Saturday, May 26, 2007

30 Years of Star Wars; John Tory courts 'Friends of Dorothy'

Lots of talk about how Quebec Premier Jean Charest is about to fall on his tax-cutting sword in this weekend's papers. I'll leave comment about that to other folks, except to say that I think if Charest finds himself defeated in the Quebec National Assembly over his budget, it's probably best for Mario Dumont's ADQ to be asked to form a government rather than force another election so soon after the last one. Plus it would be amusing to watch Dumont struggle with his caucus of amateurs deal with governing a real province.

But my mind is instead on the movies this weekend.

It's been 30 years this weekend since I was a five-year-old boy enjoying the very first Star Wars movie. I still have clear memories of my first screening, including the gibberish scrolling upwards on the screen at the beginning of the movie. I was five so of course was not yet able to read. My dad next to me whispered in my ear, "It's a dark time in the universe, someone has stolen the plans to the Death Star, Princess Leia is racing back to her home planet..."

I still remember the light saber scene between Darth Vader and Obi-Wan Kenobi and how shocked I was to see Kenobi let Vader strike him down. And how relieved I was seconds later when Luke could hear Kenobi's voice from beyond telling him to run.

I was hooked. I've been a Star Wars fanatic ever since, as I'm sure you can tell. This film changed movie-making probably forever. I aspire to such greatness in my own budding career.

Also on the subject of films, it seems Ontario PC Leader John Tory will be attending a special screening today at Toronto's Inside Out Gay & Lesbian Film & Video Festival. I read this story in today's Toronto Star, but can't find the online equivalent for some reason. This is Tory's attempt to court the likes of people like me, the 'Friends of Dorothy.' (Although 'Friends of Dorothy' has usually only been used to describe gay men, as far as I can tell, I'm sure Tory wants both gay and lesbian votes.)

It's true this is a nice change from previous Conservative leaders like Mike Harris and current PM Stephen Harper, who wouldn't be caught dead publicly acknowledging the existence of gays and lesbians. On that front, I'm pleased that Tory is so open-minded. I do think his openness is genuine.

The problem is that Tory leads a party that is still, at best, indifferent and, at worst, hostile, to urban/queer issues, and the arts in general. Such a visit to Inside Out has huge symbolic value, but I'm not sure what this means in real terms. It's an election year so it's easy to be cynical about such gestures.

After all, the bulk of the Ontario PC caucus remains a rural rump which includes the likes of Bob Runciman and other leftovers from the Mike Harris era. Added to the Tory slate recently was none other than rural extremist Randy Hillier, running for John Tory's party in Lanark, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington, who has long attacked what he calls, "multiculturalism, urbanization, and absolute cultural tolerance."

What's this "absolute cultural tolerance" Hillier is talking about? I wonder what Hillier thinks of Tory's attendance at Inside Out today. I'm sure he won't have too many nice things to say in private, that's for sure.


Jay said...

Don't forget he's bringing none other than Barbara Hall and she's not exactly an ally of the gay community.

The Ontario PC's spawned the likes of John Baird who is nothing but a traitor to his own community.

The Harris leftovers are very concerning, it only takes one spoiled apple to spoil the bunch. After the Harris years I can't believe they had the audacity to approach the gay community now. It would be better for them to make a note and try in 20 years when memories have faded.

Matt said...

Thanks for the comment, Jay. I do think that Barbara Hall has been a great friend of the queer community, though. She served as defense lawyer for many charged in the 1981 bathhouse raids, and long supported the queer community as a councillor and mayor, as well as private citizen.

I have to disagree with you about John Baird too, sorry. I don't like Baird much or his politics. But I honestly can't say he's ever betrayed the gay community in any discernible way. He's supported full equality, he supported gay marriage. He even heckled one of his own dinosaur PC colleagues in the legislature during a debate on updating Ontario's laws to reflect same sex marriage.

Nevertheless, the Conservatives do remain indifferent to the queer community at best, regardless of such election year gestures by John Tory.