Savage Hippie Podcast Episode 58 – C-SPAN? More Like See SKIN if You Ask ME!

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The Superbowl? President Trump’s State of the Union? Judge Ginsburg’s “beating” cancer? NONE of that gets discussed in this week’s Savage Hippie. Making sure to be slightly BEHIND the curve, talking about things that lost their relevance a week ago, Edwin Oslan, Elya Oslan, and Rachel Cohen-Bourne cover Ralph Northam’s black face and KKK shenanigans, Black Panther getting nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards, the “learn to code” meme, some story about some girl who is suing Kid Rock over alleged discrimination at his bar in Detroit, and Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sss(X)in(X)em(X)a wearing her slutty attire on the Senate floor… yep, we discuss ALL of that, right at the point when everyone else is DONE discussing it. We also discuss D.W. Griffith and Birth of a Nation, since nobody is EVER done discussing that!

And for Sounds of Marshabaloosh, we play “Free Hand” by obscure 70s prog greats, Gentle Giant. Hopefully the don’t sue.

The song at the end is “The Diet Has Failed” by the Yesticles, and Rachel did the art while staring at a midget who curiously looks exactly like her.

Ten Things I Will Always Find Funny About Old Movies

dvdsA couple days ago, I once again enjoyed Howard Hawks’ 1959 western Rio Bravo, in which John Wayne plays sheriff John T. Chance, who is trying to keep a gang of thugs from running roughshod all over his dinky little town, while only having help from an alcoholic named Dude played by Dean Martin and a cripple named Stumpy played by Walter Brennan. There’s so much to like about the movie; the budding romance between an awkward and possibly virginal John T. Chance and the super hot gambling huckster babe Feathers (Angela Dickinson); Dean Martin’s struggle with the bottle; the comic relief from Stumpy; the gun slinging action; baby faced Ricky Nelson proving his chops to the older guys… what a GREAT movie, right?

Well, yeah, except if you’re not used to watching these kinds of movies. For one thing, at two hours and twenty minutes, Rio Bravo doesn’t exactly BREEZE by. On top of that, for being a western, it’s actually pretty low on action. It’s a CHARACTER driven movie, rather than one based upon a lot of fast paced gun play. Thirdly, I can picture young people finding Ricky Nelson incredibly annoying with his “yes sir”/”no sir”/”gee wiz sir” persona. Okay he doesn’t say “gee wiz”, but he does look like an overly wholesome little boy, not a rough and tumble gunslinger. And fourth, you have to suspend your disbelief since nobody bleeds when they get shot, and John Wayne gets knocked out rather easily when he trips over some wire. I’ll talk about those below, but my point is that, unless someone regularly watches old films and is used to suspending his or her disbelief, which is what audiences had to do before better special effects were created, a movie like Rio Bravo might seem dated and downright silly.

So, the other day, I read an article from LA Weekly called “Stop Laughing At Old Movies, You $@%&ing Hipsters” in which the author complained that hipsters laugh at old movies because of the hammy acting, outdated special effects and cheap set designs. While, in principle, I agree this is a stupid thing to do, especially if you shelled out the money for the movie in the first place, I also feel that the author was using the wrong movie with which to make her point.

She had attended a screening of Mario Bavo’s 1961 fantasy epic Hercules in the Haunted World, for which the theater provided a 23-piece orchestra and nine singers to accompany the soundtrack. What the fuck for? Hercules in the Haunted World is one of hundreds of Italian peplum films that came out in the late 50s though the early 60s; sword and sandal adventure epics where shaved and greased down, half naked body builders of questionable acting ability fight atop foam rocks and coliseum backdrops either in historical reenactments or purely fantastical plots against giant puppets or stop motion monsters while attempting to save unbelievably gorgeous women, who are most likely supermodels, not professional actresses. Do you see where I’m going with this? Hercules in the Haunted World is not exactly high art. So the fact that people laughed at the melodrama, cheesy special effects or the fake looking sets is NOT necessarily because of their philistinism, but possibly because the movie was legitimately funny at times.

That doesn’t mean it’s not enjoyable, but COME ON. Some things just DO NOT age well. And considering the other examples of films the author gave- 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Godfather, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Shining, The Exorcist – it make me wonder if she’s not talking out of her ass or just happened to be in the theater on a particularly bad day. So I decided to give the “hipsters” the benefit of the doubt and compile a list of items from old movies which will always evoke at least a smirk out of me, if not outright laughter. Lighten up guys, they’re just movies.

1.) When people get knocked out cold by a single, ineffectual hit

Either people were much weaker in the past, or people used to hit a lot harder, but it’s funny to note how easily people can just get knocked out in old movies. I’ve taken the kinds of hits and spills that have knocked out some of the characters in these old movies and not gotten knocked out; am I then to believe that I’m tougher than John Wayne? Case in point; Rio Bravo. The nogoodniks in the film stretch a string across the base of a stairway, John Wayne goes running down it, crashes to the ground and is out like a light. Now, that’s just ridiculous; I’ve actually drunkenly tumbled down concrete stairs and stood up unaffected. Scott Rosendall, my wheelchair confined buddy, went speeding down a flight of stairs, sat up and crawled into his awaiting wheelchair. Is wheelchair using Scott Rosendall then tougher than John Wayne? Another example that immediately comes to mind is when the monster in The Thing from Another World (1951) pushed the scientist over, and he was out cold. Seriously, the monster just pushed him, and he was out. If people got knocked out just from being pushed, then every single mosh pit would quickly turn into a mountain of unconscious bodies laying one atop another.

2.) When people get shot, but don’t bleed

Howard Hawks’ 1932 gangster classic Scarface, which stars Paul Muni as a prohibition era liquor peddling thug named Tony Comanti, was once considered one of the most violent movies of all time. But how violent is a movie where nobody expels any actual blood? We see lots of smoking guns and people clutching their chests and/or bellies either out of pain or to hide the fact that there is no actual bullet hole, but NOBODY BLEEDS!!! Now, in old fashion Westerns, this is somewhat excusable considering that cowboys were using pea shooters that often couldn’t even break skin, but for cryin’ out loud, these gangsters are using TOMMY GUNS to fill rival gangsters and the occasional innocent bystander full of holes. What’s even more problematic is that this wasn’t fully alleviated until WELL into the 60s. Although Hammer studios introduce blood and gore via Dracula (known as Horror of Dracula in North America) to the big screen and a surprising amount of it considering it came out in 1958, and Hitchcock’s Psycho had “blood” in the form of chocolate syrup going down a shower drain during the infamous Janet Leigh stabbing scene, and John Ford’s 1962 western The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance showed a tiny bit of blood dripping from John Wayne’s arm, Sergio Leone’s 1964 western A Fistful of Dollars had a scene where some banditos disguised as Union soldiers gun down a bunch of Mexican soldiers, and NONE of the Mexican soldiers bleeds a single drop. Thank God for the invention of the squib!

3.) When monsters can do nothing but push or throw people

In real life, if you pick up a little girl and throw her into your local pond, and she drowns, you’re one sadistic son of a bitch! However, if you do the same thing in a movie, such as the 1931 classic Frankenstein, you’re pretty much stretching the boundaries for the amount of violence you’re allowed to inflict on other people on a movie screen. Wait, no, there is the part where Dr. Frankenstein’s assistant Fritz is found hanging on a noose, but in general, the movie monsters couldn’t really DO anything, and you had to REALLY use your imagination. Probably the most annoying culprit is the creature in Creature from the Black Lagoon. It screeches, it stomps around, it kidnaps the girl, it pushes people and well, it pushes more people. Hey, did you see that super crazy, violent horror movie where the monster pushes people? Okay, old horror movies did have some surprisingly grizzly scenes – the human head hunting trophies in The Most Dangerous Game, the scene where Bela Lugosi skins Boris Karloff alive in The Black Cat, the scene at the end of Island of Lost Souls where the mutants revolt and mutilate Charles Laughton with surgical tools, the scene in Freaks where we see Olga after she’s been turned into a duck woman – but none of the actual violence happens ON screen; one noteworthy exception is in the 1933 British horror film The Ghoul, where a corpse played by Boris Karloff carves an ankh into his chest with a knife, and I suppose you can count the scene in King Kong when the gorilla steps on a baby’s head, but these are the exception. Do we get to SEE the werewolf in Werewolf of London or The Wolf Man mutilate people? Did we actually SEE Count Dracula suck anyone’s blood? Of course not (at least not until Terence Fisher’s 1958 adaptation of Dracula); we have to pretend these monsters are hurting people! One point of interest is that, in 1938, when Frankenstein had a theatrical re-release (on a triple bill with Dracula and Son of Kong), censors in various cities snipped the part where the monster throws the girl into the water, cutting right as the monster leans in on her and grins, unintentionally implying something far more sinister than what actually took place in the excised footage.

4.) When people replace swear words with words that you hear in kids cartoons

Imagine you’re watching a detective or gangster picture, and a character gets really angry, and he says, “you better watch it, buster!” BUSTER? Did people actually say BUSTER back then? Not even “you bastard”, but “BUSTER”?! Somehow seeing Sam Spade or Philip Marlowe or Mike Hammer or Little Ceasar Rico or Tom Powers or whoever else say “buster” just doesn’t make them seem as bad ass as they once seemed. And everyone knows that, when people think of “bad ass”, they think of an adorable, diminutive  Jewish man named Edward G. Robinson.

5.) Any black actor prior to Sidney Poitier, Woody Strode or that one guy in Stanley Kubrick’s The Killing

In the 1950s, liberal directors of the era all of a suddenly began casting blacks in relatively respectable roles. When I say blacks, I mean Sidney Poitier, Woody Strode and that one guy that was in Stanley Kubrick’s The Killing; and by “respectable”, I mean you’re supposed to feel bad for that guy – okay, fine, his name is James Edwards, and he was in such noteworthy films as Robert Wise’s The Set-Up (1949) and Samuel Fuller’s The Steel Helmet (1951) – when Timothy Carey tells him, “you’re wrong, nigger.” But before that, hooo boy… You don’t want to laugh because you’ll be looked at as an asshole, but hey, back then the roles given to black actors weren’t exactly the most empowering, talking like completely illiterate, recently freed slaves with their “suh, suh, I’s dint know, suh suh.” To be fair, Clarence Muse, the coach driver in the 1932 horror film White Zombieand I guess he was in a bunch of other stuff, like the b-picture Invisible Ghost (1941) and Fritz Lang’s Scarlet Street (1945) –  wasn’t too, how shall I say it… well, he shouts, “ZOMBIES!!!”, not “SUH! SUH! I SEES ZOMBIES, SUH!!!” However the same can’t be said for Mantan Moreland in King of the Zombies (1941) or Napoleon Simpson in  The Mummy’s Curse (1944). Oh, and check out the hilarious maid roles played by Butterfly McQueen in Gone with the Wind (1939), Mildred Pierce (1945) and many others. Quoth McQueen: “I didn’t mind playing a maid the first time, because I thought that was how you got into the business. But after I did the same thing over and over, I resented it. I didn’t mind being funny, but I didn’t like being stupid.”

6.) All white people pretending to be non-white people

I’m definitely going to hell for this one… from Walter Long as the freed slave Gus in Birth of a Nation to Al Jolson in The Jazz Singer to Boris Karloff’s portrayal of the “yellow menace” Fu Manchu in The Mask of Fu Manchu to Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany’s to all of the Spaniards and Italians who played Indians in John Ford’s Cheyenne Autumn… in our modern times, it’s seen as ugly, tacky, grotesque and unpleasant the way many a white actor has portrayed blacks, Asians, Americans Indians and even Arabs – Stanley Donen’s 1965 film Arabesque f’rinstance –  but the clumsy and ham-fisted delivery of these characters causes me to giggle, and to suppress your laughter in the face of political correctness is to die a slow death.

7.) When people act overly scared by stuff that isn’t very scary

Once again, to be fair, one could say this about the majority of old horror films. However, sometimes  an actor or actress’s delivery is so melodramatic, and the fear he or she evinces is so over the top when compared to what he or she is experiencing in the movie, that it becomes comical. The funniest example off the top of my head is the woman shrieking as though she’s being raped as a puppet skeleton approaches her in William Castle’s 1959 schlock fest House on Haunted Hill.

8.) People in rubber monster costumes destroying miniature cities

Everyone who knows about Godzilla knows that each Godzilla movie got progressively sillier, as Godzilla himself went from being a symbol of atomic horror to a downright adorable, lovable dinosaur that, in spite destroying entire cities, had a buddy in the form of a ten year old boy in Godzilla’s Revenge (1969). But even in the original 1954 Gojira, the one where it’s a straight up horror movie without any of the cutesiness, he’s still just a guy in a suit throwing around toy cars and walking over miniature model cities between cuts of freaked out Tokyo citizens. And let’s face it; in a lot of these films, the buildings just look like milk cartons with squares painted on them. In the case of the 1962 Swedish monster film Reptilicus, a miniature monster destroys other miniatures and, since no rear screen projection is even used to put people on screen with the monster, the film ends up looking like a glorified puppet show.

9.) Scrolling backgrounds you see from car windows

Driving sequences in old movies just don’t look very realistic, ya know?

10.) REALLY vague allusions to sex 

The film noir pot boiler Kiss Me Deadly, adapted from the Mickey Spillane novel of the same name, directed by Robert Aldrich and starring Ralph Meeker as the sleazy private dick Mike Hammer, is a remarkably modern, unflinchingly violent and hard edged film for something that came out in 1955; the torture sequence alone is rather chilling. Yet even it suffered from the censorious confines of the era in which it was conceived. It’s remarkable how intimidating both Meeker and the underworld thugs he encounters can be in spite nary a single cuss word being uttered. But what I found rather odd was how, when Hammer spoke with his lovely secretary Velda (Maxine Cooper), he asked her, “did you date him?” This is code for, “did you seduce him and/or sleep with him in order to snag him in an extramarital affair?” Now, come on, he asks her “did you date him?” She could just as easily say, “Yep! We went to the movies last night, and it was great!” At least that’s how I would have interpreted such a question. Another example of this type of vague sexual allusion is in Fritz Lang’s 1952 drama Clash by Night, in which Jerry D’Amato(Paul Douglas) finds out that his wife Mae (Barbra Stanwyck) had been cheating on him with Robert Ryan’s character Earl Pfeiffer. The line they used to reveal this was, “we spent all afternoon together.” WE SPENT ALL AFTERNOON TOGETHER?! Doing what? Playing cards? Watching TV? Picking our bellybutton lint? We’re just supposed to KNOW that when a man and a woman spend the afternoon together – not the NIGHT, mind you – they were necessarily fucking?!

Savagehippie Podcast Episode 2: Useless Bloomberg polls and D.W. Griffith’s fake eye-lashes

Episode 2 of Savage Hippie Podcast. We discuss Orlando massacre, whether Islam is compatible with West (it’s not), Dearborn, MI., How Bloomberg polls are bullshit, Donald Trump winning the election, problems with multiculturalism, white suicide rate and alcoholism, HP Lovecraft, Milo Yiannopolous, what the hell does queer mean, comedians, Woody Allen films, Luis Bunuel, at 37:16 sound turns to shit, resume at 37:56. Bill Maher and Ben Affleck’s little tiff over Islam, right wing Jews from the former Soviet Union, more talks of comedians with Bill Hicks, Brian Posehn, copping feels off women, how you should never ask permission to kiss a girl, don’t grab girls’ asses most of the time… but, on a date, grab a girl’s ass, how you should make sure to be a caveman and objectify women, the movie Straight Outta Compton, and concluding with talks about D.W. Griffith films, Irreversible and Mandingo.

Corrections:

Turns out Omar Mateen’s ISIS connection may not be just superficial.

I accidentally refer to the reconstruction period following the Civil War as the reformation.

The date is 1865, not 1864.

The female lead in Mandingo is Susan George, not Cybill Shepherd.

The “Chinky” lines comes from Broken Blossoms, not Orphans of the Storm.

False eyelashes were used since 1903.

Stuff Every Woman in a Refrigerator or the “Who Gives a Shit?” Effect

guardsman_of_gorWhen I sit down to watch a movie, especially one directed by Jess Franco, who is known for such sleazy, Eurotrash classics as Vampyros Lesbos and Marquis de Sade’s Justine, the VERY first thing I ask myself is, “DOES THIS PASS THE BECHDEL TEST??!!”

I have to sadly conclude that there is absolutely no way I can find a feminist justification for watching either of these movies, or practically any film I watch.  Unless you count The Captive Female, where the sassy, red-headed hooker uses her feminine wiles to escape from the demented Matthew and his claw hand.

Similarly, when a couple of my buddies and I got out the popcorn and sat down to watch our Saturday night marathon of Birth of a Nation, Triumph of the Will and Jud Suss, I had to admit that it was damn near impossible to find a single egalitarian messages in any of these films.  Don’t get me wrong; D.W. Griffith’s film is a masterpiece in early film making, while the feminist side of me wants to revere Leni Riefenstahl —

Okay, if you’re a modestly cultured person, you got what I was doing; I was trying to apply modern day, Social Justice Warrior critiques to movies that are completely devoid of any value we would find acceptable in our modern, politically correct world.  OBVIOUSLY you wouldn’t look for egalitarian messages in Birth of a Nation – that’s the 1915 film where the KKK are the good guys and lynch a black man, who is played by a white man, after he attempts to rape Lillian Gish – or in Triumph of the Will, which is Riefenstahl’s filmed account of the Nuremberg rally or Jud Suss, a nasty anti-Jew propaganda film from Veit Harlan, who, after the fall of the Reich, went on to direct the anti-gay film, The Third Sex.  Nor would you attempt to see if anything by that Spanish pervert Jess Franco passes the Bechdel Test.  I was using hyperbole to make what should be a pretty obvious point.

And what point is that you ask?

Hold your horses, and this will all make sense.  I just watched Davis Aurini’s brilliant documentary Immersed in Subversion: Control the Culture, Control the Man, in which Aurini discusses video game “critic” Anita Sarkeesian and her narcissistic attempt to censor speech and control the culture.  In the film, Aurini points out several inconsistencies in Sarkeesian’s attacks on video games.  I am not a gamer; my knowledge of video games stops in the early-mid 90s with Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo, so I haven’t played, nor care to play any of the games he’s talking about.

But, in the video, he debunks her claim that video games are sexist by pointing out that the part where you get to beat the strippers to death and drag their bodies around is only one of many possibilities, or the fact that games that feature wicked hot women in stripper costumes and have double D knockers and perfectly sculpted asses aren’t sexist because the women have parity with men who are sculpted like Greek gods.  I say, “who gives a shit one way or another?”

I don’t care if EVERY video game involves some guy saving some girl from some from of peril.  It’s a goddamn video game for crying out loud!  If people get bored of Big Guns McGillicuddy going around blasting people and saving some “damsel in distress”, then some enterprising developer will come up with some other game that has a different story.  Just the fact that he’s trying to explain why these games are “evenly balanced” is such a futile waste of time in my opinion.

That would be like me trying to explain how the 70s hard rock that I love so much isn’t sexist because, even though the Sweet song “Someone Else Will” has the lyric “if you don’t go down on us, someone else will”, it’s only speaking to a specific person and not to the whole female gender.  I could then use Alice Cooper’s “Only Women Bleed” as an example of a song which shows sympathy for women, but what would be the point?  Who am I trying to convince and for what purpose?

The whole argument reminds of me of some of the fantasy books I read; in Robert E. Howard’s Conan stories, the Shemites all have hooked noses and are only trustworthy when they’ve got something to gain from other races, while the dark skin races are all primitive.  Conan also has the predilection for ravishing/raping women.  H.P. Lovecraft repeatedly talked about his hatred for anyone who wasn’t white.  Edgar Rice Burrough’s John Carter character shoots “savages” at the beginning of A Princess of Mars before being sent to Barsoom and attempting to interact with barbaric, non-white races.  What about Sax Rohmer’s “yellow peril”, Fu Manchu?  Shouldn’t the band Fu Manchu be yelled at for naming themselves after a character who most people would find to be an offensive stereotype of Asians?

I remember even thinking this ten years ago when I sat down with my buddy Nate and asked him why black people in his film class get so damn uptight about Birth of a Nation.  He looked at me like I was being the most insensitive jerk in the world and said, “because some of them are black?”  And I thought, “but they do realize the film was made a century ago and that’s the way people thought back then, right?”  Many soldiers who fought during the Civil War were probably still alive when that film came out, and to them, a lot of what is in that movie holds true. Surely they can’t be that sensitive where they can’t put the film in its proper context?  Geez, I wonder how they’d feel about the sympathetic treatment of the Confederate side in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly!  Trigger warning!

And it got me thinking about how, in 2016, universities are a joke and how it’s impossible to look at a piece of art, literature or music objectively anymore.  Somehow the piece has to be explained through a “minority” or “female” perpsective, or someone has to be criticized for having a view that isn’t in complete accordance with what is politically acceptable today.  We have to watch modern films and make sure they pass the Bechdel test, or we have to bitch about how too many women are being stuffed into refrigerators.

Art is not social justice.  If you’re sick of women being stuffed into refrigerators, then make a story where the women are stuffed into microwaves.  If you’re sick of the “male dominated” comic book, video game or film cultures, then make your own games with your own stories.

One thing I AM grateful for is that 99.9999999% of white power bands suck ding dongs, so I don’t have to pretend to feel guilty listening to them.  Well, except for this one.  Objectively speaking, Hail the New Dawn by Skrewdriver really blows.  Seriously, listen to it!  He sounds like he has a frog in his throat, the production is total shit and the guitars aren’t loud enough!  Hmm, on second thought, it’s actually kinda catchy…

I do enjoy a good Wagner score though, and I like early Disney films, and I enjoy the F.W. Murnau film The Last Laugh, which stars Emil Jannings, who became a Nazi.

So, I say go ahead, put on I Spit on Your Grave, The Bad Bunch or S.S. Hell Camp, watch women get beaten and raped, hear honkies and niggers yelling racial slurs while swinging chains at each or watch some big-bossommed Brunhilda conduct grizzly experiments on hapless victims in a Nazi torture camp, because, of all the things I look for in a movie, social responsibility just isn’t one of them.

Also, to a man, I still have no fuckin’ idea what a “trope” is.  Though I do enjoy troping women when I’m at the bar.