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Milk Put Politics on the Podium; Got a Problem With That?

3277295389_ae05ca291a“I hate Sean Penn, keep your politics to yourself Mr. Penn, actors are entertainers not politicians. Sean Penn is a jerk, he cheated on his beautiful wife last year with a model, why… WHY did the academy give him an Oscar…Down with Gay rights! Down with Sean Penn. Mickey Rourke should have gotten the oscar instead.” — E! commenter on Sean Penn’s Oscar win for his portrayal of Harvey Milk in Milk.

It was a big night for the cast and crew of Milk, but an even bigger night for gays and lesbians everywhere, as Best Actor winner Sean Penn and Milk screenwriter Dustin Lance Black used their Oscar wins to speak directly to a prime time audience of millions about gay rights, fairness and equality.

Black, his Oscar resting on the podium, did the usual Oscar thanks and then spoke directly to “gay and lesbian kids,” saying, “No matter what everyone tells you, God does love you … very soon, I promise you, you will have equal rights federally across this great nation of ours.” Penn, calling the Academy, “you commie, homo-loving son of a guns,” said, “I think it’s a good time for those who voted for the ban against gay marriage to reflect – to sit and reflect – and anticipate their great shame and the shame in their grandchildren’s eyes if they continue that way in their support. We have to have equal rights for everyone.”

Way to go.

Politics and the Oscars have a long and rocky history together. In 1973 Marlon Brando sent an actor posing as an American Indian to “refuse” his award for The Godfather to bring attention to the mistreatment of Indians in film. Vanessa Redgrave used her ’78 Oscar speech to drum up support for Palestine, in ’93 it was Richard Gere and Tibet and of course, who can forget Michael Moore’s 2003 speech that ended with “Shame on you, Mr. Bush! Shame on you!”?

Usually, these speeches are mentioned as a way of deriding Hollywood’s knee-jerk liberalism and truthfully, most of them have been cringe-inducing exercises in political vanity. This year and this year’s speeches, were unique—and even more so, the films themselves, show that Hollywood is beginning to find it’s own authentic political voice.

Sean Penn’s Oscar acceptance speech:

Of the five films nominated for Best Picture this year, only one, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, was not overtly political. Slumdog Millionaire, dealt with globalization and social inequality in Mumbai, Frost/Nixon dealt with the corruption and arrogance of Richard Nixon, The Reader deftly examines the culpability and responsibility of German’s involved in the holocaust and Milk, of course, tells the story of a pioneering gay rights leader slain before his time.

For all Hollywood knows, it might be a fad, and next year, Space Monster Love Affair will win Best Picture, but increasingly, the movie industry is feeling comfortable putting politics front and center in its films, reflecting and – perhaps – prodding a society in the midst of great social change.

image4820432gAnd so, last night’s speeches didn’t ring as vainglorious or pompous, but necessary. Could you imagine an Oscar acceptance speech for Milk that didn’t include politics? The film, for all its flaws, calls on anyone who sees it to speak up and use their voice to express their beliefs and both Penn and Black did so eloquently.

If you lost your Oscar betting pool, see if you can find someone who will wager with you that Bill O’Reilly and Fox News won’t use the speeches as an opportunity to lambaste Hollywood actors for having opinions when they should just “shut up and act.” Heck, even the gay Republicans are bemoaning Penn’s win, saying:

“Sean Penn gave the worst speech, unnecessarily politicizing the event. If he wanted to make the case for gay marriage, he would have done better not to attack its opponents and make a positive argument instead. When Penn reads someone else’s lines, he does a remarkable job. He’s not so good with his own. While I grant he delivered an Oscar-worthy performance in Milk, he did little to endear himself to most Americans who go to the movies.”

What the “entertainers are meant to entertain” crowd fail to understand is that all art is political, whether it be the environmental message of Wall-E or the deeply-coded racial critiques of Douglas Sirk’s melodramas.

Dustin Lance Black‘s Oscar acceptance speech:

Heck, even Transformers is a reflection of post 9/11 anxieties and it’s as far from an Oscar nomination as any mainstream film could get. Shakespeare told us that “the purpose of playing” is to “hold as ’twere the mirror up to nature: to show virtue her feature, scorn her own image…” Some films do it well, some are preachy, some of them betray a politics their filmmakers may not even be aware of, but the politics of the time are woven into each frame of celluloid.

In Hollywood, everyone fears the message movie. Michael Eisner, when he was running Paramount, sent out a memo to the studio saying, “We have no obligation to make history. We have no obligation to make art. We have no obligation to make a statement. To make money is our only objective.” While the days of Eisner are long gone in Hollywood, his maxim is still standard operating procedure, but it’s short-sighted.

Why do people make movies? Why do people write them and act in them? Fame seekers can be found in every industry, be it sports or actuarial science. It’s easy to be cynical about the Oscars, festooned with borrowed diamonds and Joan Rivers, but underneath it all, the desire to create movies is the desire to reach out and share your view of the world with others.

In Lance’s case, it was born out of being a Mormon kid living in Texas who first heard Harvey Milk’s words and had hope—and a desire to share that same feeling with the world. In him, and in Milk, art and politics are indistinguishable from each other. Why do we go to the movies? Well, to be entertained, of course, but the entertainers behind them are people with hopes, dreams and beliefs—and it’s those very qualities that they bring to their work that make the films we watch so entertaining.

For years, Hollywood has tried to separate the performer or the artist from their politics. This year, not only in Milk, but also in Slumdog Millionaire, we saw the uncommon power of film that combines what Tony Kushner calls the three keys to great drama: poetry, politics and popcorn—and if you’ve got a problem with it, why don’t you go win your own damn Oscar?

By:           Japhy Grant
On:           Feb 23, 2009
Tagged: , , , ,
  • 71 Comments
    • Wolf
      Wolf

      The “THING” that commented is obviosuly a troll. (It’s post #8 -NoObama)

      I personally am quite glad that Penn said what he did and actually I ecpected it. I just wish more of Hollywood be more more vocal.

      I have the video’s of Penn and Blacks speechs up at back2stonewall.com if anyone missed it

      Feb 23, 2009 at 8:34 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Wolf
      Wolf

      Whooos sorry. Didn;t see them posted above. Apologies

      Feb 23, 2009 at 8:34 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Sebbe
      Sebbe

      Black’s speech was very genuine and emotional. I think to the average viewer it might have had a bigger impact, since he is not as well known in middle America and came off as the regular normal guy he is. It was also early in the evening still (EST) when there are more people watching. By the time Penn won, I suspect many (besides us gays and middle aged women) might have tuned out. He brought tears to my eyes.

      Congrats to Penn and I thank him for his speech as well. I’m glad he acknowledged the crazies outside protesting and the shame them and others grandchildren will feel.

      I liked ‘some’ of the changes in format, but not sure it is really going to reel all those lost viewers back.

      Hugh, where was Hugh the whole night? For awhile I thought he went home and Will Smith took over.

      Feb 23, 2009 at 8:42 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • hardmannyc
      hardmannyc

      People still watch E?

      Feb 23, 2009 at 9:16 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • unclemike
      unclemike

      Why is it that they only want actors to shut up when the politics are liberal? I don’t recall anybody telling Charlton Heston to shut up about gun ownership rights.

      Feb 23, 2009 at 9:18 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ed
      Ed

      I loved the speeches. But it should be noted he didn’t stop on the stage. After I crawled in bed, I flipped on E! for the press room backstage, and Sean took questions on gay rights – Sean wasn’t as smooth as he was on stage, as he’d obviously thought about that speech. Responding to reporters backstage, he was a little more real, stammering a bit, but to me that made it all the more powerful. I found the first part of his interview here:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JLXW-JCyOLg

      I still haven’t found the second part.

      DLB was adorable trying not to cry when he did press back stage – I can’t get it to imbed, but you can find it over on the oscar site.:

      http://oscar.com/video/index?tab=PressRoomCam&playlistId=181044#

      Feb 23, 2009 at 9:25 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ChristopherM
      ChristopherM

      @unclemike:

      Actually, they only want to shut up entertainers who are liberal and who aren’t very entertaining. Reagan, Schwarzenegger, Fred Thompson, Sonny Bono…they were all allowed to have a political opinion just like any other American. Barbra Streisand, not so much.

      Feb 23, 2009 at 9:44 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ConservativeRepublican
      ConservativeRepublican

      I think it’s reasonable to suggest that Penn’s approach might have turned off more people than it encouraged to join our side. Most of the criticism I’ve read about Penn’s speech is coming at it from that angle. I’m almost certain that Dustin’s speech, on the other hand, helped us a great deal. I haven’t read hardly any criticism of that one.

      Feb 23, 2009 at 9:56 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • John from  England(used to be just John but there are other John's)
      John from England(used to be just John but there are other John's)

      Oh shucks.

      I see the side of turning people off BUT how good was Sean Penn’s speech!!?

      I’m just damn tired as a liberal tha we ALWAYS have to play nice, when all they…’those who conform and seek to judge EVERY human being on some warped concept of what THEY deem as acceptable’ are allowed to constantly insult us!!

      Why are no one asking these very interesting questions?

      People say gays are peodophiles who deserve no right to have erm, any rights…or blacks are illitirate savages who desreve no right, to erm have any right and that the Native Americans were just to ‘goddamn’ backwards to desereve their own land, let alone have any right to erm, have a righ..

      So people fight, get upset after Years, years, years, years of persecution by protesting or just saying it is WRONG and they have to find a way to word so they don’t offend the offensive ‘right wing’ society????

      WTF??

      Feb 23, 2009 at 10:05 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • John from  England(used to be just John but there are other John's)
      John from England(used to be just John but there are other John's)

      @ConservativeRepublican:

      Hey, not trying to start an argument here..just interested and responding to this..

      “Sean Penn gave the worst speech, unnecessarily politicizing the event. If he wanted to make the case for gay marriage, he would have done better not to attack its opponents and make a positive argument instead. When Penn reads someone else’s lines, he does a remarkable job. He’s not so good with his own. While I grant he delivered an Oscar-worthy performance in Milk, he did little to endear himself to most Americans who go to the movies.”

      As stated above…

      Anyway, what have gay conservatives done towards progressing equal rights for gays? (I don’t mean marriage..any right, visibility etc)

      Feb 23, 2009 at 10:10 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • gayvirgo
      gayvirgo

      Those who were going to be turned off by Sean Penn’s views and feelings at the podium were probably already turned off by the film, the subject matter, the nomination, the attention, the validation for Harvey’s place in history, etc….

      Sean could have taken his moment in the sun and thanked the many people to whom he was grateful for bringing him to that moment. He could have made a speech that was all about him, his journey, his struggle.

      But, in a show of how truly deeply he does care about our rights as Americans and human beings, instead of promoting himself he took his short moment in the sun- a moment viewed by millions of people around the world and in small towns across the country – and spoke from the heart about our right to dignity, to value, to equality.

      Just as Dustin’s heartfelt, eloquent, touching speech may have turned off some and endeared others, Sean’s speech reached hearts and minds that needed reaching. And to both of them I am grateful for their utter lack of selflessness in a moment that could have been very, very much about “them” instead of all of us.

      Feb 23, 2009 at 10:11 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ConservativeRepublican
      ConservativeRepublican

      @John from England(used to be just John but there are other John’s):

      I don’t think anyone is trying to win over the minds (if you can call them that) of the idiots who think that gays are pedophiles. Most of the effort in this battle is trying to win over the average heartland American that is still on the fence on this issue. I think that’s where most of our time and energy should be spend.

      Oh, and I’m not suggesting that Penn doesn’t have the absolute right to say whatever he wants. I just think Black’s speech was more effective.

      Feb 23, 2009 at 10:14 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ConservativeRepublican
      ConservativeRepublican

      @ConservativeRepublican:

      spend=spent

      Feb 23, 2009 at 10:15 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Leland Frances
      Leland Frances

      I was EXTREMELY impressed and moved by Black’s eloquence tonight in his acceptance speech, despite his many factual errors in the script and introduction to the Harvey photobook.

      His remarks were close to perfect, most importantly in his delivering a message of hope and love to gay kids which many gay heroes have been sending for so long to a world which keeps trying to drown them out. Such “witnessing” will literally save the lives of kids [and some adults, too] still hungering for just a few words of affirmation.

      BRAVO to Mr. Black!!!!

      And Penn’s win will draw a few more nongays into the theatre. Hooray for that, too. And BRAVO for his calling out the bigots who wrap themselves in the flag of free HATE speech and behind their selectively interpreted Bibles. As one poll showed that, as I recall, 73% of those who voted for H8TE say there is NOTHING we could do to change their minds, here’s what I say: FUCK YOU AND EVERY THEOCRATIC FASCIST LIKE YOU [and not in the good way]!

      No more Mr. Nice Gay and no more Mr. Nice Straight Gay Ally!

      As for the “GAYS for Hitler” invertebrates, alas, will always be with us it seems. I thought they might have FINALLY awakened after Repug Gen. Rectum Powell used insubordination to shove DADT up Clinton’s ass, then after “Compassionate Conservative” Bush fils exploited homohatred to get elected/reelected, and then after the “Moderate Conservative” McShamed himself by denouncing even domestic partnerships and threatening to support a Constitutional amendment. Anyone who thinks Gay Patriot isn’t still deeply self-loathing no matter how out he is is a bigger fool that even he.

      I was just about to start painting my protest sign about the exclusion of gay images from the romance montage when “Harvey” and “Scott” suddenly appeared, and several seconds later were shown in full-on lip lock. Bravo for that, too, albeit I think we deserved more screen time than the ROBOT lovers got.

      Progress nonetheless.

      And I firmly believe that the many teary eyes we saw when Heath Ledger’s family accepted his posthumous award were because most of those people were recalling his shattering performance as Ennis del Mar in Brokeback which, regardless of his own sexuality, finally made gay love real for millions of movie goers around the world.

      “A Love That Will Never Grow Old” indeed.

      Feb 23, 2009 at 10:23 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ConservativeRepublican
      ConservativeRepublican

      @John from England(used to be just John but there are other John’s):

      With respect, I submit that proud and open gay republicans* assist gay rights by helping to normalize homosexuality and expose it to a crowd that doesn’t get such exposure very often. I think it’s important to have openly gay members of both parties, just like I think it’s important to have openly gay doctors, teachers, etc. It helps show your average American that gays come in all forms, just like straights. You may not like our views on money, defense, or whatever else, and that’s absolutely fine, but as long as we’re vocally supportive of gay rights and actively push for change in our party (the important part), then I don’t see the problem. I personally have changed quite a few conservative minds on the issue of gay rights. (Not saying I deserve a pat on the back. Just explaining that such an approach DOES produce positive results.)

      *Important word here is open. No one is suggesting that the Larry Craigs of the world have done a damn thing for gay rights. Believe me, closeted gay republicans who oppose gay rights are hated as much by those of us on the right as they are by the left.

      Feb 23, 2009 at 10:28 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Leland Frances
      Leland Frances

      Don’t take my liberal word for it, Con Rep. Read the view from the INSIDE of one of your own, the leader of the “Austin 12″:

      “EDITORIAL | washingtonblade.com

      Bush’s squandered opportunity
      Gay Republicans were once hopeful, but now the GOP has lost an entire generation of voters

      By CHARLES FRANCIS
      Jan. 23, 2009

      SQUANDERED OPPORTUNITY” is the best way to describe the treatment of gay and lesbian Americans by the Bush administration.

      The Republican Unity Coalition was formed in the optimism generated by President Bush’s meeting in April 2000 with the so-called “Austin 12.” President Bush was the first presumptive GOP nominee to meet with gays, and then pronounce himself a “better man” for it.

      The goal was to make homosexuality a “non-issue” for the Republican Party. We would do this by helping President Bush reach out to expand his coalition. Later, this historic effort grew to include President Ford, who became the first president to join the board of a gay-related organization and honored us by joining the RUC’s board; Sen. Alan K. Simpson who became our advisory board chair; America’s preeminent corporate statesman David Rockefeller; and Mary Cheney.

      The idea was that a mainstream gay/straight alliance within the Republican Party could help the party move forward into the 21st century.

      We were wrong.

      At every substantive policy juncture the Bush administration would oppose or exclude openly gay Americans and our allies who would talk about gay civil equality. It was fine if one “agreed” on small business issues. This reflexive opposition was demonstrated most recently at the United Nations when the Bush administration voted alongside Russia, China and the Organization of the Islamic Conference to oppose a declaration — sponsored by France, supported by Canada and Mexico and 63 other countries — to end prison sentences and death penalties for homosexuality in places like Iran.

      LOOKING BACK, THE turning point came when the case Lawrence v. Texas was considered by the U.S. Supreme Court in May 2003. For all who believe in equal justice before the law, and that the government has no place in the home of consenting adults, the majority opinion written by Justice Kennedy, who was appointed by President Reagan, was a correct one.

      Mary Matalin, the longtime Bush surrogate who served as assistant to the president and counselor to Vice President Cheney, made a historic statement on “Meet the Press” with Tim Russert on May 5, 2003, just prior to the court’s ruling. Sen. Rick Santorum recently had made his famous “man on dog” comment in USA Today, in support of Texas’ sodomy law.

      Russert asked Matalin, “The Republican Unity Coalition, headed by former President Gerald Ford, said ‘it is flat-out wrong to compare homosexual conduct with bigamy, incest, polygamy and adultery. Senator Santorum owes an apology to gay men and women who support, build and have loving families all across America.’ Do you agree with that?”

      Matalin responded, “[Ford and the RUC] are parroting what the Democratic interpretation of what Senator Santorum, who’s a wonderful, caring, loving man who spent much of his career helping the poor and the homeless, said. …. As a moral matter, [Santorum] is a devout Catholic, and that church teaches that you must love and accept the individual but you cannot accept the act. The act is a sin.
      They have raised the tolerance bar here,” she accused. “It’s not good enough to say, as the senator said, ‘I love this person. I accept this person. But my teaching argues against the act.’ You now have to reject your religious doctrine.”

      This is what President Ford had to say: “I fully concur with [the RUC] on ‘gay equality before the law.’ I sincerely hope that you prevail in the case of Lawrence v. Texas.” The RUC amicus brief on behalf of the petitioners in Lawrence was written by our counsel, Erik S. Jaffe, former law clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas and conservative Republican law professor Dale Carpenter. Sen. Alan Simpson signed onto our brief and wrote in the Wall Street Journal: “The homosexual sodomy law makes a criminal of every gay person. That is something no American should sanction.”

      MATALIN TALKED ABOUT “the act” — the sinful not the legal — and sided with Santorum. The signal could not have been more obvious. There would be no more cooperation or support on any substantive policy matter. Mary Cheney left the RUC to join the campaign. There would be a Rose Garden ceremony supporting a federal marriage amendment. There would be no support ever for a Matthew Shepard hate crimes bill. There was a never-ending veto threat for employment discrimination protections. There was never a moment of relief at the Department of Defense, desperate for new recruits, still firing gay translators of Arabic while gay and lesbian Americans serve bravely in the military.

      The year 2003 was a long time ago. The RUC has been shuttered. But it is important for history to get this one right. Matalin’s lecture to Tim Russert about “the act” presaged the end of the idea seeded by the “Austin 12” and endorsed by President Ford. President Bush had turned away. This was the beginning of a years-long failure and squandered opportunity for the Republicans, who sure lost me, and now, most important, wonder how they could have lost a whole new generation of Americans.”

      Feb 23, 2009 at 10:38 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ConservativeRepublican
      ConservativeRepublican

      Anyway, despite any misgivings about the approach, I must say that Penn’s speech was much more focused than the speeches of others who have gotten political at the Oscars in the past. It was nice not to hear an unorganized rant.

      Feb 23, 2009 at 10:42 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jim
      Jim

      My biggest concern is that the speech was a fraud. Where are the pictures and videos of these protestors outside of the Kodak Theatre? Where are the images of the hate signs that Penn was referring to? Either Penn was grandstanding, or the media is seriously censoring in order to cover up for a bunch of ugly Christians.

      Feb 23, 2009 at 10:42 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ConservativeRepublican
      ConservativeRepublican

      @Jim:

      I don’t think their numbers were massive or anything. It was the WBC “God Hates Fags” crew. Basically, the family of Fred Phelps. The same thugs who’ve protested at the funerals of gays, military men/women, and any death that has made the national papers.

      Feb 23, 2009 at 10:45 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • John from  England(used to be just John but there are other John's)
      John from England(used to be just John but there are other John's)

      @Jim:

      Fraud to who? God you’re depressingly short sighted about ‘effect’.

      Jeez.

      Feb 23, 2009 at 10:54 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • kevin (not that one)
      kevin (not that one)

      Whether we acknowledge it or not, almost every movie has a political message contained in it.

      “300” was nothing more than a military, pro-war recruitment film that was both homoerotic and homo/trans-hateful. Completely xenophobic and filled with the type of masculine stereotypes that causes someone like Chris Brown to think it’s okay to beat women.

      It’s only when the political message of the movie goes against the status quo that there’s any controversy.

      Feb 23, 2009 at 11:00 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • John from  England(used to be just John but there are other John's)
      John from England(used to be just John but there are other John's)

      @ConservativeRepublican:

      Hum. Okay I see that and see it’s effect. Seeming ‘normal’, whatever that is….but I think I see your point there, somewhere..

      All I do know is that going to the site that was linked was just really horrible and I don’t understand how I fellow gay person who wants OR he cares for gay people can say that?

      I genuinely see ‘self hatred’! At its worth!

      I do understand the concept of ALL causes of effect. I’ve had soo many arguments with socialists(people are proud to be that in the UK) who have accused of ‘selling out’ cause I’m doing an MBA or working for this or that..without realising I’m doing more longterm by being on the ‘inside’ to gain greater power to do more…

      Call it self sacrifice lol!

      I used to be a hardened left and still am BUT politically I’m more left-centre…why? Because through stopping looking things through my self obsessive life, I read a tonne be it sociological, political science or psychological books and realised that humans are inherently not only complexed but also steer towards self interest above all.

      So I choose to be political in a manner that reflects society not my ideology. So I’m open…

      But I’m genuinely flabbergasted/disgusted by who someone choosing to speak out for gays, could be seen as such a horrible thing..by gays, not the right wing press.

      This isn’t an opinion or saying someone doean’t have the right to free speech as a ‘gay conservative’….

      Feb 23, 2009 at 11:04 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jim
      Jim

      Put the shoe on the other foot. Imagine if an Oscar presenter, say a Charlton Heston-type figure, had used the podium to greatly exaggerate a tiny group of pro-handgun advocates cheering outside the theatre ? Imagine if media didn’t expose the hyperbole and let the Oscar watchers think there was a huge rally of support for outright handgun legalization going on outside the theatre? There would be just cause to question the integrity of both the actor and the media. Further, there would be reason to fear significant blowback against gun rights advocates if the fraud (hyperbole, whatever you want to call it) were exposed. I’m just saying — public relations stunts sound great when you think you are on the side of the angles, but they can blow up in your face either way.

      Feb 23, 2009 at 11:07 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • atdleft
      atdleft

      @gayvirgo: Thank you! My thoughts exactly. :-)

      Feb 23, 2009 at 11:12 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • atdleft
      atdleft

      @Jim: Huh? What was Penn or Black exaggerating? What fraud was committed? I saw none. All I saw were two people speaking from the heart.

      Feb 23, 2009 at 11:14 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ConservativeRepublican
      ConservativeRepublican

      @John from England(used to be just John but there are other John’s):

      Just so there is no confusion, I have no connection to that blog. It certainly doesn’t represent the views of most gay republicans.

      Feb 23, 2009 at 11:18 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • atdleft
      atdleft

      Both Sean Penn and Dustin Lance Black gave great speeches last night and both (but especially Black as an out queer person himself!) made the case for equality in a way that most people can understand. Like it or not, most voters don’t decide on facts; they decide on emotion. One major reason why Prop H8 (CA), Prop 102 (AZ), and Amendment 2 (FL) all won was because the H8ers made an emotional argument for “protecting kids” and “saving families” while the “professionals” on our side were speaking “legalese”.

      I sincerely hope this is only the start of a new era when we make the political personal and we sincerely make an effort to win hearts AND minds.

      Feb 23, 2009 at 11:21 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jim
      Jim

      BTW, before others here “go off” on Republicans, I would suggest that they do a little historical research. Harvey Milk was Republican when he moved to San Francisco, and a very (pro-business) business owner. Milk didn’t leave the Republican Party, the party left him, both figuratively and literally. Today’s Republican Party has largely been taken over my Neocon Christianist nut-cases, and bears little resemblance to the Republican Party of Lincoln, Taft, or Harvey Milk. Second, the Republican Party of San Francisco literally went out of existence for awhile, and mostly only now exists in name. Anyone who wants to leverage politics to accomplish anything, for business, for social good, has no choice in San Francisco, but to go to the Democratic Party. San Francisco has effectively been a single party state, as much as Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, for several decades now. Sad, but true.

      Feb 23, 2009 at 11:31 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Sebbe
      Sebbe

      While I don’t agree with the republican party’s stance on any of the issues, I do think that ‘Conservative Republican’ and ‘Jim’ have made some valid points.

      That is until we get to Jim’s comment comparing the San Francisco political landscape to that of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, that I find quite the stretch. There are many places in the US that are equally dominated by the GOP and where the Democratic Party exists in name only for “anyone who wants to leverage politics to accomplish anything, for business, for social good”.

      Feb 23, 2009 at 11:47 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Sebbe
      Sebbe

      @Ed – Thanks for the link, I enjoyed seeing DLB answer the questions.

      Feb 23, 2009 at 11:47 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Paul Raposo
      Paul Raposo

      My chief concern is that situations like this suddenly make straight people the “go to” people on gay equality, while LGBTQ’s are ignored. Why is H’wood suddenly concerned with gay rights now? Where were they during the fight for Prop 8? Where was Sean Penn? It’s like Bono suddenly remembering that he cares about famine and the enviroment every time U2 has a new record in the wings.

      Feb 23, 2009 at 11:51 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Gregoire
      Gregoire

      Gay commentator creed #1: always find something to bitch about

      Feb 23, 2009 at 12:06 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • atdleft
      atdleft

      @Paul Raposo: Dustin Lance Black is an out gay man. I thought his speech and his answers to the press questions were great.

      Feb 23, 2009 at 12:10 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • kevin (not that one)
      kevin (not that one)

      @Paul Raposo: There were two wins for Milk last night. A gay man won an award, and a straight man won an award.

      Please stop purposely confusing this issue. I think you have an agenda to tear something down; I’m not sure what. But it’s getting tired.

      Feb 23, 2009 at 12:13 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jim
      Jim

      To clarify, I was not comparing the San Francisco Democratic Party to Saddam’s Bathists. I was comparing single party states to single party states. One could just as easily have compared the old Soviet Union, or China. A benign single party state, is nonetheless a single party state, one that does not tolerate diversity of political activity. How it reacts to attempts to override those prohibitions can very widely, and that’s what differentiates Bagdad-by-the-Bay from Old Bagdad. Still, as anyone of dissenting opinion knows, tolerance for divergent political opinion in San Francisco is not much more well received than tolerance for sexual diversity is in rural Texas.

      Feb 23, 2009 at 12:16 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • GranDiva
      GranDiva

      @Wolf:

      I personally have no objections to the cross-posting. The more places that the speeches get posted before ABC starts hitting YouTube up with cease-and-desist copyright violation orders tomorrow — the Jon Stewart Wii clip from last year springs to mind — the better.

      Feb 23, 2009 at 12:23 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • John from  England(used to be just John but there are other John's)
      John from England(used to be just John but there are other John's)

      @Jim:

      But the right do this ALL the time!

      Why is it when the left decide to fight back you guy go cry into your spilled milk!? (pardon the pun!)

      And yeah, I think it’s well known that he was a republican but he turned left…

      I don’t see what is republican about being pro-business?? We really need to stop living ‘old’ terms in parallel with our present time…

      I’m pro-business but I still think businesses should all have a sense of social responsibility to the environment were they seek to be. Which means not hiring illigal immigrants for a dollar but the people in the area.

      But this is what is hypocritical about the right. They claim they are ‘pro-the man’, re pro blue collar workers but they aren’t!? They’d rather get cheap labour to make 3 times the extra profit BUT then stir up trouble about ethnic minorities and immigrants..

      I mean what is it??

      Feb 23, 2009 at 12:24 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Sebbe
      Sebbe

      @Jim – It is an extreme comparison and no more relevant than comparing Texas (or other GOP dominated areas) to the far right government of Nazi Germany.

      Feb 23, 2009 at 12:26 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Paul Raposo
      Paul Raposo

      Dustin Lance Black is an out gay man. I thought his speech and his answers to the press questions were great.

      There were two wins for Milk last night. A gay man won an award, and a straight man won an award.

      To both atdleft and kevin, I know a gay man won an award last night. But this morning when I turned on the TV all I saw was Sean Penn. I didn’t see Black’s speech until I logged onto Queerty this morning. So it’s appraent who is getting and who will contnue to get all the press regarding “Milk” and it won’t be the queer.

      I think you have an agenda to tear something down; I’m not sure what. But it’s
      getting tired.

      And you know what else is getting tired, kevin? Shouting down anyone with a differing opinion. You don’t like what I write? Then challenge me on that. Don’t name call, make accusations and look for self-loathing where it doesn’t exist. Until I get banned–again–I will continue to state what I think. Like it, or lump it

      Feb 23, 2009 at 12:46 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ben
      Ben

      @Paul Raposo: To insinuate that Bono uses his good works only when he needs to promote his albums is shady at best. Will you ever be satisfied, content or even slightly optimistic? Why such a debbie downer?

      Feb 23, 2009 at 1:18 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Gregoire
      Gregoire

      “But this morning when I turned on the TV all I saw was Sean Penn. I didn’t see Black’s speech until I logged onto Queerty this morning. So it’s appraent who is getting and who will contnue to get all the press regarding “Milk” and it won’t be the queer.”

      Honestly, we can all see your stretch marks. You saw Sean Penn on all the channels because 1) he’s a MOVIE STAR and 2) he won for one of the top four categories. News agencies don’t lead with young first-time winners for Best Original Screenplay.

      “Shouting down anyone with a differing opinion. You don’t like what I write? Then challenge me on that. Don’t name call, make accusations and look for self-loathing where it doesn’t exist.”

      That’s a sorry justification for having a weak, uninformed opinion that is usually just thrown out there to be combative. Practically every statement you’ve ever made is for the mere sake of being contrary.

      Feb 23, 2009 at 1:26 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • M. Bergeron
      M. Bergeron

      “San Francisco has effectively been a single party state, as much as Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, for several decades now. Sad, but true.”

      minus the torture and death squads. Hyperbolic much?

      Feb 23, 2009 at 1:54 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • The Gay Numbers
      The Gay Numbers

      @John from England(used to be just John but there are other John’s): Nicely stated. Nothing pisses me off more than to listen to the right talk about my views on social capitalism as being somehow not capitalism. They confuse their variant of laissez faire capitalism with the only way in which capitalism can exist. Their variant being oligarchial multinational powerful companies that answer to no one. We are in this mess economically across the globe now because we have been following their failed idealogical views for 30 years. We are repeating history now becauese this global economic collapse grows out of that laissez faire thinking as it did in the 30s. Back then it was called “roughed individualism”

      Mostly what conservatives seem to want is the freedom to do whatever they want, but for us not to have the same freedom.

      Feb 23, 2009 at 1:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • The Gay Numbers
      The Gay Numbers

      Re Politics and the Oscars

      What they mean is they don’t want to hear about us gays. There are people who said the same thing during Brokeback Mountain. That the mere inclusion of a gay movie meant Hollywood is trying to be political. By the way, they used to say the same thing of black films. This is as old as bigotry. The group in power (and their apologists even withing the minority community being harmed) will say that any discussion or inclusion is per se political. It’s a no will discussion because you are damned by the very fact you exist. So you may as well say what you want, and ignore them.

      Feb 23, 2009 at 1:59 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • hardmannyc
      hardmannyc

      ConservativeRepublican: Some of us don’t want to “normalize homosexuality.” We LIKE being “abnormal.” It’s why we’re called “gay.”

      Feb 23, 2009 at 2:11 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jim
      Jim [Different person #1 using similar name]

      @Sebbe:

      Ah, but that is precisely my point, it isn’t extreme at all. I’ve live in San Francisco, as well as in “exteme” right-wing areas of the country as well. I’ve also traveled to a great many countries that are truly dictatorships even though they pretend/ed to be liberal utopias. And here is what I’ve noticed…

      In San Francisco man can walk down Market Street wearing a dress and be perfectly safe — as long as he’s not wearing a vote GOP button on his coat lapel. In short — the diversity that San Francisco promotes is too often superficial. When push comes to shove, in the areas the really count, like freedom of speech and thought, San Francisco often fails. As another example, take property rights. During the 80s, it was in San Francisco that the bath houses were closed down by government fiat, that individuals were deprived of their individual choices over their own lives and property. In right-wing places like Texas and Florida though, no one dreamed of doing such a thing — because it was a property rights issue. There were a respect for the rights of peoples’ individual choices and ownerships. Sure you’d get yelled at, and possibly assaulted, especially if yours was an ugly dress, but no damn government was going to tell what kind of business you ran behind your own closed doors.

      So, my point here is this, things aren’t simple. I’m damn proud of Harvey Milk, and Saun Penn, and San Francisco, but I’m also proud of those places that had the courage to say that what someone does with their own property is their own business. It takes all kinds to run a world, and that means allowing for more diversity than just being able to wear a dress and a mustache at the same time. This also requires being truthful and honest — something that I’m not sure Penn was doing on Sunday night. Maybe he was, maybe he wasn’t. Either way, it was a beautiful speech. I was simply asking for clarification on that point. Where are the pictures?

      Feb 23, 2009 at 2:11 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ConservativeRepublican
      ConservativeRepublican

      @hardmannyc:

      LOL. Honey, you can continue being as “abnormal: as you want. No one is saying you have to quit gay culture. But part of the battle in gaining equal rights is the majority recognizing that gays are ‘normal’ in the sense that they are also regular human beings who deserve all the rights that straights do, even if their culture is confusing to some.

      Feb 23, 2009 at 2:18 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • M. Bergeron
      M. Bergeron

      Jim, there is a Republican party in SF, but the voters don’t vote for their candidates in large enough numbers to get them elected to office in this city. It’s called democracy.

      Feb 23, 2009 at 2:23 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • M. Bergeron
      M. Bergeron

      “but no damn government was going to tell what kind of business you ran behind your own closed doors.”

      Can you then explain why it is illegal to sell dildoes to adults in Texas?

      Feb 23, 2009 at 2:37 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • John from  England(used to be just John but there are other John's)
      John from England(used to be just John but there are other John's)

      @Jim:

      Why are you asking about the pictures?? Who would take pictures? Are you saying that Westboro were NOT prostesting?

      So it was just some lefty irrational rant? Like they are out to get us?? What like ‘those WMD?’ huh…?? :)

      That was low only kidding.

      I’m sure if you google the Westboro, they may have some pics up…

      May be I’m corrupt but let me humor this situation. What if he WAS lying? And so what? Was it NOT for the greater good?

      I mean..it’s not like he asked us to go invade an oil rich country, OR a country with minerals OR a country with muchos cocaine?

      He said they were there..because they ALWAYS tend to be and that we should be ashamed for voting against equal rights for gays…people like YOU and erm, ME.

      That was all.

      YOU are so transparent.

      YOU don’t like Penn. End OF.

      Why?

      Cause of his support for Hugo Chavez…

      Damn the right wing and their hidden agenda! lol!

      Feb 23, 2009 at 2:42 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • John from  England(used to be just John but there are other John's)
      John from England(used to be just John but there are other John's)

      @hardmannyc:

      Being gay isn’t abnormal….at all…this was normal for a very long time in so many cultures…..not US though to be fair..

      But I think you meant it in kneejerk to @ConservativeRepublican: comments about acting ‘normal’ to spread the word…

      Which is wrong too but I don’t think he used the right context/vocab…though I saw what he was getting at and I see its usefulness/importance for sure.

      Feb 23, 2009 at 2:46 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ConservativeRepublican
      ConservativeRepublican

      @John from England(used to be just John but there are other John’s):

      Indeed. I used a poor choice of words there, but as you said, the rest of my post made it clear what I meant. Apologies to anyone who was offended.

      Feb 23, 2009 at 2:54 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chris
      Chris

      @Paul Raposo:

      The writer never gets the press when the actor also wins. Sean Penn is a star, or course he’s on TV…very few people have heard of Black, it’s as simple as that.

      Feb 23, 2009 at 3:17 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Marty
      Marty

      I’m sorry, but Penn cannot help but ring as vainglorious and pompous. We are his cause of the week and he put on a performance at the podium, nothing more nothing less. If not for Milk, Mr Penn would be, “Gays who?”

      Whereas with Dustin Lance Black, his speech was right from the heart and out of actual experience, he would have given that same speech for any Oscar he would have won, not just for winning for Milk.

      Feb 23, 2009 at 4:01 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Paul Raposo
      Paul Raposo

      You saw Sean Penn on all the channels because 1) he’s a MOVIE STAR and 2) he won for one of the top four categories.

      And three, he’s straight.

      News agencies don’t lead with young first-time winners for Best Original Screenplay.

      Yes, because Diablo Cody was neve mentioned. Ever.

      That’s a sorry justification for having a weak, uninformed opinion that is usually just thrown out there to be combative. Practically every statement you’ve ever made is for the mere sake of being contrary.

      Bullshit. If you have nothing of substance to challenge my arguments with, then don’t.

      Feb 23, 2009 at 4:16 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Paul Raposo
      Paul Raposo

      The writer never gets the press when the actor also wins. Sean Penn is a star, or course he’s on very few people have heard of Black, it’s as simple as that.

      And again, Diablo Cody.

      Feb 23, 2009 at 4:18 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • kevin (not that one)
      kevin (not that one)

      @Paul Raposo: I have to hand it to you, Paul. You sure love to fight. Unfortunately, this is the wrong forum.

      We could really use your enthusiasm over on Freeper websites or on mainstream media forums where a number of anti-gay trolls post pretty hateful and obscene stuff. Someone like you would do well there.

      But it really seems like you’re trying to antagonize posters and readers here.

      Perhaps this speaks to the reason why you were banned in the first place?

      Feb 23, 2009 at 4:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ConservativeRepublican
      ConservativeRepublican

      @kevin (not that one):

      When was that guy banned?

      Feb 23, 2009 at 4:46 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Paul Raposo
      Paul Raposo

      You sure love to fight. Unfortunately, this is the wrong forum.

      I don’t love to fight, kevin. I like stating what I think. Don’t mistake that for belligerence.
      We could really use your enthusiasm over on Freeper websites or on mainstream media forums where a number of anti-gay trolls post pretty hateful and obscene stuff. Someone like you would do well there.

      Have you been to Freeperville? I was banned there in 2001, 2003, 2004. I have also been banned from Gay Patriot; North Dallas Thirty; That Gay Conservative; homocon.net; heterophobic.net; American Elephant; Protein Wisdom; The Bartcop Forum (lifted); kurlander.blogspot.com; http://www.sondrak.com; a slew of Canadian blogs under the Blogging Tories banner; Small Dead Animals; and lastly–the one I’m most proud of–Mark Steyn’s blog.

      You know why I was banned, kevin? Because I challenged the stupidity of various posters ideas of the LGBTQ community. I didn’t sit here in the comfort of Queerty and bath in the warmth of group think, while sipping the Kool-Aid.

      And you seriously need to get off this kick that I’m homophobic and anti-gay for stating my opinion on Penn and the movie–the goddamned movie–of Harvey Milk’s life. When I want to know about Harvey Milk, I was the far better, “The Life And Times Of Harvey Milk”. I don’t need to watch a H’wood actor portray him, when I can watch the real man.

      But it really seems like you’re trying to antagonize posters and readers here.

      Yes, kevin, that’s it. It’s like medicine to me!

      Perhaps this speaks to the reason why you were banned in the first place?

      Independent thought? I can’t possibly understand how that could frighten you. Seriously, I know why I was banned and it’s not for what you think it was

      Feb 23, 2009 at 4:52 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Paul Raposo
      Paul Raposo

      Great. I hyper-linked Sondra K’s website. Please don’t go there unless you want your face to melt off like in, “Raiders of the Lost Ark”.

      Feb 23, 2009 at 4:54 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bruno
      Bruno

      Some may think that Penn went a bit extreme in his words, but we all know he’s on the right side of history. In 20 years, won’t not just the LGBT community but most people be looking back at his comments as brave and insightful? That’s what I’m betting.

      Black’s speech was wonderful.

      Feb 23, 2009 at 6:08 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Gregoire
      Gregoire

      “Yes, because Diablo Cody was neve mentioned. Ever.”

      THAT’S your retort? Oh Jesus. She’s a self-promoting, former pole-dancing fame-whore.

      Feb 23, 2009 at 6:42 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Paul Raposo
      Paul Raposo

      THAT’S your retort?

      Yes it is. And it contradicts your claim that:

      News agencies don’t lead with young first-time winners for Best Original Screenplay.

      She’s a self-promoting, former pole-dancing fame-whore.

      Yes she is. And don’t you find it nauseating that she got more press than Black ever will? You know what they say in Hollywood:

      Don’t get caught in bed with a dead woman, or a live boy.

      Feb 23, 2009 at 6:49 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jim
      Jim

      @M. Bergeron:

      What part of behind closed doors didn’t you understand? Besides, I won’t argue the point, there are exceptions to every rule, and every generalization. Again, complexity. That’s why diversity is needed, competitive diversity.

      Feb 23, 2009 at 8:41 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jim
      Jim

      @M. Bergeron:

      Is it really a democracy if we all only vote for the same pre-approved candidates from a single party? Is a dictatorship of the mind imposed voluntarily from within really any better than any other form of dictatorship imposed from without? Sorry, that’s not my freedom. I agree with Gertrude, ” If I can’t dance, I don’t want any part of your revolution. “

      Feb 23, 2009 at 8:54 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jim
      Jim

      @John from England(used to be just John but there are other John’s):

      What kind of corrupt jerk do you think I am? Of course I Googled for pictures, and videos, and I checked Westboro’s own website. No pictures, not even a mention of the Oscars.

      Even still, I haven’t yet made any accusation, I’ve only asked for an explanation. Was it two demonstrators? A dozen? Was it organized? Who was it? Or was it metaphorical? A literary device? All I asked for was an answer.

      As for WMD, and greater good, well, precisely. I hold myself to higher standard, and I hold Penn to a higher standard as well. I expect that the descent people who will actually build a better society will do so by NOT lying or manipulating the truth to achieve their political goals.

      “The ends justifying the means” is a corrupt philosophy that has brought us the last 2,000 (or more) of political and social disasters. If you want to continue in that moldy old mold, that is your choice. I chose not to do so.

      Feb 23, 2009 at 9:06 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ConservativeRepublican
      ConservativeRepublican

      @Jim:

      I saw with my own two eyes that the Kodak Theatre was on Westboro’s protest schedule for the night of the Oscars. I think it’s obvious that it was them. Since their schedule apparently updates daily, past dates are not on there. They do list past cities, but not exact locations, so that’s not what you want. I’ll see if I kind find another source.

      Feb 23, 2009 at 9:46 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • ConservativeRepublican
      ConservativeRepublican

      Ah, ha! Here it is. A press release that says “WBC to Picket the Sodomite Academy Awards”: http://www.godhatesfags.com/written/fliers/20090115_academy-awards.pdf

      Feb 23, 2009 at 9:48 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • HYHYBT
      HYHYBT

      I’m glad for the speech; it’s too easy to ignore someone gay speaking for gay rights (“He only said that because he’s gay himself”) but harder when it’s someone not directly affected.

      As for the other, unintended topic of the thread: there’s no point in arguing with someone who *brags* about being so disagreeable that he gets banned everywhere he goes, and lists a dozen or so examples.

      Feb 24, 2009 at 3:25 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Paul Raposo
      Paul Raposo

      there’s no point in arguing with someone who *brags* about being so disagreeable that he gets banned everywhere he goes, and lists a dozen or so examples.

      I’m not bragging about being banned. I’m pointing out that contrary to kevin’s comment, I do visit blogs that are not friendly to the LGBTQ community and challenge them on thier ignorance. Perhaps if you actually visited some of those blogs, HYHYBT, you would notice that many are homocon blogs whose writings are on par with anything written by Jerry Falwell.

      Feb 24, 2009 at 9:43 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • M. Bergeron
      M. Bergeron

      @ Jim:

      Again with the hyperbole. Why don’t you run for office. If you have a message that resonates with the voters of this city, you’ll get elected. Sheesh.

      Feb 24, 2009 at 12:54 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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