Sunday, April 26, 2009

Politico and the Republican Closet

I went to the Outrage premiere on Friday at the Tribeca Film Festival, and though I'd seen the film two days before at a press screening, it still packed a lot of punch. Very potent and effective, names a lot of names -- I'd actually not blogged about it until now, though I spoke with director Kirby Dick on the show on Thursday -- and I think it has great potential to shake things up. The analysis of the closet and its devastation is what's more important than the names -- many of which you know from the show and from the blogs, though now with more vivid sourcing, i.e., on Charlie Crist -- and that analysis is superb. (And hey, in full disclosure I should say the film opens with sentences flashing across the screen that are adapted from the opening of my book Queer in America, which the filmmakers used as a major resource re: the closet during filming.)

But something I wanted to clarify: I twittered about this story from on Friday, just commenting that things were percolating about the film and and not taking note -- blinded, I suppose, to something so obvious -- of the slant of the story, with the headline touting an "ex-Clinton aide" as backing the film. In retrospect, it's both galling and quite revealing that Politico and its writer don't name any of the closeted gay Republican politicians discussed in the film, nor explain much about them and their motivations, but managed to find an angle that involves a former Clinton aide having "backed" the film. I was interviewed by writer Daniel Libit twice on the phone and I guess I had expected he'd discuss the names in the film. Considering Politico is a mouthpiece for the Republican Party, however, it's not surprising that he didn't, and I really don't know how I let that go by, except to say that I was glad to see the film making some waves already.

Honestly, having talked with director Kirby Dick from the outset of the project and having been interviewed by him various times and knowing his vision of exposing the closet and the horrors it does to gay people, it's both ludicrous and insulting to suggest that this film is some sort of politically-motivated hit job by Democrats against Republicans. It's not at all a stretch, however, to say that the article in Politico is a politically-motivated hit job meant to protect the Republican closet. Let's hope the film just blows that wide open.