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Monday, March 16, 2009

Dwight Shultz, AKA Capt. H.M. "Howling Mad" Murdock, discusses the difficulties of being a conservative in Hollywood: The Liberal Bastille:

...During the last 8 years, I have rarely been to an audition waiting room where I have not been assaulted with anti-Bush, anti-Reagan, anti-Republican outbursts. Speaking up alone, one against five or ten righteous liberals is foolish, I know because I've tried it.... There is never a sense of decorum. I have never heard a pro-Bush, Pro-Reagan, Pro-Republican outburst! Even while on the job, during the lead up to the last election, liberal actors would without hesitation blurt out ugly anti-Sarah Palin nonsense just seconds before you have to be very, very funny. Words like "Abu Ghraib" are substituted for scripted text as a sarcastic admonition, to clarify moral superiority and solidarity with others in the room. The lack of respect for differing thought is symptomatic of no thought. This is the atmosphere that every conservative in Hollywood deals with. There is a job every now and then that is an exception to this; a job where this never happens and you lift your arms to God in thanks for that job...

...At an opening night party I was talking quite openly and happily about my conversation with Charlton Heston concerning Reagan's win, and as I moved to the end of the food line an unfamiliar voice popped up: "Dwight, so you're a Reagan asshole!" It was Bruce Paltrow, Blythe Danner's husband. That is how I knew him at the time, and I was stunned by his comment. I cannot even remember my reply. Whatever it was it was bereft of brave retort. I told Nikos's assistant about Paltrow's aggressive comment and wondered why there was such hostility. Was the political aspect a cover for nailing a non talent? I was assured "That is Bruce...don't take it personally.... He was probably joking...testing you." Paltow never said another substantive thing to me. He never said "good job" or "nice to see you again," only an occasional very limp "hello."

In very late 1981 or early 1982, I was called in to read for the part of Fiscus in the upcoming series "St. Elsewhere" produced by Paltrow. I ran into Howie Mandel, with his familiar blown up rubber glove hanging from his belt, and the guy who would eventually land the role. He was standing just outside the waiting room, and as I headed toward that designated area I passed a small narrow side room in which Bruce Paltrow was seated on a desk chair with wheels; he turned to me, rolled a little in my direction and said, "Dwight! What are you doing here?" This is not a question an actor wants to hear before an audition; not from the show's producer. I told him I was called in to read for Fiscus and his response was soft and monotonic, "...There's not going to be a Reagan asshole on this show!" He then turned away, and went back to his desk...

This sort of churlishness can only occur when people feel so sure of their majority opinion that they need never fear the tables being turned. Paul Newman emerges as something of a hero of the piece.

"Syme: It's a beautiful thing, the destruction of words. You wouldn't have seen the [Newspeak] Dictionary 10th edition, would you Smith? It's that thick. [illustrates thickness with fingers] The 11th Edition will be that [narrows fingers] thick. Winston Smith: So, The Revolution will be complete when the language is perfect? Syme: The secret is to move from translation, to direct thought, to automatic response. No need for self-discipline. Language coming from here [the larynx], not from here [the brain]" -1984 (film)


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