Friday, May 29, 2009

Milk Review

Tuesday night I went to watch the new movie "MILK" at Uptown theaters in Port Elizabeth, accompanied by my girlfriend Tuuli and my mom. Although we had already seen this movie on a pc, we decided to see it on the big screen as they say, and to support Uptown for supporting us. Uptown is the ONLY theater in Port Elizabeth even showing Milk. When we approached Nu Metro and Ster Kinekor about the matter, it was before we were aware of the Uptown feature. Needless to say, Nu Metro made some half-hearted excuse about there not being a demand for it, while Ster Kinekor never bothered to reply.

All that political guff aside, I really enjoyed the movie - and to hell with what the bigots may think of it. It shows them up for the hateful little bastards they are, and that is the best part. I am sure soon we will start to see negative reviews showing up on the Christian fundamentalist "do not watch" list (along with Harry Potter, the Golden Compass and anything else which may require an average or higher IQ to actually "get") as disseminated by people whose only reason they may wish Harvey Milk was never assassinated would be because it made a martyr of him. In short, I think it beats the hell out of such rhetorical religious propaganda as "Faith Like Potatoes" - because it actually portrays the truth - and both sides - the warmth and hope as well as the coldness and hardness of it.

Actually I think it is a brilliant docu-drama, a veritible history and summary of the early part of the gay civil rights movement in the USA. The viewer is made aware of the prejudices facing the typical gay person of the times, starting in 1970 (just two years after Stonewall) right up to the end of 1978 with Harvey Milk's assassination. The whole thing leads one to draw striking parallels between then and now, between propositions 6 of 1978 and 8 of today.

It showed the fear and caution with which gay people had to live their daily lives, fear of being outed, fear of losing jobs, being thrown out of their apartments, fear of being assaulted ("gay bashed"), arrested by the cops - or even killed. It is pretty clear how separate the gay community was from "normal" people back then. In fact, one can even wonder when hearing the things some people and groups say against the pink community today in all earnest and seriousness, what has actually changed, really?
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At 452 pages of value in the new format, the print paperback copy containing the first four stories in the Quantum Series still works out cheaper (by HALF) than buying all four titles separately!

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Between both the past and present one can identify the similarities - the religious fuelled hatred against gay people which persists to this day - and also the stark ignorance in the campaigning of the right wing who blame pedophilia and "recruiting" on the gay community. One can indeed see why Prop 8 was dubbed "Proposition Hate".

Not much has changed in this respect over the years, but I can say that because of Harvey Milk - our voices in the fight for truth and equality are louder than ever. For me, Harvey Milk was the Martin Luther King of the pink community around the world. A bona fide hero for the downtrodden and oppressed. A shining light of hope in the darkness.

Milk shows me how just one person determined to make a difference in the lives of others can succeed - how much difference one man can make. Milk is inspiration to me, and hope for the future - hope for all of the "us-es" out there.

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