Buttigieg: ‘I can’t even read the LGBT media anymore’

By : Chris Johnson OF THE WASHINGTON BLADE, COURTESY OF THE NATIONAL LGBT MEDIA ASSOCIATION
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ABOVE: Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-South Bend, Ind.) speaks at the CNN Democratic Presidential Debate on July 30, 2019. Photo courtesy of CNN.

Gay presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg was dismissive of the LGBT media Wednesday in comments falsely suggesting LGBT outlets were responsible for stories accusing him of not being “gay enough.”

Buttigieg made the remarks during an interview on Sirius XM in response to a question from host Clay Cane about criticism in “LGBT circles” over Buttigieg having more privilege because he presents as a masculine gay man.

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Watermark 25: Central Florida Bureau Chief’s Desk

By : Jeremy Williams
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I moved back to Orlando in 2008. It was my first time living in Central Florida as an adult. I was born in Colorado and, as a kid, the family moved to Florida where we lived up and down I-4—settling in Orlando then St. Petersburg and eventually Plant City where I attended high school. Sometime after graduation, life led the family to southern Georgia and from there I joined the Air Force and traveled all over the world.

I tell you that quick trek through my past because in my 40 years I have lived in many places, but no place has ever felt more like home to me than living in Orlando right now, and a good part of that feeling is due to Watermark.

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Carol, The Danish Girl nominated for 2016 GLAAD Media Awards

By : Wire Report
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Los Angeles (AP) – “The Danish Girl” is up for a GLAAD Media Award in a year where a record number of nominees feature transgender characters and subject matter.

The gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender advocacy group has announced the 101 nominees for its 27th annual honors. The awards honor outstanding images of the LGBT community in film, TV, music and journalism.

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Team Watermark: Meet our Intern!

By : Jamie Hyman
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Like a teaching hospital, Watermark is a teaching publication, and we consider it a priority to hire student interns in the hopes to teach them not only about journalism, but about the LGBT community which we serve.

Our current intern is Ciara Varone, 21, a senior journalism student with a minor in cinema studies. Here’s a little more about Ciara:

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Watermark owner refutes East Orlando Post story

By : Tom Dyer
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TomDyerHeadshotWatermark is thrilled to have Billy Manes as our new editor. I agree with East Orlando Post writer Jacob Engels that Manes’ writing is “daring and refreshing.” I hope readers are enjoying his unique take on the vibrant LGBT communities in Orlando and Tampa Bay.

But little else in Engels’ mostly unattributed story is true. (“Billy Manes ‘Saves’ Watermark, Ad Revenue & Readership Skyrocket,” Oct. 13.) His claim that Manes ‘literally saved Watermark from going out of business’ makes for good reading, but it has no basis in truth. And it’s an insult to our 12 talented and hard-working full-time staff members, as well as our numerous freelance contributors.

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New Kids On The Block: Meet ‘Watermark’s’ newest interns!

By : Staff Report
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With the new year underway, Watermark is pleased to present two new members of our staff — Andrew and Kimberly, our spring interns!

As we get to know them better with each week, we thought our readers should get the chance to get to know them too.

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Screened Out – Philomena

By : Stephen Miller
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Judi Dench, Steve Coogan, Mare Winningham

Philomena is a beautiful film, but it’s also a very tough sell. Obviously Steve Coogan believes in it. He is cowriter, producer, and lead actor. He has faith that audiences will connect with a story of simplicity and beauty in the face of repression, guilt, and self-righteous evil.

It’s all inspired by a true story, one that might shock some people. For almost two centuries, pregnant Irish teens were indentured to nuns who abused them, making them work long, hard hours in laundries, home factories, and gardens. The girls’ children were often adopted out; the nuns collected a fee for placing the babies with new parents. All of this was done to make the “loose” teenagers pay for their wanton lusts.

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Screened Out – The Fifth Estate

By : Stephen Miller
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Benedict Cumberbatch, Daniel Brühl, Laura Linney, Stanley Tucci, David Thewlis

WikiLeaks and its leader Julian Assange changed the modern world. It is said that his website released more world-shattering, confidential information in six months than the Washington Post did in the previous 30 years. We’re still trying to figure out what it all means.

The Fifth Estate, a movie based on two autobiographies, is way too cluttered to give us any insight.

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8.29.13 Editor’s Desk

By : Steve Blanchard
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SteveBlanchardHeadshotFour years is a long time. Granted, it’s not a milestone by any means and doesn’t really qualify for grand celebrations (unless you just secured a term as President). But it takes as many years to graduate from high school and the same number of full years to complete college – at least for a typical full-time student in search of a Bachelors’ Degree.

So it struck me earlier this month when someone asked me how long I had been editor of Watermark that I responded with “four years at the end of August.” Time seems to have rushed past me in a gust of wind.

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Study shows media reporting favors marriage equality

By : Wire Report
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Around the time the U.S. Supreme Court was considering the same-sex marriage issue, news reports had more comments from supporters than opponents, a study released Monday concluded.

The Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism looked at nearly 500 stories on the topic over a two-month period that began just before the court started hearings in March on legalizing same-sex marriage. By a 5-to-1 margin, the stories with statements in support of legalization outweighed those dominated by opponents’ views.

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AIDS history film among Oscar-nominated documentaries

By : Wire Report
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The Oscar-nominated features “5 Broken Cameras” and “How to Survive a Plague” represent documentaries in the truest, purest form of the word: They capture a spark, a moment in history, and they make us feel as if we were there, too.

Both films were shot by regular people who happened to be witnessing an uprising. They’re by amateur photographers who had the foresight to record everything – long before such a practice became the norm with the advent of the iPhone and YouTube – from the mundane moments of their daily lives to scenes of violence, upheaval, death and eventually some sort of victory.

They’re very different films from very different directors on very different topics. “5 Broken Cameras” is a collaboration between Palestinian farmer Emad Burnat and Israeli director Guy Davidi featuring years of footage Burnat shot in his occupied village of Bil’in, a place that became a sort of symbol for nonviolent resistance. Each of the five cameras was destroyed in the midst of protests or gunfire; one still has a bullet lodged in the lens. But it also includes daily events in the life of this husband and father of four; he actually bought the first camera in 2005 for the reason so many parents do, to record the first smiles and steps of his youngest son, Gibreel.

“Plague” is a collection of archival footage from the late 1980s and early `90s, as members of the New York-based AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP) fought to find a cure for the disease as it quickly spread and claimed millions of lives. Director David France, who was in the middle of many of these boisterous planning meetings and theatrical demonstrations, culled through thousands of hours of footage from about two dozen different sources.

Burnat of “5 Broken Cameras” said he’d always intended to make a movie, but initially figured it would be something private to show to family and friends. He felt it was his responsibility to depict the fight for territory through his own eyes.

“Many films were made about Palestine and the subject but the story was being told by people who live outside. They didn’t feel this feeling, this relation between the person and the land and how to live, how to survive in this situation under occupation,” Burnat said.

He watched his brothers get arrested and friends get shot by Israeli military, and even though he knew it was dangerous to venture into it all with his camera, “this is the situation, this is our life, our daily life,” Burnat said. “At the same time, I was thinking for my kids, the future of my kids, to make this for them. My goal is to show the world and to spread the film and to change people, to change the situation. So this was important for me.”

Burnat sought out Davidi, who shaped the film and wrote the narration, because he knew him as an Israeli peace activist. Together, the two aimed to craft a documentary with no political slant or judgment.

Davidi spent a year and a half editing from 900 hours of footage that Burnat and a few others had shot before bringing in French editor Veronique Lagoarde-Segot to help fine-tune the narrative. He said the naturalistic, intimate look of “5 Broken Cameras” isn’t as effortless as it may appear.

“People have a lot of appreciation for a film that looks like it was heavily thought, it was planned, it looks spectacular with nice, big cameras, and in our film we actually try to make it simple,” he said. That included ruining some of the footage to make it appear even more authentically raw.

The people whose video appears in “How to Survive a Plague” similarly wanted to share their story with the world. France said the photographers had a number of motivations, from filling in the gaps of traditional media reporting to documenting when police were excessively rough during demonstrations to capturing quiet moments with loved ones before they died. The result: France often had the benefit of coverage of the same event from several different angles.

“It was a true witness-bearing,” said France, who spent two years cutting the film. “You also see in those scenes how comfortable people were on camera because the cameras were always present, which was only made possible by a true revolution in home video. They were not these tiny, handheld things but for the first time it was affordable to ordinary people to record things in that way. The camcorder came out in 1982, you had HIV in 1981 and by 1987 those tools were being used broadly.”

As in “5 Broken Cameras,” France wanted to tell a story that was free of partisanship.

“What we were reaching for in `How to Survive a Plague’ was to allow somebody who had no knowledge of this time and this movement to have the experience we had when it was happening, to really not know the outcome, to not know from day to day and scene to scene who was going to live and who was not going to live,” France said. “Would we get there in time? We realized in the course of editing it that this was a real-life medical thriller.”

AJ Schnack, founder of the Cinema Eye Honors for nonfiction filmmaking where both of these movies were recent winners – “5 Broken Cameras” took the top prize, while “Plague” won for its editing – views this approach as an extension of the kind of long-form investigative journalism that television networks don’t do as much of anymore. By comparison, he said, a provocateur like Michael Moore is tantamount to an opinion page writer.

“(Davidi) has the task of taking not only footage from his narrator/co-director/subject but also footage that other people shot at that time and still making it feel like a first-person account. I think that’s one of the things that’s a success in that film, is that it feels constantly like it’s Emad’s voice and camera but it’s the culmination of a bunch of different people shooting,” said Schnack, whose films include “Kurt Cobain About a Son.” “`How to Survive a Plague’ is somewhat similar in that he’s taking the video from a number of sources at the time and trying to craft a narrative that feels fairly singular – that’s why the editor remains the most important person in the documentary in some ways.

“In the case of both films,” he added, “both become successful if they tell you something new about something you think you know.”

Preaching to the Converted: Glenn Beck is eating my brain

By : Ken Kundis
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KenKundisHeadshotIt was with glee usually reserved for major personal accomplishments or new Kelly Clarkson albums that I heard the news that Glenn Beck's show on Fox News was being cancelled. Beck is one of an exhausting number of political â┚¬Ëœpundits' who depend on shrieking polemic and manipulative spin to advance their agenda. Like some sweaty, over-aged frat boy, he belittled his opponents not with the power of his brain, but with the volume of his voice, unsubstantiated rhetoric and name-calling. But he is by no means alone. Bill O'Reilly. Ann Coulter. Donald Trump. And it's not just Republicans. I might agree with most of Keith Olbermann's points of view but he delivers them in the same infantile, garrulous manner as those he disagrees with so violently. Add to these the proliferations of gossips sites and â┚¬Ëœentertainment' news programs that have encrusted themselves like mold on the side of a fish tank into our national consciousness, making Charlie Sheen's arrested development headline news.

What isn't enormously mean-spirited and red-faced is downright insipid. Snooki speaking at Rutgers. Perez Hilton drawing penises and farts on pictures of celebrities. The inexplicable ubiquity of Paris Hilton, Spencer Pratt and all things Real Housewife. In sum, all of these media images represent a massive, assaultive dumbingdown of our discourse, where verbal bullying, so reviled in our high schools (of late), and the celebration of the stupid, have become the baseline of communication in our democracy.

There was a time not that long ago when news agencies presented the facts, and, as Betty White recently said, celebrities behaved themselves in public. Americans were allowed to draw their own conclusions without Sarah Palin condescending to them and stoking their fears into vote-getting (mis) directed anger. I don't need Katie Couric telling me what to think about happenings in Egypt. I just want her to tell me what's going on, and for her to trust that I'm smart enough to figure the rest of it out myself, thank you. When I was in journalism school in the 90s, that was the basic tenant: It's not about you. It's about the story, stupid. Now everythingâ┚¬â€from the Jersey Shore and Andy Cohen (bleh) to Anderson Cooperâ┚¬â€is a vanity play.

These days, 90% of the programming on â┚¬Ëœnews' networks isn't news. It's punditry and advocacy journalism. Fox News isn't a news network, it's the hometown newsletter of the Republican Party. On Election Night 2008, Fox had a blinding phalanx of archconservative Republicans as their analysis team for the night. There wasn't a dissenting view to be found. CNN, meanwhile, which scores higher on my list but still barely would get a passing grade for genuinely objective journalism, had William Fucking Bennett ontheir panel. The Fox News tagline has been â┚¬Å”Fair and Balancedâ┚¬Â for more than a decade. So I'm the only one who thinks that's the
single most farcical piece of marketing ever? But, shhhh. Don't frighten the bully!

In her song â┚¬ËœStupid Girls,' P!nk asked: â┚¬Å”Where have all the smart people gone?â┚¬Â It's an excellent question. And it's easy, as a free thinker and a Democrat, to call all of this some right-wing attempt to prop up antiquated beliefs into a party platform. But unfortunately it goes far deeper. Our very own community engages in behavior that is counterproductive to grace and a measured discourse. Gay men for a long time have depended on superficial archetypes to define what is considered sexy. â┚¬ËœYoung, dumb and full of cumâ┚¬Â is held up as a sexual ideal and men of substance, but with less than a 6 pack, are not as valued.

So where have all the smart people gone?

And more to my point here, where have all our smart people gone? They're still around, but too many cloak themselves in far too defined stereotypes so they may be deemed â┚¬Ëœhot.' Where their sexuality is driving their appearance, and driving it to extremes. I'm all for freedom of expression (Duh! Writing!), but someone who has swallowed whole the leather template, for example, complete with outsized facial hair and excessive body jewelry and tattoos, would be a hard hire for me as a manager in a business context. If you ghettoize yourself, don't be surprised when that's where you end up. The â┚¬Ëœbear' who dresses like a trucker but who is actually a programmer. â┚¬ËœTwinks' who obsess over appearance instead of accomplishments. Older gay men desperately clinging to clothes and attitudes that aren't age-appropriate. The same tattoos and the same piercings in the same places. It's all depressingly unoriginal for a group of people who should know better, and have the mental and creative faculties to be unique individuals instead of just another bear, twink or jock.

With the mind-numbingly endless and unedited stream of information available in contemporary America, it's easy to get lazy. You have to be careful and thoughtful about the information you let in. But gay Americans are uniquely positioned to be thought leaders in this area. Times have a'changed, my friends. Yes, gay slurs still exist, but that's how they are referred to in the press now. Slurs. This is our window to show them how it's done. We can show everyone that we are people of substance in an undisciplined world. We can elevate the discourse again. Starting with ourselves.