- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 15, 2000

Gay icon?

"Just when everyone thought Tammy Faye Bakker had already used up more than a lifetime's allotment of surprising about-faces, she has returned to the limelight. In January she was feted at the Sundance Film Festival, where 'The Eyes of Tammy Faye,' a documentary about her trials and tribulations, premiered to a wildly enthusiastic reception. The film opened on the coasts in July, generating coverage in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and USA Today… .

"[Its] openly homosexual filmmakers Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey have been artistic and domestic partners for 17 years. They are best known for producing a program on the cable music channel VH1 hosted by 'drag superstar' RuPaul Charles, who also serves as the narrator of 'The Eyes of Tammy Faye.' … The film doesn't dwell on homosexuality but it does make the point that Tammy Faye has expressed concern and compassion for homosexuals for nearly 20 years… .

"[Her] good-natured grace is a major reason that 'The Eyes of Tammy Faye' has played to enthusiastic audiences at a number of homosexual film festivals. Homosexual activist Mel White, who is featured in the film, offered this explanation: 'I think gay people like Tammy because Tammy likes gay people, and she's one of the only Christians in the world who seems to do so these days.' "

Steve Rabey, writing on "Tammy Faye, Gay Icon" in the Oct. 2 issue of Christianity Today

Try Vermont

"Clearly, the key to our political future lies in the recent election in Vermont. Florida may decide the next president, but the battle now prefigured in Vermont will dominate the country's cultural politics for the next four years… .

"Sometime during the next four years, gay marriage and other issues related to homosexuality are going to burst onto the scene, sharpening our political and cultural differences. It's already happened in a small way with the brush-war over the Boy Scouts, but pretty soon things are going to get serious and politicians are going to find it tough to keep their distance… .

"However mistakenly, proponents of gay marriage believe that they are engaged in an heroic struggle for civil rights. Invocations of Selma, Ala., are a staple of pro-gay marriage rhetoric… . The fight will be bitter, with the ultimate outcome as yet unclear."

Stanley Kurtz, writing on "Florida? Try Vermont," posted Monday on National Review Online at www.nationalreview.com

Gonzo truth

"I think Hunter S. Thompson's work is touched by genius and transcends mere journalism. I am the ultimate literal reporter who comes from the opposite end of the spectrum, and my work could not be more different than his. I go where my interviews, my facts, and my anecdotes take me. Hunter, by contrast, goes where his instincts take him, and his instincts, as his work has proved to us over the years, have a certain brilliance to them.

"His truths are, I suspect, larger than the truths of most of the rest of us and allow him to be a man of gonzo and yet have such a great resonance with the non-gonzoists among us. He helps fill an immense vacuum in the world of journalism. For in America these days print journalism is in sharp decline, significantly more anemic than it was 35 years ago, and television journalism, more often than not, is a mockery of itself. We live in a communications society where image is more important than truth, and spinning is our great new growth industry… . Therefore, in a culture like ours, Hunter's truths seem like laser beams cutting through the fog of lies and obfuscations, an industrialized man-made fog that is now so easily manufactured, bought, and paid for in the wealth of contemporary America."

David Halberstam, writing on "Postal Disturbances," in the December issue of Vanity Fair

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