Thursday, December 08, 2011

Quintessential: Prop 8 - The Musical

Directed by: Adam Shankman
United States, 3 minutes

Proposition 8 was a ballot proposition that eliminated rights for gay couples to marry. It passed in 2008 and was a personal event for me which I think skews my viewing of this video (in a positive way). I remember protesting in my town for people to vote No and getting bumper stickers for my car, etc etc. I couldn't vote at the time but I was doing all that I could in order to encourage people to read more about the Proposition and think about the vote. Gay rights are something that I've always been passionate about and I remember when I first saw this musical, I was amused by it but it also had this underlying tone of sadness, especially once the Proposition passed.

The musical makes a lot of sense for me. As much as this musical is about Proposition 8, I always found its religious message to be one of the most interesting aspects of the video. As an Atheist, I find its blatant calling out of hypocrisy and hyperbolic tendencies rather refreshing.

However, this short really is driven by its stars. It is one of the most star-studded internet-based videos out there. One of the most interesting theories I think this video speaks about is the Liberal Hollywood. There's a lot of generalization that Hollywood is full of liberals and people who live these fanciful lives doing scandalous and liberal things. To an extent this may be true as every star in this musical consciously knows what the musical is expressing and the point it's getting across. Not to mention speaking of who stars are and what their personal lives mean once they're on screen. The director of this musical, Adam Shankman, is openly gay, as is Neil Patrick Harris who appears near the end of the musical.

Allison Janney's role in the video is rather enlightening for West Wing fans when you realize the musical recalls a specific scene from the show where Jed Bartlet calls out some of the language in the Bible.

Besides some of the names that are openly gay, you have stars like Rashida Jones who's known for philanthropic work and Maya Rudolph who's gotten her name known in the world of comedy. As someone who agrees entirely with what the musical is trying to express, its politics are very clear to me and therefore a little less interesting than what the stars mean in the context of the film. I think that's a really fascinating subject to discuss in regards to this video.

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