Honey on J. Edgar & Clint Eastwood
By Honey van Blossom
(Honey is a Belgian Marxist former strip-tease artiste.)
Anything by or involving Clint Eastwood with the exceptions of The Bridges of Madison County (1995) and Space Cowboys (2000) strikes me as odd and unpleasant. His acting in Bridges was odd and fine because he and Meryl Streep transcended a very bad book to make a good movie about love and duty. Space Cowboys was all right because Tommy Lee Jones is in it, and I’ve been in love with Tommy Lee Jones since the Eyes of Laura Mars (1978).
To this day, I loathe his roles in the Sergio Leone spaghetti westerns, which made him famous after Eastwood initially bombed in Hollywood. If I even hear the refrain from the musical score for any of the Man with No Name trilogy, I leave. Every Which Way But Loose (1978) is entirely horrible except for his pet orangutan Clyde.
I didn’t even like Eastwood’s Gran Torino (2008), in spite of the fact it was about an old racist’s spiritual redemption because I had the unsettling feeling that Clint Eastwood had been an old racist himself until he married Dina Ruiz and they got into ersatz environmentalism in Carmel.
I saw Clint Eastwood once in the Whole Foods in Monterey in about 2000, which was startling for two reasons: I was surprised that he shopped, and his physical beauty stopped me as I hovered over the dragon kale. He was much better looking in person than he is in his movies, and he’s very good looking on film. I was equally as startled when I was 14 and saw Ronald Reagan speak at an anti-communist rally in Los Angeles: he was gorgeous.
An actor making a movie about real life – actor produced or directed movies about Shakespeare are okay because they are about Shakespeare — and an actor in politics are both problematic because actors are not entirely like people — only a little because even actors die. Hollywood actors are rich. As F. Scott Fitzgerald, who also wrote for the films said, “The rich are not like us.”
J. Edgar Hoover is a very weird subject for anyone in any film or any book or even in any aside. J. Edgar Hoover was not at all sympathetic except that he was smart, and being smart is always a difficult condition for a person to endure, and because he was a homosexual and occasional cross-dresser, and yet he survived a time when even though among his victims were members of the American Communist Party – as well as any socialist leaners, and the American Communist Party rejected homosexuals and cross-dressers from party membership.
J. Edgar Hoover rose to become possibly the most powerful man in America because of his formidable intelligence and because he was entirely unscrupulous, entirely duplicitous, and a rotten human being. He met his match in Richard Nixon — another weird, smart and unscrupulous human being, but Hoover died, and Nixon never got Hoover’s secret files. We don’t even know what the secret files contained but probably everything about everyone because J. Edgar collected information as well as Internet before Internet.
The film has the quintessential Clint Eastwood male bonding scene only explicitly gay this time. Eastwood’s male actors tend to get into preposterous physical battles with each other. Hoover’s lover Clyde Tyson – in the film, who knows about what happened in real life – beats the crap out of Hoover when Hoover admits to an affair with the ethnic actor Dolores Lamour. In the real world, Lamour was Hoover’s good friend until his death, and she never denied the affair but she also never admitted it.
In the film, the bedroom where Hoover dies is a poignant backdrop. Tyson, who was weakened by a severe stroke, comes slowly into the bedroom and sees Hoover’s mother’s – possibly his surrogate mother’s –jewelry and her photograph and ornate drapes from the 19th century, which was not Hoover’s time, and elaborate naked male and female statues. One of the statutes is ebony, possibly a reference to rumors that the enemy of Martin Luther King was himself descended from black slaves.
Hoover slept with articles from the past.