This blog is dedicated to the memory of David Weintraub, who took on insidious astroturfers and won.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Different Shades Of Fake

Perhaps the biggest impediment to positive, social change taking place is the pure ignorance which abounds concerning right, center, and left. Sometimes it comes down to semantics and the inability of masses of people to take note of subtlety and nuance. This is how an opportunist like Arianna Huffington easily snookered the public to buy into her 180 degree shift from right winger to lefty. Huffington Post is raking it in. It really shouldn't be. The pages take forever and a day to load. The stories tend to be superficial. There is too much tabloid blather to take it seriously. Sure it has a liberal slant. Liberalism, however, does not equate with social justice. This same process of co-opting the lefty label explains how someone right of center as Obama ignorantly ended up being labelled by too many as being a socialist. Perhaps it would be best to call Obama a liberal.

Liberalism has little to do with leftist idealism. Liberals have a general faith in the system. What they desire are reforms for that which is bad, or in other words, tinkering or tweaking. Thus, liberals would be against chain gangs. They would favor sliding scales for taxes. They would encourage job growth for all yet not necessarily good jobs at good wages for all. As they do have a fundamental faith in the sytem, they wouldn't be averse to a war economy. All they would need to abide to that is to be fed propaganda about how great America is, how it has the best values, has the most progressive governmental model, etc..

A pure lefty or leftier than thou like myself gets annoyed at being lumped in with fake lefties such as Obama or Arianna Huffington. Take a quick looksie at Markos Moulitsas of The Daily Kos. Bill O'Reilly and many others successfully anointed him the King of the blogospheric left. However, Moulitsas comes from the wrong side of El Salvadoran history. He used to pimp for Republicans. Like Arianna Huffington, he saw how the political tides were turning against Republicans in regards to public opinion. They conveniently "switched" sides to the left. However, in 2006 Moulitsas claimed that the CIA is a liberal institution he'd have no trouble working for. True lefties would never support the CIA.

The real left is for peace. It is for equality from top to bottom. That means with schools, wages, health care, housing, and of course an end to the war industry. Fake lefties claim Richard Nixon was the last liberal President. Fake lefties support the CIA. Fake lefties glorify criminals like Huey Long. Fake lefties support lower taxes for the rich and blog self-absorbed essays about themselves being clinically depressed. All those are real examples I've seen in the leftosphere. That is only the tip of the iceberg.

James Dean was a Fake

I'll get right to the point. James Dean is the most overrated actor of all time. He wasn't that great. He was a character actor, one-dimensional. He played the introspective, brooding rebel very well. He was good not fabulous, imho.

He also was into copying what worked for others, specifically Montgomery Clift and Marlon Brando. I've seen more references to his admiration of Brando than Clift, but I think Dean was all about aping Montgomery. Check him out, and one will see how he tried to tilt his back like him. One will see how Dean attempted to express inner turmoil remarkably similar to Montgomery Clift. Ok, maybe he was more into Brando and just looked more like Clift. I concede that much. Nonetheless, for those who are aware of Dennis Leary stealing Bill Hicks' schtick, that's what I'm talking about.

Another fake actor was Gary Cooper. Marlene Dietrich was correct in saying he was neither intelligent nor cultured. Basically you can see in these few examples of Dean, Cooper, Moulitsas, and Huffington how the culture of personality works in America. A famous adage is don't confuse luck for skill. Another should be don't confuse internet, business models for the work of pure leftists. Yet another should be don't confuse good looks for acting talent.


the_last_name_left said...

check out this huff-po watch site --

It focuses on anti-semitism but exposes general huff-po faults/manipulation.

Page 2 is currently more interesting i think - page one is stuff they like atm.

their old site is here:

I never understood the JD thing. My dad used to look quite a lot like him. ;)

Anonymous said...

James Dean acting skills are beside the point. Once you realize that, he becomes fathomable.

Youth celebrity.

James Dean embodied the primordial American version of the postwar youth fetish. Camus was the latecoming French version. Live fast. Die young.


Elvis picked up on the Dean vibe and ingeniously infused it into rock n roll.

John lennon.

Sid Vichysouisse.




Gary Coleman.

James Dean is as ubiquitous today and meaningful as any Greek God.

James Dean effortlessly pervades and immortalizes a reality at the end of EuroAmerican time.

Anonymous said...


socrates said...

That's not a Huff Po watch site. That's just some American Jews who are obviously biased. I don't see any criticism of Israeli policies towards Palestinians.

I also see they like to plug a fake lefty named Karmafish. He posts at My Left Wing for Maryscott O'Connor, the bipolar lady who supports tax cuts for the rich and a right wing producer from Fox News.

Those guys (HP Monitor) might as well be high ranking Generals in the Israeli army or right wing Israeli politicians. They could be GIYUS. Their ultimate sin is probably that they are boring.

The Jooo hater comments are everywhere not just Huffington. Since Huffington is Numero Uno by far, those guys are pushing their Palestinian hate schtick through Arianna's juice.

Huffington is all about making money with a proverbial period. They've been caught in the past producing synthetic garbage posts in an attempt to stir the pot, i.e. promote page hits for increased advertising revenue. There was the infamous Yacomink scandal and the subsequent ousting of Dr. Peter Rost. There was Clooneygate, where Arianna copied and pasted various Clooney interview segments in an idiotic attempt to make it seem he was a Huffington blogger. Arianna waited way too long to admit she had broken common sense ethics.

I basically disagree with your premise, TLNL. I think hpmonitor does nothing more but produce a shallow and skewed slant on Israeli-Palestinian relations. At least nobodies like us have provided the actual sources of internet Joooo hate. Those guys are fixated on anonymous comments to the blog which receives far and away the most comments anywhere. Huffington doesn't censor posts made to anything but blog entries. Comments made to news articles are published immediately.

Karmafish is an ass. He followed Francis Holland to MLW to specifically run interference for Markos Moulitsas and his love for the CIA. Since that Karmafish has run its course, his new one is to push the meme that many lefties are anti-Israel and Joooos. That's just not true.

socrates said...

As to the discussion on James Dean, that's definitely a good point that his rise in Hollywood had much to do with an out with the old, in with the new model.

Hollywood discriminates against the old. Sure Bette Davis and Vincent Price had success as senior citizens, but they were forced for the most part into one-dimensional roles. One working theory I have, and I admit it's pretty goofy, is that Fantasy Island and The Love Boat were created to cover the old people market. For every Greta Garbo and Joel McCrea heading into the sunset with dignity, there were others from the Golden Age who popped up on all sorts of idiotic television. Fricken even Ida Lupino once starred on an episode of Charlie's Angels.

I like the website. You can plug in any actor or film and find all the basic info you'd ever want. Most of the great actors were forced into doing television, if they wished to continue acting. Some like Veronica Lake ended up on the fringes of society, once they aged. She could very well be the greatest actress too few have ever heard of. An aging Don Ameche making a comeback with Cocoon and Trading Places was the exception not the norm. A lot of Sunset Boulevard was clearly over the top, but it certainly made a lot of sense of how Hollywood likes to chew and spit 'em out. The same would have eventually happened to James Dean, if he hadn't been an idiot and driven himself to death.

There's also this about James Dean. If he didn't have the looks but more acting skills, we probably would have never heard of him.

Jean Harlow was considered hot in her day. Today she would be considered average looking at best and be lucky to get a part on a soap opera.

Peg Entwistle wasn't that pretty, and that probably explains why she was ignored by Hollywood. Maybe if Hollywood wasn't so shallow, Entwistle would have been offered parts given to less talented actresses and hence never would have jumped off of the Hollywoodland sign.

So yeah, I agree with (donkeytale?) anon that besides any debate on Dean's acting abilities, there was something else going on with him as a social psychological phenomenon.

Anonymous said...

The question of who is faker than who is an almost interesting one.

Isnt "faking" the very definition of acting?

There's a picture of Camus with a cigarrette dangling from his lips and his coat collar turned up, but my guess is he's faking at being Bogart there, who himself was nothing more than a fake tough guy, having in fact been born and bred into turn of the 20th century NY high society and whose mother was a very famous magazine illustrator. Baby Bogart was even the model for the original Gerber baby, or wtf.

And yet Camus, the great Nobel Laureate of existential anomie ("The Fall" one of my alltime favourite novels, a very good melodramatic rendering of the decline of the west) didnt die in his car crash until fully seven years after Dean bought the highway in his.

So, couldn't we also consider Camus a fake?

Dean actually had a fairly complicated young life, was gay before being gay was cool, lost his beloved mother (dead give-away gay alert) when quite young and was shunted between family members throughout pre-adolescence.

And in fact, his three movie appearances were the stuff of legend. Rebel W/O a Cause, directed by the great Nicholas Ray (who I'm sure you'll be scandalized to hear was at age 42 regularly banging the trailer walls of the 15 yr old female lead Natalie Wood. Wood, BTW, was also said to be simultaneously dallying with co-star Dennis Hopper. What a woman and beauty in her own right.)

East of Eden.


Not a bad threesome there.

I'm not sure Dean can't stand alongside Monty Clift reasonably well, just as Nicholson can compare favourably with Bogart, without needing to denigrate any of them from being pretty darn god actors as well as anti-social phenomena.

Hollywood is a big tent (pole) and everybody steals, er is influenced, by those who came before.

socrates said...

I used to think there was something special to method acting. Now I'm not so sure. Maybe it's the theatrical equivalent to the sugar pill. Whatever gets you through the night.

Olivier is considered one of the greats, and he had no use for it. But then again, maybe he was overrated. He'd wholeheartedly agree with your saying all acting is inherently fake, if we at the Satan Lovers Club [/sarcasm] could round him up on the ouiji board.

The best movies seem to have developed from actual stories and directors and not actors. Of course lousy actors can ruin a film. Great actors can make a lousy film worth watching. Some films are so bad, they are considered very nice viewing.

I agree with your take on Bogart. He was fairly one-dimensional. James Cagney had some major skills. Unfortunately his flicks are tough to find on youtube. Peck seems good. Cooper seemed to be a total fake, a perpetual Mr. dumb guy whose intentions were always good despite the low brain output. I guess he was Mr. American Propaganda in that respect.

I go back and forth with my opinions on acting and movies. I used to think De Niro was one of the all-time greats. Now I think he was just at the right place at the right time.

On Joan Crawford, now that I've some separation from blogging on her, I think she was overrated. Lombard was pretty good. Too bad she died in a plane crash. Too bad Harlow and a virtual unknown co-star named Robert Williams died young from health issues leading to incomplete grades. Lake, Dietrich, Crawford, Harlow, Young, and many more were eye candy who could read their lines. I'd say Bette Davis and Olivia De Haviland were the real deal. Of course with racism, the history of cinema is skewed like baseball. We'll never be able to know who all the greats really were.

Maybe James Dean could have evolved into a great actor. Nonetheless, I think it's a mistake to put him anywhere near Clift, perhaps the greatest male lead of all time. At a minimum, it was Clift who invented the introspective, brooding, sensitive, whatever kind of dude.

If there weren't multiple sources describing how Dean freaked out Clift and Brando with weird phone calls etc., I'd cut him more slack with throwing around the fake label.

Maybe he was going through a phase.

I found another great movie, or at least a very good one. It's called Sullivan's Travels starring Veronica Lake and Joel McCrea. It very much relates to this topic, of Hollywood interacting with social reality.

Great movies are rare, even in the old days. Though it's definitely disgusting and very disappointing what modern cinema developed into. Perhaps film noir was the bridge from the Golden Era to this Crap Era. Or maybe television was to blame.

socrates said...

It seems television screwed cinema up worse than even the Hays Code. Tough to say. To sum up, I declare that Lucille Ball is to blame for the downfall of American culture. Or maybe it was Fred Mertz's fault. I never liked that guy. I always liked Ethel, and Ricky seemed to have a nice disposition. Fricken now I'm thinking of the movie Network.

I just think there's always a spectrum to fakeness. Single words can have multiple meanings with nuance and subtlety. Maybe I was too hard on the James Dean kid. It just doesn't add up that a guy like him is so well known but others more deserving like Veronica Lake come nowhere close.

Natalie Wood turned out very pretty. I don't believe your story of her ending up with the director. I'd need some proof. I went looking around just a bit and see accusations that she was perhaps raped by Kirk Douglas or Burt Lancaster. That's just crazy, unsubstantiated malarkey, imho, akin to Mommie Dearest type hatchet jobs.

The Funny thing about Natalie Wood is she had a bit in common with her close to the same namesake Tiger Woods. Tiger was on tv at age four. At age 8, Natalie was already in a movie with heavyweights Orson Welles and Claudette Colbert. She even acted with a German or Austrian accent. At age eight, she was already mastering foreign accents. Not too shabby.

Which brings this ramblage full circle concerning the questions of what is acting, what is the method, and do they mean anything? Some of the best performances of all time have been done by children, teenagers, young adults, heck even by babies and animals. I think method acting in itself is fake. I think a propensity for developing acting skills is something people are acquire during their early years. Either get with the program as a youth, same with playing piano or ice skating, or forget about it. Acting's all about possessing the ability to be fake while passing some sort of vernacular, visual, lie detector test. No one likes ham with their celluloid, unless it's viewed at a "it's so bad, it's good" film festival.

Then bring it on. Emote to your heart's content. I don't care. I'm not listening. I'm not trying to sound pretentious, but there are only so many great movies, those that are art, and within that, only so many that do any good for humanity. Heck, Greta Garbo was overrated. If Gloria Swanson had been a bit prettier and Garbo a bit uglier, ir would have been Greta who not Gloria.

Man, I'm even starting to think Bette Davis was a pretentious, overrated whench who just so happened to have the perfect balance of sweet and sour to her voice and eyes. That's fairly amazing how a prissy Massachusetts girl could end up looking exotic and glamorous. Touche, Mrs. Bond. Bette Davis- the best fake of all time. She made us believe it was all about her incredible dedication to the science of acting. While the whole time it was just more cult of personality. Fricken sassafrassa.

socrates said...

Here's something off-topic, but with the way blogger is structured, there's no other way around it.

Assange of Wikileaks has been accused of rape and molestation.

My educated guess is Wikileaks poses a real threat to the Military Industrial Complex's ability to cover up war crimes. It'll probably never be proven, and I admit I have no proof, but my gut says they are behind all the smears of this dude. There's a lot of money to be made off of death and destruction.

Anonymous said...

'Sullivan's Travels'

(discussing a prior "serious" film)

Lebrand: It died in Pittsburgh.

Hadrian: Like a dog!

Sullivan: Aw, what do they know in Pittsburgh?

Hadrian: They know what they like.

Sullivan: If they knew what they liked, they wouldn't live in Pittsburgh!

Anonymous said...

Dude, this is one of the oldest open secrets in the book and you can't find proof online?


Methinks your puritan in denial side is ascending. (Not that it ever seems to descend).

"​In the new issue of Interview magazine, there's a Q&A with the late Dennis Hopper (done while he was alive, of course), talking about how Natalie Wood called him for a date after they had screen-tested together.

“"I'’d like to fuck you," Natalie informed Hopper on the phone, "but I don’'t do anything. I just lay there.”"

He was interested anyway.

When the scruffy actor went to pick up the ingenue, she directed them to a lover's lane on a hill.

"And I started to go down on Natalie," relates Hopper, "and she said, 'Oh, you can'’t do that.'

"I said, 'Why?'

"She said, 'Because Nick [Ray] just fucked me!'"

Personally, I have always believed Bogart to be the greatest film star of them all, precisely because he was the biggest fake. At least Bacall was 19 when he started banging her. He was about 45, or wtf. But perfectly legal.

I also believe Bette Davis to be the epitome of overacting, although you must keep the star in context with her times. I find most of her schtick unwatchable.

For me, the greatest female melodramatic actor of the B&W era is was and will always be Barbara Stanwyck.

But it is useless to rank actors, like it is to ranking painters, musicians and poets.

Its all a matter of personal taste.

Arts are not meant to be sports.

Ray was among my favourite fillmakers of the age, too.

"In a Lonely Place", directed by Ray, starring (and produced by) Humphrey Bogart, with Ray's hot ex-wife, Gloria Grahame in the female lead.


Anonymous said...

Other Anonymous:

Thats a good bit.



socrates said...

Donkeytale, your perverted ideas aren't wanted here. You aren't wanted here. Why don't you just go away?

I don't like nor respect you and would rather have empty comment sections than your presence.

Most conscientious bloggers provide links for their smear jobs. Ok, it looks like Natalie Wood was anything but the epitome of purity.

I've no reason to disbelieve Hopper did this interview, though I see no primary source.

Natalie Wood Sex Dish

Michael Musto blogging on June 22, 2010: In the new issue of Interview magazine, there's a Q&A with the late Dennis Hopper (done while he was alive, of course), talking about how Natalie Wood called him for a date after they had screen-tested together.

Hopper died on May 29, 2010. I guess he gave the alleged interview on his deathbed.

Mr. Know-it-all mentioned Nick Ray's wife, Gloria Grahame. A bit of googling reveals what Mr. Know-it-all didn't share:

Gloria Grahame's Not Always So Wonderful Life - Strange Journey Included Marriage to Both Nicholas Ray and His Son by Barry M. Grey

Gloria Grahame Caught in Bed With 13-Year-Old Stepson

It's not being puritanical to be against statutory rape.

I'm not blogging so some pervert continues to plaster his sick belief that there's nothing wrong with sex between adults and minors.

You're not wanted here! Why stay at a blog you're not welcomed at?

If it's true Natalie Wood had sexual relations with her director during Rebel Without a Cause, let's see, she was probably around 16 at the time. I don't know if that's the age of consent or not. Hopper was around 18 or 19. Nicholas Ray was about 42 or 43. That's disgusting. If she was a minor, and it's true, Ray should've gone to jail.

As for the other anonymous, thanks for that excerpt. I was pleasantly surprised with Sullivan's Travels. Joel McCrea was kind of like if Letterman had acting skills. I liked his wholesome bitterness or sarcasm. Veronica Lake surprised me also. I thought she'd be some looker who couldn't act.

Sullivan's Travels is one of those great movies probably few have heard of. I also liked those film noirs Lake did with Alan Ladd, The Blue Dahlia and This Gun For Hire.

I also agree with the other person than Stanwyck might have been the best, especially in the thirties, though I think it's foolish to criticise Bette Davis too much. She was pretty good also. I'd throw Olivia De Haviland in there, and those are the three best actresses of all time, imho.

the_last_name_left said...

just some obviously biased jews? you needn't agree with their views about I/P or anything else, but they're entitled to an opinion? How does their opinion interfere with the empirical evidence they present of HuffPo? They describe HuffPo deploying anti-Israeli stories with the full knowledge they will generate anti-semitic comments (which they don't address) and then failing to report later facts which alter the story and transform its earlier presentation as ostensibly anti-Israeli. Where does anyone's opinion come into that?

It seems good empirical evidence against HuffPo imo. The specific point about their Israeli coverage can probably be generalised against HuffPo. If not, then the apparent stimulation of anti-semitism by HuffPo is even more concerning as it isn't just a result of a more general failing.

S: those guys are pushing their Palestinian hate schtick through Arianna's juice.

do you really think so? you think they're pushing hate towards Palestinians? I don't get that impression at all.

socrates said...

Yes, they're entitled to their opinions, just like those who take Israel to task are entitled theirs also. The funny thing is I never see them or yourself providing anything on Israeli-Palestinian relations except for that which enables Israeli transgressions.

If it makes you happy reading dimestore propaganda, go for it.

Those guys never cover anything that makes Israel look bad. Same as you. It gets as stale as the Mike Rivero side for anyone curious about what's really going on in the Middle East.

the_last_name_left said...

So what is really going on then? And how do you know? You seem very dismissive of that HuffPo place and its associations - you characterise what they're saying 'as dimestore propaganda'. How so? It doesn't seem to be imo, and I don't see any pushing of hate either.

Criticism of left ideas is good too - they need a proper answer, which HuffPo isn't doing. Worse.

socrates said...

I'm not going to do your homework. It's not too difficult to find numerous examples of how the Israelis oppress Palestinians.

I commend you for exposing neonazis like Mike Rivero, but when you start promoting one-sided websites like the one above, yet continue to say you don't know much about what's going on with Israel and Palestine, that too gets stale.

Perhaps they're not pushing hate, but they are definitely promoting an image which is decidely pro-Israel in regards to that horrific situation.

Here are a few links with a bit of Noam Chomsky's and Howard Zinn's takes on it. The first one the pertinent info is found if you scroll down towards the end.

Democracy Now Joint Interview with Chomsky and Zinn

A Letter From Noam Chomsky and Others [e.g. Howard Zinn] on the Recent Events in the Middle East

Some Zinn quotes on Israel and Palestine

You can lead a horse to water....

the_last_name_left said...

"S:It's not too difficult to find numerous examples of how the Israelis oppress Palestinians. "

I don't see what that has to do with it. You don't have to agree with all their views but anyway, such views are essentially irrelevant to the facts which underlie their criticism of Huff-Po.

Why doesn't action of Palestinian and Arab nationalism (Hamas and Hizbollah, say) attract the same blanket-wide condemnation and dismissal of all pro-Palestinian groups as seemingly all pro-Israeli nationalism does on the grounds of dubious Israeli state-actions?

It shouldn't, and maybe you're actually objecting to something specific at that hpmonitor blog....but I don't know what.

I think you're too quick to dismiss them.

socrates said...

Someone else thinks I went off on you, but I don't think so. It doesn't appear you do either. It looks like we're entering that area of debate you enjoy.

I have specific pronlems with the person they link to named Karmafish. There's a lot of backstory. I alluded to some of it. But it doesn't seem fair to yourself or in my interest to go pounding the blog pavement to flesh it out.

You do have every right to ask me to be more specific. Ok, why don't you find us a pro-Palestinian website that you think is fair, like you have with some pro-Israeli ones?

Maybe I missed it and probably did, but where is there even an ounce of constructive criticism from HP Monitor concerning Israeli actions against Palestinians?

As for their actual critique of Huff Post, I'm sincerely not impressed. They are complaining about posts made by anonymous users in unmoderated sections. These guys even admit that such posts are eventually deleted. So what's the problem?

My problems with Huffington Post go way beyond anonymous troll posts. There is censorship. I mentioned some other things in the body of the main essay above. Maybe I could have done a better job. This might have been one of those blog entries I wrote on auto pilot. I haven't posted many new entries lately. I've admitted to being a bit burnt out. Yet, I still like to write and once in a while am inspired to blog, even if it is some mediocre output.

As for your specific question, here goes. Israel is a sovereign nation. Palestine is an occupied territory. I do believe there is objective truth to be found. Nearly nobody is saying the clock can be turned back, and someday Israel will no longer exist.

I have clearly shown my support as a common nobody for Israel's right to exist. The corruption of the word zionism by neonazis and conspiracy theory freaks is not the real meaning.

Karmafish and some guy named Keith Moon (Noom) for two examples are simply on the pro-Israeli side partaking in idiotic, internet debate. My opinion is that HP Monitor and others are doing nothing more than playing with the spin cycle. Same with the dogmatic, pro-Palestine side. One of the big rules in academia is that one must be his or her own devil's advocate. Those guys aren't coming up with any intellectual checks and balances on what they're posting. In a way, they provide fodder for dumbasses like Rivero and Carto to gather in more freak believers.

socrates said...

Thanks for your time, even when we don't agree. It's appreciated. I think you're a good person despite that pesky use of question marks. P:>?