So in the last month or so I've watched these two documentaries. And I'm intrigued with how they go together in my mind.
The times of Harvey Milk
An academy-award winning documentary. Harvey Fierstein narrates this documentary by Rob Epstein about San Francisco's most colorful -- and unfortunately, tragic -- political figure: Harvey Milk. A staunch fighter for gay rights, Milk helped forge a presence for the city's gay community in city hall, becoming the first openly gay member of San Francisco's combative city council. But his life along with Mayor George Moscone's was cut short by infamous fellow political Dan White. (1994)
What caught my attention: Imagining "what if". What if he had lived? How could someone like Dan White be that afraid and upset? I found this to be an enraging, inspiring, and thought provoking story. Enraging because of the trial, inspiring because of the movement and person of Milk, and thought provoking because it made me less afraid. By the end of the movie I wanted to do things I previously thought scary. I think this is a brave-making movie. :)
Devil's Playground [npr]
When Amish teens turn 16, they have the opportunity to venture out in the "Devil's Playground" (the Amish term for the outside world) and indulge in 21 century vices such as drinking and smoking. At the end of this period, called "Rumspringa," they can choose to commit to the church for good. Or not. This documentary tracks 18 year old Faron's struggle to reconcile his drug addiction with his deeply ingrained desire to life the Amish life.
What caught my attention: Not only are the Amish encouraged to go out into the "world" but they also are almost expected to spend time alone "making out..." with the person they are dating, which I found incongruent for how strict the Amish are otherwise but I suppose it goes with "Rumspringa". The rate of teens who go back and join the church is I think almost 95%. Which is stunning. Is it the fear and whiplash effect? Do they come back because they were never taught how to live outside their Amish constraints? Being sheltered and then being sent out into the world is common not just for the Amish, but also for home schooled kids, some evangelicals and other more conservative churches. I experienced it a bit. In a desire to protect ones kids they aren't prepared for life.
I can't name it but there was something about watching these two documentaries together that's birthed some un-named question in me. I just can't put it into words. If any of you can do try! Or if you've watched either of these speak. :)