Sunday, September 28, 2008

Meandering Nothings of People I Admire

Jesus was a least I've always thought so. He didn't discriminate and he hung out with the dregs of society; prostitutes, tax collectors and so forth and put stuck up Pharisees in their places. He influenced Ghandi who influenced Martin Luther King, who influenced Cesar Chavez and countless other people.

What's my point, you say? I have none. This is a tribute to one of my favorite actors and humanitarians, Paul Newman. When I was a kid, I used to watch whatever old Newman movies shown on TV. (Thank you, KDOC, KTLA, and KCOP!) I saw the stinker, Silver Chalice, where Newman in toga talked like a thug the entire film, and I saw gems like Hud, Cool Hand Luke, and the Hustler. It wasn't until I saw Newman in Somebody Up There Likes Me about the life of Rocky Graziano that really made a fan out of me. And of course, there was Slap Shot which made me laugh my guts off.

Then I saw a documentary about Martin Luther King's famous speech about racial equality in Washington in 1963 that sealed my worship of PN. He was there, marching with MLK at a time where the klan and tons of other kooks bludgeoned those who dared participate in demonstrations for equal rights.

On a stupid note, our birthdays were only two days apart, and I'd always thought we were sorta kinspirits. We were both liberals and aquarians to boot.

Anyway, I admire Jesus' grit and Ghandi's quiet persistence. MLK's staunch belief in human dignity bowled me over as did Cesar Chavez' persistence (though he was one of the first Minutemen). Newman doesn't quite make the list of the above heroes, but he is up there with Muhammad Ali and Aung San Suu Kyi, Clarence Darrow, and the Doctors Without Borders volunteers.

BaddicusFinch gave me the book, In Pursuit of the Common Good: Twenty-Five Years of Improving the World, One Salad Dressing At A Time by Newman and A.E. Hotchner years ago, and it cemented the importance to the world of this one particular hero of mine. What a humanitarian. What a stalwart citizen. I love you man!

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