"Are we prepared to promote conditions in which the living contact with God can be reestablished? For our lives today have become godless to the point of complete vacuity. God is no longer with us in the conscious sense of the word. He is denied, ignored, excluded from every claim to have a part in our daily life." - Alfred Delp, S.J.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Graham Moore Oscar acceptance speech.

Graham Moore


You know - the one where everyone thought he was gay?

Screenwriter Graham Moore received an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for his work on Imitation Game.  In the course of his acceptance speech, Moore spoke movingly of his attempted suicide at the age of sixteen, encouraging other young people who felt 'weird or different or they don't fit in' to not give up and "Stay weird. Stay different, and then when it’s your turn and you are standing on this stage, please pass this same message to the next person who comes along.”

It was a beautiful statement which everyone seemed to think meant that he was gay.  People made that assumption because he 'sounded gay'.  Even gay people made that assumption based on appearance, voice inflection, emotional expression, and so on: Gay stereotypes.

Bad gays. ;)

Hmmmmmmmmm.  I think this means gays can be bigots.  I think this means gays discriminate too.  I think this means gays are are also prejudiced.  I say that because so many like to accuse everyone else of the same stuff, as well as 'homophobia'.
Graham Moore told Buzzfeed: “I’m not gay, but I’ve never talked publicly about depression before or any of that, and that was so much of what the movie was about, and it was one of the things that drew me to Alan Turing so much. 
“I think we all feel like weirdos for different reasons. Alan had his share of them and I had my own, and that’s what always moved me so much about his story.”

Like I said - it was a great acceptance speech, especially on an evening when suicide was the topic of other works nominated.

Moore's surprise at public reaction to his speech, as well as his response, says something about our tendency, our inclination to define persons by their sexual inclination/orientation.  It stops us in our tracks to reconsider identity outside the confines of sexual orientation.  Graham Moore is a man.  As a teenager he felt weird - he felt he didn't fit in?  Why?  He didn't say, and it's no one's business.

I find it amazing and distinctive that whatever it was, he didn't just settle for some pop-cultural label or range of sexual identities to limit and define himself by.  That whatever it was, he maintained his true identity as a person, a human being, a man.

Indeed, he's a gifted, talented man.

Congratulations to him for this current success and best wishes for his future.  He's a sign of hope - and with one speech expanded our horizons tremendously.



Post Script:

Gay writers/activists are complaining the Imitation Game didn't go far enough - saying the film whitewashed the gay aspects of Alan Turing's life out of the film, avoiding sexual/romantic scenes which must have been part of his life, and would have helped fashion him into more of a cause célèbre for gay rights.

They're never happy.

14 comments:

  1. I didn't know who the hell this guy was.. until I looked up his acceptance video...and you gotta admit..when the guy opens his mouth a purse falls out and his hand gestures(are you swatting flys)..so I don't think its just the gays who were saying he was gay or buy into gay sterotypes.(and sometimes where there is smoke ..)I think most of the people teasing him in school were straight. Remember the old SNL sketch...."The Effeminate Straight Man..." (not to be confused with the "Girl with no Gaydar," skit.

    And I really don't care about it but....if this was a movie about a straight person you can bet that he would be having scenes with his female lover, wife, mistress and scenes of his family life...(and if he was played by Harrison Ford or someone like that his partner would be about 23 years old... : )

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    1. I actually disagree about the sex scenes and background romance. But that doesn't matter to me anyway.

      What I am intrigued about is his reference to suicide and depression. I'm not convinced every 'gay' suicide is about being gay - it's about depression. I think there are examples of gay kids killing themselves where they were totally fine about their sexuality - the problem was they didn't fit in. You'll say it's the same thing - but I don't think it is. The bullies may use the terminology but what Moore seems to me to be saying - it's about depression - not fitting in, being weird. I'm having trouble explaining how I understand that and in the future I'll try and articulate it more clearly. The problem 'we' have is related to what someone else calls the heresy of eroticism. We eroticize every relationship, every self-referential emotion and friendship on some level, assessing ourselves by the same standards.

      In her book Tushnet describes her 'outsider' state - her weirdness in high school and assumes it's gay. I think that's a mistake. I need more time and space to elaborate however.

      What Graham Moore said needs to be taken to heart and people have to get over the 'all your problems lie in the fact you won't/don't identify as gay.

      As for effeminate traits - I see so many young guys who are married to women or have girlfriends - whatever - who have a sort of voice inflection or mannerism which comes off gay. It means nothing and we need to get over that stuff. I have on occasion met younger guys who told me they worried about being gay because people made assumptions based on their presentation or just the fact they weren't dating and they happened to be handsome.

      Graham Moore said something important Oscar night - I hope he's not persuaded otherwise.



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    2. Tery, do you mean it's about the depression and not fitting in, and the reason for not fitting in is immaterial?

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    3. "I have on occasion met younger guys who told me they worried about being gay because people made assumptions based on.......... they happened to be handsome. "

      Always been my problem..people see me and just assume based on my knock out gorgeousness. Its a cross..

      My unscientific based on my own observations and the fact that I have lived a rather ..full life..is that 9 times out of ten guys with effeminate features or actions are gay or at least bi or someplace on the spectrum. I don't get it..genetics...but I wish they would do a real study on it but I know that is totally politically incorrect....("Gay Face Study Results Revealed!") Might be a lot of these young men don't want it to be true...or they are asexual. My next door neighbor has the gayest acting kid on earth, he fits all the sterotypes, skinny, obsessed with clothes, loves status type thing, narcisstic..a total young queen, but his dad who is obvisously okay with the gay thing asked him and he said no so...who knows.

      Do I make assumptions of people, yes in my mind, but never would ask them refer to them about any particular thing about their status until they offer it. God made the world full of different interesting people who don't fill the mold..sometimes. If this Graham Moore says he is not gay thats it...the only person it should matter to is the person he is dating or married to.

      Depression is a terrible thing but its even more so in a young person, especially in high school. If they dont fit in if they are gay, fat, skinny, sloppy, socially inept whatever the reason they are targeted and they just don't have the skills like we do to deal with it.

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    4. I think not fitting in is fine - for whatever reason - I think depression is something else entirely. We are too locked in/focused on sexual orientation/inclination/attraction - whatever. A kid might not fit in or get picked for the team because he is not skilled that way - but he wants to play. Someone says he throws like a girl - but he's a boy. So he feels like he doesn't fit in. He's too young to be confined by a sexual label, definition, stereotype. Contemporary culture forces it - some dip-shit teacher says - 'oh, you're gay - that's why you throw like a girl. That's not it. He throws like a girl because he just does - but he can learn to throw like a baseball player. There are plenty of women athletes who can play like a guy - they aren't gay.

      I know you don't follow me - or what I'm trying to say - I'll try to collect my thoughts and maybe write more - or maybe not.

      When people try to kill themselves I don't think it is about sexual preferences as much as people think. The guy who jumped the George Washington Bridge was gay - he was pretty much out - at least to himself. he picked up guys. His roomate filmed him, put it online and so on. He didn't kill himself because he was gay - he was fine with being gay - I think he killed himself because he was shamed - not for being gay - but because his sex was taped and released covertly. He was made a fool of.

      Of course people will disagree with me on that - but I think suicide is always much more about something other that sexual orientation. Before my conversion I wanted to throw myself out of a window in a hotel in Chicago. It wasn't about sexual preference or inclination - it was about failure, loneliness, depression and hopelessness - I wasn't living a good life - I was drinking and living a promiscuous life. Why the depression? The alienation? An entire childhood could tell you that - likewise, I didn't fit in - not because of sexual preference or inclination - I didn't get normal people. Why? I know why - but it's personal - right? Right!

      The crap about sexuality and gender is just crap - it's a diversion, a delusion. That is what Graham Moore's speech awakened me to.

      People like Dan Mattson and others discuss all the time Catholic teaching on why people shouldn't identify in any of the LGBTQ categories - I agree theologically but socially it is difficult to defend and support - without looking like a hypocrite. Graham Moore helped me over that hurdle.

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    5. Terry, I hope you know I am not arguing with you just discussing.

      Let me ask you this, Terry. Do you think the kid I(and he was a kid) who jumped off the GW bridge would have been embarrassed or feel like a fool if he was banging a hot chick? So yea, there is a difference there on how not only the world perceives people but how gay people perceive themselves.

      A kid who doesn't fit in anywhere, if they are straight, at least they fit in someplace in the grand scheme of things. In our day (and I think we are the same age) if you were gay you could never hope to have a normal life or any future at all. If you are gay you are a freak all over. I did fit in everywhere that "counted, " when you were a kid, I did play sports and did "normal," things and was able to hold my own on in playground fights, etc. Except for that one thing that made me different..(which I knew, even if I couldnt put words on it or "labels," that I was ) but to the superficial world I fit in and couldn't possibly be. So it wasnt that bad that I was gay cause I fit in. I cant;' imagine what people who were gay and didnt fit in felt like.

      So I do get what you are saying..sexuality is not the end all and be all of who we are,..there are depressed gay people and there are happy ones and the same with straight people...but I am saying sexuality and gender do count...its part of who we are as much as the fact that I have blue eyes and I am now bald, and I am right handed and I am midwestern and I hate NPH...etc, etc. etc. Its not the whole, its the part.

      Dan Mattson for not wanting to identify as gay talks a hell of a lot about it...why..because that is part of who he is and where he is in life. He had a post on his depression and lonliness during the holidays as he was alone...and why is he alone..because he is gay and he does not believe he should be in a relationship with a guy. He and anyone else can call it whatever the hell they want but it is what it is.

      Plus I think that "weird," people are the most interesting, and arent we all weird somehow?

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  2. Most people are straight so chances are the ones in his school were straight. Gays just make assumptions because they want him to be gay.

    The movie was about a gay man at a time when it was illegal to be homosexual and anyone finding out would mean he'd lose his security clearance due to the possibility of blackmail. He did, in fact, lose it later, when his house was burgled by a homeless young man with whom he was having a homosexual relationship, which calls into question whether the young an accommodated him out of desperation or was actually gay.

    Including scenes of his illicit liaisons wouldn't have helped the movie because he'd also have to have been shown worrying about people finding out, losing his security clearance and going to prison which would've been a distraction to the story being told, that of a brilliant mathematician who created the foundation for computer science. If he were married during the war, he'd not have seen his family much as they lived on site.

    The thing that bothers me is the push for gay history; most things gay people happened to do had nothing to do with their sexuality so why force it in there?

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    1. Yes! That's it. Thanks Nan.

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  3. "The thing that bothers me is the push for gay history; most things gay people happened to do had nothing to do with their sexuality so why force it in there?"

    Because if you have grown up with an important part of you being called freakish, (and beleive me, even now, especailly now that the are loosing the fight, the religious right, ex gay stuff is still full of old relics from the past who seem to think being gay is the same as sneaking around "bookstores" and parks and being freaks) its nice to know that someone who accomplished something, who lived a great life and helped others, just happened to be gay. We are just talking about kids being depressed because they don't fit in for whatever reason. How nice for them to see something different.

    Plus, again, we know all about historical figures married lives, personal lives, children families, sexual scandals if they are straight, we know who Washington was married to, we know who Jefferson was sleeping with , etc. Why is it different?

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  4. It's different because for most of history homosexuality was a shameful thing; as it leads people to live disordered lives, in that they focus on sexuality in all aspects of their life, shown by a need to share that with everyone, celebrate any accoplishment of a homosexual, simply because of the homosexuality, detracts from their accomplishments as it refocuses them in light of their sexuality.

    That also encourages revisionist history and has already led to claims absent any evidence that certain saints were gay as contemporary views of friendship preclude a same sex friendship without a sexual component. That's something new in the last 35 or so years. Most people had friendships that weren't sexual and being close friends didn't imply anything but two people were close friends.

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    1. Nan, the issue is that being gay is part of who they are just as presumably being straight is for you. So knowing say you (and I have no idea of if any of this is true) help out at soup kitchens, and take care of old people, but I know you have a boy friend or a husband does not change that fact or "detract from their accomplishments," why should it? The only way it detracts from their accomplishments is from people who believe it is disordered. They are more concerned about the gay thing , they bring it to light and focus on it (and isnt it funny they are the people screaming that gay people are) Isnt that why the religious and conservative far right are so concerned with "normalization," of it? They don't want to focus on it and yet they can't stop.

      I agree that history leads to speculation, but that goes both ways...gay revisionists, and then straight people who cant' believe that a saint could be gay..even if they didn't act on it.

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  5. It's different because for most of history homosexuality was a shameful thing; as it leads people to live disordered lives, in that they focus on sexuality in all aspects of their life, shown by a need to share that with everyone, celebrate any accoplishment of a homosexual, simply because of the homosexuality, detracts from their accomplishments as it refocuses them in light of their sexuality.

    That also encourages revisionist history and has already led to claims absent any evidence that certain saints were gay as contemporary views of friendship preclude a same sex friendship without a sexual component. That's something new in the last 35 or so years. Most people had friendships that weren't sexual and being close friends didn't imply anything but two people were close friends.

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  6. Thanks for all the comments on this. Don't listen to me - pay no attention to the man with the Ben Hill profile photo. I'm closing comments on this now. Big hugs all around.

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    1. Never mind - comments re-opened. What?

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