Another American legend is now gone, and I must admit that I find some of the movies that Paul Newman starred in as some of the finest films of the Twentieth century. One film that Newman starred in, HUD, elicited a comment from Newman before his death from cancer:
As Hud Bannon in “Hud” (1963) Mr. Newman was a heel on the Texas range who wanted the good life and was willing to sell diseased cattle to get it. The character was intended to make the audience feel “loathing and disgust,” Mr. Newman told a reporter. Instead, he said, “we created a folk hero.”
I watched that film a couple of years ago and it struck me in a particular way. I saw George Bush perfectly personified in the character of Hud and I saw many of my fellow Americans too. It’s a film I urge everyone to watch. Because we have a society filled with people who aspire to be just like Hud Bannon. Some of my favorite quotes from the movie appear below:
Homer Bannon: You don’t care about people Hud. You don’t give a damn about ‘em. Oh, you got all that charm goin’ for ya. And it makes the youngsters want to be like ya. That’s the shame of it because you don’t value anything. You don’t respect nothing. You keep no check on your appetites at all. You live just for yourself. And that makes you not fit to live with.
Homer Bannon: That’s your solution for getting out of a tight? To pass bad beef on to my neighbors who wouldn’t know what they was getting? Or maybe risk starting an epidemic in the entire country?
Hud Bannon: This country is run on epidemics, where you been? Price fixing, crooked TV shows, inflated expense accounts. How many honest men you know? Why you separate the saints from the sinners, you’re lucky to wind up with Abraham Lincoln. Now I want out of this spread what I put into it, and I say let us dip our bread into some of that gravy while it is still hot.
Homer Bannon: You’re an unprincipled young man Hud.
Hud Bannon: Don’t let that worry you none. You got enough for both of us.
Yes, the movie personifies George Bush. But it also personifies rich conservative America. I urge you to watch it. Because we need to bring back the Homer Bannons. I remember when there were plenty of them in America running small businesses. But it's hard to find one now. Because small businesses have a hard time making it when they behave responsibly like Homer Bannon. Paul Newman did some great things with his brand “Newman's Own” which donated all the money it made to worthy charities. No other companies in America have brands that behave that sensibly. At least if they have, I’m not familiar with them.
Paul Newman was an American hero. Rare in the film world. But Newman lived his life the way Americans should live their lives. If we could get more people to do so, America might have a chance at becoming a nation that is looked up to by the rest of the world as something to aspire to once again. But we have a long way to go to get the nation back to an honest status that other countries would like to emulate. Newman also proudly referred to himself as a liberal and was 19th on Richard Nixon’s enemies list. I’m proud to say that Newman belongs to those of us in the liberal camp, and conservatives can’t lay claim to the great legacy he left this nation.