Outrage (review)

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Gay? Not Even Mildly Content

Here’s a compromise proposition for everyone who feels that publicly outing closeted gay politicians who work hard against gay civil rights is a bad, bad, naughty, rude thing. As soon as filmmaker Kirby Dick is done doing whatever he needs to do to launch his latest documentary, Outrage, into the world — done with promotion and recording DVD commentaries and all that — then he can move on to another film that savages all those senators and congresspeople who are secretly African-American and openly racist. And then Dick can rip to shreds all those powerful politicians who are closeted women but plainly misogynist.

What’s that? No one can be covertly black or female? You don’t say!
If I sound angry, it’s because I am. I already was pretty pissed off before I saw Outrage, and now, I’m furious. I’m not sure I learned anything new from this comprehensive rundown of the duplicity of some of our leaders and much of our corporate mass media, but this is such a compelling assemblage and summary of information already available from the alternative progressive media that I was already reading — not to mention a slamming of the simple fact that this is all not common knowledge when it should be — that we could well consider it the definitive word on the matter.

The matter is this: Some of the most vehemently anti-gay politicians at work in Washington DC and our state capitals are themselves gay. But they pretend not be. For one, they’re married to women — all of the politicians outed here are men, a result either of the small numbers of women in elected office, the comparably smaller number of lesbians relative to gay men, lesbians not feeling the need to be closested, lesbians not feeling the need to act publicly against their own interests, or all of the above. For two, they rail the loudest — and vote regularly — against anything that looks like equalizing civil rights for homosexuals, whether it’s about marriage or AIDS research or the preposterous army policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” And this has been going on for decades: some of the Reagan administration officials who ensured that response to the AIDS crisis was delayed were themselves gay. Which boggles the mind, that people could be so in denial about themselves, or so full of self-loathing.

As for their “outings”… well, the secret of these men is no secret unless you get your news only from CNN and Fox News. The furtive sex lives of the likes of Larry Craig — the now former senator from Idaho, he of the infamous “wide stance” — and Charlie Crist — the current governor of Florida and a potenial front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012 — has been well documented by investigative reporters, as Outraged amply demonstrates. It’s not a matter of a single allegation of, say, an airport restroom assignation gone awry, which could, however improbably, be explained away as a huge and embarrassing misunderstanding. It’s that these men have long histories, complete with unfakable evidence from former lovers, that supply a preponderance of proof that their public faces do not at all match their private behavior.

And one of the many pointed points of Outrage is this: No one would care who they’re having sex with, except that these men themselves have made it an issue, especially by helping to foment and maintain an atmosphere in which Teh Gay is Teh Ick. Dick (who exposed the MPAA in The Film Is Not Yet Rated) outs no one who has not used his political power to ensure that gays and lesbians remain second-class citizens in what is supposed to be the greatest democracy in the world. And he howls with rage, too, at the mainstream media and the “brilliantly orchestrated conspiracy to keep gay and lesbian politicians closeted” that keeps the truth away from much of the voting public. Why will only the gay press print the abundantly supported truth about these hyprocrites? Why does the mainstream media put its refusal to discuss such matters in any substantive way down to a politician’s “right to privacy” when it affords no such thing to the sexual peccadilloes of straight politicians? Or when other “private” behavior — such as the taking of a bribe — impacts on a politician’s public work?

Why these men are protected by so many remains a mystery by the film’s end. But the plain fact is that Dick is outing hypocrites, not homosexuals. He’s outing the very men who create an environment in which so many people feel that it’s shameful to be gay! They may be caught in their own vicious circles of self-hatred, but, dudes: If you really do disgust yourself that much, get some therapy. Don’t take it out on the rest of us, gay and straight alike, who are grownups about these things, and would like to see the rest of our society grow up, too.

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Fri, Jun 12, 2009 2:43pm

Well, uh, yeah, that pretty much covers it. I don’t think I can add anything more insightful than that.

Sat, Jun 13, 2009 12:18am

This movie should be nicely enraging.

The big twist at the end of This Film Is Not Yet Rated made me bark with laughter, and then feel like I’d been punched in the stomach.