May 10, 2014

The Following: Gay Serial Killer Turns Straight

According to the FBI statistics, there were 14,000 murders in the U.S. in 2012, about 1/10th of 1% of all violent crimes reported.  And most murders are committed by family members or friends of the victims; only about 1% are perpetrated by serial killers.

So why is serial killing by far the most common crime portrayed in movies and on tv?

And, more important, why are the serial killers in the media usually gay or transgender?

The media myth of the gay serial killer is so common that my students usually think that most serial killers in real life are gay.

It makes you long for the good old days when gay people were just invisible.

The latest entry in the Hall of Shame is The Following (2013-) on Fox, the same network that brought you the ongoing hate crime of Family Guy.  It stars Kevin Bacon as a stalwart, heterosexual FBI agent and his stalwart, heterosexual team trying to track down a serial killer cult led by Joe Carroll (James Purefoy).

The two gay members of the serial killer cult, Jacob (Nico Tortorella) and Paul (Adan Torres, left), appear in episodes #2-6.  Apparently they were heterosexual to start off, but while assigned to live undercover as a gay couple, they turned gay.

I guess it's contagious.

While busy kidnapping a child, Paul flirts with fellow kidnapper Emma. Jacob gets jealous. They argue, fight, kill people, and join Emma in the shower.

When Paul is killed, Jacob and Emma return in episodes #10-13, now a conventional heterosexual couple.  Apparently the gay thing was just a phase.

I don't know which I find more disgusting, the myth of the gay serial killer, or the myth that gay men can turn straight through the love of a good woman (or in this case, a female serial killer).

I didn't watch the second season (2014), which involves a whole new cult.

Nico Tortorella has been asked in interviews if the gay kiss grossed him out.

Is this 1985?

May 9, 2014

Joel Creasey: Gay Aussie Muscle God Comedian

Joel Creasey could probably make it big as a beefcake model, but he decided to go into stand-up comedy instead.

After winning the Best Newcomer Award at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, the "Acid-Tongued Prince" began touring all over Australia  and making dozens of tv appearances, on A League of Their OwnThe ProjectThis Week Live, and his own tv specials.  He recently released his first DVD.

His schtick is growing up gay in a small outback town where wearing pink was an unpardonable sin and being gay was the equivalent of being a Martian.  He also riffs on pop culture icons, queering the texts of Aussie movies and tv shows, and talks about run-ins with homophobes today.

The best hate mail I ever got was on Facebook. This guy messaged me and said “I wasn’t homophobic until I saw you. But now I want to move to Uganda because you can kill gay people there.” I just sent him the link  to Webjet with the flights to Uganda and I said to have fun, but I’m not coming.

Some of his run-ins with homophobia are too shocking to become comedy material.  In 2010, he was invited to perform at an anti-discrimination event in Colac, a small town about 150 km from Melbourne.  He arrived to see 20 young men waiting for him.  Assuming they were fans, he got out his pen and prepared to sign autographs.  Instead they called him homophobic names, threatened violence, and chased back to his car.

But fighting homophobia is what Joel Creasey is all about.

 If you're not in Australia, you can see him on youtube.

May 8, 2014

Peter Brown: Buddy-Bonding Cowboy of the 1950s

I never saw this massive chest before yesterday, that I remember, and he has a pretty common name, so sorry if I get the pictures wrong.

He's Peter Brown, a heart throb to the first generation of Baby Boomers.

Born in New York in 1935, he graduated from UCLA and hit Hollywood in 1957.  Guest bits on swinging detective and Western shows landed him his most famous role, Lawman (1958-62)

It starred John Russell (the one with the basket) as Marshall Dan Troup of Laramie, Wyoming (the name Laramie was taken).  Peter played his partner, deputy, and close friend Johnny McKay.

Sounds like a lot of gay subtext potential.  No wonder the first generation of Boomers remembers it fondly.

Next came some Disney movies, the sexploitation Kitten with a Whip (1964), and the surfing-buddy movie Ride the Wild Surf (1964), also starring teen crooner Fabian Forte.

I've already discussed its many gay subtexts.

In 1965-67 Peter returned to the Old West to star in Laredo with bodybuilder William Smith.

Then came more guest spots, soap operas, sexploitation movies like Teenage Tease (1971) and Foxy Brown (1974), and bad horror movies like Piranha (1972).  He was very busy as an actor, but his glory days were obviously past.

Peter been married five times, so I'm going to guess he's heterosexual.  But back when he was playing cowboys, his beefcake and homoerotic buddy-bonding kept lots of Boomer kids interested.

You can see more pictures of Peter Brown on Fabian Forte on the Beach.

May 7, 2014

What's Gay About Don Juan?

Today we call a man a "Don Juan" if he's very competent at "getting" women.  It's a complement.

But the original Don Juan was evil, a Spanish nobleman who cruelly manipulated both men and women.

That gives his story an interesting gay subtext.

Take the opera version, Don Giovanni, by Mozart (1787).

Don Giovanni seduces women, not because he enjoys heterosexual acts, but for the fun of seeing them socially destroyed.

Meanwhile his servant Leporello displays no heterosexual interest, but is devoted to Don Giovanni.  Their bond is portrayed as noble.

Don Giovanni has Leporello help him seduce several women, including Elvira, who vows vengeance; Anna, who vows vengeance after he kills her father, the the Commendatore, in a duel; and Zerlina (he distracts her boyfriend by sending Leporello to dance with him).

Leporello almost leaves when Don Giovanni tries to frame him for an attempted rape, but decides to stay.

He is beat up while disguised as Don Giovanni, but decides to stay.

Adding sacrilege to his list of crimes, Don Giovanni orders him to invites a statue of the Commendatore to dinner.  He can't bring himself to do it, so Don Giovanni does.  It shows up at the dinner and drags Don Giovanni to hell.

Only then does Leporello seek a new master.

Directors usually cast Don Giovanni with the hottest baritones they can find,such as Jason Hardy, Erwin Schott, and Simon Keelyside.

Richard Crichton produced a modernized version, with a gay Don Giovanni in the club scene of 1987 London.

May 5, 2014

Willow and Jaden Smith: Not Your Father's Homophobia

In 2012, Will Smith voiced his support of gay marriage: "if anybody can find someone to love them and to help them through this difficult thing that we call life, I support that in any shape or form."

My jaw dropped.  I had been boycotting his movies for years, under the assumption that he was one of Hollywood's biggest homophobes.

1. He hesitated about playing a gay character in Six Degrees of Separation (1993), and when he agreed, still refused a same-sex kiss, claiming that it would gross people out.
2. In the movie Hancock (2008), his character famously uses an anti-gay slur.
3. In 2012, when a Ukrainian reporter tried to kiss him (part of Russian culture, he claimed), Smith reacted with far more disgust than one would expect from a gay-positive heterosexual.
4. Smith has made lots of statements about being uncomfortable touching men in any way.

Sounds homophobic to me.

You can often determine the prejudices of the father by looking at his kids. Have they been raised to be nonchalant about gay people?  Have they been taught hate?  Or have they been told nothing at all?

13 year old Willow, who performs under the name Melodic Chaotic, has released a music video, "Summer Fling,"   It shows various teenagers frolicking in the sun, including some obvious heterosexual couples, as well as two girls who look like a lesbian couple.  They hug and hold hands, but don't kiss.

15-year old Jaden has several screen credits and an album of heterosexist rap songs with "girl!" as every other word.

But he's also a close friend of Moises Arias, the androgynous, gay-positive alumnus of Hannah Montana, who directed several of his music videos.  The two are often seen at events together, sometimes with Moises' brother Mateo and Willow.

Here they are napping in each other's arms.

Some people speculate that the two are involved romantically, but a match between the 20-year old Moises and the 15-year old Jaden is unlikely -- and, if physical, illegal in most states. It's probably a bff bond.

But still, Jaden doesn't mind a bit having a "big brother" who is assumed gay.

And Will doesn't mind a bit that they are hanging out together.
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