Dissent Of The Day

Andrew Sullivan —  Feb 23 2009 @ 5:50pm

A reader writes:

I am a long time fan of your writing since the early part of this decade where I would alternately enjoy your intelligence and perception and then clench my fist over your endorsement of policies I found dangerous and wrongheaded. I was clenching my fist again over your dismissal of the Academy Awards as something without value.

As an advocate for the legal status of gay marriage to be decided in the public sphere, I would think you would at least find that media that bring this issue to the national conscience in a positive way would be worth watching.  Milk screenwriter Dustin Lance Black’s speech showed the very human toll and anguish that the anti-gay forces have exacted from many gay men and women in this war against gay marriage.  People who tuned out on your recommendation (although likely already sympathetic to this issue) missed this powerful moment in the ongoing PR wars.  I can’t help but think of the many people in small towns across the country where they fight gay marriage with all their hearts, seeing Mr. Black’s anguish and maybe finding themselves sharing a bit of humanity with him.  Such moments of shared humanity move the national consciousness forward in a way that is difficult in the self created insularity of the internet.

Agreed. That acceptance speech was superb. I’m glad I caught it (even though I was in a restaurant at the time). But again: what courage does it require to stand up for gay rights on Hollywood night? And I’m sorry, but the script for "Milk" was mediocre at best. The cloud of smug that rose and hung in the air last night – reaching cyclone levels over the head of Sean Penn – was close-to-suffocating. (Penn is best buddies with rancid homophobes like the Castros). And then you notice the near-total absence of openly gay male actors in the movies and you realize what really motivates that industry: money and cant, packaged in smug.