<\body> Stories in America: Liberal Hollywood

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Liberal Hollywood

"We are a little bit out of touch in Hollywood. I think that's probably a good thing. We are the ones who talked about AIDS when it was only being whispered ... We talked about civil rights ... I'm proud to be part of this Academy, proud to be part of this community, proud to be 'out of touch.' This group of people gave Hattie McDaniel an Oscar in 1939 when blacks were still sitting in the back of theaters." (McDaniel, the first black performer to receive an Oscar, won for her role in "Gone With the Wind.")
-Proud Liberal George Clooney

The characters "taught all of us who made Brokeback Mountain so much about not only gay men and women whose love is denied by society, but just as important the greatness of love itself."
-Ang Lee, the first Asian to win the Academy Award for best director


At 3/05/2006 2:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

He's dreamy. His politics make him even dreamier.

At 3/05/2006 4:30 PM, Anonymous george clooney said...

I'll be thinking of you tonight.

At 3/05/2006 9:01 PM, Anonymous timmy said...

Proud Liberal says he's "proud to be out of touch with America" because Hollywood was ahead of the curve on AIDS and civil rights. His evidence on civil rights? The fact that Hattie McDaniel won an Oscar in 1939 ... for playing a slave. His evidence on AIDS? Presumably the fact that it only took them ten years after the crisis began to make "Philadelphia."

At 3/05/2006 9:07 PM, Blogger kat said...

Then again, Ronald Reagan let 25,000 people die before even mentioning it.

And, actually, if you remember, there was a pretty good movie starring Aidan Quinn called "An Early Frost" which came out in 1985.

Liz Taylor was the public face of AIDS awareness by 1985 as well.

At 3/05/2006 9:20 PM, Anonymous timmyt said...

Sure, George, Hollywood was in the vanguard of the civil rights movement. Why, "Gone With the Wind" was practically a plea for racial understanding.

At 3/05/2006 9:24 PM, Anonymous timmy said...

Kat, as usual, you're wrong again...

Dialogue from James McCourt's "Queer Street: Rise and Fall of an American Culture, 1947 - 1985."

"I hate to be a pill, to piss on smoldering embers, no matter how warming, but the facts are these: it was neither Larry Kramer's hysterics, the courageous reporting of the New York Native, Everett Koop's blinding-hot moral flash or anything else that turned the tide of AIDS recognition in America and of AIDS research funding by the American government. It was nothing less or other than Ronald Reagan's sentimental - goddamnit - feelings for a fellow guy he just happened to like a whole hell of a lot from their Hollywood days, a guy called Rock Hudson who came down with the goddamn thing. And if you don't think them's the facts, go look them up. As our story winds down to a close, darlings, in the year 1985, rather than cut AIDS funding by ten million, Ronald Reagan - or more probably Nancy, as Ronnie was already, courtesy of Alzheimer's, more and more lunching out, though not in public - was upped to one hundred million, and, get this right please, a 270 percent increase in AIDS funding. You see, darlings, all that heaven allows written on the wind by tarnished angels is an imitation of life."

At 3/05/2006 10:01 PM, Blogger kat said...

Timmy, are you somehow implying that Ronald Reagan had been out speaking publicly about AIDS and his administration's policty prior to October of 1987? (Aside from being asked in an earlier press conference?) And that somehow the death totals are not what I reported above?

At 3/05/2006 10:04 PM, Blogger kat said...

At any rate, Timmy's contradiction of the original post is a little bewildering. Please point out to me the conservative group which has ever been on the forefront of civil rights. (And no, bombing the shit out of Iraq doesn't count.)

To the contrary, the right wing in this country is still back-assward when it comes to tolerance and civil rights.

At 3/05/2006 10:19 PM, Anonymous george clooney said...

timmy, I hope you've seen my films and read the following article.

Following discovery of the first cases in 1981, it soon became clear a national health crisis was developing. But President Reagan's response was "halting and ineffective," according to his biographer Lou Cannon. Those infected initially with this mysterious disease -- all gay men -- found themselves targeted with an unprecedented level of mean-spirited hostility.

A significant source of Reagan's support came from the newly identified religious right and the Moral Majority, a political-action group founded by the Rev. Jerry Falwell. AIDS became the tool, and gay men the target, for the politics of fear, hate and discrimination. Falwell said "AIDS is the wrath of God upon homosexuals." Reagan's communications director Pat Buchanan argued that AIDS is "nature's revenge on gay men."

At 3/05/2006 11:06 PM, Anonymous timmy said...

Gawd, I can't believe I'm actually defending what the Reagan administration spent on AIDS funding in 1985. I'm going to let the James McCourt excerpt speak for itself. If you know something he doesn't, or a 270% increase in AIDS funding ain't good enough for you, so be it.

And we already had our Republican vs. Democrats civil rights discussion Kat. Dig it out of the archives.

Best of all, I love how you attribute AIDS "death totals" to Reagan, and how he let "25,000 people die." Yeah, too bad George Clooney wasn't President back in '85, those 25,000 would still be with us today.

Good night, Proud Liberals. I'm off to the pub....

At 3/06/2006 10:56 AM, Blogger kat said...

No, Timmy, read again. I said Reagan let 25,000 people die before he publicly spoke about his administration's AIDS policies. The word "let" does not in any way, shape or form indicate personal destruction at Reagan's own hands.

Reading + Comprehension = Good.

And, um, what does a 270% increase in budget even mean? Considering that when he assumed office, the administration spent nothing on AIDS research/prevention because it hadn't been identified yet. Any spending up from nothing sounds pretty wonderful.

And Timmy...please indicate to me the conservative/Republican you felt has led the charge in advancing civil rights, women's rights, minority rights or any other progress on a national scale. Funny, I don't recall that from our last discussion.

(Oh, maybe I'll give you one: Branch Rickey).

At 3/06/2006 3:53 PM, Anonymous timmy said...

"Then again, Ronald Reagan let 25,000 people die before even mentioning it."

Here is the definition of "let"...

On Republicans and Democrats and civil rights:

Here's a name for you...like affermative action? Thank Richard Nixon.
And here's another: http://www.eisenhower.archives.gov/dl/Civil_Rights_Eisenhower_Administration/EisenhowerCivilRightsfiles.html

As for Clooney (which was what this was all about until you decided to change the subject to Reagan, 21 years ago...And like I said, if I have to choose between the expertise of James McCourt and you -- I'm going with McCourt. Sorry.) Jonah Goldberg makes a good point--

"...there's something a bit odd about striking a proudly rebellious pose when you admit to holding views and taking positions which confirm the biases of everyone you know, work with and admire, and earn praise from every elite establishment organ in America. Standing proudly by the fact that you agree with Hollywood to the applause of Katie Couric and the New York Times isn't exactly the stuff of a Profiles in Courage Award. Oh, wait, it actually is."

Here's a nice little graphic of Saint George:

At 3/06/2006 4:44 PM, Blogger kat said...

Oh my god, Republicans have to go back to the 19th Century to show any sort of progressive tendencies.

Of course, everyone who knows anything about American history already knows how the dynamics of the two parties changed early to mid 20th Century. Please Timmy...try to keep up.

How about this wording, Timmy: Ronald Reagan unconscionably allowed 6 long years to pass...during which time 25,000 Americans perished...before he bothered to comment publicly on one of the most visible and pressing health issues of the day.

Any words in there you are to debate, Timmy? Does that change the meaning for you? Have you somehow figured out some sort of different explanation for Reagan's callousness?

Oh, and by the way. I love the Clooney graphic. Similiarly, I'm sure there's one out there of a Republican circle jerk tugging on themselves for intellectual stimulation. I bet it's at Townhall. Care to look for me?

At 3/06/2006 6:49 PM, Anonymous timmy said...

The "19th century?"

And you're telling me to keep up?

And Kat, really...Reagan? 1985? I think it's time to move on. And like I said -- with all due respect for your expertise on this subject, I'm going with James McCourt on this one.

"Similiarly, I'm sure there's one out there of a Republican circle jerk tugging on themselves for intellectual stimulation. I bet it's at Townhall. Care to look for me?"

If Laura Ingram and Ann Coulter are part of the circle, I'm on it!

At 3/07/2006 12:54 PM, Anonymous timmy said...

One more thing....Um, George? As Michael Musto reminded me in the Village Voice, McDaniel had to sit in the back at the Oscar ceremony where she won her award at a little table with just her and her escort.


At 3/07/2006 1:29 PM, Blogger storiesinamerica said...

Fox at the Oscars: Homosexuality among the "darker themes this year"
While introducing a segment about the Academy Awards, Fox News' Gregg Jarrett said that the films nominated in the Best Picture category carry "darker themes," such as "homosexuality; homicide bombings; political assassinations."

At 3/10/2006 3:50 PM, Anonymous Tom Pendergast said...

Timmy, you can't really defend Reagan when it comes to AIDS. In the early 80s when the Center for Disease Control was first encountering what was at the time a mystery disease, they were telling the Reagan admin point blank that this was serious and they needed more money to study it. But Reagan, in the name of smaller goverment, was and continued to cut their funding UNTIL Rock Hudson died. Maybe it took someone he knew to die to bring the reality home, which makes him no different from a lot of people I suppose, but he really did the country a great disservice by ignoring AIDS as long as he did. Any way you want to cut it, he was late on the ball and people were dying. I don't call that leadership, do you?


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