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Kill -- but don't kiss

November 17, 2002

I am once again saddened but not surprised by the hypocrisy of America's attitudes on men kissing men ("More than just a kiss," Nov. 10). It strikes me as completely insane that people are more willing to go to a film and watch men kill, torture, decapitate, mutilate, actually eat another person's brain ("Hannibal"), grind someone up in a wood chipper ("Fargo") or kill a man's wife and child ("Road to Perdition") than go to a film where two human beings of the same gender engage in something as beautiful and loving as a simple kiss. And people wonder why we live in such a violent and intolerant country.

The fact that Tom Hanks declined to kiss Antonio Banderas in "Philadelphia" (a movie that is all about compassion toward gay males), but seems to have no problem playing men who kill, is very telling about what America accepts as a norm and what Tom Hanks as an actor is really about. Did Mr. Hanks think he was going to ruin his career, or was it all a money choice? Why take on the role in the first place?

It's mind-boggling to think that "Philadelphia" was directed by Jonathan Demme, who had a problem showing a kiss between two men, even when one is on his deathbed, but has no problem showing violence against women in such films as "The Silence of the Lambs."

My advice to all actors who decide to play a gay part: If you have a problem with something as harmless as a kiss, do us all a favor -- let a true actor have the part.

Michael Dampier

Los Angeles

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