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Brad and Angelina Stand Up, While Lance and Reichen Accept an Award September 9, 2006

Posted by newsfittopost in entertainment, lgbt Issues, lgbt organizations.
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Celebrity magazines across America were dealt a terrible blow yesterday: They will not have wedding pictures of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie for a long time to come.

Although my ignorance of celebrity gossip is a constant obstacle when talk about Project Runway and America’s Next Top Model dominates lunchroom conversation, I was more than pleased to hear about the recent announcement by one of Hollywood’s favorite men.

In an interview with Esquire magazine, Brad Pitt announced that he and Angelina Jolie will not be getting married until “everyone else in the country who wants to be married is legally able.” In the obvious reference to gay and lesbian couples, Brad and Angelina (Brangelina as my more hip friends tell me) have joined other celebrities like Charlize Theron in a stand for marriage equality.

The announcement is a generous sacrifice on behalf of the Hollywood couple and is sure to generate positive media coverage about same-sex couples, but it is important to note the relative ease in which Brad and Angelina can make this decision. The couple is more than financially secure and is able to forgo the protections and benefits of marriage because of this security. In addition, Brad and Angelina have the money and resources to draft hundreds of pages in legal documents protecting their assets and ensuring their children will remain together if one parent were to be injured or killed. This is a great luxury that most same-sex couples cannot afford, placing their children and assets at great risk if some unforeseen event were to occur. Brad and Angelina’s move is welcomed, but remember that many gay and lesbian couples who need the protection of marriage do not have this choice to make.

But while Brad and Angelina take a stand in support of marriage equality, the Human Rights Campaign will be awarding another couple for reasons unknown. As a recent Washington Blade article noted, the nation’s largest gay and lesbian organization will be giving their “Visibility Award” to the latest celebrity gay couple: Lance Bass and Reichen Lehmkuhl. Lance Bass, who was outed by the New York Post and countless bloggers, will be receiving the award despite refusing to take a stand for lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender issues. Here is what Lance Bass has said since coming out:

  • It’s helping the career: “I think, business-wise, it’s been crazy, because everyone is paying attention to what I’m doing now… Everyone’s been very supportive.”
  • I don’t hate myself: “The thing is, I’m not ashamed – that’s the one thing I want to say. I don’t think it’s wrong, I’m not devastated going through this.”
  • Just enjoying what others work hard for: “I think the gay community is going to hop on my back because I’m not going to lead the parades and be this crazy activist. I don’t want to be a poster child.”

Although Lance Bass has every right to live his life the way he wants, the Human Rights Campaign should not be handing out awards to celebrities simply because they were outed. Celebrities are wonderful carriers for messages of equality: The media pays attention to their every word and countless movie-watching Americans consider them idols. But Lance Bass has essentially said he will not work to advance equality for gay and lesbian people, so it is shameful that HRC is wasting an award that should be going to a true advocate for gay and lesbian rights.

In the last few days, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have taken a stronger stand for gay people than Lance Bass has in the past two months. Although Lance does not want to end up a “crazy activist”, I have little doubt that he will take advantage of all the rights and privileges those “crazy activists” have worked so hard for. Hopefully, the “crazy activists” at HRC will realize their fundraising-first decision to recognize Lance Bass will harm their credibility as an organization that places principles over budget concerns. Celebrities are great, but not at the expense of making the advancement of gay and lesbian rights the first priority.

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‘Survivor’ Brings Diversity to Its Cast & Segregates Them August 24, 2006

Posted by newsfittopost in communities of color, entertainment.
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Insanity.

CBS has an insulting and backward plan for its next season of Survivor. The reality show will answer critics who claim the show had no diversity by making this year’s diverse cast particularly noticeable: it will divide up its participants into four tribes based on race. There will be a Black tribe, Asian-American tribe, Latino/a tribe and white tribe. The groups will battle it out in competitions that will essentially place race against race.

CBS has decided to make up for its nearly all-white casts of the past by imposing segregation this season. What the hell is CBS thinking?

What Others Are Saying:

Alas, a blog – Survivor Creates Race Based Tribes–Now Why Did They Have to Go and Do That?

Direland – Race War: Why Sumner Redstone Should Fire Leslie Moonves as Head of CBS

Media Matters – Limbaugh Handicapped Races in New Survivor Series, Suggested “African-American Tribe” Worst Swimmers, Hispanics “Will Do Things Other People Won’t Do”

PopWatch – ‘Survivor’: Stereotypical Fun

Evan Roberts Free Cage – CBS’s Survivor Goes to Racism

The Right-Wing’s Defense of Mel Gibson August 4, 2006

Posted by newsfittopost in entertainment, hate speech, religion.
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The whole Mel Gibson affair has been an ugly display of how many Americans rationalize bigotry and refuse to understand the impact of hateful speech. The worst offense, of course, was Mel Gibson’s anti-Semitic comments the night he was arrested for drunk driving. We have heard his apology and every individual may choose whether or not to accept it. For me, it is hard to accept an apology for anti-Semitic comments when it is quite obvious that Mel Gibson himself still harbors his anti-Jewish beliefs… a public relations disaster cannot reverse a lifetime of prejudice towards a particular group.

What has disturbed me almost as much as the Mel Gibson episode itself is the right-wing response to the incident. When Rep. Patrick Kennedy was caught driving drunk in Washington DC, Fox News and the right-wing had an absolute field day. They had every right to criticize the congressman for risking the lives of others by driving under the influence, but you would expect them to be equally as angry when Mel Gibson was pulled over while sloshed. Instead, we have seen a consistent right-wing defense of Mel Gibson, including a defense of his anti-Semitic tirade and attempt to resist arrest.

On the August 2 edition of Hannity & Colmes, Sean Hannity attempts to compare the outrage over Patrick Kennedy’s arrest to the outrage over Mel Gibson’s arrest. Of course, he mentions his appreciation for Gibson’s honesty about his nighttime adventure and criticizes Kennedy for not “telling the truth” when he was pulled over. Hannity somehow comes to the conclusion that Kennedy’s incident was much more offensive than Gibson’s, ignoring the fact that Kennedy had a peaceful arrest while Gibson verbally attacked a Jewish officer:

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: All right. Now I want to ask you, when Patrick Kennedy crashed his car into a barrier, saying to police at 3 in the morning he was going for a vote and was taken home by police, I said, “I want him to get help.” I said, “But what he didn’t do at the time was admit the truth.”

ANN COULTER, [DUMBASS] GUEST: Right.

HANNITY: Gibson, I want him to get help.

COULTER: Right. He has a little sketchy-wetchy (ph) problem.

HANNITY: He’s drinking. He says these things.

COULTER: Right.

HANNITY: But he came on and admitted it, profoundly apologized. After he gets help, he plans to make good. It seems it’s not going to be accepted by people. Should it be?

COULTER: Sure. Of course. What people do when they’re drunk, especially someone with a problem, as Gibson apparently has, I mean, obviously it’s a different standard. He didn’t, you know, drive a woman off a bridge and, you know, he’s not trying to sit on the Senate Judiciary Committee either.

HANNITY: By the way, and he didn’t go home that night, and he admitted the truth. It seems to be a big difference. That doesn’t matter.

COULTER: And meanwhile, what he says, blind drunk is what Cindy Sheehan says. Stone cold sober. And according to Maureen Dowd, she has absolute moral authority. So how about talking to all of these Democrat supporters who talk like Gibson does when he’s drunk?

HANNITY: All right. Let me ask you this. Is it always going to be…

COULTER: And that isn’t exaggeration, by the way.

HANNITY: No, no. But is there always going to be a double standard when it comes to conservatives, what they say, liberals what they say, liberals, as you mentioned, a bridge incident. Liberals have always forgiven and forgotten.

COULTER: Right.

HANNITY: I honestly want Patrick Kennedy to get help. I’ve known a lot of people that have had alcohol or drug problems. And I said so at the time. But you’ve got to be straight with us.

The mind-numbing banter between Coulter and Hannity was a not-so-eloquent attempt to avoid why Americans are angry with Mel Gibson. I have barely heard any criticism of Gibson because he was drunk driving… people are angry over his anti-Semitic comments. What is this bullshit about honesty and finding the nearest Alcoholics Anonymous? People are not criticizing Gibson for the disease of alcoholism, he is being criticized because of another disease that he chooses to keep: bigotry.

Leaving Ann Coulter and Sean Hannity’s recently-found desire to help those who are struggling and moving on to Brent Bozell, president of the annoyingly conservative Media Research Center. Bozell quickly mentions in one line (five words long) that Gibson’s comments were “disgraceful”. He then proceeds to ignore Mel Gibson’s prejudice and instead attacks those who are offended by hearing the anti-Semitic remarks:

The paparazzi news media can’t get enough of this story, and some, like ABC’s Diane Sawyer, can barely conceal their glee. The hard news covered, here comes the analysis, with this-man-will-never-get-another-job-in-this- town reports everywhere you turn, fueled by the likes of Arianna Huffington, who has denounced Gibson’s “odious racism”… The first thing Mel Gibson and everyone else should do is ignore people like these. They are hypocrites.

Apparently, Bozell’s advice to Mel Gibson is to “ignore” people who are criticizing him for his anti-Semitic comments. Bozell then goes on to attack the media and others for not criticizing actor Ian McKellen when he accused the Catholic Church of “misleading us all the time” and that “the Bible should have a disclaimer in the front saying this is fiction”. Although these comments are offensive to many and probably shouldn’t have been said, there is a big difference between McKellen’s statements and Mel Gibson’s remarks. Most importantly, Ian McKellen is an openly gay man who has spent his entire life listening to the Catholic Church condemn him for who he is. The Vatican and anti-gay activists use the Bible to call gay people “immoral”, “deviant” and “hell-bound”. McKellen was not initiating the attack, he was responding (appropriately or not) to attacks on his humanity and ability to live as he chooses. What has the Jewish community ever done to Mel Gibson to evoke such an attack?

Bozell continues his condemnation of television shows and movies that he perceives to be anti-Catholic. Fair enough, but we are talking about entertainment and fiction, not true hatred spewed out of a drunken man’s mouth. Bozell needs to remember that television is not reality, and Mel Gibson’s comments were all too real for many Americans.

Mel Gibson should be forgiven, but not because of a statement released by his public relations guy. He needs to prove to the Jewish community and other communities he has offended in the past that he is not only sorry for speaking like a bigot, but he is sorry for being one. He needs to admit who he is and prove that he is working to overcome his intense prejudices.

Until then, he can get drunk with Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter and Brent Bozell, because his Hollywood friends may be dwindling.

Mel Gibson’s History of Anti-Jewish and Anti-Gay Remarks August 1, 2006

Posted by newsfittopost in entertainment, hate speech.
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As most know already, actor Mel Gibson was pulled over in Los Angeles for drunk driving. During the arrest, he spewed out his half-hidden opinion of Jewish people: “F….. Jews. The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world.”

Sober and somewhat composed, Mel Gibson has now released a statement apologizing for his anti-Semitic comments. Of course, he is claiming his love for Jewish people of all sorts and tries to pass it off as a drunken incident:

There is no excuse, nor should there be any tolerance, for anyone who thinks or expresses any kind of anti-Semitic remark. I want to apologize specifically to everyone in the Jewish community for the vitriolic and harmful words that I said to a law enforcement officer the night I was arrested on a DUI charge…

The tenets of what I profess to believe necessitate that I exercise charity and tolerance as a way of life. Every human being is God’s child, and if I wish to honor my God I have to honor his children. But please know from my heart that I am not an anti-Semite. I am not a bigot. Hatred of any kind goes against my faith.

Despite the “heart-warming” statement most likely written by his public relations guy, the truth is that Mel Gibson is a bigot and a hateful person. He has a history of making deeply offensive remarks about Jews, gay people and anyone who dares to critique one of his films.

Remember Gibson’s statement, “Hatred of any kind goes against my faith,” as you read some of these Gibson classics:

  • The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation criticizes Mel Gibson for anti-gay comments and asks for an apology. Gibson: “I’ll apologize when hell freezes over. They can f- — – off.”
  • Gibson refuses to disagree with his father’s belief that the Holocaust never happened. When asked about his belief, he artfully avoids a direct answer.
  • After New York Times columnist Frank Rich warns that Gibson’s movie Passion of the Christ could fuel anti-Semitism, Gibson responds: “I want to kill him. I want his intestines on a stick. I want to kill his dog.”
  • Gibson tells a Spanish newspaper he worries people think he is gay because he is an actor: “They take it up the ass. This is only for taking a shit [pointing to his butt]… But with this look, who’s going to think I’m gay? It would be hard to take me for someone like that. Do I sound like a homosexual? Do I talk like them? Do I move like them? What happens is when you’re an actor, they stick that label on you.”

Mel Gibson sure sounds like quite the humanitarian. He is way past “three strikes and you’re out”. The extreme right-wing has already come to his defense, using its vast resources to defend his bigoted comments. Right-wing organizations love to lambast Hollywood for being too liberal or too tolerant, but it appears as if they have found a friend in Mel Gibson. Not too surprising I suppose.

Superman, Democrats, Jesus, Gays & America-Haters June 29, 2006

Posted by newsfittopost in entertainment, media.
2 comments

Does every news and entertainment event have to be put in the context of the “culture wars”? Reading newspapers, watching pundits on cable news and searching through blog postings has shown me that almost every cause, movement and political party has called the new Superman their own. I am extemely excited about Superman Returns and it has received good reviews, but everywhere I turn Superman is being called either a Democrat, gay, unpatriotic or Jesus-like. I personally am just going to enjoy the movie, but I will allow you all to decide who you believe:

Superman as Jesus – Fundamentalist Christian group Focus on the Family:

Superman returns to theatres this week and some think the Man of Steel is being cast in a decidedly spiritual light…

You might think it’s just the latest comic book on celluloid, but many Christians who see Superman Returns will leave thinking there was something familiar about the film because of quotes like this one, “They only lack the light to show the way. For this reason above all, their capacity for good, I’ve sent them you, my only son.” Dr. Reg Grant is with Dallas Seminary.

“Now that just sounds like something right out of the Gospel of John. It sounds like God the Father saying that he’s going to send his son, Jesus, to the world to save the world.”

He says the movie could be a good witnessing tool courtesy of Hollywood.

“The director, Bryan Singer, just offers up on a silver platter a golden opportunity for us to use this as a gospel starter with our friends.”

Do you think this guy realizes that director Bryan Singer is openly gay? I find this unlikely, considering less than a month ago Focus on the Family’s Citizen Magazine had this to say about gay people:

At its core, the homosexual zeitgeist seeks to destroy God’s created intent for sexuality and the family while deconstructing the imago dei that humans bear—male and female—on the Earth.

Hmm… anyways… speaking of gay…

Superman as Gay – Los Angeles Times reporting:

In addition to being strikingly good-looking, [superheroes] often are portrayed as alienated outsiders, typically leading double lives. In the case of Superman, the beefcake character historically has struggled with romance, all the while running around in a skin-tight suit…

Defamer has posted a number of stories on how gay the “Superman Returns” posters and Topps trading cards make the character look, particularly in one trading card showing Superman literally coming out of a closet. “If Warner Bros. marketing partners like Topps aren’t even going to bother pretending, why should we?” Defamer asked. “Be proud, our fabulously caped little Queer-El.”

Not buying it…

Superman as Unpatriotic Wimp – Some lame-brain radio talk show host on MSNBC’s Scarborough Country [edited]:

JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST: You think it`s an attack on our values. You think that Superman is a super-wimp? Why?… you also take issue with the fact that they took away the line, “Truth, justice and the American way.” Talk about that…

DEBBIE SCHLUSSEL, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Well, they took it away, and yet the movie studio, Warner Brothers Pictures, is still selling posters that do say, “Truth, justice and the American way,” and feature the American flag. You don`t see any of that in the movie. They do mention truth and justice, but I guess it`s the neo-slacker superhero way, because that`s basically what Superman has become, and he`s been toned down in a lot of ways in terms of his masculinity. His muscles, a lot of them are gone. Even the Superman cape and uniform doesn`t have bright red anymore! It`s a muted burgundy tone that you`d probably see in “Men`s Vogue.”…

[Lois Lane’s even] won a Pulitzer Prize that is — for an article entitled “Why the World Doesn`t Need Superman.” It`s kind of like something you`d read in the “Daily Planet`s” real-life version of the “New York Times” about why Al Qaeda is great.

Superman as the Democratic Party – The Huffington Post:

In a world that has grown far more complex since his departure, Superman must somehow reclaim a place of preeminence against a lurking backdrop of ethical ambiguity and mounting cynicism. Subtract the cape and tights, insert some ponderous discussion of polling, and you couldn’t blame confused viewers for thinking they’d tuned into the latest diagnosis of the Democratic Party’s ills on C-Span…

As millions of movie-goers are sure to discover this week, Superman always saves the day. With voters rapidly tiring of the fierce political currents of anger and fear, Democrats can certainly do the same. But to do so they need to remember the optimistic, brave face they showed when – instead of asking “What’s the Matter with Kansas?” – they emulated the characteristics of the immigrant raised on that tiny farm outside of Smallville.

So apparently Superman is a cross between Boy George, Ted Kennedy, the Holy Spirit and Osama Bin Laden. I’ll let the pundits, journalists and bloggers debate which one is right… I’m just going to admire Brandon Routh in tights.