Rewriting Ronald Reagan
Table of Contents:
EXTRA: Reagan, Slammed by Celebrities
Ronald Reagan was a joke in much of his old Hollywood home. They worked anti-Reagan jokes into sitcoms, such as this one in a March 12, 1989 episode of Family Ties, which featured a conservative Reaganite son and a liberal ex-hippie father who worked at the local PBS station. ‚ÄúYour Dad and I are producing a documentary comparing Reagan‚Äôs presidency to medieval Europe‚Äôs bubonic plague,‚ÄĚ said a co-worker. Dad interjected: ‚ÄúNine out of ten people prefer the plague.‚ÄĚ In the years after Reagan left the White House, some stars were at least that harsh ‚ÄĒ and they weren‚Äôt joking.
‚Ė† ‚ÄúGiven the things I said about Reagan ‚ÄĒ that he‚Äôs a criminal who used the Constitution as toilet paper ‚ÄĒ it wouldn‚Äôt surprise me if my phone was tapped.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄĒ Actor John Cusack in the June 1989 issue of Premiere magazine.
‚Ė† ‚ÄúJust how qualified, how aware is Ronald Reagan about what is going on in the American films today? He has such a dim notion of reality, how much of a hold does he have on fantasy? Out of touch as he is, it‚Äôs a reasonable bet he would think Woody Allen‚Äôs Crime and Misdemeanors is a documentary about his eight years in office.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄĒ Larry Gelbart, creator of M*A*S*H, in a New York Times op-ed, November 6, 1989.
‚Ė† ‚ÄúThis drug thing that we‚Äôre going through now is a legacy of the Reagan years..They steal from the poor and give to the rich. That‚Äôs the Reagan years.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄĒ Actor Eric Bogosian on the MTV special Decade, December 13, 1989.
‚Ė† ‚ÄúI was 12 years old. Children in junior high school thought [Reagan] was going to drop a bomb. During the 1981 assassination attempt, the news came over the school intercom. Here in the ghetto everybody clapped. I clapped.... At 12 years old I already had a con-tempt for fascist politics. He was more of a monster than I could imagine at 12 years old.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄĒ Boyz n the Hood director John Singleton in the September 1993 Playboy.
‚ÄúI grew up in Los Angeles, in the inner city ‚ÄĒ you never saw drugs or
drive-bys or homeless people or anything like that. All the social
programs that were cut as a result of Reagan coming into office and
greed just became a hobby....I remember watching...him say people in
America who are homeless are homeless because they want to be. That
seemed to be one of the most ‚ÄĒ and I was a kid ‚ÄĒ I knew how cruel that
was and I would never, you know, ascribe any level of greatness to
somebody who would say, you know, if somebody‚Äôs hungry in America it‚Äôs
because they‚Äôre on a diet. Like that, to me, made greedy white men feel
good about being greedy white men. He was the kind of the Moses of
leading them to feeling good about being greedy white men. So to me he
wasn‚Äôt a great man.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄĒ Comedian and former CNN host D. L. Hughley on HBO‚Äôs Real Time with Bill Maher, June 5, 2009. [MP3 Audio]