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Kirby Dick’s Endlessly Outstanding Outrage

  • 3/8/10 at 8:34 PM

Kirby Dick’s documentary Outrage didn’t get an Oscar nomination, and the mainstream media (i.e., the daily papers) treated it as if examined too closely it would give them a terminal disease (libelus morbidus). But every time a rabidly anti-gay legislator like California senator Ray Washburn—one of the loudest voices in that loud state—gets caught in a gay bar and confesses to that which he denounced, I vow to direct you to Dick’s film. It’s not simply a treasure trove of gossip (although it’s that, too). It examine and delineates a syndrome. It portrays some of the most virulent legislative homophobes as actors in a kind of tragic farce. It made me think of Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure, in which the outwardly pious ruler who cracks down on “vice”—who has less tolerance for lasciviousness than any of his predecessors—turns out to be the one who’s ridden with and corroded by lust. This is not just dirty laundry. It’s a true perversion: the twisting of a natural desire into its exact opposite. And it’s rampant.

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