Charlie’s Exiled Smile

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Charlie’s Exiled Smile
Dedicated to the fact that healthy, sensitive children always have a great sense of societal and environmental injustice
by The Ox (Richard Martin Oxman)

“children guessed (but only a few
and down they forgot as up they grew”
— Cummings, from anyone lived in a pretty how town — a little charlie and a little michael blended together

I’m in the other room now, but I can still feel my little one’s smile, born of Charlie’s antics in The Kid, a “comedy with a smile — and perhaps a tear.”

Charlie Chaplain once said, “Nothing is permanent in this world. Not even our troubles.” Actually, I think he said that more than once. And I’m sure he thought it a number of times.

Some say it’s sweetly worded, some might think it borders on the banal, but it does hold a germ of truth. [Pause.] From one angle.

There is a sense, however, in which some things are permanent. And that can be expressed without detracting from the truth or choice of Charlie’s words.

In a very real way, some of the horror delineated at is permanent. In the sense that a significant amount of the damage is irreversible. [You can, of course, multiply that Gulf scenario many times over today, such scenarios taking place in various realms.]

Another kind of permanent horror is the kind that is hinted at in, where Kathy Kelly and Joshua Brollier touch upon mendacity which — to put it mildly — does irreversible damage to whole societies. That mendacity has a parallel, by the way, on the Gulf Tribunal site above… in the section where they discuss the likelihood that Goldman Sachs knew that there was going to be a leak of tragic proportions a week ahead of time.

Other forms of permanent damage can be found by roaming down any number of roads with or without Charlie’s jaunty moves and cane. [And with or without philosophical, theatrical angles of vision!] Seriously, glance at Stephanie Westbrook’s “Occupied Washington DC” tbrook. You should be able to easily see how such militarization reinforces our worst instincts, transforms our collective attitudinal set beyond repair, for good. [Meaning bad for good.]

So Charlie goes off into the sunset with Paulette Goddard, moving to the tune of the lovely song, Smile. That is one of the iconic treasures he left us. Along with his pithy sayings.

But his legacy also includes a deep acknowledgment that some of our troubles — particularly the troubles which are intertwined with the welfare of others and Mother Earth — carry the potential to be lasting in a heartbreaking way. Listen to Charlie in (and following) the court scene at the end of Monsieur Verdoux as an introduction to this part of Charlie’s heart and soul. It is a part that resonates with aspects of Paul Robeson and Helen Keller’s lives, what was the major core of their adult lives. Aspects which the powers that be have buried, have resigned to the Great Memory Hole called Cultural Amnesia. [Replaced with sound bites, trite expressions repeated ad infinitum.]

Remember and smile.

It’s not that that most miserable variety of mendacity is permanent because it’s forever firmly ensconced in human nature. It is not. Rather, it is allowed to root and grow, establishing itself ever-deeper on an ongoing basis… when we exile ourselves from one another, or live by platitudes. When we do not smile knowingly. Or forget.

We can do something about what will not pass. What must not be allowed to pass. Like smiles.

Contact the author, The Ox, at or ASAP, for time is passing fast.

In 1952, Chaplin left the US for what was intended as a brief trip home to the United Kingdom for the London premiere of Limelight. Hoover learned of the trip and negotiated with the Immigration and Naturalization Service to revoke Chaplin’s re-entry permit, exiling Chaplin so he could not return for his alleged political leanings. Chaplin decided not to re-enter the United States, writing; “…..Since the end of the last world war, I have been the object of lies and propaganda by powerful reactionary groups who, by their influence and by the aid of America’s yellow press, have created an unhealthy atmosphere in which liberal-minded individuals can be singled out and persecuted. Under these conditions I find it virtually impossible to continue my motion-picture work, and I have therefore given up my residence in the United States.