Just below the "Thirtysomething" wing, there's a corner of Hell where never-ending segments of "60 Minutes" air. Sitting through "Outrage" is probably as close as you can get to that experience. Calling it a "documentary" would be dishonest. What "Outrage" really is is 90 tedious minutes devoted to the justification of its own existence -- until, of course, in an amusing and unsurprising burst of hypocrisy, it violates even its own carefully laid ground rules to target a Fox News personality.
Written and directed by Kirby Dick, "Outrage" holds itself up as a serious-minded expose on the hypocrisy of supposed gay politicians who, from within the hypocritical, self-loathing confines of a straight closet, make life difficult for the gay community through a self-hatred which manifests as votes against same-sex marriage, civil unions, gay adoption, and the like.
But the film's not really about that.
"Outrage" is really about "Outrage." Rarely does the narrative deviate from droning talking heads plucked primarily from the gay activist community to rationalize why it's justifiable and even important for "Outrage" to out individuals using the worst kind of rumor mongering and speculation into their private lives.
The goal of "Outrage" is not to enlighten as to what it is to live a lie or even to engage in a discussion on same-sex marriage. The goal is the settling of scores and to further cement Democrat dominance through the character assassination of a number of prominent Republican lawmakers. Oh sure, a predictable fig-leaf of "fairness" arrives in the form of a Democrat, but that this sole target with a "D" after his name has long since retired and supported both Bush and the war in Iraq is no coincidence.
"Outrage" is what you call a leftist loss leader; where a bunch of Hollywoodists drop a few million dollars they know they'll never recover (so far, the film's grossed less than $33,000) hoping that with the help of a willing liberal media and conservative outrage an "important discussion" will begin -- which really means poisoning the mainstream news cycle with character assassination talking points.
Thus far, for the most part, the mainstream news media's resisted grabbing this tiger by the tail. Those few outlets doing Dick's dirty bidding are laughably using the old "This story is about how the news media is covering the story..." trick, with a side order of, "Oh and they claim so-and-so is gay." Wisely, we righties haven't come close to swallowing such obvious bait.
But that may be because it's difficult to get indignant over such a silly movie that's best described as the Inspector Clouseau of leftist hit pieces. Dick's evidence is downright comical. Various men, many hidden in shadow, describe their stolen sexual moments with the famous "hypocrites." One witness - and I'm barely paraphrasing here - says, "After his orgasm he threatened to destroy me if I told anyone."
And that's the best of the evidence. The rest is second and third hand accounts of conversations. But the most absurd "gayness evidence" is the use of the gayest photographs available of the various targets. Give Dick credit. Like Ken Burns preparing "The Civil War," he and his team must have spread out across the country to cull through thousands of photos and then gathered with their best finds in order to choose final cuts based on such factors as "the limpness of the wrist." The cruelest homophobe couldn't have found meaner-spirited photos to ridicule these individuals and after a while, the very small (around 20 people on opening night in the heart of leftist Hollywood), sympathetic audience I was with started to laugh out loud at the sight of them.
And let's face it, if any one of us were photographed as often as most modern-day politicians, now and again we'd all be caught in what you might call a "heterosexually-challenged moment."
At times you wonder if "Outrage" isn't the most subversive of comedies. What we have here is a film posing as a moral crusade with Barney Frank and former New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey as its conscience.
Writer/Director Kirby Dick
The high point, however, arrives when "Outrage" brazenly violates its very own rules. Dick's License to Out, so his film tells us (ad nauseum), is provided by the same tired excuse the left always summons to destroy innocent individuals: perceived hypocrisy. You see, because these supposed gay men are not towing the gay activist line, this presumably justifies outing them (based on no actual evidence). The unceasing drumbeat is, "This isn't about outing, this is about hypocrisy," and yet after nearly an hour of drilling this into our skulls, Dick violates his own standard and "outs" a popular Fox News personality. Not a conservative one, mind you, not someone who can be tagged with this ridiculous definition of a hypocrite, just a guy who does straight news - if you'll pardon the expression.
Being shocked or appalled by this glaring double standard or anything else having to do with "Outrage" is like being shocked and appalled at being shot at on the battlefield. Like much of Hollywood and almost all of the news media, Dick's not interested in truth, fairness, moral clarity, making a profit, or a lasting legacy as a serious artist. This is rough and tumble, no holds-barred ideological warfare and anyone on our side who stands wide-eyed wondering why the other side isn't following the rules needs to wake up and look around at the casualties who were similarly wide-eyed.
Now, I'm not gay, and other than the warm, wonderful feeling I get in my stomach at the sight of a blond Brad Pitt in "Legends of the Fall," I have no idea what it's like to be gay. But were I, the only outrage I'd feel would be at those furthering the conventional wisdom that your sexuality is tied to your politics. There's absolutely nothing hypocritical about being homosexual and standing by a tradition that dates back thousands of years, or thinking that maybe a child is best served being raised in a household with a mommy and a daddy.
Seems to me there's more room to be true to yourself in the closet than on Kirby Dick's ideological plantation.
If those in the closet were attempting to write or enforce sodomy laws or lock up homosexuals, that really would be hypocrisy. But this isn't the case, and while the film claims their targeted lawmakers voted against laws in favor of gay civil unions and increases in AIDS research, no context is offered. Were those votes based on larger bills found unacceptable? Did any of these individuals ever vote in favor of these issues in better bills? The film never says so and knowing nothing terrifies the left like context, you can color me skeptical.
How boorish, poorly executed, and clumsily obvious is "Outrage?"
It should've been called: "John Kerry Mentions Mary Cheney is Gay: The Movie."
UPDATE: Can't believe I forgot to mention that at no point in the film does Dick mention that President Obama along with Bill and Hillary Clinton oppose gay marriage. Not once is Bill Clinton's signature on the Defense of Marriage Act brought up.