Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Power of Movies

I've heard a lot of people say they wished Milk had come out before California's election on Proposition H8.  I don't think it would have made much difference.  Art has its power, but it's not that kind of power.  WH Auden once said that if inspiring political action was a major criterion for evaluating art, then Josef Goebels would be the greatest artist who ever lived.

I should point out that the audience at the movie here in New York was mostly gay men way too young to have any memory of Harvey Milk.  The theater was packed.  I found that very encouraging.  Bearing witness, bringing what's past back to life, and speaking to the present about what it all means for now and tomorrow, that's what art does best.  What we do with it is entirely up to us.

I think what might actually make a difference in the whole fight over gay marriage is this week's cover story in Newsweek.

3 comments:

JCF said...

Be sure to express your gratitude to Newsweek (they're facing an energized anti-gay backlash). Susan Russell has the details...

Göran Koch-Swahne said...

Good - and timely - that someone have started stating the obvious ;=)

Counterlight said...

"Be sure to express your gratitude to Newsweek (they're facing an energized anti-gay backlash). Susan Russell has the details..."

Done, and I will do a post on this.