Good evening, avid readers. Here at chez Jim the tube has just cooled from its broadcast of the 46 year old movie "Butterfield 8", a flick starring Elizabeth Taylor and Laurence Harvey, or maybe just plain Lawrence, but who cares since he's been dead for years and was mostly a figment of the studio system's "imagination" to begin with.
The movie was made from a book by John O'Hara, which book is almost certainly in stock as we speak, but it lies there unread, unloved, and unwanted by the modern avid reader such as yourself who now holds O'Hara’s themes in low regard; social commentary on the post war years and their overheated psycho-sexual guilt/fear/ignorance/sanctimony.
Dead and gone, you'd think, until reflecting on the role which the Catholic church played in establishing that paradigm of unreason in the public mind and the Congressional Record, because looka here folks, here's another book just in called The Movies and the Catholic Church. It just materialized today and I have not yet given it a look-see, but I already know what it's about: the notorious Hayes Code will play big in the index of this book.
Hayes was some moralizing demagogue appointed by the movie biz at the insistence of a depression era-scapegoat seeking congress. He established and enforced a code of production standards which Hollywood had to adopt in order for its products to receive the seal of approval. Without this seal, known in the Church as an "imprimatur", these movies would not be distributed, advertised, or screened in the normal commercial manner and would be doomed to oblivion, if not actual hell, although that was the implication. These standards consisted of a ludicrously specific set of no-nos having to do with anything and everything of a sexual nature.The sex maniac movie moguls who were driving the nation into certain damnation were forced by the Hayes Code to clean up the Hollywood cesspool.
The code's rules were mostly written by the church (a ridiculously broad but nevertheless accurate generalization). One of the rules was that bad people must be punished before the movie’s end, and the punishments were curiously meted out in disproportionate numbers to naughty females who failed in their duties to hold off the immoral advances of men.
This rule was originally made up and enforced by priests in the home parish who counseled pregnant girls to marry, saying, "you made your bed, now sleep in it". These are the guys who continue to make the news with their ongoing altar boy antics. They are not insane Mullahs sending out bomb- strapped martyrs-to-be. They are good old Father Pat from St. Mumstheword, just down the block where your sister and brother attend Sunday school. These same guys were around seventy years ago when the Hayes code was adopted. They voted “ Aye “ when the roll was called for sex suppression standards for the movies, and that’s why Elizabeth Taylor’s character had to die at the end of this dumb movie I just watched, even though her fall from heavenly grace had been brought on by an old guy, "Major" somebody, her mom’s boyfriend, when she was a wee teen. The Major went unpunished. Maybe his commission was from the Salvation Army.
Buy a book today- it could be your own salvation. The middle aged gentleman at the front desk will be glad to guide you. No, really.