Re: [disabilitystudies] FWD: Disabled groups condemn Eastwood euthanasia film
- Ah, they're just trying to stir us up to get us to go and see another dull BS American movie. Many of us have apparently discovered floor scrubbing and even toilet brushing as a pleasant alternative to the US entertainment industry thrust upon us like buckets of filth. No, this won't work, either. Not going. Not, not, not.lm
Keith Armstrong <keitharm@...> wrote:
Clint Eastwood, the Hollywood screen legend, is under fire from
disabled groups who say that his latest award-winning film is thinly
disguised propaganda for euthanasia.
Eastwood is the director of Million Dollar Baby, a drama about a
female boxer described as "Rocky in a sports bra," in which he also
stars alongside Hilary Swank and Morgan Freeman.
The film went on general release in the United States earlier this
month and critics identified it as a leading contender for an Academy
Award after Swank and Eastwood won Golden Globes for Best Actress and
Ostensibly, the film is about a young boxer who turns to an elderly
trainer to take her to the top. Yet audiences have been astonished by
an unheralded plot twist in which a leading character becomes
crippled in a serious accident and begs to be put to death.
The film's detractors accuse Warner Brothers, the studio that made
it, of deliberately concealing the grim ending. A number of religious
right-to-life groups are also upset because Eastwood's character is a
devout Roman Catholic who attends mass every day.
Debbie Schlussel, a conservative television and radio commentator,
described the film as a "million dollar lie" and a "cover story to
suck moviegoers in for a nefarious message." She said that the film
supported "killing the handicapped, literally putting their lights
The National Spinal Cord Injury Association, one of America's most
respected organisations for disabled people, accused Eastwood of
a "disability vendetta," describing the last scene of the film as
a "brilliantly executed attack on life after a spinal cord injury."
Eastwood clashed previously with the charity when he spent $600,000
(�319,500) fighting a legal order to make his Mission Ranch Hotel
in Carmel, California, accessible to handicapped people.
Marcia Roth, the association's chief executive, said the star was
using the "power of fame and film to perpetuate his view that the
lives of people with disabilities are not worth living."
Last week, film critics attending their annual awards ceremony in
Chicago were confronted by protesters from Not Dead Yet, an
organisation that fights assisted suicide laws. The group was angry
about the glowing reviews Million Dollar Baby had received, saying
that critics were ignoring the film's underlying message which, it
said, "promotes the killing of disabled people as the solution to the
`problem' of disability."
Steven Drake, a researcher for Not Dead Yet, said that the
film "plays out killing as a romantic fantasy and gives emotional
life to the `better dead than disabled' mindset." The film's release
comes as the right-to-die debate is hotting up in the US. A new law
being considered in California � Eastwood's home state �
would allow doctor-assisted suicide.
President Bush has made clear his opposition to euthanasia. Last
year, his brother, Jeb, the governor of Florida, intervened in the
case of Terry Schiavo, a brain-damaged woman whose parents are
fighting her husband's wish to take her off life support.
Marketing for the film in the US has concentrated exclusively on its
boxing theme and Eastwood's initial reluctance to take on Swank's
character, telling her "tough ain't enough". Few reviews even hint
that the film's climax is an assisted suicide.
Another conservative commentator and film critic, Michael Medved,
said: "Warner Brothers never tells you the truth about a key plot
twist that turns this pedestrian boxing movie into an insufferable
manipulative right-to-die movie."
While promoting the film, Eastwood has avoided talking about the
issue of euthanasia. In his only comment so far, he told an
interviewer: "How people feel about that is up to them. I'm not a pro-
euthanasia person and this is a story about a giant dilemma and how
one person had to face that."
By James Langton in New York
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