Tag Archives: “The Motorcycle Diaries”

Yeah, I’d Tickle That: Day Three (or, I’m Burnin’ Gay for Gael Garcia Bernal)

Gael Garcia Bernal

Gorgeous green-eyed Mexican star Gael Garcia Bernal burst onto the American scene with 2001’s “Y Tu Mama Tambien,” with its rather pleasantly surprising ending. (Indeed, it tickled me pink…)

Gael has played leftist revolutionary hero Che Guevara — not once, but twice (in “Fidel” and in “The Motorcycle Diaries”) — and has starred in several other Spanish-language and English-language films, including “Amores Perros,” “El Crimen del Padre Amaro” and the low-key but touching “The Science of Sleep.”

The last film of his that I saw, “Rudo y Cursi,” teamed him up again with his pal Diego Luna, with whom he starred in “Y Tu Mama Tambien” (and who starred as Harvey Milk’s unstable boyfriend Jack Lira in “Milk”).

Oh, and how can I forget Gael’s role in Pedro Almodovar’s “Bad Education”? Gael is equally beautiful as a woman as he is a man:

He kinda looks like Julia Roberts to me when he is in drag in that film. (In a very strange way, if he keeps doing the drag thing, he just might turn me straight…)

Even though he plays gay quite well, Gael apparently is straight, used to date Natalie Portman (whom I’ve always liked), and became a father last year.


Oh, well; I forgive him, and I look forward to his next big project.

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Thoughts on Dead Jesus Day

Updated on Monday, April 13, 2009 (see below)

This controverial-of-course 1999 U.K. church poster mixed the iconography of the revolutionary Jesus Christ and the revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara.

So while the rest of my fellow Americans concern themselves over what Pope “Condoms Are for Sissies” Palpatine is doing and what church President Barack Obama and his family decided to attend on this Easter Day, I’m going to go see the long-ass commie-themed film “Che.”

Pope Palpatine (a.k.a. Pope Benedict XVI), in case you were wondering, according to The Associated Press

…sought to give a message of hope on Easter Sunday to victims of wars, poverty and financial turmoil, saying it was urgently needed to overcome the miseries that are plaguing Africa, the Middle East and other parts of the globe.

Benedict delivered his “Urbi et Orbi” message — Latin for “to the city and the world” — after celebrating Easter Mass before tens of thousands of people who packed St. Peter’s Square and the boulevard leading up to it.

The piazza, decorated with yellow tulips, azaleas, apple blossoms and other spring flowers, overflowed with the faithful celebrating the most joyous and important day in the Christian church calendar, Christ’s resurrection.

In his speech, Benedict said hope was urgently needed around the globe, despite mounting reasons for despair….

This is the very same person who opposes the use of condoms, the use of which results in a lower population (and thus less poverty and hunger and suffering) and which results in lower incidence of HIV and other STD transmission (and thus less pain and suffering and misery).

I guess that Pope Palpatine wants to ensure that there is still plenty of suffering so that he can give the same Easter address about poverty and pain and suffering and misery every fucking year.

Palpatine also still asserts that women don’t have a right to control their own bodies and he still opposes equal human and civil rights for me because I am not heterosexual.

And since so much of today’s warfare is over religion, we can thank the pope in (large) part for keeping religious differences — and thus warfare — alive by his support of the Catholic church.  

I’m just waiting for Pope Palpatine to finally kick off. The best thing that we can say about the pope is that he will die someday — and that, given his age, he should die sooner rather than later.

And then there is the obsession over which church the Obamas picked for Easter. Reports The Associated Press today:

President Barack Obama and his family took communion [today] as they celebrated Easter at St. John’s Church in their first public worship service since the inauguration.

As congregants went to the altar for communion, several stopped at the president’s pew and wished Obama, his wife, Michelle, and their two daughters a happy Easter.

Located across from the White House, St. John’s is popular with presidents. President George W. Bush often attended services, and church history contends that every president since James Madison, the nation’s fourth chief executive, has visited. …

There was no indication from White House officialsthat Obama was seeking membership at St. John’s. The president and his family attended a private service there on Inauguration Day, a tradition for those about to become president.

Where a president worships — and whether he goes to church at all — tends to draw political as well as social significance. For Obama, his place of worship has been of keen interest because of the role his religion played in the 2008 presidential campaign….

“Christians” don’t give a flying fuck about following the teachings of Jesus Christ. The interest in which church the Obama family attends is only so that the judgment can be made as to whether the Obama family attends the “right” church.

And, of course, it’s damned if you do and damned if you don’t: If you don’t go to church at all, you are then a heathen or a devil worshipper or the like, but if you do go to church, then you are going to the wrong one.

Fuck these miserable “Christians.”

These “Christians,” as the news story hints, also have been critical that the Obama family doesn’t attend church often enough — because look how much more warm and loving and more intelligent regular churchgoing has made these critical “Christians”!

If I could go anywhere on this Easter Day, it would be to go see the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence in San Francisco (a.k.a. Sodom By the Sea). The Sisters, with such things as their Hunky Jesus Contest on this Easter Day, are reviled by those “loving” “Christians” who are familiar with them.

Celebrating their 30th anniversary this year, the Sisters, fulfilling the important but usually hated archetypal role of the trickster, expose the hypocrisy and ignorance and fearfulness and hatred and bigotry and intolerance of the “Christian” muggles; the Sisters remind the “Christians” that the “Christians” are light years away from actually following the actual teachings of Jesus Christ.

The Sisters, rather than being the blasphmemers that they would be called by the vast majority of “Christians,” get Jesus Christ’s teachings much more than do the “Christians.” The Sisters’ spots in heaven (so to speak) are assured.

Anyway, I once saw the Sisters perform during a Christmas choral production at the Castro Theater in San Francisco. I wish that I could have been at Sodom by the Sea today for the Sisters and their Hunky Jesus Contest. 

Instead, I will go see director Steven Soderbergh’s “Che,” which stars Benicio Del Toro as Che Guevara. The film is getting mixed reviews, but my guess is that most of the reviewers who are dissing it are capitalist sympathizers who don’t even know what little-“c” communism even is. The capitalists control the dialogue in this nation, and so of course they don’t want the bleating masses to get the idea that a viable alternative economic system is even a remote possibility.

But interestingly, the principles of communism and socialism are much more in line with what Jesus Christ actually taught than is the self-interest at the expense of others that capitalism espouses.

Jesus Christ was not a Repugnican, a stupid white man who (in no certain order) hated gays, believed in the oppression of women, thought that greed was good and that the poor deserved their lot, and loved guns and wars.

Nor was Jesus the gentle sissy that so many conceive him to have been. J.C. is quoted in the New Testament as having said:

“Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household. He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for my sake will find it.”

That is the speech of a radical, and by “my” and “me” I do not believe that Jesus literally means himself, but means what it is that he stands for: truth and love, the rejection of the ignorance and the fear and the hatred that are the very stuff of today’s “Christianity.”

The “cross” that Jesus refers to is not his literal cross, but is the burden of standing up against the masses who embrace fear and ignorance and hatred, which are the exact opposite of what Jesus actually taught. The “cross” is the burden of being different, the burden of being a “witch” burned at the stake by the “good” “Christians” (literally or figuratively).

Those who, in their ignorance and fear, support the toxic status quo in order to save their lives — who go along to get along — paradoxically will lose their lives, and those who, out of courage and wisdom and love, fight against the toxic status quo, even at the risk of losing their lives, will save their lives. That’s how it works, and that’s what Jesus was saying.   

Ah, I don’t know. You get it or you don’t, and if you don’t get it by now, you most likely never will.

Happy fucking Easter.

P.S. Signs of “Christianity’s” rather imminent collapse abound.

The news story from above about the Obama family’s Easter service notes:

In his sermon, the Rev. Luis Leon welcomed believers and nonbelievers alike and called Easter an event based on faith, not logic.

“I can’t explain Easter to anyone. It just can’t be done. It’s like a professor trying to explain one of e.e. cummings’ poems,” he said. He added: “It takes time to be a believer. … Faith cannot be forced and faith cannot be coerced.” …

Mmm hmmmmm. A system that cannot hold up to the test of logic is doomed, is going to go the way of the dinosaurs. There are some things that are unknowable, to be sure, but about those things you just admit, “I don’t know.” But what it is that you claim to know should be rational and logical. “Faith,” as the good reverend defines it, is insanity.

And the news story from above about Pope Palpatine notes:

And in the earthquake-ravaged central Italian city of L’Aquila, survivors gathered in makeshift chapels set up in tent cities that are housing some of the 55,000 people driven from their homes by Monday’s 6.3-magnitude temblor.

“We are all a little bit angry with God because we never expected a tragedy this big,” L’Aquila Archbishop Giuseppe Molinari told the faithful gathered in a tent. “But even anger toward God is a sign of faith.”

God, as the “Christians” portray God — just like the Greeks’ Zeus, a gigantic, omnipotent, unpredictably alternately loving and violent male entity in the sky that causes such things as earthquakes — just can’t lose, can he?

Watching people like the Rev. Luis Leon and Archbishop Giuseppe Molinari still defending a dying, indefensible “Christianity” in this modern age is like watching soon-to-be-extinct dinosaurs writhing in tar pits.

You feel at least a bit sorry for them, but at the same time you know that they are dying out because they never adapted, and that something more evolved will follow them.

Update (Monday, April 13, 2009):

OK, so you’re dying to know what I think of “Che.”

“Che,” not entirely unlike “Kill Bill,” is broken into parts one and two, only with “Che” you get the opportunity to see both at one visit to the theater.

It was great to get the old-school 20-minute intermission between parts one and two of “Che,” and I’ll gladly watch a four-hour-plus film if it’s worth it. I’m not so sure, however, that “Che” is entirely worth it.

Part one of “Che,” which chronicles Ernesto “Che” Guevara’s part in the 1959 Cuban Revolution, is worth watching, while part two — well, not so much. Part two of “Che” chronicles Guevara’s ill-fated attempt to bring a similar revolution to Bolivia.

It’s not that Guevara not only fails to bring a revolution to Bolivia but then dies a rather anti-climactic death that makes part two of “Che” not so great. Part one of “Che” isn’t better than part two only because Guevara wins in his quest in part one but loses (and dies) in part two.

Part two suffers because director Soderbergh does a good job in chronicling the biographical and historical elements of Guevara’s life, but what is missing from “Che,” especially in part two, is the spirit that must have inspired Che Guevara in the first place.

I mean, you don’t spend months and months in the jungle engaged in guerilla warfare unless you are driven by something much larger than yourself, and Soderbergh doesn’t capture what it was that must have driven Guevara — not enough for four-plus hours’ worth of film on Guevara’s life, anyway.

Sure, in “Che” we see here and there peasants being treated of their medical maladies, but we still don’t get nearly as strong a sense of Guevara’s driving passions that we should. Instead, we get details. Lots and lots of details.

The 2004 film “The Motorcycle Diaries,” which chronicles Guevara’s life before he was involved in the Cuban Revolution, gave us a good sense of Guevara’s driving passions. Why couldn’t “Che”?

So if you want to get a good sense of Che Guevara’s life, watch “Motorcyle Diaries” first and then watch part one of “Che.” You can skip part two.

I give “Che” a B-. (I give part one an A- and part two a C, which is why the B- overall.) 

“Che” sure is timely, though. The Associated Press reports today:

President Barack Obama directed his administration [today] to allow unlimited travel and money transfers by Cuban Americans to family in Cuba, and to take other steps to ease U.S. restrictions on the island, a senior administration official told The Associated Press.

The formal announcement was being made at the White House [this] afternoon, during presidential spokesman Robert Gibbs’ daily briefing with reporters. The official spoke on condition of anonymity so as not to upstage the president’s announcement.

With the changes, Obama aims to create new space for the Cuban people in their quest for political freedom and a democratic government, in part by making them less dependent on the Castro regime, the official said.

Other steps taken [today] include allowing gift parcels to be sent to Cuba, and issuing licenses to increase communications among and to the Cuban people. About 1.5 million Americans have relatives in Cuba.

Obama had promised to take these steps as a presidential candidate. It has been known for over a week that he would announce them in advance of his attended this weekend of a Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago.

“There are no better ambassadors for freedom than Cuban Americans,” Obama said in a campaign speech last May in Miami, the heart of the U.S. Cuban-American community. “It’s time to let Cuban Americans see their mothers and fathers, their sisters and brothers. It’s time to let Cuban American money make their families less dependent upon the Castro regime.”

Sending money to senior government officials and Communist Party members remains prohibited. Restrictions imposed by the Bush administration had limited Cuban travel by Americans to just two weeks every three years. Visits also were confined to immediate family members….

Some [U.S.] lawmakers, backed by business and farm groups seeing new opportunities in Cuba, are advocating wider revisions in the trade and travel bans imposed after Fidel Castro took power in Havana in 1959.

But Obama is keeping the decades-old U.S. trade embargo against Cuba in place, arguing that that policy provides leverage to pressure the regime to free all political prisoners as one step toward normalized relations with the U.S.

While there is much to disagree with Fidel Castro over, it is my deepest hope that Cuba does not become what it was before the Cuban Revolution, which was a capitalist playground for rich Americans exploiting and further impoverishing the Cuban people.

I don’t see that the Cuban people will be “free” as wage slaves to American corporations. At least under Castro their basic human needs, such as education and medical care, are met. (These basic human needs are not even met in the United States of America.)

The Cuban people will fare worse under unbridled American capitalist/corporate exploitation than they have under Fidel Castro.

Yes, Cuba should be free.

But I think that Iraq is a wonderful recent demonstration of the American idea of “freedom” for another nation’s people.

All of those American corporations that are just can’t wait to get their greedy grubbies back on Cuba should be kept waiting indefinitely.

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