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bruno: a review

Bruno has received some pretty scathing reviews. The Los Angeles Times wrote that it ”piles even more stereotypes and discomfort onto an already hostile climate.” GLAAD released a statement arguing that the movie “decreases the public’s comfort with gay people.” And even Fox News asked the question, “Is Bruno harmful to gay and lesbian causes, or just really funny?” (Yes, I looked up what Fox News said only for reference.  I like to see what everyone is saying.)

I happen to think that being funny doesn’t excuse you from being homophobic or contributing to homophobia. I also think Bruno is a project that contributes positively to the fight for equality and documents the real hatred and craziness gripping many corners of this country.

Sacha Baron Cohen’s films push people beyond their limits of tolerance in order to elicit extreme reactions.  His films are like no other.  I don’t recommend my parents rush to the theatre to watch, these films are not for them.  These films aren’t for a lot of people.  

Think of the self defense scene: when one dildo doesn’t get a rise out of the southern gentleman teaching Bruno how to defend against the “homosexual,” he brings in two, then three dildos. It is a concrete example of the method his characters use to approach all situations.

Bruno pushes people to confront homosexuality.  I have never understood the disgust that heterosexual people have for homosexual people.  I went to see this movie with my husband.  Were there moments that we could have lived our life without ever seeing, yes.  But seeing a movie about gay characters doesn’t make him less of a heterosexual.  It actually makes me proud that he so embraces who he is that he can watch a movie with hands down more male frontal nudity than female.  

Many arguments are against the further stereotyping of gay men.  In my opinion, Bruno exposes violent and shocking intolerance by being so stereotypically gay, for example, hunters in the backwoods recognize and react to his sexuality. Bruno’s appearance is a tool for exposing the intolerance that exists in many people whether or not the person they are talking to sashays particularly heavily or hits on them particularly forcefully.  I wondered if I would feel like I was laughing at the “gayness.”  I am an advocate of this population and I don’t want to “laugh at” anything at their expense.  I caught myself laughing at the reactions he was evoking.  I caught myself feeling terribly disappointed and outraged at the reactions of many of the heterosexual men reacting to Bruno.  I didn’t feel the “stereotyping” of the flamboyant gay man was what was so funny.  Bruno was funny because of Bruno.

You can’t politely turn your back on Bruno and you can’t write his actions off to eccentricity or “foreignness.”

In some cases, Cohen chose to reinforce particularly negative stereotypes of gay people, including the notion that gay men are sex obsessed and have no ability to raise children without exposing them to sexual activity at an inappropriately young age.  It was shown in a format that unless you are completely bigoted and ignorant, you realize that that is a ridiculous stereotype.  

I think most audience members will laugh at Bruno’s ridiculous portrayal of gayness, but some will use the negative aspects of Cohen’s satire to justify their hatred. They will sympathize with those characters reacting violently to his sexuality. These are not the people the movement for LGBT equality is hoping to recruit. They are a lost causes whether or not Bruno inadvertently reinforces their homophobia.  My money is on the fact that they won’t go to see a movie with a lead gay character anyway.

Those audience members who consider themselves to be decent, tolerant individuals (perhaps they want to reserve marriage for straight people, but think gay people are okay as long as they aren’t too flamboyant) will identify with Sasha Baron Cohen who is, after all, playing a great big joke on the homophobes. They will be shocked by the violence of some of the reactions in the movie. They will want to disassociate themselves from the bigots and hatemongers who throw chairs at a couple kissing in a wrestling ring and contemplate ways to break the bones of gay men in case they make a sexual advance.

Everyone who sees this film will be forced to confront the fact that we still live in a world where being gay is a dangerous proposition. Members of the gay community are threatened by violence and community reprisal, everyday.  I actually walked away with maybe even a better appreciation of the struggle people living in the LGBT community face.

Sasha Baron Cohen quite literally risked his life over and over again to illustrate this point. He did it while creating a sympathetic story, funny jokes and an overall entertaining movie.

Bruno is an act of bravery.

It is my opinion that the LGBT community could actually use this movie to assist in the fight for equality rather than boycotting the over-the-top antics of a comedic superstar.

go vote

We all care. Go vote tomorrow. No matter who you choose, just vote.

my fear … realized

I couldn’t sleep last night and this may come out in the form of a ramble, so I do apologize. I am signing off from all political discussion on my blog. Ideally, this would be a great format for me to discuss the issues that are important to me and to facilitate healthy discussion among friends, family, and strangers. It has not. I will take responsibility but not all. I went from discussing what was important to me, what values Obama and I share and the ones we don’t. Somehow in the wake of the campaign my focus shifted to attacking McCain and especially Palin. I recently have been reading other blogs and become so upset, to tears last night actually, and I realized that I wanted no part in making another person feel the way I did. I was reading the attacks and thought to myself if we actually sat down to discuss the issues, we are so much closer in values than what the surface tells us. We have all lost our rational logic, myself included. So no more.

I remember 4 years ago watching the Democratic debate, as a registered Republican, and hearing the name Barack Obama for the first time and listening to his speech. It was centered around the idea that we all have so much more that ties us together than the ideals that separate us. I couldn’t agree more. I want to get back to that belief for the sake of relationships that I hold dear in my life.

4 years ago my experiences provided a foundation for me to line myself with the Republican party. Since then my experiences have shifted my values. That is my story. You have your own. If I value that my experiences shape my world view, then I must value that your experiences have shaped yours. You believe what you do because of your experiences and vice versa. It is now my passion to see where we can agree. I will take the obvious issue that is so very polarizing, abortion. I have been staunchly pro-life my entire life up until now, where I am both pro-life and pro-choice. Do not think this shift was a quick or easy process! Do not question my intelligence and think that I flippantly have altered my world view! And do not ever think or say I am pro-abortion! My experiences this past few months has changed me. Meeting with a woman who recently was raped and aborted the baby from that rape changed me. Meeting with a woman who knew she was not able to raise a child due to her past trauma and her life situation changed me. These are my experiences. You have your own. We can agree that there needs to be preventative measures to avoid unwanted pregnancy and violence on women.

See I knew I would start to ramble, but I am just so upset. One friend has stopped reading this blog altogether and another, well, I don’t want my words to impact them the way other words have impacted me. So as my last political discussion I will end in saying, I fully support a Barack Obama and Joe Biden administration, even though I don’t agree with everything they do. I am completely fearful of a Sarah Palin administration, John McCain, I could live with. My core value is that our country must base its greatness on the life lead by its weakest link. That is it. That is why I am voting and supporting Obama.

my love for everything pumpkin

I love pumpkins!! I love to decorate pumpkins. I love to decorate with pumpkins. I love to eat pumpkins. I love to bake pumpkins. I love pumpkin seeds. I love pumpkin biscuits. I love pumpkin pancakes. I love pumpkin dip. I love spelling pumpkin. I love pumpkin patches. I even love dressing up like a pumpkin. I love when my husband affectionately calls me pumpkin. I do love everything pumpkin.

The other day I made pumpkin dip for friends and family. My Peace College coworkers actually renamed the dip as “pumpkin crack” because they kept going back for more and more. I like to serve with ginger snaps cookies or sliced apples. Either way you will definitely be going back for more.

I thought since I am putting out my favorite recipes for the world to see why leave out the pumpkin dip … er I mean crack. Haha!! It is ridiculously easy!!

2 cups pumpkin puree
1 package (8oz) cream cheese, softened
1 cup dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Cream together pumpkin and cream cheese. Add in all other ingredients until well blended ( I use hand mixer to make it creamy!) and refrigerate overnight.

And just for fun I found this picture floating around the internets … Can I add that I also love pumpkins that support Obama!!

my current political thoughts

Here is an article by Michelle Goldberg that sums up everything I have to say about John McCain’s pick for Vice President. And no, it’s not cute, nor is it something we should be proud of. I agree with the author of the article on the website below. We are lowering our standards! If it weren’t so funny, I would cry on a daily basis.

“Flirting her way to victory”

Sarah Palin, winking

Sarah Palin winks during the vice-presidential debate on Thursday in St Louis, Missouri. Photograph: J Scott Applewhite/AP

At least three times last night, Sarah Palin, the adorable, preposterous vice-presidential candidate, winked at the audience. Had a male candidate with a similar reputation for attractive vapidity made such a brazen attempt to flirt his way into the good graces of the voting public, it would have universally noted, discussed and mocked. Palin, however, has single-handedly so lowered the standards both for female candidates and American political discourse that, with her newfound ability to speak in more-or-less full sentences, she is now deemed to have performed acceptably last night.

By any normal standard, including the ones applied to male presidential candidates of either party, she did not. Early on, she made the astonishing announcement that she had no intentions of actually answering the queries put to her. “I may not answer the questions that either the moderator or you want to hear, but I’m going to talk straight to the American people and let them know my track record also,” she said.

And so she preceded, with an almost surreal disregard for the subjects she was supposed to be discussing, to unleash fusillades of scripted attack lines, platitudes, lies, gibberish and grating references to her own pseudo-folksy authenticity.

It was an appalling display. The only reason it was not widely described as such is that too many American pundits don’t even try to judge the truth, wisdom or reasonableness of the political rhetoric they are paid to pronounce upon. Instead, they imagine themselves as interpreters of a mythical mass of “average Americans” who they both venerate and despise.

In pronouncing upon a debate, they don’t try and determine whether a candidate’s responses correspond to existing reality, or whether he or she is capable of talking about subjects such as the deregulation of the financial markets or the devolution of the war in Afghanistan. The criteria are far more vaporous. In this case, it was whether Palin could avoid utterly humiliating herself for 90 minutes, and whether urbane commentators would believe that she had connected to a public that they see as ignorant and sentimental. For the Alaska governor, mission accomplished.

There is indeed something mesmerising about Palin, with her manic beaming and fulsome confidence in her own charm. The force of her personality managed to slightly obscure the insulting emptiness of her answers last night. It’s worth reading the transcript of the encounter, where it becomes clearer how bizarre much of what she said was. Here, for example, is how she responded to Biden’s comments about how the middle class has been short-changed during the Bush administration, and how McCain will continue Bush’s policies:

Say it ain’t so, Joe, there you go again pointing backwards again. You preferenced [sic] your whole comment with the Bush administration. Now doggone it, let’s look ahead and tell Americans what we have to plan to do for them in the future. You mentioned education, and I’m glad you did. I know education you are passionate about with your wife being a teacher for 30 years, and god bless her. Her reward is in heaven, right? … My brother, who I think is the best schoolteacher in the year, and here’s a shout-out to all those third graders at Gladys Wood Elementary School, you get extra credit for watching the debate.

Evidently, Palin’s pre-debate handlers judged her incapable of speaking on a fairly wide range of subjects, and so instructed to her to simply disregard questions that did not invite memorised talking points or cutesy filibustering. They probably told her to play up her spunky average-ness, which she did to the point of shtick – and dishonesty. Asked what her achilles heel is – a question she either didn’t understand or chose to ignore – she started in on how McCain chose her because of her “connection to the heartland of America. Being a mom, one very concerned about a son in the war, about a special needs child, about kids heading off to college, how are we going to pay those tuition bills?”

None of Palin’s children, it should be noted, is heading off to college. Her son is on the way to Iraq, and her pregnant 17-year-old daughter is engaged to be married to a high-school dropout and self-described “fuckin’ redneck”. Palin is a woman who can’t even tell the truth about the most quotidian and public details of her own life, never mind about matters of major public import. In her only vice-presidential debate, she was shallow, mendacious and phoney. What kind of maverick, after all, keeps harping on what a maverick she is? That her performance was considered anything but a farce doesn’t show how high Palin has risen, but how low we all have sunk.

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