The military’s infamous “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is, according to a policy expert interviewed in the new documentary Ask Not, “a policy in search of a rationale”. Moreover, it’s counterproductive, irrational and it harms national security. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is, to put it bluntly, bullshit.
By trying to illustrate this obvious injustice, filmmaker Johnny Symons uses young, gay soldiers who are anxious to serve (even in the Bush/Iraq years!) but are forbidden. It is a point that Symons makes over and over and over again. This doc could be the first 73 minute movie I’ve ever seen that felt too long.
I know enough about the policy to argue with coworkers but am hardly an expert, yet I learned nothing new from the film. It preaches to the choir but is unlikely to reach anyone who disagrees. How can you change minds when you’re boring the people who agree with you already?
Fun fact: discharges for homosexuality increased since “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”. You wouldn’t know that from watching this movie.
Ask Not plays Thursday, May 29 at 7pm and Friday, May 30 at 4:30pm at the Harvard Exit.
Heavy Metal in Baghdad is the Vice media empire's first foray into feature filmmaking. It is a very impressive film. MTV's Gideon Yago went to Iraq in 2003 and came back with a story: Baghdad has one heavy metal band, Acrassicauda (Latin for "black scorpion"). Vice's Eddy Moretti and Suroosh Alvi follow up on Yago's story by returning to Iraq to see the consequences of the war has on Iraq's only metal band.
Almost all of the footage is exclusive and the filmmakers literally risked their lives to get it. By detailing how they tried to get their story, they do a remarkable job of showing the conditions in Iraq.
Whatever you think of metal as a genre, the band is the worst kind of a catch-22: in Iraq they risk being blown up every day but if they flee to Syria or Jordan, they can't find the employment to support their families.
The band dreams of recording an album and touring with their heroes like Metallica but in the meantime, they'd like to feel safe enough to grow long hair.