Thursday, March 09, 2006

Life is precious. And God. And the Bible.

Silly me, I thought the gay marriage issue was dead. Guess not- I received a telephone message while I was at the gym today asking me to sign a petition requesting that Congress approve an anti-gay-marriage amendment. Naturally, I deleted the message, but it has pissed me off most of the afternoon. I wonder how much of this renewed effort by the right wingers has to do with the fact that the Intelligent Design push has stalled out, leaving them without a cause to whine about.

This issue has been kind of talked out, so I won't say too much. Personally, I don't mind gay marriage any more than I mind straight marriage. I say any two people can marry (or, failing that, commit to a lifelong relationship) provided that both are mindful and accepting of the commitment they're making to each other. Hell, I've known a pair of women who have been together nearly forty years. How their love is somehow less legit than a couple of people who hook up in Vegas and go to a wedding chapel is beyond me.

Which brings me to the laughable idea of the "sancitity of marriage." Give me a fucking break, people. From what I can tell, straight people have been destroying the sancitity of marriage for years. Spousal and child abuse, rising divorce rates, adultery, no-fault divorce laws, the aforementioned Vegas wedding chapels- what do these things have to do with two men holding hands in the park? Not a goddamn thing. But morality is UNDER ATTACK!!!!, say the thumpers, and since Americans love a quick fix, homosexuals are a convenient scapegoat. Better we go after a not-very-popular subculture than deal with problems that are closer at hand.

More so than the CRASH victory, I'd have to say that the real issue here is deep-seated homophobia. Now, some of the more reasonable-sounding fundies might not admit it, but they're hiding behind the Word of God in order to air out their own prejudices. And the "slippery slope" argument is ridiculous- how does gay marriage lead to such things as bestiality? It's a long stretch to connect a loving relationship between two fully-aware members of the same sex and a one-sided one between a person and a far-less-cognizant animal.

What really bugs me about this whole thing is that the self-appointed moral arbiters of society use their discomfort with homosexuality as an excuse to deny them certain rights the rest of us have. How exactly does it affect you if two people love each other, even if they are of the same sex? Lest we forget that previous generations weren't comfortable with minorities and women having the right to vote either- but that's legal now, isn't it?

That the government takes any of this seriously is troubling. Hell, we're spending hundreds of billions on a war that has no forseeable end, and the job situation hasn't improved one bit, but hell, I can live with my relatives getting shipped off to Iraq and having my hours at work scaled back, just as long as them homos don't get married, right? For most reasonable people, gay marriage isn't that important to them- they're not necessarily for it or against it, and they don't think about it that much because it doesn't affect them like some of the more important issues do. But you know how it works- it ain't how much you're hurting, but rather how loud you cry.

Also, some tiny reviews:

JARHEAD (2005, Sam Mendes)- some compelling ideas at work here, with a few good performances (Sarsgaard in particular) and impressive effects sequences involving the burning oil wells (the best we could have hoped for, outside of simply using footage from Herzog's LESSONS OF DARKNESS). Still, not all that interesting as a whole, as the soldiers' realization of their own obsolescence doesn't make for particularly good drama. Rating: **.

WHERE THE TRUTH LIES (2005, Atom Egoyan)- a step in the right direction after Egoyan's overly serious, needlessly convoluted ARARAT, here the director manages to class up the tabloid-fodder source material- it never becomes art per se, but it's more than the throwaway it could have been, which is a credit to Egoyan's filmmaking chops. Colin Firth seems ecstatic to play a role other than the stern-yet-sensitive Brit that's become his stock in trade, and this comes through in the performance. Rating: **1/2.

RUNNING SCARED (2006, Wayne Kramer)- I'll certainly take this over Kramer's last film, THE COOLER. This hallucinatory gangland fairy tale is definitely unhinged (never more so than in the scene with the child-molesting couple), but it's also highly watchable, although my stomach for movies like this (and DOMINO, which is better than this) is stronger than most other people's, so take my assessment with a grain of salt. The film lacks a strong narrative through-line to make it seem like something more than one-damn-thing-after-another, and while Paul Walker had to welcome the chance to play vulgar and scruffy, the jury's still out on his acting. Rating: **1/2.


Scott said...

Wow, you liked "Where the Truth Lies" a lot more than I did. IMHO Egoyan made a huge mistake by casting Alison Lohman, who here looks more like a 15-year-old girl with a fake ID than a seasoned investigative reporter.

Agree with you completely about "Jarhead," though. I especially disliked the movie's epilogue, which was sappy in a Spielberg-esque sort of way.

Paul C. said...

I dunno- I thought Lohman's youthfulness worked for the role, a hungry, inexperienced journalist trying to get ahead. Were she more hard-bitten, she might not have been able to convey the sense of hero-worship required of the character. Besides, a guy like Lanny has tons of experience with reporters, and likely wouldn't have acted the way he did with her had he caught on the scent.

And yeah, JARHEAD was kind of a botch. "We are still in the desert"? Come on.