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STUDIO: Magnolia Home Entertainment
RUNNING TIME: 89 minutes
“There exists a brilliantly orchestrated conspiracy to keep gay and lesbian politicians as closeted as possible.” The documentary aims to out those politicians whose voting records are directly in contrast with their own secret life.
In the closet (?): Larry Craig, Charlie Crist, David Drier, Ed Koch
Out of the closet: Barney Frank, Tammy Baldwin, Jim Kolbe, James McGreevy
Also starring: Larry Kramer, Tony Kushner, Michael Rogers, Michelangelo Signorile, Rodger McFarlane
Directed by Kirby Dick
“In The Closet.” Definition: One who suppresses his sexual orientation or hides it from his friends, his family, and the public. This is the basis for the documentary Outrage, a compilation of interviews of political analysts in the LGBT community and profiles of closeted politicians who have a history of voting for anti-gay legislation. This documentary aims to point out the hypocrisy of high-ranking politicians who live in the closet and yet maintain a voting record of anti-gay legislation, much to the harm of the very community in which they belong. Outrage isn’t aiming at outing famous people who are in the closet. It’s about providing the viewer with facts concerning the hypocrisy of using power against those who live and love the same as they, and it’s specifically about how hiding in the closet hinders your frame of mind in making those decisions.
Say what you will about his political views, but you can’t fault the guy for being true to himself.
OK, so maybe you could also fault the way the spit builds in the corner of his mouth when
he talks, but at least the man was honest enough to not hide in the closet.
Outrage is a very engrossing film by a talented documentarian. Kirby Dick, director of the Oscar-nominated documentary Twist of Faith as well as the excellent This Film Is Not Yet Rated (a must see for any film buff) sets his lens on politics. Mr. Dick is a very adept documentary filmmaker who is able to back up his claims with plenty of footage, interviews, and facts to state his case.
I must admit that as Outrage begins, I felt a little uncomfortable with the direction of it. The film opens with audio of Idaho Republican Senator Larry Craig while he was being questioned by the authorities after his arrest for soliciting sex in an airport restroom. As the audio plays in the background, I began to feel on edge, as if the “outing” of this senator was based on this one instance. Even though Craig originally pleaded guilty, he later changing his mind about his plea. I had thought that maybe it was a misunderstanding, and maybe this documentary was going to force the issue. However, it doesn’t take long for Mr. Dick to lay out enough evidence to show that Mr Craig has been involved in homosexual incidents since way back in the eighties! There is footage from 1982 of Mr. Craig denying being involved in allegeations of homosexual activity between congressmen and teenage pages. He steps out in front of the cameras to deny the accusations made against his character. So be it, but Mr. Dick has interviews with plenty of people to make a case to the likewise.
As Larry Craig was being interviewed about the scandal, he couldn’t help but think about
the youthful page and their furious masturbatory session earlier that day. When the
interview came to an end, so did he. In his pants.
In another great example, Mr. Dick presents a fairly clear case against Charlie Crist, the Republican Governor from the State of Florida, who at one point was very close to becoming John McCain’s vice presidential running mate. Mr. Crist has been portrayed in the media as a suave bachelor, with a history of votes against gay marriage and gay adoption. Mr. Dick provides plenty of information to show otherwise. Without ruining it, there is a specific modus operandi that Mr. Crist follows when trying to win upcoming elections, whether for Governor of Florida, or a seat next to McCain, that is almost laughable if it weren’t for the harm and injustice that it causes to a very large segment of our population.
One of the people Mr. Dick follows in Outrage is Michael Rogers, a blogger who makes it his goal to out conservative politicians. Again, Mr. Rogers is of the same frame of mind as Mr. Dick: he’s outing those who he feels are hurting the group they are a part of. The documentary follows him to an appearance on Hannity, speaking out about Larry Craig’s double life. Also included in Outrage is his outing of Ed Schrock (Rep. VA), who was forced to retire after being outed by Rogers. Schrock co-sponsored a bill to ban gay marriage, and had a lifetime gay rights voting record of 0%. Zero fucking percent! Not a single vote for gay legislation of any kind. And Rogers has some pretty damning evidence against the representative.
Yes, he’s requesting a man. On a telephone. That was being recorded. And thankfully,
the recording helped put an end to his self-hating ways.
Others included in Outrage are Larry Kramer, a playwright, author, and an original gay rights activist, as well as his onetime lover and roommate Rodger McFarlane, a very candid and intelligent activist with great stories to tell. Others with a voice in the matter interviewed are Barney Frank, Tammy Baldwin, Jim Kolbe. These are politicians who have come out of the closet of their own volition, while James McGreevey states his perspective from being one who was forced to come out after a sex scandal during his term as New Jersey Governor.
Hypocrisy, righteousness, self-loathing: are these the characteristics we want in our representatives and congressmen? At every level of status in this world, I have no doubt that we all have certain levels of these aspects within us. But as McGreevey himself quotes Shakespeare at the beginning of Outrage, “unto thine own self be true.” Michelangelo Signorile, host of Sirius OutQ 109, recounts a story about his youth. He says that growing up, while wondering about himself and his burgeoning sexuality, he did as much reading and investigating as he could. He knew he was different, and one of the ways he kept himself safe from the teasing and bullying he would receive was to align himself with the bullies themselves. To avoid harm he joined into the very group that would intimidate and harass those like himself.
Haven’t we all done something like that at some time in our lives? Whether it was our sexuality, intelligence, or geekiness; it seems to be a common self-preservation trait within us. However, I know that when I acted like that, I was a child. Most people grow up. It’s a shame that some people live their entire lives hiding who they are.
Adam and Eve at the pool in the Creation Museum. What you don’t see in this pic are
the plesiosaur, the amargasaurus, the cetiosaurus, and the T-rex. And the reason
you don’t see the dinosaurs is because they didn’t exist in the same time frame. For that matter,
NEITHER DID THESE TWO!!!
Forgive my rant, but I can’t help but wonder if a few decades down the line that the members of our government will no longer be afraid of losing their jobs because of the person that they love. What is it that makes being gay so hard for some people to accept? Is it religion? Does it follow that thought process that was described by Quentin Tarantino through Hans Landa about “rats”? Could these negative feelings about something that commonly occurs in nature be remedied if tolerance could be taught in schools, so our children would grow up with all the base knowledge they would need to treat everyone with respect, regardless of those things that Dr. King spoke about that differentiate us?
At the end of Outrage, Mr. Dick presents footage of Harvey Milk. He says during an interview back then that if every gay person (in the state of California) were to come out, to their friends and family, to their co-workers and next-door neighbors, they’d win. That is something I would like to see.
The Outrage DVD has quite a few extras. There is a commentary track with director Kirby Dick and producer Amy Ziering, who was also a producer on one of Mr. Dick’s earlier documentaries.
Also included are a few deleted scenes that extend some of Michael Rogers trips across America, confronting politicians at the Yearlykos Bloggers convention, and a trip to the Creation Museum, where our young children can learn that man and dinosaur once lived together in harmony. Also included is a friendly interview called “Sex is better with…,” where some of the interviewees are asked which is better: sex with Republicans or Democrats.
Pretty harsh punishment from a loving god.
Two Q&A sessions are offered, one at a Washington, DC, screening, and a very interesting one at the Tribeca Film Festival, with Larry Kramer, Michaelangelo Signorile, and Rodger McFarlane. There are some excellent points brought up here, one standout being how much Larry Kramer is fed up the bullshit of all this hypocrisy. At one point, he even lashes out at the sympathetic audience when he states that George Washington and Abraham Lincoln were gay. He’s offended that the audience snickers, and states his case as to why people doubt that. After everything else I had seen, it made me question whether this was another case of my education presenting a different side of the story.
Finally, there is a very touching tribute to Rodger McFarlane. He was a good addition to Outrage, and it was a shame and very saddening to hear about his unfortunate death.