Politics Archive for March, 2010

More Fun with Gay Bashing

Just when you thought it was safe to be gay and bring your date to the prom, here’s a story about gay teen Derrick Martin. Martin’s school was smart enough (perhaps in the wake of the whole Constance McMillen thing) not to tell him he couldn’t bring his boyfriend to the prom, but some of the brighter minds among the teen brain trust at his high school are protesting against him anyhow.
Way to represent your generation, y’all!
Oh, and representing THEIR generation, we also have Martin’s parents, who reportedly booted him out of his home over the controversy. They get the “Managing to Have Sex and Produce Offspring Does NOT Make One a Parent” award of the week. No one’s come up with any pics of Martin’s wonderfully supportive folks yet, but here’s betting they’re hardcore Bible-thumpers. (And before any of my Christian friends get offended, I mean that in the hypocritical, falsely moralizing, doesn’t-really-live-by-the-teachings-of-Christ sense, not as a slam against those of the faith generally.)

Chicks and Anime

Really excellent piece on the Guardian by Anne Billson on tough girls in anime (thanks once again to Ray Pride, who unearths the most interesting stories on the internet for our readers). This piece is completely spot-on, and really speaks to what attracts both me and my 13-year-old daughter Neve to anime and manga. Well, that and the fact that the best manga and anime consistently offer more interesting stories and character development than most books and films aimed at kids these days.

Victory for Constance McMillen

A Mississippi court ruled that the Itawamba County School District violated the First Amendment rights of Constance McMillen when it canceled the school’s prom rather than allow the openly gay student to attend the prom with her girlfriend, wearing a gender-bending tuxedo. What?! Girls in tuxedos? What is the world coming to?
Good for the court for making the right ruling here. And wow, do I ever admire Constance, who has been open about being a lesbian since eighth grade. Ponder that a moment, if you would. I grew up in Oklahoma, not exactly what I would call the most welcoming, safe place to come of age and realize you are gay or lesbian or bisexual. Constance, growing up in Mississippi, had the courage to come out as who she is in eighth grade.
That, my friends, takes courage, and a remarkable sense of knowing who you are and believing in yourself at a very young age. Good for her, and I hope she and her girlfriend have a swell time at the alternative, open prom being planned by parents. Shine on in that tux, girl, and make some great memories.

Diary of a Wimpy Film Journalist

As an excercise, for the next 30 days I’m going to try using this space as an online journal of sorts to capture whatever random thoughts pop into my head about film during the day. Short posts, though maybe a longer follow-up if an idea that pops up really intrigues me.Curious to see what this pulls up; I have all these random thoughts about film all the time. Things like, Whatever happened to the kids (Elijah Wood and Joseph Mazzello) who played the brothers in Radio Flyer? Or: Someone should do a remake of ‘Full House’ as a feature movie aimed at kids.
… Only make it starring Chris Rock in the role of Danny Tanner and Sinbad and Mo’Nique as his brother and friend. And whenever the bratty kids (at least two of them should be Will Smith’s kids) get mouthy Mo’Nique can smack ’em around and put ’em in line. Tyler Perry can produce and direct.
Your comments are welcome, let me know if you like how it’s going.

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Let Constance Take Her Girlfriend to the Prom

And now, a brief pause while we delve into the realm of the political …
As I’m sure most of you folks know, there’s been this little brouhaha stirring in Mississippi around Constance McMillen, a teenage lesbian who wanted to bring her girlfriend to prom and gender-bend by wearing a tux herself. Now, this is a pretty common thing here in Seattle, and may be in your neck of the woods, but down there in Mississippi the principal and school board freaked the hell OUT about it, and actually canceled prom so as to not allow this miscreant rebel of a teenager to bring her filthy lesbianism into a hallowed institution of clean-cut fun like the prom. Her presence with her girlfriend, it seems, was going to be just too darn distracting.
In his Savage Love column this week, the lovely and eloquent Dan Savage asked his readers (and whoo-boy, are there a lot of you pervy types out there who like to read his advice on fetishes, three-ways, potentially gay husbands and other such deviant-ness) to show Constance that she is supported by many people by doing any or all of these things:
“E-mail, call, and fax Itawamba Schools superintendent Teresa McNeece (tmcneece@itawamba.k12.ms.us, phone 662-862-2159 ext. 14, fax 662-862-4713) and Itawamba Agricultural principal Trae Wiygul (twiygul@itawamba.k12.ms.us, 662-862-3104). Then join the Facebook page “Let Constance Take Her Girlfriend to Prom.” And, finally, make donations to the Mississippi Safe Schools Coalition (www.mssafeschools.org), which is organizing an alternate prom that will welcome all students, and make a larger donation to the ACLU LGBT Project (www.tinyurl.com/yl9mvkb).
Call, write, fax, donate. Constance needs to know that there are people all over the world who are on her side. And, more importantly, Itawamba County Schools needs to know that we’re not going to let them get away with this. Be respectful, but be relentless. Let’s show these bigots what a real distraction looks like. Get ’em.”
Me again. You’ll find the letter I sent after the jump. Read it, be entertained, and then please take the time to support gay rights in general and Constance in particular by writing your own letter, joining the Facebook page, and making a donation. Dan is right … we need to send a message, not just to the school board and principal, but more importantly to Constance — and all the gay and lesbian teens out there — that they are NOT alone, that they are not bad people, or deviants who should be discriminated against, that they are okay. Please join me.

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon