I don’t follow many entertainers on Twitter, but there are a few that I like to keep tabs on. One of them is iconic SciFi/Horror film director, John Carpenter, of whom I am a fan.
As I mentioned in a column back in August, I host an annual Halloween party where I screen scary movies for a room-full of attendees. Carpenter’s The Thing and In the Mouth of Madness have both been featured.
Incidentally, if you ever get a chance to watch the DVD version of The Thing that features dual-commentary from Carpenter and Kurt Russell (the film’s star), do so. It’s a riot.
Carpenter doesn’t spend a lot of time on social media, and though I’ve gathered over the years that he’s a liberal thinker (like most in the entertainment profession), he doesn’t say much about politics. On Tuesday, however, he broke from the norm with this eyebrow-raising tweet:
“THEY LIVE is about yuppies and unrestrained capitalism. It has nothing to do with Jewish control of the world, which is slander and a lie.”
He was referring to his 1988 film, They Live, starring the late professional wrestler, Rowdy Roddy Piper. I saw this movie as a 16 year-old, when it was originally in theaters, and found it thoroughly entertaining.
Remembered mainly for a tremendous quote about bubblegum and kicking ass, and one of the most epic fight scenes in cinematic history, They Live is indeed (as Carpenter described) built on the notion of economic inequality. In fact, the theme is glaringly obvious. The film’s premise, after all, is that the world’s ruling class are actually aliens from another planet who are subliminally oppressing the human population through consumerism and mass media.
So what do Jewish people have to do with this? As it turns out, Carpenter’s film is a longtime favorite of online white supremacists and neo-Nazis, who revere it as a metaphorical swipe against Jewish supremacy.
No, I’m not joking.
Carpenter isn’t amused by the ridiculous interpretation of his film. He has apparently been tormented for some time by the small but vocal community of bigots who’ve used They Live imagery to spread nefarious online memes. And who can blame him?
It’s no secret that the Internet can be an ugly place, especially in the realm of politics and ideology. Anonymity has a weird way of emboldening (and for some people, legitimizing) some pretty perverse thinking. As a moderator on a political-commentary website, I can tell you that I’ve seen my share of truly disturbing comments.
At the same time, it should be noted (as is the case with Carpenter) that you can’t always blame the dignitary for the kooks he or she somehow manages to inspire.