- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Huston’s legend

“In 1945 at a Hollywood dinner party at the home of producer David O. Selznick, John Huston had a ferocious fistfight with Errol Flynn over the affections of Flynn’s estranged wife, Nora Eddington. The brawl lasted a full 10 minutes. By the time the police arrived the two combatants had pounded each other out-of-doors and into a garden. Both ended up in the hospital, Huston with broken ribs. …

“John Huston’s relations with women were interesting, to say the least. He once flipped a coin to determine the fate of a beloved art collection that was contested in one of his divorce settlements, and lost. He was married five times, one wife divorcing him because he wouldn’t part with a pet monkey. …

“Huston’s carousing was legendary. Clark Gable, in the dining room of a Reno casino after a long day of shooting ‘The Misfits,’ spied Huston drinking hardily and gambling in the next room, and humorously told friends present: ‘Look at that old man. He won’t last much longer carrying on like that.’ Gable died of a heart attack 12 days after they finished shooting the picture. … Huston lived another 27 years.”

Bill Croke, writing on “John Huston at 100,” Tuesday in the American Spectator Online at www.spectator.org

Cuban reality

“Your average income is $15 a month. Your meat ration is 3.3 pounds a month.

“Owning a car is forbidden unless you are among the ruling elite. Computers are illegal. So is Internet access. …

“Welcome to the politically abused country American leftists have slavishly adored, defended and given excuses for since Fidel [Castro] took absolute power in 1959.

“One of only five communist anachronisms left on Earth, Cuba today is a nice place to visit, but unless you subscribe to The Nation magazine or belong to the Communist Party you don’t want to live there.

“One political party, Partido Comunista de Cuba, runs the government, owns everything of importance, sets wages and prices, controls all the media, makes all the plans, writes all the rules, puts up all the candidates, wins all the elections and kills or jails the dissidents. …

“The Cuban peso — equal to about 4 U.S. pennies in Havana — is worthless beyond Cuba’s shores. …

“Anything would be better than what Fidel has created — an impoverished, crumbling, living museum to the evils, idiocies and inefficiencies of unfettered Soviet socialism.”

—Bill Steigerwald, writing on “What It’s Really Like in Fidel’s Cuba,” Monday in Front Page at www.frontpagemag.com

Humor, not hate

“There’s nothing I like more than a Jewish joke. It’s the anti-Jewish ones I’m not so keen on. …

“As a producer and writer on ‘The Ali G Show,’ I have been accused of racism, among other things, in the past. All three characters in that show had their prejudices, but I hope all thinking people would see the satire not far below the surface.

“Borat, the fictional Kazakhstani journalist, was overtly anti-Semitic. Sacha Baron Cohen would dangle Borat’s anti-Semitism in front of our interviewees, and we would all be shocked and amazed at how many of them would take the bait and join in. The Country Bar in Phoenix, Ariz., where the crowd sang along to ‘Throw the Jew Down the Well,’ was a terrifying example.

“Jewish communal organizations in the U.S. were concerned at the time that the tune would catch on and spur a rise of anti-Jewish attacks. Fortunately, most people saw it for the satire it was intended to be.”

—Jamie Glassman, writing on “Have you heard the one about the Jews?” Tuesday in the Times of London

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