Political acid tossed by New York Times — another attempt to disfigure an American icon.
“‘There’s a group being formed to deal with you,’ the unidentified voice said. ‘They’re going to fix you so you won’t ever act again.’” — Ronald Reagan, writing in his autobiography Where’s the Rest of Me of an anonymous phone call he received while fighting Communist infiltration of the motion picture industry in 1949.
The threat was simple.
Either Ronald Reagan stopped speaking out on his views of Communists in the movie business — or he would have acid tossed in his face, disfiguring him. His main asset as an actor thus destroyed, Reagan would never work again.
It didn’t work, of course.
“I took it as a joke,” Reagan later recalled of the phone call he had received while working on the film Night Unto Night. The movie, based on a Philip Wylie novel, co-starred Viveca Lindfors and Broderick Crawford. Reagan was filming a beach scene for the movie when he was called to a gas station nearby to take a call.
Warner Brothers, the studio where the film was being shot, was not amused. When he finished the scene and got back to the Warner’s lot, “the police were waiting with a license [for Reagan] to carry a gun. I was fitted with a shoulder holster and a loaded .32 Smith and Wesson….What got me to put it on was the arrival that night of a policeman to guard our house. Somehow I didn’t think the department tossed policemen around as a practical joke….One thing I do know,” the future president mused, is that “the Communists hate.”
This incident in Reagan’s movie career comes to mind as what amount to veiled threats intended to politically disfigure Academy Award winning actor Jon Voight have made the news. Voight, in addressing the annual House-Senate GOP dinner in Washington in May, had used the phrase “Let’s give thanks to them [various Obama critics] for staying on course to bring an end to this false prophet, Obama.” With the certainty of the sun rising in the east, left-wing critics pounced.
As reported in the Washington Times, the reaction was as follows:
“I don’t want to equate what Jon Voight said as expressing a conservative opinion on politics. It went way beyond that. He made a threat against the president of the United States to a crowd at a GOP fundraiser and got a good response from the Senate minority leader and other powerful people. And that is scary,” said Teresa Albano, editor of the publication. [People’s Weekly World, a magazine once known as the Daily Worker and sympathetic to the Communist Party.]
Marsha Zakowski, president of the Coalition of Labor Union Women, was alarmed, too.
“Jon Voight is a celebrity. He can influence people. Voight has just been coming out with this ultraconservative point of view. It is deplorable,” she told the magazine in a separate article.
Got that? For Voight to say thanks to those working “to bring an end to this false prophet, Obama.” — in a political speech to one of the most political dinners in Washington’s yearly calendar of highly political dinners — this is now considered not only hate speech but a threat to kill the president worthy of a Secret Service investigation. Surprise, surprise this comes from the philosophical descendants of those who tried to silence Reagan.
Not to be outdone in all this were columnists Frank Rich and Paul Krugman of the New York Times Op-Ed page, a place where a raw hatred of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney was carefully stewed to a rarefied putrid essence for a full eight years. This pair of journalistic Draco Malfoys spend their time hunched over laptops muttering incantations about those they consider to be cultural Mudbloods. Mudblood (the derogatory term for Muggle), of course, is the word Harry Potter’s bullying nemesis Malfoy sneeringly applies to wizards who fail to meet the Malfoy wizard racial purity test — the Pureblood.
“This kind of rhetoric, with its pseudo-Scriptural call to action, is toxic,” Rich seethed of Voight, as if he himself had not spent the previous eight years enthusiastically greenlighting the idea of filling the political atmosphere with toxic rhetoric about the Bush White House. So too with his fellow supremacist Krugman , who has now officially designated Mudblood Voight as part of the “lunatic fringe.”