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Culture Briefs

- - Thursday, January 20, 2011

Tolerance for me …

"To the proponents of the radical homosexual agenda, tolerance only goes one way. We must tolerate them, or else. As for their tolerance toward others, not so much. The latest target of their ire is Chick-Fil-A. The restaurant chain is under fire because, horror of horrors, a single local franchisee promised to donate some sandwiches to an upcoming marriage conference. Can you guess why? Yup, it's a Christian marriage conference.

"The gay rights crowd can't possibly accept someone being generous toward those who actually believe marriage is between one man and one woman. Such an idea is positively out of the mainstream, for them anyway … there's a whole lotta hate being launched at the entire Chick-Fil-A chain. Wait a sec. Didn't Dear Leader call for a cease-fire in the hater wars? Clearly these guys didn't get the memo. Maybe they thought it was only addressed to Sarah Palin.

"It's actually much ado about nothing. One restaurant is giving away some sandwiches. That's certainly the owner's right, isn't it? To contribute to his community? Or should he have to activate his gaydar before trying to be a nice guy? The CEO of Chick-Fil-A released a statement reiterating their commitment to non-discriminatory policies. They don't ask and don't care if you tell. Which of course is as it should be."

Chris Wysocki, writing on "Gay activists target Chick-Fil-A," on Jan. 15 at Right Wing News

He's got the look

"If [Jared Lee] Loughner is crazy … he's still proved himself rational enough to have groomed himself into a modified Travis Bickle … for the past few decades, Hollywood has frequently cast shaved heads in lead roles — Marlon Brando in 'Apocalypse Now,' Laurence Fishburne in 'The Matrix' series, Sigourney Weaver in 'Alien 3,' Brad Pitt in 'Fight Club,' Natalie Portman in 'V for Vendetta,' Edward Norton in 'American History X' … — to telegraph that their characters are crazy-awesome-dangerous-self-sacrificing human torpedoes capable of chaos, magic, bedlam, and sometimes sequels.

"But in recent decades, reaching for the razor has become a way to broadcast the shakiness or the intensity of one's psychological state. By the time Britney Spears did it, shaving your noggin had become such a standard part of our vocabulary that we knew Spears was disturbed — and that she wanted us to be disturbed about her being disturbed. The same goes for non-celebrities like Loughner, who appears to have deleted his eyebrows, too. He wants to poke us in the eye with his creepiness."

Jack Shafer, writing on "Jared Loughner, Ready for His Photo Op" on Jan. 11 at Slate

Not so informative

"When I began to favor non-fiction cinema a few years back, I had two major reasons for doing so. One, I simply stopped caring what happens to fictional ballerinas, dream architects and talking animals. And two, I realized that with documentaries, even if they're bad, I can usually learn something from them. But the more I study the format, and the more dubious, manipulative and one-sided docs I see (and 2010 brought many questionable works), the more I'm coming to the conclusion that non-fiction film isn't really to be trusted as educational material. …

"I'm concerned mainly with docs released theatrically, the sort typically interested in telling a story rather than telling the truth. Not that most of these films set out to lie or intentionally present false information. It is probable that Josh Fox believes everything documented in his astonishing investigatory film, 'GasLand,' is factual. But everytime I write about that film, a representative from ANGA (America's Natural Gas Alliance) or 'Energy-in-Depth' or some other lobby comments with a link to a list of its alleged inaccuracies."

Christopher Campbell, writing on "Doc Talk: Do Documentaries Still Have Educational Value?" on Jan. 5 at the Moviefone blog Cinematical