June 28, 2007

Pet Issues

Ah, here is a story in Slate that gets right at one of my pet issues: The ridiculous tendency to try and turn all pop-culture manliness into homoerotic.

But sophisticated critics routinely dismiss this sort of quasi-heroic cinematic friendship as "homoerotic," and they do so with such offhand certainty that it's easy to miss how doltishly unimaginative this interpretation is. Indeed, claiming a macho film friendship is not-so-secretly gay has become its own kind of silly convention, a fake-subversive cliché. It is better—sounder both aesthetically and sociologically—to view the masculine pathos in films like Point Break in light of the tradition of heroically minded philosophy that runs from Aristotle to Nietzsche.

I always have to be careful about this, least it be interpreted as homophobic, but this effort to turn all male friendships into hidden gay subtext really does put the squeeze on the space in which guys can relate to each other. If every form of male friendship is "gay" then all we are left with is Bachelor parties and Beer commercials and other over the top "I'm extra heterosexual" kind of activities.

No comments: