Saturday, November 29, 2008

Roger Ebert gets it right on "Milk" even if "politically incorrect"


In reviewing Gus Van Sant’s film “Milk”, about Harvey Milk, the San Francisco City Supervisor who met a tragic end with mayor Moscone in 1978, film critic Roger Ebert writes “I am openly heterosexual, but this is the first time I have ever said so. Why can't we all be what we prefer?”.

Interesting. Ebert sidesteps the politically correct notion of immutability and gets back to what sounds like fundamental rights, especially when he says “prefer”.

That’s been the question for the past six decades, as far as I am concerned (and even before that). The straight world often looks at the “family” as something everyone must belong to, and pay allegiance to, perhaps because no one can be completely responsible for the self in a world with so many externally imposed uncertainties. The heterosexual marital relationship, to be dependable and stable, needs the social approbation it gets, and the power it gets to control those who don’t create a lineage of their own. Even the “Milk” film seemed to echo that, as when the homophobic Dan White says to Milk, “society can’t exist without the family. Can gays reproduce?”

To accept what Roger Ebert says, you have to embrace the concepts of karma and personal responsibility, and all that they logically imply. But it’s logical consequences that so many people want protection from.

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