As the Oscars draw near, with a buzz that continues to lessen annually, Hollywood and the media elite struggle to legitimize the nominations. Harvey Weinstein feels vindicated, Clint Eastwood isn't invited, and Sean Penn canonizes Harvey Milk.
According to the Telegraph Gus Van Sant simplified Milk's story for us ignorant masses (if James Franco never heard of Harvey Milk before, that must mean the rest of us are equally uninformed?) by portraying the motivation behind Dan White's murder of Milk and Moscone as the natural homophobia of a repressed homosexual.
As opposed to the frustration of losing his job and enduring the rise of radical left San Fransisco politicians, as was accepted by the court during his trial.
Nonetheless he was a murderer, and he killed a gay guy, which is a crime, and crimes against minorities are always fueled by hate. If only he had seen a movie positively portraying a homosexual while he was growing up, none of this would have happened.
I don't particularly care how the murderer is portrayed however. What I think is interesting are the other omissions, not only in the film but in all teachings of Harvey Milk that I have seen (yes Mr. Franco, he was certainly mentioned in MY high school.)
Particularly how he was such buddies with Jim Jones. Harvey Milk attended the Peoples Temple regularly, used their resources in his political campaigns, advocated on his behalf to President Jimmy Carter, and wrote the following notes to Jones following a Temple visit:
"Rev Jim, It may take me many a day to come back down from the high that I reach today. I found something dear today. I found a sense of being that makes up for all the hours and energy placed in a fight. I found what you wanted me to find. I shall be back. For I can never leave."
As well as "my name is cut into stone in support of you - and your people."
Moscone, too, was a staunch ally of Jones, appointing him the head of the Housing Authority as well as nominating him for the Human Rights Commission. (That's not a joke.)
Ignorance of Jones' true nature is not a sufficient argument to exonerate Milk's connections to the mass-murderer and manipulator, as he also said of the Temple that "there was something creepy about it." However Jones' ability to mobilize a massive army of volunteers and support on a moment's notice was a major asset, and one neither he nor Moscone dared endanger, even after Jones' move to Guyana.
The tendency of progressives and minorities to be drawn in and allied with the socialistic brainwashing Jones (the majority of his Temple was poor Blacks), whether through emotion or ambition or both, is emblematic of the political ideologies of Hollywood and the Left in general. By all accounts Jones had the best of intentions, and won followers through hope for change. Even after Jonestown had been set up, members sent their condolences to Milk upon the death of his lover and invited him to visit. "I hope you will be able to visit us here sometime in Jonestown. Believe it or not, it is a tremendously sophisticated community, though it is in a jungle."
Gus Van Sant portrays the apotheosis of Harvey Milk, a whitewashed history where being gay and murdered is enough to overlook his true character in favor of an Icon that the American public apparently desperately needs. Were true political dissent actually welcomed by Hollywood, perhaps a biopic of Jim Jones would be made, cataloguing the manipulative ease inherent in socialism and savior-based societies, the extremism hidden by grand promises and wishes for equality, and the tragic end that comes part and parcel with a charismatic, powerful leader.
Be wary. They put Flavor-Aid in the Milk.