Sunday, December 21, 2008

Milk, The Movie and Prop 8

The Castro Theater with a poster for the film Milk, photo posted on Flickr by magerleagues

I wish this movie was released in October, before our elections. Maybe, just maybe, it would have impacted the outcome of Prop 8. Harvey Milk fought against a similar proposition. It wasn't about marriage, but a prop to keep homosexuals from teaching.

Sean Penn as Harvey Milk

Anyway, Sean Penn delivers one of the best lines of the film when arguing against keeping homosexuals from teaching. He says, "I went to school for 12 years and was taught by heterosexuals. It didn't make me a heterosexual." Touche.

Sean Penn and James Franco are great in their roles as lovers. Just perfect. I think Penn deserves an award for his performance. Emile Hirsh and Diego Luna are fantastic. Luna's vulnerability and fragility shine through in his role. Wow. And Josh Brolin proves once again his range and ability to become the person he is portraying.

Milk (Sean Penn) with his lover Scott Smith (James Franco), photo posted by Derek Bai Xiang Chen on Flickr

Gus Van Sant is the director. A great job he did with this subject matter. San Francisco's Castro Street really looked like that in the late 70s. Good set design.

I remember when all this happened. I was convinced that Dan White was homophobic and this is why he went after the mayor and Milk, who had recently been elected city supervisor. However, the film tells a different story. I did not know Dan White was disgruntled. Now I am convinced it had nothing to do with Milk being gay.

Harvey Milk, photo posted by bobster1985 on Flickr

The "twinkie" defense is when I began to believe all lawyers to be liars. The "twinkie" defense? Are you serious? I would have bought temporary insanity. In case you weren't born or don't remember, White's attorney argued that White was eating too many twinkies and the sugar made him crazy.

Remember the gay basher, Anita Bryant? Remember her orange juice ads? I think we all boycotted orange juice in support of the gay community. She's in the film. Silly woman.

I do not know why people fear homosexuality. Why do they care? I only know that I have worked with gay teens. They are at the highest risk among teenagers to commit suicide.

My first year teaching I had a student from Micronesia (The Marshall Islands). He was androgynous looking with long flowing hair.

When I first met him, he was not sure about his sexuality. However, through the course of the year he came out to me. I saw this boy tormented by other students to the point he did not want to leave my classroom to go to lunch.

So he started hanging out in my classroom at lunch with a few other students who were misfits. We'd listen to music and shoot the breeze.

I brought in some old David Bowie music. He loved David Bowie. I told the kid that Bowie was bold for his time. We both loved the song, Rebel, Rebel and put it on repeat mode. You know... the song with the line, "you're not sure if you're a boy or a girl."
This crowd scene from Milk could be from our recent protests after Prop 8 was passed banning gay marriage

This student eventually dropped out of school. He could not take the ridicule. The film Boys Don't Cry comes to mind. Except he was a boy who wanted to be a girl.

I have kept in touch with this boy and his father. He is a she now and changed her name to Lelani. She lives and works in another state. No one knows she was a he. She had a boob job and is on hormones. Lelani looks just like Cindy Crawford.

I think Keith Olbermann from MSNBC said it best when he made a commentary on Prop 8. I agree with everything he says. If interested, I am posting it below.

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