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Crash: a movie which gets it right–and reminds us what matters

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 11:09 pm - June 3, 2005.
Filed under: Movies/Film & TV

It often seems that the best movies we discover are not those whose trailers entice us or which the media hypes, but those we hear about from our friends and colleagues. I can’t recall seeing an ad or trailer for Crash. The first I heard of it was when, a few weeks ago, one friend told me it was the only movie she had seen recently. Since then, I keep running into people who tell me how amazing this movie is. When I went to buy a ticket on Sunday night, it was sold out at the Grove. The following morning, I saw an article in the LA Times. The sub-headline noted that the flick had “become the movie to see and discuss.

Not wanting to know about the movie before I saw it, I set the article aside and prepared to arrive nearly an hour early to buy a ticket to see a screening that night at the Arclight. It was of the rare times when I went to see a movie about which I knew nothing–only that a lot of people had enjoyed it.

While I smiled in recognizing the truth in Don Cheadle‘s opening monologue that people in LA are so afraid to touch that we often come together only by crashing into one another, the movie began to lose me. People didn’t seem to be dealing with each another as individuals, but as representatives of their race. I have rarely — even in LA — see racial attitudes so directly expressed. I could understand why one women in Texas walked out “an hour before the film’s ending.” According to the LA Times, Angela Clemons of Tyler, Texas said the film “seemed to pit every race against the other races.” Yet, even after watching about half the movie, she couldn’t “get the dang movie out of [her] head.” Nor can I.


Review of Downfall and Sith

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 9:03 pm - June 3, 2005.
Filed under: Movies/Film & TV

After seeing the powerful movie Downfall on Hitler’s last days, I read my friend Rick Sincere‘s combined review of that film and Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. I recommend both movies and the review.

UPDATE: While I think Dirty Harry’s review of Revenge of the Sith is a little harsh, it’s a fun read. And he makes some good points, especially when he notes that Han Solo is “sorely missing in this saga.

Dean v. Mehlman: a contrast in attitude

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 8:44 pm - June 3, 2005.
Filed under: National Politics

While Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean garners headlines for his hateful anti-Repubilican rhetoric in his cross-country travels, Republican National Chairman Ken Mehlman has been getting little in attention in the national media for his trips across the country. According to USA Today, Mr. Mehlman “is courting black and Hispanic voters on a regular basis. . . . he has visited Latino neighborhoods and historically black campuses.

In contrast his Democratic counterpart, Mr. Mehlman offers a positive vision of his party, recently speaking to an audience at Orange County’s Lincoln Juarez Opportunity Center, saying that the GOP’s “encouragement of home and business ownership, personal accountability and hard work vs. social service handouts are the American values that appeal to many Hispanics.” And while the RNC chair is putting forward a positive vision of his party, Howard Dean continues to badmouth his opponents, recently telling a Democratic audience in Washington, D.C. that Republicans could wait in line eight hours to vote because “Well, Republicans, I guess, can do that because a lot of them have never made an honest living in their lives.

And this is just the latest of the Democratic chairman’s mudslinging. He has said he hates “the Republicans and everything they stand for” and accused us of being “mean.” Someone seems to be projecting here.

To be sure, there has always been mean-spirited rhetoric in American politics. Yet, most party chairmen have eschewed such language to focus on party building. They know that nasty rhetoric alone is not enough to win elections. Mr. Dean may well have a positive vision of what Democrats stand for, but his nasty rhetoric drowns out any more uplifting proposals.

Gay groups resort to failed strategy on CA marriage initiative

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 7:09 pm - June 3, 2005.
Filed under: Gay Marriage

It appears that the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) have learned nothing from the success of the fourteen state referenda (in the past year) defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

Last week, a group of social conservatives led by Randy Thomasson, president of the Campaign for Children and Families, started raising money and gathering signatures for the “Voters’ Right to Protect Marriage Initiative,” a proposed amendment to the California State constitution to define marriage as those states have defined it and to prevent the state from recognizing civil unions. HRC has responded with a press release to announce a fundraising drive to defeat this pernicious proposal using the same language of the failed campaigns to defeat similar initiatives last year.

HRC and NGLTF have teamed up with “more than 200 religious, labor and civil rights organizations” from across the Golden State to form the “Equality for All Coalition.” Last week, I warned that the key to defeating this initiative “is to get beyond the language activists have used in the past.” Alas, from the very name of the group, it appears that these gay groups are resorting to the failed strategies of the past year.

Since more than 60% of California voters favored a state law defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman in a 2000 referendum (Prop. 22), I doubt the “marriage equality” language will win a majority in 2006. To defeat this amendment, its opponents need to reach out to some of that 60% who, while they may oppose gay marriage, favor state recognition of same-sex unions (under a different name). Since this proposal would also preclude such recognition, we need to focus on that aspect of the proposal, its most extreme element.