Friday, July 17, 2009

Outrage (Rhoades)

Come Out to See “Outrage” at Tropic

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

A couple of weeks ago I signed a petition in support of Lt. Dan Choi, urging the abolition of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” military guideline. Chou, as you will recall, is the Iraq war veteran and West Point grad, who is being discharged for admitting he is gay.

I was wondering how effective the petition might be when a screener for this little documentary came along.

Titled “Outrage,” the film just as easily could have been called “Hypocrisy.” However, “Outrage” aptly expresses the director’s angry viewpoint about secretly gay politicians who vote against LGBT rights. The title’s also a double-word double entendre.

Worth 90 minutes of your time, “Outrage” is playing this week at the Tropic Cinema.
Director Kirby Dick’s documentaries often deal with the theme of secrecy and hypocrisy. He was nominated for an Academy Award for 2005’s “Twist of Faith,” a story about a man who was abused by a Catholic priest as a teenager.

I first became aware of his work with 2006’s “This Film Is Not Rated,” an examination of how the Motion Picture Association of America’s secretive ratings board works. Originally, this film was rated NC-17, but Dick ultimately choose to release it without a rating as a political statement.

“This Film Is Not Rated” took the position that the MPAA often turns a blind eye to violence while going out of its way to censor homosexuality.

Thus it’s not surprising that “Outrage” takes on those two-faced politicians who ignore gay rights. Even to the point of promoting anti-gay legislation.

As Washington DC city councilmember David Catania says early in the film, “Very often those self-hating gay people who in the closet are the most vicious towards other gays and lesbians, there’s a way to kinda deflect attention away from their own orientation.”

Yes, you will meet a rainbow array of politicos – from gay-as-a-goose Barney Frank to in-denial Larry Craig of toilet stall fame. Among those examined are NJ’s former governor Jim McGreevey and New York’s former mayor Ed Koch. Others who speak up are openly gay Tammy Baldwin (a Democratic Congresswoman) and Jim Kobe (a Republican Congressman).

Dick Cheney’s daughter is taken to task for supporting the Bush-Cheney ticket while disagreeing with its stance on gay right. “I’m completely unimpressed that she doesn’t agree with President Bush or her father Dick Cheney,” says Elizabeth Birch, former executive director of Humans Rights Campaign, “when in fact she worked, she was a paid operative, to get them elected and then re-elected.”

And 2004 Bush/Cheney campaign manager Ken Mehlman is outted by politically incorrect Bill Maher on The Larry King Show. When King asked, “Why would someone who is gay take public anti-gay positions, why would you do that?” Maher responded, “Hating yourself is the greatest love of all.”

Many politicians are outted, or at least accused. For example, the film claims that Florida’s governor Charlie Crist leads a privately gay lifestyle while opposing same-sex marriage and adoption in public. You will hear his accusers and see them on camera. “The closet, particularly in the mist of a cultural war, suffocates the integrity of decent people,” comments Patrick Guerriero, former executive director Log Cabin Republicans.

So how do so many politicians remain in the closet? Kirby Dick describes the reluctance of the news media to delve into this subject as “a form of institutionalized homophobia” that results in self-censorship.

If you are reading these words, you’ll know that this review was not censored by this newspaper.
[from Solares Hill]

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