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effects of this atmosphere while watching The Times of Harvey Milk, the film by Robert Epstein and Richard Schmiechen which won the Academy Award for Best Documentary. Harvey Milk was the gay San Francisco City Supervisor who was assassinated along with Mayor George Moscone by fellow Supervisor Dan White. The film is a very straightforward documentary, mainly a chronology of Milk’s life and a series of interviews with friends and associates. But in its elegiac portrait of a particular brave man and the community, gay and straight alike, which he served, The Times of Harvey Milk is an important history of an American movement, and an eloquent warning to those who think of homophobia as a minor American aberration or banal source of sit-com humor. The film argues convincingly that the hatred of homosexuality is a formidable though not invincible force in American culture and politics and that Harvey Milk was, and remains, a powerful symbol for those fighting discrimination and injustice of all kinds. Milk was aware that his prominence as the first openly gay elected official in California made him both a symbol and a target. The film includes his own tape-recorded testament, which he made to be broadcast only in the event of his assassination, and which reiterates his dedication to the gay rights movement and his call for others to join him, to make it possible for gay people not to have to live in fear of hatred and social violence. And he was active not only on explicitly gay issues, but saw them as directly connected to matters of concern to all disenfranchised minorities. When Dan White shot him down, he was reacting with terroristic violence not only against homosexuals but against the Other, anyone who would alter, deny, or defy the oppressive social categories of patriarchal American life. And Dan White was rewarded for his defense of the old order by a minimal and inadequate sentence for double murder, although one of Milk’s friends notes that had White killed only the mayor, he would have gone to prison forever. I came away from The Times of Harvey. Milk undespairing, because of Milk’s example, but with a good deal of pessimism about the possibilities of change in entrenched sexual hatreds. Certainly the film merits a wide audience and should be required viewing for the University of Texas administration, who only a few years ago fired a teacher for having the audacity to invite gay speakers to a course in contemporary social problems. Is it any wonder that U.T. students engage in gay-baiting and mob violence, when the example of their elders demonstrates that gay people have no rights that they are bound to respect? A few days after the Round-Up incident, a U.T. black student leader [Randy Bowman] was viciously beaten by unknown assailants [after he had received repeated death threats]. Such incidents are neither isolated nor unrelated: they are simply the visible evidence of an institutionallysanctioned atmosphere which declares that some people have more rights to respect, to freedom, even to life than others. Protected by darkness or numbers or tacit encouragement, the Dan Whites of the world will continue to appoint themselves private enforcers of public oppression. STREETWISE, a film produced by Connie and Willie Nelson and based on the photo-essays of Mary Ellen Mark, is a documentary whose subjects are the young teenagers living on the streets of Seattle, and by extension every major American city. Much more elegantly photographed and produced than Harvey Milk, it relies less on direct interrogation and much more on cinema veritd recording of the daily lives and interactions of the young street hustlers, pan-handlers, part-time prostitutes and con-children who live by their slim and desperate wits on the streets. Streetwise is a powerful and disheartening picture, for while it gives ample testimony to the bravado and resilience of these urban changelings, the picture it paints of their circumstances and prospects gives little cause for hope. They come, it seems without exception, from badly broken and generally uncaring homes, and such social services as exist for them apparently consist of emergency health care, uneasy police attention, and the occasional grossly overburdened caseworker. They see life on the street, hard as it is, as an escape and even a haven from loveless and often brutal “families,” and it is hard to disagree with them. Most have been neglected if not abused by parents or step-parents and find better protection and support from their peers on the street, though that support too is tenuous, conditional, and built on an ethic of raw survival and bristling suspicion. It is remarkable how ordinary and childlike they look and are this effect is exaggerated by the filmmakers’ careful concentration on the youngest streetkids, before they’ve hardened into feral adults and how, despite their illegal and heterodox methods of survival, essentially innocent they are. A 14-year-old prostitute, already inured to recurrent VD, is ignorant of the details of fertility and would never consider an abortion, no matter her circumstances. Another 14year-old, a skeletal waif so chronically ill and under-nourished that he looks closer to 10, swears he will defend an older girl from her enemies on the street. By the end of the filming he is a suicide, mourned only by his convict father and a few social workers. These are indeed children, often having more of their own, and they seem utterly doomed, not “wise” in any way at all. It is conventional to comfort oneself and one’s audience by hoping that films such as these will at least have some effect, that a few children will be saved from the mean streets by wider knowledge of their plight. But that seems very false comfort in these times, and it is more likely that the social murder of children will go on until and unless the kids themselves figure out a way to organize and somehow put a stop to it. Ain’t nobody else cares. Not enough. COMPUTER CAMPAIGN CONSULTANTS Prepare NOW for your Spring Campaign Consultation/Training/Programming-4 -*–for,all your Hardware /Software Needs Call or Write for details: intellectronics, inc./dale napier 403 NASA, Road 1 East, Suite 116 Houston 77598 18 JUNE 28, 1985