Hero of the Week Award: April 20, Josh Hutcherson

20 Apr

Hero of the Week

This week it is a real pleasure to honor a rising Hollywood star who has a great sense of activism and priorities. Josh Hutcherson, only 19, has been in films for half his life. He’s currently starring in the blockbuster book adaptation The Hunger Games. He also co-starred in the wonderful (but very dark) 2010 film The Kids Are Alright as one of two kids growing up with two lesbian parents. In a recent interview with E! Online, Hutcherson focuses on his work with the group Straight But Not Narrow.

Hutcherson is very focused on gay rights, in part because he lost two uncles to HIV while he was too young to really get to know them. He also credits his mother with helping establish his sense of activism and advocacy.

My mom has always been a big advocate, especially in the gay, lesbian, transsexual and bisexual community so for me it’s always been a part of my soul.

Even more impressive in one so young, Hutcherson is much prouder of his advocacy work than his celebrity status.

Acting is one thing, but actually trying to change the world and the way people think to make people’s lives better? That’s the stuff I’m most proud of.

This weekend he will become the youngest recipient of the GLAAD Vanguard Award, joining the likes of the great Elizabeth Taylor. I look forward to watching this young man continue to make his mark on the world.

Honorable mention this week goes to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. How shocking to see this group acting in a truly Christian way! In a strongly worded letter to Congress, the Bishops tear into the budget proposal put forward by Rep. Paul Ryan, pointing out how it violates Catholic precepts by putting the poor, vulnerable, and needy at risk.

The moral measure of this budget debate is not which party wins or which powerful interests prevail, but rather how those who are jobless, hungry, homeless or poor are treated. Their voices are too often missing in these debates, but they have the most compelling moral claim on our consciences and our common resources.

Given recent political meddling by Bishops regarding women’s health and this week’s BWA runner-up, Bishop Daniel Jenky, comparing the President to Hitler, it is a pleasant surprise to see a strong, truly moral message from this group.

12 Responses to “Hero of the Week Award: April 20, Josh Hutcherson”

  1. Jay April 21, 2012 at 6:06 am #

    The Hunger Games make me feel old. Not only had I never heard of the books prior to the movie, but I have almost no interest in getting up to speed on the brouhaha. As a one-time aficionado of popular culture, this is somewhat out of character for me. At least with Twilight I had heard rumblings prior to the first film. Sigh.

    And do you really think The Kids are Alright is so dark as to warrant a parenthetical warning to the effect? I’ll concede that the going gets a little heavy near the end, as the consequences of infidelity are movingly portrayed, but it seemed to me the film had plenty of comedy and charm, and a cautiously hopeful ending, providing significant balance for the admittedly emotional final quarter of the film.

    Still, you’re a man who found Food Networks’ “Chopped” a bit too heavy, so there’s some precedent for you taking things close to heart. Probably best to avoid Sophie’s Choice–I recently watched it again, and found it wonderful–but just a little bit on the dark side.

    I hope you don’t mind me teasing you a little bit, Michael.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt April 21, 2012 at 7:57 am #


      You made me laugh at many moments reading this comment and I reflected, “at least you don’t have to live with me.” Poor Robert can’t even enjoy a simple t.v. show without me getting on my soap box pointing out all of the intersections of oppression and micro oppressions.

      • Jay April 21, 2012 at 1:52 pm #

        I’m glad I made you laugh. I’m sure Robert finds your sensitivity to oppression endearing and often educational, so you shouldn’t be too hard on yourself (though Robert is a bright fellow, and has likely become rather attuned to such things on his own). I consider myself duly warned to be prepared for occasional soap-boxing, should I wander back to the Northwest for a visit.

        While I may make it in the interim, I have definitely penciled August 21st 2017 into my calendar, when a full solar eclipse will pass over Salem. I’ve never seen a full eclipse, so when I discovered that one would be occurring over my old stomping grounds at such an agreeable time of the year it sounded impossible to resist. Just something to be aware of, should circumstances still find you in the Portland-Salem region in a few years.

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt April 21, 2012 at 5:55 pm #


        Dear heart, DO NOT make us wait until 2017. Lord knows that full solar eclipse is likely to make Salem implode and the we will have yucky Salem guts all over Portland.

  2. nevercontrary April 21, 2012 at 5:38 pm #

    I personally did not like the kids are alright. I felt like it was total shit that the only way they could represent a lesbian family was one having an affair with a man. It broke my heart.
    I did like the actors though.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt April 21, 2012 at 5:59 pm #

      I like your criticism of The Kids Are Alright. I did like the very ending when Julieanne Moore says: “Marriage is hard work.” I thought that should resonate with every couple in the world. I’m very very fortunate and love my husband, but there are times when marriage is hard work.

  3. Jay April 22, 2012 at 12:12 pm #

    Yucky Salem guts all over Portland? That’s hilarious!

    And you know, I agree that the “lesbian who gets into dick” aspect of The Kids are Alright bothered me too, especially in the abstract before I’d seen it. I think in the context of the film they handled it about as well as they could, and it did effectively raise the emotional stakes (and was less arbitrary and melodramatic than, say, a kidnapping, or a character developing cancer)–but it diminished the film from great to good, in my estimation.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt April 22, 2012 at 1:09 pm #

      I’m glad I was able to make you laugh about the Yucky Salem guts.

      Yes, I absolutely agree the one wife all of the sudden having sex with a man detracted from a more important message about same sex relationships.


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    […] claim that his budget is based on his Catholic faith has been demolished by numerous groups of Catholic leaders and scholars.  He has not answered the question or the criticism; this pressure could be another […]

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