It seems like I’ve done all of this stuff recently that I’ve meant to mention and comment on, and it just keeps stacking up so that whenever I go to post, I think, eh. Too much to say. I’ll read instead!
So, over the last week, I went to see #8. “Transamerica” with and Pooch in Olathe. It’s a small film, with not the best direction or cinematography or even script, but the performances (Feilicity Huffman in particular, yes) are really strong and the story is interesting. Parts of the story felt a bit exaggerated — the son has to be a maladjusted hustler, Bree’s (Huffman as transgendered Bree, who fathered the boy while still living as Stanley) mother’s overreaction upon their turning up at home, etc. — but the story never played anything for laughs. It didn’t feel like it was saying, “Look how screwed up this all is!” but rather, “Everything is complicated.” So that was good. And as Star said, hurrah that this movie is getting somewhat wide release, because it provides a more normal — if more complex — view of transgendered issues that the standard cross-dress-for-laughs fare.
Wednesday night, I went to a discussion at the Dole Institute between Mary Beth Cahill, John Kerry’s second campaign manager and the current interim director for Emily’s List, and Tom Daffron, the campaign manager for Elizabeth Dole’s 2000 presidential bid. Moderated by Institute Director Bill Lacy, Bob Dole’s chief-of-staff (and possibly his campaign manager in 1996). A pretty good talk. I was predisposed to like Mary Beth Cahill, and I thought she presented well and answered questions pretty well. They both had the political dodge down pat, and neither one said anything too shocking or new. Daffron did a bit more name-dropping (particularly first name dropping: “Elizabeth,” or of his current boss, the Senator from Alaska, “Lisa.”). They seemed to agree on two things: 1). That the question in electing a woman has gone from, “Can we elect a woman?” to “Can we elect her?”, meaning that things have changed to a point where it’s going to be a question of qualifications/presentation rather than one of gender that decides the election (though both agreed female candidates face challenges — particularly in perception — that male candidates do not). And 2). Hillary Clinton is a serious candidate who can win in the general election, and that currently her biggest critics are from within her own party. This is making me question my own long-held disinclination to support her. I need to take a look at her record.
And then yesterday afternoon, I went to a panel discussion on “Respecting Religion/Exercising Freedom of the Press: Cultural Clashes on an International Stage,” which was to talk about the Mohammed cartoons. I’ll do a separate post on that after lunch, because I have a bit to say.