Just over a month ago, I blogged about the warm reception I received at a National Review fundraiser in LA. The conservatives there welcomed me even when I introduced myself as gay. I experienced the same thing this past weekend at the Liberty Film Festival, a festival to promote conservative and libertarian films and filmmakers.
In a post on Tuesday, I noted how impressed I was with the panel on the Hollywood blacklist (so impressed that I bought books by two of the panelists). Well, that wasn’t the only thing I enjoyed about the fest. I saw some great films as well.
The fest opened with Fellowship 9/11, a hilarious short imagining Michael Moore‘s journey to Middle-earth in the aftermath of the War of the Ring. Evan Maloney’s amusing Brainwashing 201 showed the liberal bias on many college campuses today while Broken Promises: The United Nations at 60 explored how the U.N. has failed to lived up to the promise of its founding. It has not intervened to protect civilians victimized by terrorists or rogue militias. Indeed, the film related how U.N. workers forced Moslem refugees from a secure compound, effectively delivering them to Serbian troops who would subsequently murder the men and boys.
As engaging as those films were, the most entertaining event of the evening was when angry protesters stormed the stage, trying to prevent David Horowitz from speaking. Security quickly ushered the hecklers out of the auditorium as we in the audience erupted in laughter and applause. (Check out Cathy Seipp’s more in-depth coverage of the spectacle.) A few minutes later, fellow blogger, radio commentator and out-lesbian, Tammy Bruce, addressed the gathering.
On opening night of this conservative fest, when we saw a film about liberal intolerance, leftists tried to prevent a conservative from speaking freely while the audience enthusiastically welcomed a pro-choice lesbian feminist. Doesn’t seem like an image of the conservative world the MSM is likely to present.
On Saturday, I most enjoyed the panel on screenwriting where my friend Craig Titley earned the loudest applause for his humorous and insightful introduction. Commenting on the number of left-wing writers and story-lines in Hollywood, one of the panelists, I believe it was Craig, suggested that it was because “the imagination is the only place where liberalism works.”
While Craig was the funniest, blogger Roger Simon offered perhaps the most insightful observation of the panel when he, a one-time supporter of the Black Panthers, said it “tells you a lot” that the sense of humor is now on the right. Leftists used to have it, but have long since lost it.
Andrew Klavan seconded this point, “if you conflate your intentions with your policies, you can’t laugh.” As an example of a leftist attempt at humor, he mentioned the scene in Runaway Jury where Gene Hackman‘s Rankin Fitch (a man working for tobacco companies) says, “I hate Democrats.” Reminds me a joke a liberal friend e-mailed to me (and all her friends) where the punch line was that George Bush was stupid.
One of the few sour notes of the weekend was the ending of the otherwise engaging (and educational) movie, Emancipation, Revelation, Revolution, a documentary about the role of the Republican Party in the abolition of slavery and the Civil Rights’ Movement. At the end, the directors devoted what (seemed to me) at least ten minutes to black ministers and other leaders decrying gay marriage. That part didn’t seem to belong in the film.
A few minutes later I met Larry Elder, my favorite talk show host, telling him that I write for a gay blog. He asked me what I thought about the film. Because Larry had introduced the flick, I chose my words carefully and referred to the ending as “gratuitous.” Larry agreed, saying that he felt the film (which he quite enjoyed) lost its focus when it delved into gay marriage.
Later, several of us continued our conversation with Larry, talking with him for more than an hour. He is as engaging and insightful in person as he is on the radio. I look forward to watching his film, Michael & Me. (Larry signed my DVD at the fest.)
Yet again, this gay man find himself welcome a gathering of conservatives. An “out” lesbian spoke on opening night. Indeed, the festival itself was a most diverse gathering, with several black speakers, at least one Muslim speaker (talking about a movie she helped make) and an audience which, as Bill Clinton might say, looked like America.
More than that. While conservatives may be the minority in Hollywood, we do have a sense of humor about it. We were able to laugh at the hecklers on opening night, even to laugh at ourselves. We may not (yet) have the power that our liberal counterparts have in Tinseltown, but we do have ideas, energy and the wherewithal to tell our stories on film. Perhaps, the big studios won’t buy our scripts, but we’re going to make movies anyhow. And with those movies, we’re going to make a difference.
-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com
ADDENDUM: Michelle Malkin provides more evidence of what passes for humor on the left, describing (and linking to a clip) of a video promoting Al Franken’s new book: “The video skit blurs truth and fiction as a psychotic Al Franken kicks a man portraying a conservative reader in the groin, smashes a stool over his back, and grins as another man playing one of Franken’s fans cracks a bottle over the conservative’s head.” Would liberals think it funny if a conservative humorist did the same thing to an actor portraying a leftist?