a young man growing up in my teens I envied other boys whose fathers showered them with gifts.

The first time I got drunk with my father he apologized for giving me nothing.

I said, “You gave me one thing.”

He asked, “What was that?”

I replied, “The gift to get things for my self.”

By that time I had returned and seen what had happened to those young men I envied. Having never had to fend for themselves they were early beaten by life. They had wives that were cheating on them, children that loathed them and cries that life is unfair.

There was nothing about them to envy.

In the meantime, yes, people often tell me they don’t want to have to listen to me.

But then, you see, I weigh them in the scales against the many who have come to my programs  and who contact me, sometimes years later, to say, “Thank you. You changed my life for the better.”

There are a considerable number of them.

Now it is time to go out in the cold to get some more.

No one who wants to build muscles lifts feathers.

HepburnThink for a moment about having a high school principal tell you you have the wrong attitude about life and you will starve in two weeks if you leave that day. And then, years after you walked out, to be told over a beer in her home by a woman whose ideas many in the world respect, Jane Jacobs, “The best part of what you have to offer is what you have to say.”

We are called to be stronger than we can dream. Accept gladly the burdens life gives you. When we walk alone we walk with heroes.

 

 

 

 

THE SECOND COMING

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.

The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)

The best lack conviction while the worst are fanatics.

Many associate fanatics with religion.

Fanaticism is found among a subset of humanity that is quick to pass judgement, scornful of those who oppose them and eager to lynch.

Afterwards, of course, there is much tears, breast beating and the promise to do better but rarely is the promise kept.

Jan Wong’s RED CHINA BLUES is one of the best studies of fanaticism:

“Jan Wong, a Canadian of Chinese descent, went to China as a starry-eyed Maoist in 1972 at the height of the Cultural Revolution. A true believer–and one of only two Westerners permitted to enroll at Beijing University–her education included wielding a pneumatic drill at the Number One Machine Tool Factory. In the name of the Revolution, she renounced rock & roll, hauled pig manure in the paddy fields, and turned in a fellow student who sought her help in getting to the United States. She also met and married the only American draft dodger from the Vietnam War to seek asylum in China.

“Red China Blues is Wong’s startling–and ironic–memoir of her rocky six-year romance with Maoism (which crumbled as she became aware of the harsh realities of Chinese communism); her dramatic firsthand account of the devastating Tiananmen Square uprising; and her engaging portrait of the individuals and events she covered as a correspondent in China during the tumultuous era of capitalist reform under Deng Xiaoping. In a frank, captivating, deeply personal narrative she relates the horrors that led to her disillusionment with the “worker’s paradise.” And through the stories of the people–an unhappy young woman who was sold into marriage, China’s most famous dissident, a doctor who lengthens penises–Wong reveals long-hidden dimensions of the world’s most populous nation.

“In setting out to show readers in the Western world what life is like in China, and why we should care, she reacquaints herself with the old friends–and enemies of her radical past, and comes to terms with the legacy of her ancestral homeland.”

http://www.amazon.com/Red-China-Blues-Long-March/dp/0385482329

Fanatics are long on opinion and short on facts.

I was reminded of this this week when I found this on a site I frequent: “The most racist and bizarre cartoon I have ever seen… and I watch a lot of cartoons!  http://www.dailymotion.com/…/x98sa4_tin-pan-alley-cats-1943…

Plato saw the world as a whole. Aristotle divided it into parts. He saw the trees but not the forest. Aristotelian thinking has dominated ever since. Thus we have the idea of separate races where there is only one race, the human race. It comes in a variety of colors, shades, physical appearances and sexualities.

I never get tired of quoting this: “I have a lack of ideology, and not because I have an animus against any particular ideology; it’s just that they don’t make sense to me…they get in the way of thinking. I don’t see what use they are…University and uniformity, as ideals, have subtly influenced how people thought about education, politics, economics, government, everything…We are misled by universities and other intellectual institutions to believe that there are separate fields of knowledge. But it’s clear there are no separate fields of knowledge. It is a seamless web.”-Jane Jacobs whose books, from her first, THE DEATH AND LIFE OF THE GREAT AMERICAN CITIES to her last, DARK AGE AHEAD, are must reading.

TIN PAN ALLEY CATS is the second of two animated cartoons that dealt with Black music created at Warner Brothers by Bob Clampett whom I invited to Toronto in 1979 for a three day symposium devoted to his work. The world of animation was just re-discovering Bob at that point. He had left Warners in 1946. His films were part of their library the studio no longer owned at that time. As a result they never appeared on THE BUGS BUNNY SHOW nor any of the other Warner animation programs. They were owned by United Artists as was the rest of the pre 1948 Warner library.

Bob had gone to a Duke Ellington concert in Los Angeles. Afterwards he spoke with the musicians who asked him why Warners was not making animated cartoons with Black musicians as the Max Fleischer and Walter Lantz studios had done.

Bob replied that if they wanted to make a film he would be happy to make one with them. The first was COAL BLACK AND DE SEBBEN DWARFS. The second was TIN PAN ALLEY CATS which incorporates material from Clampett’s earlier PORKY IN WACKYLAND which was later re-done using footage from TIN PAN ALLEY CATS by Friz Freleng as DOUGH FOR THE DODO.

Leonard Maltin, in his great book OF MICE AND MAGIC, wrote, “It takes one kind of talent to find new paths for established characters, but it’s even more impressive to create whole new worlds within the framework of a six or seven minute cartoon. Clampett did both. Many independent animators have labored for years to create a short film as personal and unique as COAL BLACK AND DE SEBBEN DWARFS, which was just one of a dozen shorts Clampett had on the assembly line in 1943.”

What makes this doubly remarkable is that Clampett was working for a man, Leon Schlesinger who said, “I don’t want quality and I don’t want it in the worst way. Let Walt Disney make chicken salad and win prizes. I will make chicken shit and I will make money.”

Well, when Leon sold the studio to Warner Brothers he got just under a million. He died shortly after. Disney, when he died, left a studio worth considerably more.

Schlesinger was penny wise and pound foolish as were the people who ran the studio after him. The creative artists learned early never to ask for permission as the answer would always be no. When they got an idea that would cost more money they would then surround it with projects that could be done for considerably less. They did this because they loved what they were doing.

TIN PAN ALLEY CATS does in 7 minutes everything the later YELLOW SUBMARINE would do in 90. It is a brilliant film that deserves to be seen (as does COAL BLACK). Both titles belong to a part of their animation library that Warners has currently buried in the vault.

COAL BLACK lists at # 21 among the 50 Greatest Animated Cartoons (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_50_Greatest_Cartoons). I’d rate it Number One. I’d rate TIN PAN ALLEY CATS as Number Two.

When animators Leo Sullivan and Floyd Norman were asked who they wanted to present their award in 1979 for THE BLACK FILM MAKERS HALL OF FAME awards they said, “Bob Clampett, since he was the one most responsible for giving us the breaks that we needed to succeed.”

Bob grew up in poverty. His enthusiasm for not only the arts but also life early earned him the ridicule that everyone who has enthusiasm for the arts and life faces from the dull of mind and spirit. He was, by nature, one of the most naturally generous men I have met.

I can’t say the same about his detractors.

2015 marks the 100th anniversary of David Wark Griffith’s epic THE BIRTH OF A NATION. This film marks the birth of the movies as an art form and an industry. It remains the most important motion picture ever made and, properly presented, the greatest. It is also, as GONE WITH THE WIND author Margaret Mitchell said, “The only honest and accurate portrayal on film of the American Civil War and the Aftermath of Reconstruction.”

In 1980, through the help of Bob Clampett, I brought to Toronto for three days Bernard B. Brown who, at 16, had played first violin in the orchestra which accompanied THE BIRTH (as THE CLANSMAN) for its premiere performance in Los Angeles at Clune’s Auditorium and throughout the 365 days the film ran. Tickets were $2 a seat which is about $50 a seat today. No other film maker has taken Griffith’s risk nor duplicated his success. Without risk there is neither life nor art.

Today the tide has turned against Griffith who regularly is denounced as a racist by his lessors.

His achievements are now trampled in the mud.

When he received THE DAVID WARK GRIFFITH AWARD from THE DIRECTORS GUILD OF AMERICA Stanley Kubrick said, “Good evening. I’m sorry not to be able to be with you tonight to receive this great honor of the D.W. Griffith Award, but I’m in London making Eyes Wide Shut with Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman and, just about this time, I’m probably in the car on the way to the studio.
Which, as it happens, reminds me of a conversation I had with Spielberg about what was the most difficult and challenging thing about directing a film. And I believe Steven summed it up about as profoundly as you can. He thought the most difficult and challenging thing about directing a film was getting out of the car. I’m sure you all know the feeling.

“But at the same time, anyone who has ever been privileged to direct a film also knows that, although it can be like trying to write War and Peace in a bumper car at an amusement park, when you finally get it right, there are not many joys in life that can equal the feeling.

“I think there’s an intriguing irony in naming the lifetime achievement award after D.W. Griffith because his career was both an inspiration and a cautionary tale. His best films were always ranked among the most important films ever made. And some of them made him a great deal of money. He was instrumental in transforming movies from the nickelodeon novelty to an art form. And he originated and formalized much of the syntax of movie-making now taken for granted.

“He became an international celebrity and his patronage included many of the world’s leading artists and statesmen of the time. But Griffith was always ready to take tremendous risks in his films and in his business affairs. He was always ready to fly too high. And in the end, the wings of fortune proved for him, like those of Icarus, to be made of nothing more substantial than wax and feathers, and like Icarus, when he flew too close to the sun, they melted. And the man who’s fame exceeded the most illustrious filmmakers of today spent the last 17 years of his life shunned by the film industry he had created.
I’ve compared Griffith’s career to the Icarus myth, but at the same time I’ve never been certain whether the moral of the Icarus story should only be, as is generally accepted, “Don’t try to fly too high,” or whether it might also be thought of as, “Forget the wax and feathers and do a better job on the wings.”

“One thing, however, is certain. D.W. Griffith left us with an inspiring and intriguing legacy, and the award in his name is one of the greatest honors a film director can receive, something for which I humbly thank all of you, very much. ”  (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tBYJJzpxH9Q)

As Jesus said, “We won’t get grapes from thistles.” There are some people who by nature are thistles. I can’t fault them for being true to their nature.

Bob told a story of a group of young Black Panthers who met with Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradly (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Bradley_(American_politician)) after attending one of his presentations. Told of this Mayor Bradley said, “Bob Clampett! He made my favorite animated cartoon. I saw it in France during World War Two. It is called ‘COAL BLACK AND DE SEBBEN DWARFS.'”

When I brought this to the attention of the post one fellow wrote, “Reg, you’re not even arguing with Jonathon. You’re arguing with yourself. And you already lost your argument with yourself when you felt the need to play the “my black friend” card. Not to mention the “this group of black people is okay with it, so all black people are okay with it” song and dance. Racism, Reg, is more subtle than overt discrimination or outright bigotry. It’s the difference in this case between celebrity caricatures that emphasize specific features of the individual and characters that emphasize racial exaggeration. And me explaining this to you is multiply ridiculous, not least due to my utter whiteness. Sometimes I swear there’s an entire section of white people for whom nothing white people do is ever racist as long as they don’t say n*****. I’m beginning to wonder if that’s the case for Reg.”

I did not play the Black Friend card. I did not mention that Mayor Bradley is Black. I mentioned him as an example of one of a number of people who see beyond the limited horizons of the fanatics who, unfortunately, can’t see beyond their noses.

Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso both said, “It is good taste not bad taste which is the enemy.”

Good taste kept America’s first original composer Scott Joplin from being accepted into THE AMERICAN FEDERATION OF MUSICIAN because his music was “whore house music.”

It is ironic that the Church which is supposed to be the sanctuary for the lost is the instrument that is often the first to condemn the “sinner.”

This year, much as he deserves to be honored, David Wark Griffith won’t be.

Like Jesus I much prefer the company of people those who see themselves as righteous condemn. They are a lot more fun to be around and a lot more interesting.

In their greatest day the movies were made by people who came up from the streets. Their films honestly and accurately reflect the mores of their time. Today’s films are made by people who come from the classroom. At one time over 65% of the public went to the movies on a regular basis. Today that figure is less than 15% (THE CINEMA YEAR BY YEAR 1894-2002).

Ralph Bakshi, who came from the streets, in his film COONSKIN, created a work which can be viewed as racist by those who choose to see it so. It is 100% honest. That ought to mean something but then the fanatics have always been marked by their rush to crucify truth tellers. Amen.Reg Hartt 9 - Copy Bugs (1) Chuck-Jones-letter download rumors harlan-ellison-crop george-carlin-quote-picture Hepburn Chuck-Jones-Christmas-Card-0014.TIF1_ right Jean-Cocteau-1 Reg Hartt   3

2015 marks the 100th anniversary of THE most important motion picture ever made. D. W. Griffith's THE BIRTH OF A NATION established the motion picture as both art form and industry. No one other film maker has taken Griffith's risk nor duplicated his success.

2015 marks the 100th anniversary of THE most important motion picture ever made. D. W. Griffith’s THE BIRTH OF A NATION established the motion picture as both art form and industry. No one other film maker has taken Griffith’s risk nor duplicated his success.

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LAST POGO JUMPS AGAIN 37pm Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, January 3, 4, 5,6, 7.

The Cineforum, 463 Bathurst below College across from The Beer Store, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5T 2S9 (416-603-6643)