WATCH: Perry’s ‘Brokeback Mountain’ encore

Below is Rick Perry’s latest ad from South Carolina, entitled “President of Honor,” which is apparently designed to pander appeal to the state’s large military population. We noticed that Perry appears several times during the ad in the same jacket he wore in his infamous anti-gay ad “Strong” — which, as we all know, is quite similar to the jacket Heath Ledger wore in Brokeback Mountain. It’s interesting that despite all the parodies featuring the jacket, Perry hasn’t abandoned the tan Carharrt. Maybe the governor and his campaign are just completely oblivious, as would be suggested by this tidbit out of South Carolina from Politico:

As if Rick Perry didn’t have enough problems.

The Texas governor was greeted at a restaurant in Anderson, S.C., by a young woman who posed for a photo with the Texas governor while saying it is “good to see someone as homophobic and racist as you.”

He smiled, took the photo and moved on.

—  John Wright

Top 10: Perry presidential bid galvanized gays

clip-Strong-Perry

BROKEBACK PERRY | Rick Perry’s ‘Strong’ ad, in which he’s wearing a jacket similar to the one worn by Heath Ledger in ‘Brokeback Mountain,’ has the second-most dislikes of any video on YouTube.

No: 3

Rick Perry began 2011 being sworn in to a third four-year term as Texas’ governor. He ends it on a bus tour of Iowa, where he’s trying frantically to climb back into contention for the GOP presidential nomination as the Hawkeye State’s Jan. 3 caucuses near.

Perry is perhaps the most anti-gay governor in Texas history — and that’s saying something. So, when rumors began to swirl this spring that “Governor Goodhair” was planning to run for president, the LGBT community seemed to collectively grimace. For most, the downside of Perry holding national office would far outweigh one small consolation: At least he would finally have to depart the Lone Star State.

Longstanding rumors that Perry is a closeted homosexual quickly resurfaced. And, as if to try to put an end to them once and for all, Perry organized a “day of prayer” at Reliant Stadium in Houston, called The Response and funded by the American Family Association. The AFA is considered an anti-gay hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, and those who signed on as endorsers of Perry’s prayer rally certainly had the views to back up the designation.

The Response drew a huge response from, among others, the LGBT community, with activists staging counterdemonstrations in H-Town during a sweltering first weekend of August. Perry insisted The Response wasn’t political, but a week later he announced his campaign for president.

Republicans were smitten, and Perry skyrocketed to the top of GOP presidential polls — positioning himself as a highly-sought-after, more conservative alternative to presumptive frontrunner Mitt Romney.

Just before he formally launched his presidential bid, Perry stated at an event in Colorado that he believed marriage is a state’s rights issue and New York’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage was “fine with me.”

Under intense pressure from social conservatives, he quickly retracted the statement and came out firmly in support of a federal marriage amendment.

But that didn’t stop Rob Schlein, then president of Log Cabin Republicans of Dallas, from writing a controversial column in which he said he would vote for Perry over President Barack Obama, despite the governor’s anti-gay record. The column was one of several factors that led National Log Cabin to de-charter the Dallas chapter, which is now known as Metroplex Republicans.

Perry would go on to sign a pledge from the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage and come out against the repeal of “don’t ask don’t tell.” But in the end, it appears his right-wing credentials weren’t enough to overcome major, repeated gaffes during nationally televised debates this fall.

In the most memorable one, Perry forgot the third federal department he would eliminate as president in what has become known as his “oops” moment.

Desperate to recover from the gaffes, Perry’s campaign lurched even further to the right — releasing a campaign ad called “Strong” in which he declared: “I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a Christian, but you don’t need to be in the pew every Sunday to know there’s something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school.”

“Strong” spawned many parodies, with some harping on the fact that Perry’s jacket in the ad resembled the one worn by Heath Ledger in Brokeback Mountain. “Strong” also garnered the second-most dislikes of any video on YouTube. Above all, though, where it really counts among Republican voters, the ad didn’t work.

As of this week, Perry was polling fifth in Iowa — and second among candidates from Texas behind Congressman Ron Paul.

— John Wright

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 30, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Another misstep for Perry’s campaign

 

Hateful bigotry of Texas governor’s presidential campaign ad is surpassed only by its asininity

David Webb
The Rare Reporter

Just when I thought the 2012 Rick Perry for President campaign couldn’t get any nuttier, guess what? Yep, it managed to get sillier with the release of Gov. Perry’s campaign video attacking openly gay and lesbian members of the U.S. Armed Services.

Never mind that in the video dubbed “Strong” Perry is wearing the same type of tan Carhartt ranch coat actor Heath Ledger wore in the gay romance movie Brokeback Mountain, and that the video’s musical score was inspired by gay American composer Aaron Copland. The message is ridiculous, and the video’s distinction of registering more than half a million “dislikes” (646,000 dislikes to 20,000 likes) is probably attributable as much to its asininity as its hateful bigotry.

Facing the camera, against a wooded backdrop that conjures images of the big gay movie’s outdoor scenes, Perry declares that he is not “ashamed to admit” he is a Christian.

“You don’t need to be in the pew every Sunday to know that something is wrong when gays can serve openly in the military, but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas and pray in schools,” he declares.

Perry adds that as president he would “end Obama’s war on religion” and “fight against liberal attacks on our religious heritage.”

Aside from the imagery and the music of the video making Perry and his campaign staff again look like fools, the idea that openly gay and lesbian members of the military somehow undermine Christianity is ludicrous. Or are children supposed to resent gay and lesbian soldiers because they get to go off and fight wars while they are stuck at school, unable to pray out loud?

I doubt that it will come as a shock to Perry, his staff, the voting public or even school children that there are openly gay and lesbian people working in every level of local, state and federal government and private business — even churches — without harm to Christianity. Yet for some reason they expect everyone to swallow the notion that openly gay and lesbian members of the military will put the nation under the control of pagans.

What about openly gay and lesbian soldiers who observe Christianity by going to church, reading their Bibles and praying? Are they to be the demise of their own religion?

And do U.S. citizens who are Jewish or members of other faiths matter at all to Perry and his campaign staff? Under the Perry plan, are the children of those citizens to be indoctrinated into Christianity?

As to Perry’s promise in the video’s closing, it would be news to everybody if it were learned President Obama had declared a war on religion. Those laws regulating Christmas displays and school prayer were put in motion decades ago, a long time before Obama ever thought about running for political office.

Open prayer in school was banned by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1962 when Perry was in grade school. Surely he remembers.

Ultimately, I can’t imagine many people viewing the overturn of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” which was supported by a majority of the American public, enacted by Congress and signed into law by Obama, as an assault on Christianity.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said last week that Obama was probably not aware of the Perry campaign video claiming he had declared war on Christianity, but regardless the president is proud of his support of LGBT issues.

The video looks like evidence of the Perry campaign’s desperation following the governor’s disintegration in national polls since his announcement in August he would run for president. Perry dropped from a double-digit front leader status to 5 percent following a series of debate missteps and disastrous public appearances that showed him to be outmatched on the debate stage by every other Republican in the campaign.

A new American Research Poll shows Perry now has 13 percentage points in Iowa, the first primary state. But he still is in back of the pack, far behind Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney.

Regardless of where Perry goes in the polls, I’m confident he will again sabotage himself in some manner, unless he has an undercover gay or lesbian person on his campaign staff doing it for him.

Speaking of which, after Perry’s anti-gay ad was released, leaders from the gay Republican group GOProud outed one of the campaign’s consultants as gay. It was later learned that the consultant, Tony Fabrizio, had written an email prior to the ad’s release calling it “nuts.”

But aside from that effort and the obvious aspect of Fabrizio being a traitor who apparently has sacrificed the LGBT community to make a few bucks for himself, he doesn’t appear to have been doing a good job of using his expertise as a gay man to help Perry navigate difficult waters. Who will ever forget the image of Perry deep-throating a corn dog at an Iowa state fair while Romney graciously nibbled on his?

What were they thinking when they handed a corn dog to Perry, who has been fighting rumors that he is secretly gay for years?

In fact, a common question today is, “How did he ever go so far in Texas politics?”

There is only one group of people — other than personal friends, relatives and other beneficiaries of the governor’s influence as an elected official — to whom Perry still appeals: That is conservative Christians who put their religious beliefs ahead of every other consideration, regardless of whose rights get trampled upon in the process.

No wonder Perry released such a video and continues to offer it on his campaign website, but I don’t think there are enough of them to vote him into office.

Many people who started off supporting Perry have now fled from his camp, saying that his performance as a presidential candidate has brought about a national embarrassment. The worst part of it is that there is no telling what Perry and his campaign will do next. But it’s bound to be a dilly.

David Webb is a veteran journalist who has covered LGBT issues for the mainstream and alternative media for three decades. Contact him at davidwaynewebb@yahoo.com or http://therarereporter.blogspot.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 16, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Introducing the ‘Brokeback Perry’ meme

On Wednesday morning, when I first saw Rick Perry’s new anti-gay ad, I posted here on Instant Tea that it looked a lot like a scene from Brokeback Mountain. At the time, though, it’s doubtful I could have put my finger on what triggered this reaction. Well, now we all know: It’s the jacket, stupid!!! The above image, which is of unknown origin, showing Perry in the ad below Heath Ledger in the movie has gone completely viral. It’s also given birth to a meme, as you can see below and on Frogman’s Tumblr. Also, in case you want to put one of those jackets on your War on Christmas list, Senior Editor Tammye Nash informs me that it’s likely a Carhartt (and she would know).

—  John Wright

What’s Brewing: Whacko Thursday with Westboro Baptist, Cindy Jacobs and Michele Bachmann

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

Michele Bachmann

1. Calling her a “fag hag,” a spokeswoman for Westboro Baptist Church announced that the Phelps clan will picket the funeral of actress Elizabeth Taylor. Margie J. Phelps, daughter of the church’s leader Fred Phelps, said Taylor “joined Michael Jackson and Heath Ledger in hell.”

2. Our old friend Cindy Jacobs of Red Oak, Texas, preached at Sarah Palin’s home church earlier this month and said she hopes to have 500,000 “intercessors” mobilized for the 2012 elections “to shift this nation to righteousness and justice.” Watch video above.

3. Speaking in Iowa on Wednesday, likely GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann praised voters for ousting state Supreme Court judges who legalized same-sex marriage, calling them “black-robed monsters.” (UPDATE: Bachmann’s adviser’s announced today that she is likely to form a presidential exploratory committee.)

—  John Wright

Movie review: ‘Blue Valentine’

Although Blue Valentine is about the disintegration of a straight couple’s marriage, the themes, scenes and emotions it deals with could be out of any relationship: The awkward silences, the cold touches, the largely unspoken anger, the rebuffed affection, the meaningless disagreements. There are moments of tenderness, but they are made all the sadder because we see them in flashback. It’s over for these two.

I’ve been in this kind of relationship. I’m sure most people have. And it’s not pretty.

Sound like a happy film? Yeah, it’s not. But it is very real.

It’s also the kind of film that invites “process” reviews — that is, stories about the making of the film itself and its style: the hand-held camera and improvised dialogue resulting from weeks of off-set rehearsal with stars Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams (Heath Ledger’s widow), who lived together as a married couple for weeks to get into the skins of the characters. That accounts for the realism — authenticity trumps contrivance, character supersedes plot.

You can’t call that a bad thing, but it can be difficult to watch. Cindy (Williams) and Dean (Gosling) are a young couple with a sweet 5-year-old daughter, but their marriage is failing. In fact, by the time the movie begins, it’s basically over. Both from working-class backgrounds — Dean is a housepainter and mover, Cindy is a nurse — but Cindy seems to feel trapped by Dean’s lack of ambition. She likes his goofy charm, his grand acts of romanticism, but she doesn’t seem challenged by him. “I thought the whole point of coming here was to have a night without kids,” she snipes when he takes her to a fantasy motel and begins making animal noises. Ouch.

Director Derek Cianfrance approximates John Cassavetes’ patented way of creating pained realism not from meaningful dialogue or fancy camerawork, but by intense observation of small moments between people. He hops between the beginnings of their courtship and the dissolve with only subtle visual cues. He also allows Gosling and Williams to sparkle in their roles. Both are likely Oscar contenders, so intense and measured are their performances.

Blue Valentine isn’t the best date movie, but it is, in some ways, an ideal break-up movie, one that makes you feel you’re not alone in that pain.

Now playing at Landmark’s Magnolia Theatre in the West Village. Rated R (after an original NC-17 rating for explicit sex). 118 mins.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Livin’ the dream

‘Inception’ is too smart for its own good, but compelling nonetheless

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Life+Style Editor jones@dallasvoice.com

DANCING ON THE CEILING | The action set pieces in Christopher Nolan’s ‘Inception’ are gorgeous and thrilling to watch. But to what end?

3.5 out of 5 Stars
INCEPTION
Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page.
Rated R. 145 mins.
Now playing in wide release

Heath Ledger’s brilliant performance aside, The Dark Knight was the most overrated film of 2008 — muddled and overlong, it was a fine mess. Inception, by contrast — from Dark Knight director Christopher Nolan, who also wrote the script — could be called a beautiful disaster.

“Disaster” may be exaggerating. It is gorgeously decorated, with moody lighting, sharp costumes, expansive vistas and visual effects to beat the band. A fight sequence in a hotel hallway in zero gravity is the most exquisite action set piece since The Matrix.

But that’s also its downfall. Inception continually suggests tons of other movies, including Strange Days, Ocean’s 11, The Spy Who Loved Me, Mission: Impossible, Nolan’s own film The Prestige as well as Star Trek’s Holodeck, M.C. Escher’s art and a first person shooter video game — especially the latter.

The plot is actually quite simple — a standard heist film with a tech-heavy thesis behind it. Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a thief who invades the dreams of industrialists and potentates and steals secrets from their subconscious.

But here’s where it gets tricky: Cobb is asked by a new employer (Ken Watanabe) to do something different: Plant an idea, and make the victim think it’s his. The process is called “inception,” and will require an architect (Ellen Page) to build several dream layers, allowing them to go deep enough to make the idea stick.

If that’s at all confusing, then watching hardly makes it easier. The technobabble makes Inception too smart for its own good. The layers of dreaming, the role of the “architect,” the manipulation of time and space… it all smacks of a gloriously crazy acid trip. The patina of complexity almost makes your head hurt.

But only almost. Even when it’s at its convoluted worst, Inception is the most consistently watchable of all the summer’s Hollywood blockbusters. DiCaprio played the same guilt-ridden widower with weird psychological issues in his last film, Shutter Island, an abortive haunted house movie masquerading as Hitchcock. He doesn’t add much to his resume with this performance, but his ability to doff the dialogue and make you understand, if only instantaneously, is a notable achievement.

The supporting cast, as the crew who get stuff done, fare the best. Tom Hardy is charming as a possibly gay forger, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s implacable innocence has never been put to better use in a mainstream film. Even Page, who was in danger of seeming one-note since her work in Juno, tones down the snark smartly. It’s also nice to see Tom Berenger working again.

Inception will be huge, of course, and it should be. The effects themselves merit rushing to the theater to see it on the big screen. Maybe that will encourage multiple viewings… and make the plot, eventually, decipherable. Until then, I’ll just relax in its beauty.

……………………….

Zeus Comics turns 10 with party

It’s survived a move from Oak Lawn to Lemmon, a web series and the Jonah Hex movie and gay-owned Zeus Comics is still going strong. Richard Neal, pictured, is celebrating its 10th anniversary with a party on Saturday including special guests.
Writers Paul Benjamin and Alan J. Porter, who work on the comics of Monsters, Inc, and Boom Kids, will join Snow White in making personal appearances along with balloon animals and cake — sounds about right for a 10-year-old.

Zeuz Comics, 4411 Lemmon Ave. July 17, noon–5 p.m.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 16, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas