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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Tony Hendra is a Big Fat Idiot

Slate asked various filmmakers and critics to name the film they've seen the most. Here's actor (This is Spinal Tap), author (Father Joe: The Man Who Saved My Soul) and Huffpo blogger Tony Hendra's response:
Dr. Strangelove. It's also one of the greatest satires of all time and pure satire, at that—never once dropping its mask of concerned sympathy for the military mind, however stark, raving mad it may be. Sterling Hayden's Jack D. Ripper—fall-down funny with his "precious bodily fluids"; George C. Scott's randy blowhard patriot Buck Turgidson, a hilarious preview of his "Patton" a couple of years later; Peter Sellers immortalized by the megalomaniacal Strangelove, but just as funny as the meek and waffly RAF officer Captain Mandrake upon whose ineffectual bravado the entire future of the human race depends. It may be set in the Cold War, but Dr. Strangelove reminds us, 40 years on, that for the military mind there's always a War Against Something that must be won at any cost.
It's painful for me to write this because Hendra's performance as Spinal Tap manager Ian Faith is a personal all-time favorite (as is Dr. Strangelove), but he is a complete idiot. And to be clear, I'm using that word not in the "I disagree with him" sense, but in the "he's an ignorant slut" sense.

"[F]or the military mind there's always a War Against Something that must be won at any cost"? Maybe things are different in England, Tony, but here in the US it's civilians who decide if, when and where we go to war against something, and civilians who determine the cost we are wiling to bear. But then again, if you think Patton was nothing but a blowhard patriot and don't really care that his brilliant and innovative strategies played more than a small part in keeping your nation's flag from having a swastika on it, it's understandable that you don't know this. (And please note the disdain with which Hendra uses the word "patriot." Clearly he's too evolved, too "nuanced" for such a bourgeois sentiment.) Only in Hollywood do you find the stereotypical frothing-at-the-mouth, can't-wait-for-the-glory-of-war General, and this is so obviously the extent of Hendra's experience with "the military mind."

The freedom to spout ignorant nonsense is necessary, but man does it get tiresome.

Blogger Robert said...

The HuffPo, with three cast members of the film (Shearer and Reiner are the other two) IS the Spinal Tap of blogs, although Shearer has recently been redeeming it to a degree with his incisive and hard-to-pigeonhole coverage of the New Orleans aftermath.


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