Saturday, November 26, 2005

"The Love" or "the Hate"

Jason Steele at RedEye dropped his own Hollywood critique in his column Boy on Boystown. Steele points out that Hollywood's fascination with homosexuality or any male sexuality stops at male nudity.

While most of his evidence is circumstantial, his gripes over the marketing of "Brokeback Mountain" are pretty hard to dismiss. As my friend Matt has also pointed out, the trailers for this movie completely downplayed the homosexual relationship that is at the center of the film's story. This is quite sobering--the marketers of the film have decided that homosexual love is in such opposition to the goal of attracting viewers that they are better off misrepresenting the film so that audiences might go. What will they find when they get there? A knee-buckling love story that involves two men.

What do they think? Mom and Pop America hate the visuals of a gay relationship so much, that they wouldn't dare to go to the film, but they will be tricked into going for heterosexual cowboys and when they see the film, they'll go spread good word-of-mouth about it?

Furthermore, Steele points out the fact that studios often, worrying for the success of the picture, edit out male nudity from HETEOSEXUAL encounters in film.

This firmly destroys the tired old justification that lack of empathetic representation of minority groups in film is just a long process that we need to patient about. It says that it's not about white heterosexual men just passively wanting to see people like themselves on screen and as the market changes, things will improve.

It says that the studios believe and claim to have data that shows that a sizable portion of the viewing public is so homophobic and insecure about their sexuality that they can't handle seeing a penis on the screen.

You see, if we prefer the center of the love story to be white and straight and male because that's the type of love we can relate to, that's a kind of unacceptable passive prejudice too. But that's not all we have in this society. Once there are existing characters, gay, colored, old, etc. we cannot bear to see them in all of their sexual glory. It hurts our eyes to even look at the screen as they reach the heights of human connection. That's the deepest kind of hate I can imagine.


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