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Monday, February 23, 2009

The Oscars and Sean Penn's Acceptance Speech

I still haven't seen Milk but after Sean Penn's Acceptance speech for "Best Actor," I definitely want to see it (and have wanted to see it even before his speech). My post this morning doesn't really count as a "rant" but I'd like to commend Penn on the stand he took last night (beyond his movie role as Harvey Milk).

I really appreciated Penn's comments and his stand on California's Prop 8. There was a different vibe about the Oscars this year. Even though Penn is known for being a paparrazzi brawler (which he alluded to in his speech), I give him credit for taking on a substantial, meaningful role. With all the meaningless shallow movies that saturate Hollywood right now, it's refreshing to see a movie like Milk make such a big impact on the country.

Slumdog Millionaire definitely deserved their awards. However, Milk is a movie that represents our country at this moment. People need to watch this movie. I can't believe that people were actually picketing the Ocscars (in protest of Milk and Penn's role), but I'm not surprised either.

I watched Penn answer questions from the media and he brought up a good point when he was asked how he felt about the protesters. He commented that people are ignorant and fearful, and it needs to stop. Tolerance needs to happen, and no one (especially not the government) has the right to interfere. There's that golden rule we tend to forget: "Do unto others as you would do unto yourself." People need to really stop and think. They need to think about how their actions have consequences down the road.

They need to think about the mother who tragically lost her gay son, Bobby, in the 70s to suicide. Bobby killed himself because his mother couldn't accept him because of her religious fanaticism and ignorance (and fear). I commend his mother, Mary, for stopping her cycle of hatred and fear. As a result of her son's suicide, she joined forces with P-FLAG and has been a strong voice and advocate for gay rights. People can learn a lesson from Bobby's mother and from Sean Penn. I often wonder what these parents would do, the people who are against gay marriage/civil union, if their son or daughter came out to them? Would they disown them and would they react like Bobby's mom?

Think about the young screenwriter, Dustin Lance Black, who won Best Original Screenplay last night for Milk. There were tears in his eyes as he accepted his Oscar and spoke about his struggles and how his family has always accepted him. That was a huge, shining moment for Black and a shining moment for our country.

The hatred and intolerance needs to stop. After listening to the speeches last night, I'm even more determined to continue to do my part to speak out against intolerance and hatred.

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