The 43rd Annual Football QUESTIONS

There was this article in the Wall Street Journal last week suggesting that the formerly hapless Chicago St. LouisArizona Cardinals got good because they changed their logo from this:
to this:

It noted that most of the logos, at least have sterner visages.
The Denver Broncos to

The New England Patriots
to

The Seattle Seahawks
to

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers
to

Of course, the tougher logos don’t necessarily translate into greater football glory.

But my questions have to do with the game tomorrow.

Will you watch? Starting at what time? Do the participants affect whether you watch? Do you know who the participants are? Are you more interested in the game or the commercials? Or did you say, “What game?” If so, do you have an anti-Super Bowl tradition, such as going to the movies?

I’ll watch, starting at about 5 pm EST. Who participates doesn’t alter my watching. I will probably record it as well, if only so I can catch the commercials if I need a break to tend to the child.
***
Super Bowl XLIII and Its Viewers.

ROG

Hembeck is 56


It’s no great secret that my good friend Fred Hembeck was instrumental in getting me to start blogging. I had contributed a couple things to him that he used in his blog, and that inspired me to do my own.

In recent months, though, Fred’s blogging output had begun to slacken appreciably. Part of that was due to the work involved in preparing for his still-available book, but also, he’d seemed to have just lost a little of his blogging mojo.

Until…

Fred discovered a revolutionary new technology that has re-energized his blog in the last month and a half. It’s called:

YouTube

As Fred himself said, “Okay, I’ll admit it–regarding YouTube, I’m way, WAAAAY behind the curve. But only because I knew what would happen if I allowed myself to do more than peak into the occasional video embedded over on another blog.

I knew I’d become obsessed.”

And obsessed he has become. But an obsessed Fred Hembeck is a Fred Hembeck who’s exciting to read. If you haven’t been been by Fred Sez, or haven’t been there lately, check it out.

WARNING: You may spend more time there watching his YouTube links than you planned.

Oh, and happy birthday, effendi – you’re older than I am for five weeks!
ROG

MOVIE REVIEW: Doubt


For the second weekend in a row, I saw a movie at the Spectrum Theatre, this time alone. The wife and I developed a system whereby one of us goes to the movies on Saturday and the other on Sunday. I went Saturday; unfortunately, Carol fell ill on Sunday, so she won’t see it until Super Bowl Sunday.

Doubt is set in New York City in 1964, the year after JFK. Just the visage of the Catholic school’s old-line principal, Sister Beauvier (Meryl Streep), will bring fear into the hearts of some of the lapsed Catholics of a certain age that I know. She seems to have developed some suspicions about the trying-to-be-modern parish priest, Father Flynn (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and she ends up in a power struggle with him.

This a very well-acted movie, as one would expect with actors of this caliber. This movie represents Streep’s 15th Oscar nomination, though she hasn’t won since 1982. Hoffman was nominated twice before, winning once. This is Amy Adams’ second nomination and Viola Davis’ first. Adams in particular is the sweetest nun since Sally Field played Sister Bertrille in The Flying Nun.

As it is based on award-winning stage play, there is some great dialogue. I particularly liked the sermons offered as not so subtle messages.

And yet…there was something about it that is at arm’s length. Perhaps it was too stagy, that the adaptation did not fully take in the differences that cinema requires. Though I never saw the play, I can imagine this same scene-chewing dialogue produced on stage, quite possibly to greater effect. There were powerful themes and yet I never quite got caught up in them. It’s not unlike abstract art or avant-garde jazz you believe has been well crafted but just does not engage you.

I do recommend Doubt. Maybe it will take you away in a manner that I did not experience.
ROG

B is for Beatles


In honor of the 45th anniversary of the Beatles on Ed Sullivan next month, where most of America first saw the Fab Four, I thought I’d track down my development as a Beatles fan.

Yes, I watched Sullivan on February 9, 1964, and I thought the group was all right. But I really couldn’t hear them or enjoy them over all of that SCREAMING. I went to school the next day and it appeared that my female classmates in the fifth grade had also been riddled by a mild form of what came to be called Beatlemania. This really turned me off from the group.

Beatles at the Indiana State Fair

But as I saw them (twice more on Sullivan) and heard them on the radio (a lot) I began to soften towards them. Don’t know exactly when, it was some point after the movie A Hard Day’s Night came out, because I had had zero interest seeing it at the time, whereas I eagerly watched 1965’s Help! as soon as it was released. Eventually, both my sister Leslie and I clamored for some music by the Beatles, and so my father brought home this:

Apparently, parents all over the country were fooled were fooled by this knockoff. Frankly, I don’t recall how, or even if, we expressed our disappointment.

In 1965, I started a paper route, which meant I had my own money. At some point after June, I joined the Capitol Record Club. 12 albums for only a penny! (If you buy 12 more at the club’s inflated retail price, plus shipping.) I ordered all the Beatles’ albums that were out at the time, and was horrified to discover that my Meet the Beatles was in stereo, rather than mono, since the warning on the stereo albums was that they were incompatible with a mono player; ultimately, I played it anyway.

That year and the next, we would lipsynch Beatles’ albums, especially Beatles VI, which was the first of the full-price albums I bought, using brooms and mops as guitars and Quaker Oats boxes as drums. . I was John, the literate, intelligent one; Leslie was Paul, who was left-handed and she thought he was CUTE; our neighbor Mary Jane was Ringo, because she thought he was CUTE; and our baby sister Marcia was George, because he was the only one left.

I started reading all the magazines about the Beatles. One article stood out: John Sebastian of the Lovin’ Spoonful indicated that Drive My Car was his favorite album on the album Rubber Soul. EVERYBODY knows that Drive My Car was on Yesterday…and Today, didn’t they? It wasn’t until a couple years later, possibly until after the breakup, when I discovered that the British albums and the American albums were not the same.

I quit Capitol Record Club when I realized I could buy the albums not only cheaper, but sooner from the stores. I got Rubber Soul and Revolver from the club, but Yesterday…and Today from the Rexall Drug Store ($2.99) and Sgt. Pepper at W.T. Grant’s for the outrageous amount of $3.67. I noticed I was at least a little colorblind because it took me forever to find the word Beatles on the Magical Mystery Tour cover. I recently discussed the white album.

In the 1970s and early 1980s, I started reading books about the Beatles and became rather expert at what was on which album in the UK and the US, and even Italy. Recently, a colleague went to a funk concert and asked about a song called Bad Boy. I could tell him, without looking it up, that it was a Larry Williams song from my beloved Beatles VI in America, but that it didn’t show up in Britain until the mostly singles collection A Collection of Beatles Oldies But Goldies in late 1966. It’s on the Past Masters 1 CD.

I decided, probably foolishly, that in the next couple weeks, at random intervals, I will rank the entire list of Beatles songs, based on how much I would enjoy a piece if I haven’t heard it in, say, six months. It is NOT necessarily a list of BEST songs, though quality can enhance enjoyment. The list will punish perfectly good recordings that, from overplaying, I just don’t want to hear anymore.

I’m going to limit the list to the canon; that is, the songs released on Beatles singles, albums and EPs through 1970. In other words, the tunes from the British Beatles CDs and from the Past Masters CDs. There will be no songs from the Anthology albums.

If I were a purist, I would have separate listings for the single and album versions of Love Me Do, Let It Be and Get Back or the alternative and album versions of Across the Universe; I don’t. While the single version of Get Back is what I had in mind, the coda on the album version has its charm.

NASA beamed a song — The Beatles’ “Across the Universe” — directly into deep space at 7 p.m. EST on Feb. 4, 2008. The transmission over NASA’s Deep Space Network commemorated the 40th anniversary of the day The Beatles recorded the song, as well as the 50th anniversary of NASA’s founding and the group’s beginnings.

ROG

Gillibrand and Bruno

Friday was a happening day politically in the Capital District of New York state. On one hand, there was descent. A federal grand jury indicted former state Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno on felony charges alleging he used his elected position to extract $3.2 million in private consulting fees from clients who sought to use his influence. Joe, who represented an area east of Albany for a number of years has his name on the relatively new minor league ballpark in Troy, among other things. I freely admit to experiencing a bit of schadenfreude over his fall, and it’s based on a connection I’m just not going to get into just now; maybe someday.

The other story was an ascent, one you might have heard about, even out of state or out of country: Gov. David Paterson picked Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand to the U.S. Senate, succeeding Hillary Clinton, who resigned after her confirmation as Secretary of State in the Obama administration. One of the out-of-town headlines read: “Little-known, pro-gun Democrat gets Clinton’s Senate seat.” I thought it was unfairly reductivist, so for the benefit of those of you not the Albany area, a primer.

The Congressional District east and south of Albany, currently the 20th, was gerrymandered to sustain a Republican member of Congress. While the adjoining 20th (where I live) contains the Democratic-leaning cities of Albany, Schenectady and Troy, the vast 20th, largely rural and small towns was a GOP delight. The Congressman there for 20 years was the late Gerald Solomon, who was very conservative. He was succeeded in 1999 by John Sweeney, similarly conservative – he helped George W. Bush in Florida in 2000 – but a bit of a party animal. He was seen as drinking at a college frat house, e.g.

Still, when Kirsten Gillibrand challenged Sweeney in 2006, she was not given much of a chance to defeat him, such was the nature of the district. Then there were allegations of possible spousal abuse in the Sweeney household. This probably sealed the seat for Gillibrand.

The best time to knock off an incumbent is after his or her first term in office. The GOP candidate in 2008 against Kirsten Gillibrand was Sandy Treadwell, who is quite wealthy. I started seeing his ads – it’s the same media market – months before I saw hers. Yet she won the general election with 62% of the vote.

A successful Democrat in a conservative district, who was able to do some meaningful fundraising, became one of the front runners for the Clinton seat. Here’s a dichotomy in the narrative. When Gov. Paterson announced her at the press conference, he said that she was picked because she was best qualified, not because she was a woman or from upstate. Yet Gillibrand’s new Senate colleague, Chuck Schumer of Brooklyn said at that same press conference that it was important that the selection be a woman because there are only 16 women in the Senate. He added that it was also important that the candidate be from upstate, something that hasn’t happened in 38 years, because upstaters can speak better to the needs of upstaters. (I discussed the odd, complicated upstate/downstate tension here.)

Kirsten Gillibrand is no wide-eyed liberal, but she’s no hick. My wife suggested I not write this, but write it I must: she’s no Sarah Palin. She’s descended from political royalty in these parts, She received her first experiences in Albany politics from her grandmother, the legendary “Polly” Noonan. City of Albany politics, because it’s been one party for so long, engenders a certain conservativeness, a complaint about Gillibrand that she attempted to quell.

“I will represent the many diverse views and voices of New York state,” said Gillibrand, adding that she would work with Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy, a Long Island Democrat who has criticized Gillibrand’s A rating from the National Rifle Association. “I will look for ways to find common ground between upstate and downstate.” On December 7, 1993, McCarthy’s husband Dennis and five others were killed, and her son Kevin and 18 others wounded on a Long Island Railroad commuter train by Colin Ferguson.

The New York Immigration Coalition also suggested now-Senator Gillibrand must reconsider her positions on immigration. During her tenure in the House, Representative Gillibrand took positions on immigration that are deeply troubling, to say the least. She sponsored legislation that sought to require local police officers to take on immigration enforcement duties, even though police chiefs have testified it would impair their ability to protect the public. She strongly supported throwing more resources toward ineffective border enforcement, but appeared to oppose any path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Simply put, these are positions that put her at odds with the majority of New Yorkers, whose values reflect our state’s history of welcoming immigrants, as well as with President Barack Obama, who supports a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

I could be wrong, but I think, as a statewide representative, she’ll be more liberal, if only because she’ll have to be to get the nomination. On the very day Gillibrand was named to the Senate seat, Carolyn McCarthy vowed to challenge Gillibrand, directly or indirectly, in the 2010 Democratic primary. The seat will also require candidates in 2012, when Senator Clinton’s term would have been up.

Here’s an interesting perspective in the New York Times about the whole process of naming Hillary Clinton’s successor:
Now that Gov. David Paterson of New York has completed his operatic quest to fill Hillary Clinton’s Senate seat and Roland Burris, chosen by the embattled Illinois governor to succeed Barack Obama, has made it past Capitol Hill security, we can safely conclude that appointing senators might not be such a good idea.

Actually, Americans came to that conclusion in 1913, when the 17th Amendment mandated regular senatorial elections…

The very problems the amendment was meant to address persist. Consider this: Nearly a quarter of the
United States senators who have taken office since the 17th Amendment took effect have done so via appointment. Once Representative Kirsten Gillibrand, Mr. Paterson’s choice, joins the Senate, she will be one of more than 180 senators named by governors since 1913.

By contrast, the Constitution mandates special elections for all vacancies in the House — even though representatives are far less powerful than senators.

Yet only a handful of states routinely fill vacated Senate seats by special election. The result is a tyranny of appointments.

Not so incidentally, the race for the Gillibrand House seat will have at least three well-known Republicans, including the wealthy Sandy Treadwell, whose ads netted him 150,000 votes in 2008, but only a couple unknown Democrats. The seat will almost certainly go back to the Republican column. It may be better for Gov. Paterson, who’s up for election in 2010, to have an upstate woman on the ticket running with him than to worry about one House seat. Moreover, New York will lose one, maybe two Congressional seats in 2012, after the 2010 Census, and the map, drawn by the state legislature, currently controlled in both houses by the Democrats, might well gerrymander the district out of existence.

ROG

The Lydster, Part 58: American Idol


For the record, Lydia’s first pop concert was Saturday, December 27, 2008 at 3 p.m., featuring American Idol season 6 finalists Blake Lewis, Chris Sligh, and Brandon Rogers, at the Palace Theatre in Albany, NY.

I should note that neither of us had ever seen one minute of season 6 of American Idol, thought I had seen parts of the first five seasons. I think the victory of Taylor Hicks, plus the general meanness factor of the show just turned both my wife (the initial cheerleader for watching Idol) and me off.

Thus, I had no real idea about any of these guys. First up was brief plugs by the sponsors of the show, people apparently not used to being on stage or using a microphone.

Next, Brandon Rogers. I expect the order of their appearance was in reverse order of their results on Idol and I was right. Rogers, who noted that his step-grandmother was from Schenectady, was the first of the Final 12 to be eliminated. He was personable and talented. (In fact, Sligh later said he was surprised how early he had left the competition.) The best performance he played on keyboards about the pain of his injury after Idol and being unable to participate in the post-Idol rush. He also did two breakup pieces. Mostly he sang to a backing track. Altogether he performed seven songs, five of them originals, plus Stevie Wonder’s Superstition. All but the last song, a cover about New Years Eve, were sung well; the final tune was a little, er, pitchy.

Lydia approved. She was dancing around wildly on the uptempo sounds, running up the aisle in front of me and down the one behind me with excitement. We sat far enough back that it should not have impinged on the enjoyment of others.

Chris Sligh, eliminated in the third week of the finals, did only four songs, three on guitar, and the middle of those a silly little ditty about rock stars needing money, after which he plugged his album for sale in the back. He was introduced verbatim from the flier with “it takes a lot to stand out from the cookie-cutter crowd”. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a sense of that from the short set, which ended with him on the keyboards singing a song to his wife of nearly six years, and emphasizing that at nearly 31, he still feels like a kid.

Lydia enjoyed him well enough, especially the silly song.

So BOTH of these guys fell before the infamous Sanjaya Malakar? Interesting. One didn’t need to actually watch Idol to know about Sanjaya.

Finally, there was Blake Lewis, the runner-up to Jordin Sparks. Evidently, he was used to working with cordless equipment because he was having all sorts of difficulties getting set up from song to song. Actually, the first piece wasn’t a song at all, but him playing around on his famous (or infamous) beatbox. It was interesting, for a while, but both Lydia and I got bored. During his second real song, U2’s With or Without You, he layered a bunch of vocals on the system; unfortunately, one or two of them were just a tad flat, so mixing them in a chord made for me an unpleasant experience. Meanwhile, Lydia made the final decision to go, because it was TOO LOUD.

So, in review, Lydia liked it less and less as it went along. Actually, I concurred with her.

ROG

Pre-inaugural Music

There was this concert last Sunday at the Lincoln Memorial. The program was on HBO, but it was to made free to anyone with basic cable. From what I’ve read, a number of cable companies didn’t get the word to unscramble HBO, though that was the intent. I know my cable was asking for a PIN number (yes, I know “PIN number” is redundant); Time Warner told me it is the “universal default” number, 0000, and it was.

In any case, the We Are One concert is on the HBO website for free. It runs just under two hours, and starts with Bishop Gene Robinson’s invocation, which was reportedly excised from the broadcast; Robinson is openly gay. From time to time, I had a buffering problem, so I decided to see if I could find at least the pop music performances on YouTube, and I did. The ones from, I think, Groban/Headley on are from one person and are pretty good quality. The earlier videos are of various folks and quality; at least one jittery video was obviously taken by someone actually at the show, not dependent on a TV feed.

Master Sergeant Caleb B. Green III The Star-Spangled Banner

Denzel Washington Homage to the leaders given Monuments or Memorials

Bruce Springsteen “The Rising” by Bruce Springsteen. The choir is very effective.
LINK

Laura Linney and Martin Luther King III: F.D.R and John F. Kennedy

Mary J. Blige “Lean on Me” by Bill Withers
LINK

Jamie Foxx and Steve Carell Referencing Thomas Jefferson, Thurgood Marshall and Robert Kennedy – Foxx imitates Obama.

Bettye LaVette and Jon Bon Jovi “A Change Is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke – LaVette blows away Bon Jovi
LINK

Tom Hanks Tribute to Abraham Lincoln

Marisa Tomei Quoting Ronald Reagan

James Taylor, John Legend and Jennifer Nettles “Shower the People” by James Taylor. I’m old, because I liked it.
LINK

Joe Biden Speech

John Mellencamp “Pink Houses” by John Mellencamp
LINK

Queen Latifah Referencing Marian Anderson

Josh Groban and Heather Headley “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee”
LINK

Kal Pen and George Lopez Quotes Dwight Eisenhower and Barbara Jordan

Herbie Hancock, will.i.am and Sheryl Crow “One Love” by Bob Marley
LINK

Tiger Woods Dedicating the Armed Forces

Renee Fleming “You’ll Never Walk Alone”
LINK

Jack Black and Rosario Dawson Tribute to Theodore Roosevelt

Garth Brooks “American Pie” by Don McLean/”Shout” (Isley Brothers)/”We Shall Be Free” (Garth Brooks). The new Commander-in-Chief knows at least some of the lyrics to American Pie.
LINK

Ashley Judd and Forest Whitaker Referencing John F. Kennedy and William Faulkner

Usher, Stevie Wonder and Shakira “Higher Ground” by Stevie Wonder. A number of people suggested that Shakira was the worst performer of the day. One YouTube person wondered who that guy was playing keyboards was – it was Stevie.
LINK

Samuel L. Jackson Referencing Abraham L
incoln, Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr.

U2 “Pride (in the Name of Love)” and “City of Blinding Lights” by U2. Pride, especially in that setting, was particularly moving. City, I read recently, is reportedly on Obama’s iPod.
LINK

Barack Obama Speech: Voices Calling for Change

Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen “This Land is your Land” by Woody Guthrie. Pete’s voice is shot (though his grandson Tao’s is strong), but it was very moving to hear those verses one doesn’t usually hear:

“In the squares of the city – By the shadow of the steeple
By the relief office – I saw my people
As they stood there hungry, I stood there wonderin
If this land’s still made for you and me.”

“There was a big high wall there – that tried to stop me;
Sign was painted – it said private property;
But on the other side – it didn’t say nothing;
That side was made for you and me.”

“Nobody living can ever stop me,
As I go walking – that freedom highway;
Nobody living can ever make me turn back
This land was made for you and me.”
LINK

Beyonce “America the Beautiful”. A suitable ending.
LINK

ROG

The Spanking QUESTION


My father believed in spanking; I don’t, and my sisters don’t, and there is a correlation.

I was reading the syndicated column by Dr. T. Berry Brazelton, Family Matters. The title of one of his “Family Matters” columns in early December 2008 was “Spanking is not necessary, can be harmful”. He had expressed that opinion before and that didn’t surprise me.

What I DID find jaw-dropping, though, was this paragraph:
“Many parents who were spanked as children tell us that they do not remember why they were spanked, or what they learned, but that they sure do remember being spanked, how it felt and how angry they were. Many remember feeling less trusting of their
parents’ authority and wisdom when physical force was used against them.”

Not a month before that, I had asked both of my sisters if they remembered WHY we were spanked, and except for one particular incident – my worst spanking, and I wasn’t even guilty of an infraction – none of us had ANY idea. Even the baby sister, who seems to remember everything fromk our past, can’t remember WHY.

HOW we remember. the length of the strap, and its location in the kitchen. Often we were expected to get the strap, and failure to do so would have meant additional lashes.

So, the questions:
1) Were you spanked as a child? How often? If so, do you think it was justified? If you weren’t spanked, what types of punishments did you receive instead?
2) If you’re a parent (or surrogate parent), what is your philosophy on spanking?

ROG

Has Obama Solved the Economic Crisis Yet?

C’mon, man, it’s been three days already!

OK, that first day, you did have those parties to go to.

Actually, I’m pleased so far with what I’ve seen: halting the Guantanamo tribunals, trying to upend those last-minute Bush regulations, though the worst of them are already in place and will have to go through a more rigorous process of undoing. Plus he shut down the Detroit Lions – OK, not yet.

Two Diane Feinstein sightings in three days? First she was in the movie Milk, which I saw on Sunday, then she chaired the inauguration. Oh, and when did the song America, sung by QoS, become known as My Country ‘Tis Of Thee? I did like Aretha’s hat, though; reminded me of those women of a certain age in the black church.
LINK

I got my TIAA-CREF financial statement, and there was a certain perverse beauty to it. I lost as much in the 3rd quarter as I did in the first two; I lost as much in the 4th quarter as I did in the first three. It’ll be awhile before that turns around.

I liked, not loved the inaugural speech. He took some pointed shots at his predecessor, which was fine. But he was so conscious of not wanting to build up expectations that it seemed almost out of place with the euphoria going on around him. On the other hand, I felt he was being honest with us. And, not so much after hearing the speech as reading about it after, this song came to mind:
LINK
I’m sick and tired of hearing things
From uptight, short-sighted, narrow-minded hypocritics
All I want is the truth
Just gimme some truth
Ive had enough of reading things
By neurotic, psychotic, pig-headed politicians
All I want is the truth
Just gimme some truth

No short-haired, yellow-bellied, son of tricky dicky
Is gonna mother hubbard soft soap me
With just a pocketful of hope
Money for dope
Money for rope

So I shan’t complain about hearing the truth.
ROG

MOVIE REVIEW: Milk


Considering the paucity of my movie going behavior lately, nevertheless I knew that I would have to see the new Gus van Sant film, Milk, starring Sean Penn as the guy who goes from a closeted gay in New York City to the first openly gay politician in San Francisco within a decade. Part of the appeal of going for me was my love for the Bay Area. Moreover, and I did not know this until fairly recently, Harvey went to school at what is now UAlbany, the same institution where I attended library school, and got into a little trouble.

So, go I did with my wife this past Sunday to Albany’s Spectrum Theatre after having lunch at Justin’s. Date night afternoon! Initially, my rather deep knowledge of some of the events portrayed in the movie was a bit of a hindrance to my enjoyment. It was as though I’m watching Sean Penn in a biopic. Oh, look, there’s James Franco as his lover! But there’s a point for me – a specific moment having to do with an election – where Penn stopped being the actor and became Harvey Milk.

I’m finding it difficult to describe the film more fully. I recall that Roger Ebert got chastised in some quarters for revealing information that, I would agree, was public knowledge. The headline facts are established early via archival footage of Diane Feinstein, now a U.S. Senator. That information made me appreciate more the structure of the movie, with Milk dictating notes on a recording device amidst flashbacks.

This was a well-reviewed film (92% on the Tomatometer, 91% among top critics.) One review in particular irritated me: “The exceptional The Times of Harvey Milk won the Oscar for Best Documentary 24 years ago…. Yet, all this time later… Hollywood wants us to applaud its courage for finally–finally–telling this story?” Perhaps true, but the review of the film itself was actually rather positive, yet listed as “rotten”.

There was quite a bit of archival footage, and I did something at this film I don’t recall ever doing before; I hissed when someone appeared on the screen as though it were Snidely Whiplash. Anita Bryant was spewing her hate in the name of “Christian love”; I boycotted orange juice for years because of her.

But this is no historical relic. Indeed, the fight over California’s Prop 6 in the mid-1970s, which would have banned gay teachers, and 2008’s Prop 8, which would ban gay marriage, made the film seem more relevant than it might have. Jimmy Carter and even Ronald Reagan opposed Prop 6, BTW.

I should note a couple of the many fine performances. Emile Hirsch, who was directed by Sean Penn in the Penn-penned Into the Wild plays organizer Cleve Jones. Josh Brolin, who recently played Bush 43 in W, is Milk’s more conservative colleague Dan White.

It was a movie with a message, but I did not find it preachy. At the end of this film, some people, including me, applauded it. In some ways, I/they were applauding the remarkable evolution and life of Harvey Milk.
ROG