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One down, so many to go

Stephen Pollard publishes an honest obituary to British actor Peter Ustinov:

I have tried to fathom how else a man with Ustinov’s record of excusing tyrants and defending tyranny could have been so eulogised. The butchers of Tiananmen Square, Stalin, Milosevic, bin Laden, Saddam: he defended or gave succour to the lot.

There were some people he did want to convict, though: businessmen. “The formation of the committee for the World Criminal Court is very important because there are corporations more powerful than many governments.” Stalin: OK; business: criminal; al-Qaeda and the US: moral equals. Murdering Chinese dissidents: good; removing tyrants: bad. That was the world view of Sir Peter Ustinov, “humanitarian”.

And now for sanitised BBC version:

He worked as an ambassador for charity Unicef, whose executive director Carol Bellamy said: “The children of the world had no greater champion.”

And neither did its despots and thugs.

13 comments to One down, so many to go

  • D Anghelone

    Carol Bellamy. No Brit actor can fuck the world as can we New Yorkers. Her sympathies have been much in line with Ustinov’s.

  • I don’t think that the fact that an actor holds fairly ridiculous views, or lacks simple moral clarity, means that we shouldn’t enjoy their major talent.

    For example I don’t let the fact that Shane Warne is a loudmouth, uneducated yobbo detract from my enjoyment of the wonderful entertainment that he provides to the cricket purist.

  • Jake

    I have no respect for people who promote UNICEF. Only 5% of the donations reach the children. The rest go to provide a luxurious lifestyle for UNICEF bureaucrats.

    By the way, I agree with Scott. Peter was a major talent

  • dg

    Could you post a link to some figures regarding UNICEF spending? Your post picqued my interest in the subject, but further exploration using google has turned up nothing but links to ridiculous UNICEF propoganda. To wit: “The number of people living in poverty continues to grow as globalization proceeds along its inherently asymmetrical course: expanding markets across national boundaries and increasing the incomes of a relative few while further strangling the lives of those without the resources to be investors or the capabilities to benefit from the global culture.”

    Of course they provide no figures to back up this claim. But neither can I find figures about their apparent fatcat luxirous lifestyle at the expense of the people they proclaim to help.

  • Well said David, and Stephen Pollard.

    The only possible excuse for this apparently disgusting man (albeit effective comic actor and raconteur) is that he was spying for one or other of the various arms of Western Intelligence (which I wouldn’t put past him) and he was cosying up to the world’s despots in order to help keep an eye on them. This is a real possibility, I think. Otherwise: scum.

    And of course it is possible that, being the duplicitous creature that he was (and revelled in being for comic purposes – you need look no further than the bloke he played in Spartacus) he both spied for the West, and believed all the evil and illogical crap he emitted in public.

    But, taking him a face value, there is no excuse for this person. I was simply wondering what the correct number of hours after death was before saying something similar myself.

    It is important to speak ill of the evil dead, just after they have died, otherwise all the other fawning nonsense defending them when they have just died becomes the official version.

  • George

    I think the world can get along just fine without public denunciations of the recently deceased (unless, perhaps, they are political figures).

  • Frank P

    Jasper Gerard of the Sunday Times also queued up to piss on Ustinov’s grave. Didn’t notice much negative copy while he was still breathing. If you will take the politics and ‘charity’ exploits of comedic actors seriously, I suppose you’re bound to get a little bitter. I don’t suppose he took himself seriously and must have been amazed that others did. He was just an old ‘lovey’, ‘citizen of the world’, raconteur and charity con man among many thousands of others in the charity game. Now he’s dead. As I said when his brief obituary was announced earlier on this blog. R.I.P.

    Now please put your dicks away until some important evil bastard kicks the bucket, then piss in that. Somebody no doubt loved him. Tut! tut!

  • GCooper

    Frank P writes:

    “Now please put your dicks away until some important evil bastard kicks the bucket, then piss in that.”

    But Ustinov was undoubtedly important and far more influential than most overt politicians. On the day of his death the BBC ran, in an apparently irony-free tribute to the old monster, a little excerpt from the sort of material that won him acclaim around the world as a raconteur. It was one of his little party pieces pointing out the absurdities of the British Empire. Very much the sort of thing you’d expect to hear from a man who, on the other hand, thought China’s murderous regime perfectly excusable.

    The fact that he acted the part of a jovial old cosmopolitan may have made his beliefs (at best naive, at worst despicable) seem palatable – but only to those without the wit to listen to what he actually said.

    We are well rid of him.

  • D Anghelone

    Is Franco still dead?

  • Frank P


    …but only to those without the wit to listen to what he actually said.’

    Or those who had the wit to ignore the pontifications of actor, with little or no power, other than in his capacity as a charity scamster. I thought libertarians are in favour of free speech and had better things to do than flogging a dead parrot. But whatever …

  • GCooper: does thinking that the British empire was other than unequivocally good make you objectively pro-the-Chinese-empire then? Crikey.

  • S. Weasel

    No, john b, being pro-the-Chinese-empire makes you objectively pro-the-Chinese-empire. Did you read the article under discussion?

    In an address to the university in 2000, he made clear that, as far as he was concerned, Chinese dissidents are not real human beings: “People are annoyed with the Chinese for not respecting more human rights. But with a population that size it’s very difficult to have the same attitude to human rights.”

    That’s a good one. If the population is big enough, you can’t really afford the luxury of human rights. How you worked the British Empire in there, I have no idea.

  • M.

    Here’s a comment I posted on Pollard’s blog. File under “irony”? : )

    “Never knew Ustinov’s politics until now, but I can say that it was some of his work that inspired me to become a pro-Reagan conservative when I was a kid, despite lefty indoctrination in school. It’s not in his IMDB listing, but in the very early Eighties, I remember that he introduced a small made-for-TV pseudodocumentary that showed an American classroom after a U.S. takeover by an unnamed “They”. It showed a pretty young presumed communist teacher in green fatigues (no insignia) charming a class of youngsters into disrespecting the U.S. flag, and learning how to praise “their Leader” and not have “wrong thoughts”, all in the space of half an hour. This was several years before the “Amerika” miniseries on ABC. That’s about all the info I have, but I remember Ustinov’s intro and coda to it, and it struck me as being very anti-communist/anti-totalitarian and pro-American. No success at Googling this yet, but I’ll see if I can’t turn it up.”