It Does a Body Good

harvey-milk
i’m here.  i’m queer.  get used to it.

i thought i should get that out of the way.  tonight was the night when peaches and herb decided to go out to times square and see a flick.  milk was the feature.

on a normal night, gus van sant is only so-so.  his films are usually either heavy-handed or heavy-handed.  while this is true, i usually like them anyway.  elephant was heavy, but it was a new concept, and i think it was carried off effectively.  i walked away feeling i’d seen something useful and interesting.

tonight was no different.

yes, everyone is talking about sean penn’s performance.  and it is pretty damn good.  a few of the other performances seemed a little stereotyped, but i can’t say they aren’t on target for who these people were, so i will only say it runs the risk of being a caricature from time to time.  alison pill, though.  i am glad to see her this time.  she is lovely and young and fresh and completely able to convince me of anything.  in pieces of april (with Patricia Clarkson… oh god, i love her), she was amazing and young and fresh.  and she is beginning to be something of a revelation here… as Milk’s lesbian campaign manager.

most importantly… this movie reminded me of the part of me that likes to do things like march on washington.  it reminds me of days when i thought all the activism i practiced as an undergraduate student would actually help me change the world… of days when i thought the world could be changed.  i felt vaguely inspired, and at times, i almost cried.

in general, the film was a joy to watch.  it was funny and sad and well put-together.  and it sickens me that now is the time when tis is so necessary.  should we really be NEEDING this film now?  should we not already know who harvey milk is?  should we not have been represented already?

but most people have know idea who milk is.  most people do not realize that we still lack accurate representation.  most people (us included) have failed to care about their own visibility.  and this is the film that helps to shake us out of that stupor.

i am compelled to make this a protest blog, to say i was inspired (i was) or that i am proud (i am).  but i feel like it would be dishonest to simply say that i think what Milk brings up in me is joy.

it does bring up joy in me.  it does.  but it also brings up a lot of anger.  i find it shocking that i am still living in a time and place in which homosexuality is still hated.  i cannot even imagine homophobia as a valid point of view anymore.  on the heels of proposition 8, i am sick inside to know how much i (and the many people i love and who love me) am hated.  and i use that word on purpose.  i find it disgusting that people are threatened by loving same sex relationships.  i find myself growing in anger.  i find myself thinking that no one has the right to say or do the things fucker like anita bryant have done.  i find myself feeling more persecuted… and not less so.

so what then, can a gay girl take away from a film like Milk?  a film that shows the male side of what it means to be a homosexual.  i am still working on what i should really be taking away from it.  but i think i can safely say that it was nice to have anyone from my community receive such screen space and time.  it feels like the liberal establishment in hollywood has come to bat for us for once, and i am pleased to latch on to something that makes me feel even a little bit enfranchised.

I was surprised by how much watching the movie hurt.  i did not want to be that person who left a movie about her minority group and thought it was good for just those reasons, but here i am.  i am understanding what all this means to people, and i now feel so injured by the current state of american politics.  i cannot believe that people still think “tolerance” is a good word.  i cannot believe that people are still validated when they treat others like lepers.

so would i go see this if i weren’t gay?  yes.  it was nice to hear the audience get excited and hear them clap at the end.  and to hear them boo when Anita Bryant was on screen.  it was nice.  it was a brave movie, and that is enough for me.

but i do think people will feel differently if they are not gay.  they could still love them film, but as i read once about male feminists, it is about the “felt oppression of [orientation]-based violence.”  it’s our experience.  and it is wonderful to have ownership of something for once… it is wonderful to see people discover what it is for us to be invisible.

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~ by acaseofyou12581 on December 13, 2008.

3 Responses to “It Does a Body Good”

  1. Richie and I saw this in the theater. As a straight woman, I was angry. I’ve always viewed hatred as the most wasted human emotion. I always wonder what could be accomplished if the Anita Bryants and Senator Briggs’ focused all of that anger somewhere else, like violence against women. Or more education funding. Something useful, something that will acutally benefit society. This actually caused me to break with religion and get into a fight with God. How can a truly loving and compassionate God love everyone except this one particular group of people who wasn’t doing anything wrong excep loving someone of the same sex? I thought love was all that mattered. Well, and respect and kindness. If a relationship had all those things, who cares it’s heterosexual or homosexual? It’s something I grapple with in my spirituality.

  2. As you know, I am an atheist. Personally, for me it is an argument of privacy. What I do in my life is none of your goddamned business. Dig?

  3. Dig.

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