Mar. 15th, 2007

lurkitty: (Pogo)
I saw The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen this weekend. I know I'm probably the last geek alive to see it, but it was one of those combined anticipation/dread experiences for me. Rather like going to the eye doctor. You know he's going to drop goo in your eyes and shine bright lights in them, but, in the end, there is all that really cool optical equipment and if you can get him to talk physics...uh, maybe that's just me.

There was a movie with potential. The graphic novel was really good, the cast (*sigh* Sean Connery is still hot!) was first rate, the director had plenty of street cred. My dread? I'd heard it was bad.

What makes a movie with such potential go so wrong? The answer can often be found on the cutting room floor: editing. The way a film is edited can make or break the whole experience. Why do I prefer the director's cut of Bladerunner? Editing! Why did I hate Star Wars Eps. I-III? Editing! The League suffered from cuts that were too quick for the human eye, jerky camera work and continuity problems.

The 2008 election cycle is in full swing and we do expect that the candidates will be put under the media microscope. So it is no surprise that when the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Gen. Peter Pace said, "I believe that homosexual acts between individuals are immoral and that we should not condone immoral acts. I do not believe that the armed forces of the United States are well served by saying through our policies that it's OK to be immoral in any way, " all of the candidates were scrutinized for their responses to that bit of nastiness.

In the Yahoo article above, we note that John McCain was quick to comment, saying Pace "should be given a chance to explain himself." Asked for his own view on homosexuality in the military, McCain said he believes the "don't ask, don't tell" policy is "successful and should be maintained."

According to Newsday, Rudy Giuliani, known for his maverick stance in support of gay marriage, issued a statement signaling support for the current policy but remaining silent on Pace's "immoral" comment.

Barack Obama's response was this. "I think traditionally the Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman has restricted his public comments to military matters," said Obama, leaving Capitol Hill. "That's probably a good tradition to follow. " He turned the conversation to opposition to the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy: "I think the question here is whether somebody is willing to sacrifice for their country. " The quote was from another Newsday article.

John Edwards response, quoted from CNN, was short and sweet. He said, "I don't share that view."

The person who made the most controversial remarks on the subject, according to the press, was Hillary Clinton. In an interview on ABC News GMA, Sen. Clinton is quoted as saying: "General Pace has clarified his remarks, but let's not lose sight of the fact that 'Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell' is not working," she said. "We are being deprived of thousands of patriotic men and women who want to serve their country who are bringing skills into the armed services that we desparately need, like translation skills. And one can argue whether it was a good idea when it was first implemented, but we now have evidence as to the fact that we are in a time of war -- when we really need as many people as we can to recruit and retain in an all-volunteer army -- we are turning people away or discharging them not because of what they've done but because of who they are."

But is it immoral?

"Well I'm going to leave that to others to conclude," she said. "I'm very proud of the gays and lesbians I know who perform work that is essential to our country, who want to serve their country and I want make sure they can."

Of all of those responses, the media has picked up Sen. Clinton's lack of initial response and vilified her for it. Because she did not come out and immediately take Gen. Pace to task she is lambasted and painted as having "seesawed" or ducked the issue. Even after she came back and issued a solid statement condemning the comments, Sen Clinton remained on the firing line. The media at large cannot be relied upon to cover over such a mistake, only to magnify it.

What is the problem with Sen. Clinton? Of all the statements made, hers was wide open for misinterpretation. Here's an example: "I'm very proud of the gays and lesbians I know who perform work that is essential to our country, who want to serve their country and I want make sure they can." So, let me understand this. She's proud of working homosexuals who serve their country? How about civilian, unemployed gay people? Granted, that's probably not what she meant. But that's how it came out. What people are really upset about is that, when directly asked if homosexuality is immoral, she said, "I'm going to leave that for others to decide," instead of saying no. She says that she meant was that the General has a right to his opinion. She ended up sounding like she doesn't have an opinion!

Most of Sen. Clinton's running mates made statements that were ambiguous. Clinton's statement stands out as not only ambiguous, but wide open to misinterpretation.

Why was her statement so much worse than that of her running mates? Bad editing! She doesn't seem to have the capacity to properly mentally edit her statements on the fly. She does quite well when scripted, but most of her problems have arisen from impromptu remarks. Hillary Clinton is a smart and well-educated woman. This does not, however, guarantee verbal acumen.

Unfortunately, this may be a deal-breaker as far as a Presidential bid is concerned. We have suffered eight years of a presidency full of verbal faus pas. Can we afford another president who suffers from chronic foot-in-mouth disease?


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