Tag Archives: religious conservative

TV film alert: Alexandra Pelosi holds mirror up to US conservatives in new film

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There is a new documentary by Alexandra Pelosi that is to be shown on HBO starting Monday 2/16 about the conservative reaction the 2008 US elections.(check your time and channel in your area).

Here is the blurb from HBO:

On the day Barack Obama was elected the 44th President, more than 58 million voters cast their ballots for John McCain. In the months leading up to this historic election, filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi (HBO’s Emmy®-winning “Journeys with George”) took a road trip to meet some of the conservative Americans who waited in line for hours to support the GOP ticket, and saw their hopes and dreams evaporate in the wake of that Democratic victory. These voters share their feelings about the changing America in which they live. Premieres Monday, February 16 at 8pm (ET/PT) on HBO2.

I did a post about on my Secular Left blog that includes an interview the filmmaker did on the Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC on Friday night.

Alexandra Pelosi holds mirror up to US conservatives in new film

New blog about the Secular Left

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Once again, proving I have no active social life, I have spent my holiday weekend creating another project where I can rant.

It all started when someone posted an article about a term called “Secular Left” that conservatives and the religious right are now using in their name calling program for those who disagree with them.

In the article called Sticks and Stones and the “Secular Left”, author David Benjamin comments about the first time he heard the term while watching “Meet the Press” on May 8th. Conservative talking head Mary Matalin used the term in describing the opposition during the manufactured filibuster crises over Bush’s judicial nominees.

Benjamin wrote:

“Civil liberties,” a term that embraces such basic American prerogatives as privacy, consumer rights, freedom of speech, freedom of the press and, yes, freedom of religion, are seen today as the purchased privileges of a “liberal elite.” This distortion is the linguistic legacy of the same American right wing that now cubbyholes its foes as the “secular Left,” and seems happy to gather at the river under the big (revival) tent of the religious Right.

“Secular Left.” Yeah, maybe it’s just a couple of words. But it’s coming from the people who today, in American politics, get to make up all the words, and then make everybody else repeat them endlessly, like “Hallelujah,” and “Praise the Lord.” And the only opposition is a tongue-tied cluster of Democrat/ liberal/ progressives whose only articulate utterance in the political and semantic struggle of the last decade has been a strangled bleat that sounds a lot like “Uncle!”

I agree with him and I decided to do something about it.

Using a portion of my meager salary I purchased the domain secularleft.us and put up a blog to defend not only secular humanists, and atheists, but also anyone with a secular bent who disagrees with the conservatives and their buddies the religious right on matters of church vs. state.

Opening today http://www.secularleft.us will be a counterpoint to the shrill sounds of the right. I intend to expose the lies and myths they express about those who choose the secular path and I don’t plan to be nice about it.

Today’s entry deals with the ruling the US Supreme court made today regarding religious practices in prison.

Feel free to stop by for a visit.

Secular Left

Michael Medved shouldn’t be a film critic

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The job of a film critic is not easy. You have to sit through some awful movies but on the other hand you might get to see a great film.

One code of the critic is to write about a film and give your view of it in such a way that you don’t spoil the plot for those who haven’t seen it yet. Of course it is hard to do that when a film has a surprise twist but most of the decent critics do a good job of not giving away the whole plot.

Michael Medved use to be a film critic. He also use to have a film critic show on PBS called “Sneak Previews”. The interesting bit about the show was it took over the spot after Siskel and Ebert’s “At The Movies” left PBS to be syndicated nationally on commercial television.

Something happened to Medved. It is the same thing that happened to ABC TV’s John Stossel. Medved became a cranky conservative. He now is referred to in the press as “conservative commentator and cultural critic”. He still feels he must review movies from his conservative perspective.

Medved gives good reviews to family and religious themed films and hates anything not in those two categories.

To be fair Roger Ebert, a noted critic, seems to love any foreign film and has a hard time seeing anything good that comes from the major studio.

Medved, like some other conservative media types, decided to spoil the plot twist for Clint Eastwood’s recent film “Million Dollar Baby”.

The marketing comes across as a female “Rocky” type movie but the twist, from what I’ve read, is totally shocking to an audience use to the “Rocky” kind of formula movies. I respect films and the work that goes into them so I won’t say what the twist is but Medved and other conservatives spoiled the plot to their audience because the twist offended their political and religious beliefs.

Don’t get me wrong. If Medved or any other conservative critic hates a movie because it offends their political or religious beliefs, they have a right and a duty to tell their audience. I’m fine with that. But what Medved did crossed the line. Giving away the twist was a deliberate attempt to damage the potential box office receipts.

He tried to justify his action:

“there are competing moral demands that come into the job of a movie critic. We have a moral and fairness obligation to not spoil movies. On the other hand, our primary moral obligation is to tell the truth.”

Spoken like someone who is full of their own importance. He could have told the truth without giving away the twist in the detail he did. Real critics, who still have some objectivity, did that.

He pointed out he didn’t say which character is involved in the twist but that doesn’t matter. He gave away the twist.

He also said:

“It is dishonest in its marketing. They didn’t want to tell people what it is because no one would come.”

He makes the classic conservative mistake – believing that everyone thinks just as they do. It isn’t his job to decide what people will see.

A critic gives a review to help people decide if they wish to see a film. People should make up their own mind about any so-called moral issues presented in the movie. The critic isn’t a moral arbiter.

As Clint Eastwood said in response:

“The picture doesn’t really sum up any policies one way or another. It just happens to be the ultimate drama for one particular person. How people feel about that is up to them.”

I agree.

Medved needs to give up being a film a critic.

For the a full article on the issue see:

‘Million Dollar’ mystery

“Moral Values” cause ignorance

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Here is a look at “moral values” that some continue to insist decided the 2004 Presidential Election. The first view is from the Red area with a rebuttal from a Blue state supporter:

Conservatives in rural Ohio big key in Bush victory

OTTAWA, Ohio (AP) – Glen Beutler lost his job making patio doors when his employer shut down three years ago.

He was exactly the kind of voter John Kerry was counting on to help him defeat President Bush.

Instead, Beutler and many of his neighbors across rural Ohio worried about the economy voted for Bush because they felt he shared their values on issues such as abortion, gay marriage and gun owner rights.

“Around here, family and values still comes first,” Beutler said.

“It was nice to see the rural people have the advantage this time,” said Cora Bour, the GOP chairwoman in Seneca County.

“In our area, we have a lot of farmers and people who are just down to earth,” she said. “A lot of people see that in President Bush. A lot of it had to do with his faith too. That’s the way we are around here.”

http://www.mansfieldnewsjournal.com/news/updates/9988.html

Am I Blue?
I apologize for everything I believe in. May I go now?

By Michael Kinsley

Sunday, November 7, 2004 Washington Post

There’s just one little request I have. If it’s not too much trouble, of course. Call me profoundly misguided if you want. Call me immoral if you must. But could you please stop calling me arrogant and elitist?

I mean, look at it this way. (If you don’t mind, that is.) It’s true that people on my side of the divide want to live in a society where women are free to choose abortion and where gay relationships have full civil equality with straight ones. And you want to live in a society where the opposite is true. These are some of those conflicting values everyone is talking about. But at least my values — as deplorable as I’m sure they are — don’t involve any direct imposition on you. We don’t want to force you to have an abortion or to marry someone of the same gender, whereas you do want to close out those possibilities for us. Which is more arrogant?

We on my side of the great divide don’t, for the most part, believe that our values are direct orders from God. We don’t claim that they are immutable and beyond argument. We are, if anything, crippled by reason and open-mindedness, by a desire to persuade rather than insist. Which philosophy is more elitist? Which is more contemptuous of people who disagree?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A29470-2004Nov5.html

I simply find it amazing that people will vote against their best interests for the sake of “moral values”. Our government was created to protect the rights of all citizens. It is highly unamerican for a group to pass laws or support candidates who want to discriminate simply because “they” don’t like what they want to outlaw.

As Kinsley said, how arrogant is that?

The same people who voted against Kerry because he “might” want to ban guns (though he never said it) are the same ones who want to prevent a group of people from committing to the person they love in a legal union.

They are the same people who want to force women to carry unwanted babies to term yet don’t bat an eye at the government sending their children into a war that was not needed and hasn’t made the nation safer.

They are the same people who trust Bush with the economy even when they lose their jobs or savings to unethical business practices allowed and encouraged by the same administration.

A friend of mine tried to say, before the election, that the electorate was ignorant if they voted for Bush. I tried to dissuade him from saying that with no evidence. Now I am coming around to his way of thinking.

Sometimes conservatives just don’t get it and it has nothing do with liberal elitism

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I read the May 19th Cal Thomas column that appeared in the May 25th Dispatch (“Marriage Massachusetts-style“)

He comments that the so-called moral and cultural boundaries have been removed since the move to consumption and pleasure replaced restraint and acting on behalf of the general welfare after World War II. He thinks that the decision to allow same sex marriage in Massachusetts was just a wave in that movement.

I have not heard a single rational objective reason, from any conservative commentator, why there should not be same sex marriages allowed in this country. Hearing them drone on one would think that if heterosexual marriage was such a load bearing pillar of civilization there would be a good reason to keep gays out of it.

Instead we get the tired slippy slope that if same sex marriage is allowed then polygamy, incest, and statutory rape would be made legal. It is these tasteless conclusions Thomas would like you to draw from giving a group of people the right to marry.

The question has been about rights and who gets to establish those rights. I don’t have to read off the groups of people who have been denied their rights over the history of the country but the argument against giving those rights seem to always include the slippery slope doom and gloom collapse of civilization if those people are granted those rights.

Thomas, like many conservatives, claims that heterosexual marriage is an immutable truth. Immutable means unchangeable. But as marriage is a social construction, that has gone through many changes since it became part of human culture, Thomas’ claim is simply hot air.

The only part of his column that I sort of agree with is his statement:

If conservative religious people wish to exert maximum influence on culture, they will redirect their attention to repairing their own cracked foundation. An improved heterosexual family structure will do more for those families and the greater good than attempts to halt the inevitable.

Hypocrisy never wins an argument and religious conservatives who champion hetero marriage while having issues with divorce are being hypocritical. Several conservative Republicans, like Newt Gingrich, who have argued against gay marriage are on their second or third marriage.

Of course the result of fight on divorce has lead to draconian measures in at least one state where couples wanting to divorce are forced to try and save the marriage.