Happy 100th Birthday to Gene Kelly! Of course, Mr. Kelly passed away in 1996, but today, August 23, would have been his 100th birthday.
He was a brilliant dancer and a great actor and he inspired me very much when I was a kid.
But in this time, and this week, of gargantuan political asshattery, I would like to spotlight one particular thing that Mr. Kelly endured at the hands of certain…ELEMENTS…of society.
In short, like so many geniuses in so many generations, he took a beating from his era’s Team Fuckhead. From Wikipedia:
Kelly was a lifelong supporter of the Democratic Party with strong progressive convictions, which occasionally created difficulty for him as his period of greatest prominence coincided with the McCarthy era in the U.S. In 1947, he was part of the Committee for the First Amendment, the Hollywood delegation which flew to Washington to protest at the first official hearings by the House Committee on Un-American Activities. His first wife, Betsy Blair, was suspected of being a Communist sympathizer and when MGM, who had offered Blair a part in Marty (1955), were considering withdrawing her under pressure from the American Legion, Kelly successfully threatened MGM with a pullout from It’s Always Fair Weather unless his wife was restored to the part.
And, because this is one of those weeks, I am fascinated to hear the reasons that Mr. Kelly left the Catholic church.
Kelly was raised as a Catholic, but after becoming disenchanted by the Catholic Church’s support for Francisco Franco against the Spanish Republic, he officially severed his ties with the church in September 1939. This separation was prompted, in part, by a trip Kelly made to Mexico in which he became convinced of the Church’s failure in helping the poor.
These reasons do not coincide with my own reasons for leaving the Church, but I do very strongly identify with Mr. Kelly’s reported disenchantment.
I do not in any way “hope I am wrong” in my belief that there is no God and no afterlife; any hopes along those lines that I did harbor would be irrelevant.
But, oh, how part of me would love to see Christ get ten minutes alone with Moneylender Ratzinger and a tire iron.
And yes, I believe He would put down that tire iron, with no blows delivered.
But it’s the effort required for Him to put that tire iron down that makes the Christ story matter…yeah, even to an atheist.
Happy Birthday, Gene Kelly, and may more than your dancing inspire future generations.