Dec 2, 2023

"You're the Worst": A homophobic rapper hooks up with a swhshy gay stereotype. Plus Zac Efron and some bare butts


While I was researching something else, I came across this clip on youtube: 

A blond guy and a woman are standing at an apartment.  He asks "He never gave you the key?"  She says no, so he bangs.  

A very muscular black guy in his underwear answers. Shocked, he says "Oh...shit.  Hey guys."

Blondie: "What the hell are you doing?"   

Muscle Guy: "Sorry.  We needed a place."

Woman: "For what?"

A swishy guy appears with a flourish, also in his underwear.  They stare in shock.  

Woman (Disgusted): "You're GAY????"

Muscle Guy (Upset): "No!!!!!  But this n-word's son sucks really good dick."  So the gay guy has a black parent?

The whole exchange -- the looks of shock and disgust, the need to defend yourself against the horrifying accusation, the gay guy's pronounced swishiness --- displays just the sort of jaw-dropping homophobia that I hate running into at 4:00 am.

The caption reads: You're the Worst - Brandon Mychal Smith.  So let's look it up. 

You're the Worst is a tv series that lasted for five years on FX (2014-2019), but was so under-exposed that I don't recall seeing a single commercial.  Most episodes drew between .2 and .5 million viewers.  It featured a romance between two horrible people, writer Jimmy (Chris Geere, the Blond Guy in the clip) and public relations person Gretchen.  

The homophobic scene is from Episode 1.3, "Keys Open Doors."  To put it in context, I watched the whole episode. 

Scene 1:
 Morning.  After a night of carousing, Jimmy and Gretchen are lying naked, asleep, on the ground outside his house.

Cut to Jimmy pooping (butt shot) while Gretchen uses the hand nozzle of the shower to masturbate.  Jimmy notes that he uses it too, in his butt.

They've spent six or seven nights together, so Gretchen wants a key to his apartment.  He refuses, so she rushes out in passive-aggressive rage. 

Scene 2: Edgar (Desmin Borges, left and below), Jimmy's horrible roommate, cooks breakfast.  They discuss the key request as a symbol of banality and predictability, leading to "shopping for sconces at Williams-Sonoma."

Scene 3: At the coffee shop, Gretchen and her friend Lindsay discuss the key request,  Lindsay's husband cheating, and "snorting in her vag."  So she's bisexual?  

Her assistant rushes in with a crisis: Sam the Rapper gave an interview to a college newspaper, and used "gay" and "faggot" 37 times!   And the interviewer was the president of the gay student association!  So, if he said all that to a straight person, it would be fine?

Scene 4: 
Gretchen left her cell phone at Jimmy's house.  He snoops, and finds a text from Ty (Stephen Schneider, left), saying "Can't wait to see you tonight."  "Who the hell is Ty?" he bellows.

Cut to Gretchen at work, confronting Sam the Rapper. He explains that he and his crew were trying to pick up college girls, when this dude asked for an interview.  

"Didn't you notice that he was gay?" Yeah, like gay men are all instantly recognizable due to their fruitiness.

"He was hella fruity, but so what?"
"No more interviews without me being there!"

Scene 5:  Jimmy goes to Gretchen's office to return her cell phone.  On the way out, he runs into Sam the Rapper, who liked his book: "It was boring as hell, and clearly you jacked off to Hemingway in high school, but the prose was good."  

Then they discuss how great Gretchen is.  Jimmy decides that she should get the key to his house after all, and gives it to Sam the Rapper to give to her.

Scene 6: At a gay bar (you can tell by the rainbow flags everywhere), Darren (Trey Gerrald), the guy who interviewed Sam the Rapper, is having a swishy comversation about hair-weaves.  The 1960s stereotype even has a limp wrist!   Gretchen asks him to not mention the slurs "gay" and "faggot" in his article, but he refuses: "We're at the start of a revolution.  You won't say the n-word, but people feel free to say 'faggot' whenever you want."  Um..that was Stonewall, 54 years ago, and saying "faggot" will get you called out, and maybe fired.  What year do they think this is?

She tries flirting with him, but it doesn't work.  Um...did you think that 'gay' means 'fruity heterosexual'?  What about $2000 hush money?  Ok, that works. 

Scene 7: Night.  Jimmy tails Gretchen, hoping to find her screwing this Ty guy. Wait -- did they agree to be monogamous?  He follows her to a bar, where she's having drinks with her friends (including Jimmy's roommate!).  Why wasn't he invited?  She explains that some people he hates are there, including his ex-girlfriend.

As they are arguing, Ty arrives with his date.  So they're just friends?  Jimmy is relieved -- until Ty whispers in Gretchen's ear "I need to see you soon."  I'll bet it's something innocent, like he wants to hire Gretchen to do his pr.

Scene 8: After the party, Jimmy and Gretchen head back to his house.  Remember that Jimmy gave Sam the Rapper a key to give to her?  She never got it.  But that was Jimmy's only key!  They bang on the door, and we get Sam the Rapper and Darren's "you're gay????" scene.

Now I understand their shock -- they thought that Sam the Rapper was homophobic -- and his need to defend himself -- he is homophobic.  But I still don't like the old-fashioned, pre-Stonewall depiction of gay men.

As far as I can tell, Sam's same-sex interests are never mentioned again, but Jimmy has sex with two guys to mess with Gretchen.  Actual gay people appear in only two episodes.

I thought Brandon Mychal Smith was gay real life, but when you google his name and "gay," all you get is  Zac Efron in Dirty Grandpa.  

Dec 1, 2023

"Halston": Too many dresses, not enough bulges

Before watching Halston, a 2021 mini-series starring Ewan McGregor, I thought Halston was the gay porn director of the 1980s.

There was a Halston pornographer, of course, but this Halston (1932-1990) was a  fashion designer who dressed celebrities like Elizabeth Taylor, Lauren Bacall, and Betty Ford.  In the 1970s he traveled in the circles of the gliteratti, doing disco and drugs with Liza Minelli, Andy Warhol, Bianca Jagger, Burt Reynolds, and Bella Abzug, throwing money around like he was Richie Rich.  His career came crashing down during the 1980s due to bad business decisions, excessive partying, and not doing any work.  He died of AIDS in 1990.

Fashion design?  I own about thirty shirts, but I usually alternate between the same three.  And in the winter, four sweaters (my favorite is over 20 years old).  I can't remember the last time I wore a suit.  Maybe I'm not the intended audhience for this miniseries.  But I watched anyway.  

1970s Glitterati:  Lots of recognizable 1970s faces, especially Halston's bff Liza Minelli, but also Bianca Jagger, Steve Rubell (of Studio 54), Betty Ford, Calvin Klein, and Divine.   

But basically this is a workplace series, so only a few scenes involved partying.  Mostly we see Halston's work rooms, he's either screaming at people or coming up with a stroke of genius: "You can't make a trench coat out of suede, but what about ultra suede?  Darling, bring me the chinois silk...."

Gay Characters: Halston has a boyfriend in the first episode, and an on-off relationship with a rent boy/aspiring artist named Victor Hugo (Gian Franco Rodriguez, top photo), who ends up blackmailing him ("I have tapes of what we did.").  Halston vastly preferred to hang out with women, reserving men for behind-the-scenes sex.  

By the way, Victor Hugo was a real person, but his relationship with Halston was somewhat exaggerated.  He spent most of his career at Andy Warhol's Factory, posing for erotic photos and licking people and things.

Beefcake:  Not a lot of nudity, but there are some cute guys around, like John David Ridge (Jack Mikesell), hired to take over the designing when Halston's partying keeps him from meeting deadlines; and Mark Benecke (Eli Perdue).  young designer with a drug problem soon eclipsed by Halston's. (Both real people.)

Halston: An interesting portrait of thoroughly unlikeable person. Halston itreats his staff like dirt.  He treats his business associates like dirt.  He treats his boyfriends like dirt.  He's egotistical, monomaniacal, narcissistic, rude, and...well, he has no redeeming qualities at all, except for his genius.

Fashion design again: Halston pulls out a dress and says "let's put this strap up here, and move this over there," and everyone gasps "Magnificent!  Incredible!  The greatest work of art since Michelangelo's David.  This will make revolutionize the fashion industry!"   They're not just fawning to avoid being yelled at -- they really believe that the changes have produced a masterpiece.  Personally, I can't tell the difference, but I'll take their word for it.

The Songs: Krysta Rodriguez ws excellent as Liza Minelli, singing snippets of "Liza with a Z" and  "Bonjour Paris,"  But we never get to hear the whole song.  I'd rather watch Rodriguez doing a full-length Liza Minelli homage. Or better yet, stream Cabaret.

My Grade: B-

The Real Link to the "Treasure of Foggy Mountain" NSFW Review.

 I've had nothing but trouble with this review.  First I couldn't find the movie anywhere, not even on Vudu. It's Peacock or nothing.  Then I lost all of my photos, and had to download, crop, and de-saturate them all over again.  Then the link to the NSFW review was broken.  Then it led to the wrong website. I still only have 7 pageviews over on the NSFW site, and by this point I should have over 100.  


 The real link to the NSFW version of the Treasure of Foggy Mountain review. 

I've tested it like five times.  But I'm sure something else will go wrong.  Did the treasure of Foggy Mountain come with a curse? 

But...all of my Foggy Mountain photos are gone again.  So here's a random hunk.

"A New York Christmas Wedding": A Gay Christmas Surprise

 Every year beginning on November 1st and ending abruptly on Decmeber 24th, the major networks and streaming services broadcast about 20,000 movies, all with the same plot:  A woman with a highly successful career in a horrible, heartless Big City is forced to spend Christmas in a Small Town.  At first she rebels, but gradually she is drawn in by the warmth, caring, and overall wondefulness of the Small Town.  Plus she falls in love with a local boy.  So she gives up her job and stays.

Moral #1: Small towns are heaven.

Moral #2: Women shouldn't work outside the home.  

But it was Christmas movies or more Halloween horror, so I picked A New York Christmas Wedding, wondering how they were going to get the girl to the small town. 

 Azrael, the Angel of Death  in Islam and Judaism, narrates.  He's going to show us his favorite "love story."  Does it end with death?

Scene 1: A middle-class home in Queens.  Jennifer, a Hispanic woman -- racial diversity in a Christmas movie?  -- is making Christmas cookies and eggnog while her father or husband reads the newspaper.    

Meanwhile, in an artsy apartment, Gabby a white woman, is getting a foot massage from her boyfrined, Vinny (not listed in the cast list, but there's an Anthony, played by Joe Perrino, bottom photo).  Closeup of them kissing.  Jennifer calls and yells at her: "You promised you'd be here to help decorate the tree!  You can't keep blowing me off!"

"I don't belong to you!  We're not dating!"

"Our friendship is over!  You're dead to me."

Wow, all that drama over not decorating a Christmas tree!

Scene 2: 20 years later.  What?  They were talking on cell phones.  The middle-aged Jennifer is the assistant to a veterinarian. They just euthanized a dog, and Jeniffer is triggered because her Dad and best friend died at Christmastime. This isn't a comedy, is it?

On the way home, Jennifer sees a lesbian couple on the subway and reacts with disgust.  We're here, we're queer, get used to it, homophobe!

Scene 3: Jennifer arrives at her apartment.  Her boyfriend David (Otoja Abit) -- African-American!  More racial diversity! -- grabs and smooches her, even though she explained that she was upset over the dog.  Inconsiderate! The horndog wants to mount her right in the walk-in closet, but his parents are visiting. 

Elegant, refined Mom is being passive-aggressive critical  and helicoptering the upcoming wedding:, "Since you seem to be incapable of making decisions, I've arranged for a wedding dress from Vera Wang!  And we've booked the church on Christmas Eve!"

Um...aren't churches usually busy on Christmas Eve? Besides, Jennifer's father and best friend died on Christmas, so....

Jennifer rejects the idea, Mama's Boy supports it, they argue, Jennifer storms out.

Out on the street, a bicyclist -- the angel Azrael! (Cooper Koch)  --gets hit by a car..   Jennfier rushes to the rescue and pesters him: "Are you sure you're ok?  You might have a concussion!  Let me call 911!!  Are you sure?"  Then she pours our her problems to this complete stranger in the middle of the night in New York.  Not about the wedding -- about her fight with Gabby 20 years ago.  Which was your fault!

Azrael gives her platitudinal advice: "Never underestimate the power of love at Christmastime!  Life is full of love and hope!  In the morning, all your questions will be answered."  Very upbeat, for the Angel of Death.

Back home, Jennifer climbes in bed with David.  No sex.

Scene 5: Jennifer is awakened by a dog licking her.  But she doesn't own a dog!  David isn't there.  A woman she has never seen before is getting dressed, telling her to hurry or they will be late for their meeting with the priest.  Gabby!  Has there been a time reboot?

She goes out to walk the dog, runs into Azrael again, and asks "WTF?  What's going on?"  

Azrael zaps them to David's house.  He's doessn't know here.  He's married to someone else and has a daughter.  

Back.  Azrael explaisn that he's doing an "it's a wonderful life " thing, zapping her into a universe where Gabby didn't die and they fell in love and got engaged 20 years later.  You know, there are other women out there.  You could still be a lesbian without Gabby.

He continues:  compare life with Gabby and David.  You have until the end of Christmas to decide.

So she has until the end of Christmas to decide whether to be gay or straight?  I didn't know you had a choice.  Couldn't she just be bisexual?

I'd pick Gabby's world.  More people are alive.

I'll fast forward.

About halfway through, we get Gabby and Jennifer's wedding --at a Catholic church.  You know that Catholics don't perform same-sex weddings, right?  Maybe they do in this parallel world.

Then, back in David's world,  David and Jennifer  investigate what happened to Gabby 20 yers ago.  She got pregnant, and her family disowned her (in 2000?  really?), so she sought refuge in the Church.  They arranged for her to have the baby in a home out West, to avoid the disgrace (in 2000? really?).    But the baby was stillborn.  She named him Azrael.  

You know that angels aren't actually the ghosts of dead people, right?

So after all that, how did Gabby die?  Pregnancy complications?  Suicide?  No, car accident.

Then why go through all that back story?  Just say "Car accident." Geez!

Jennifer still can't decide on David's or Gabby's world, so Azrael offers to send her back in time all the way, 20 years, and have her start over.  Of course, then he will cease to exist.

If guardian angels can do all that, I have a few requests for mine.

She decides to go back.  Azrael tells her to click her ruby slippers together three times and say "There's no place like home."  Just kidding.  He tells her to say "Love deeply, trust your heart, and be brave."

Don't try saying it at home, or you might get zapped back to high school.

And Jennifer is back making Christmas cookies and eggnog and waiting for Gabby to come decorate the tree.  But this time, when Gabby blows her off, she doesn't get all dramatic and yell "You're dead to me!"  She says "It can wait."  And Gabby feels guilty, so instead of sex with Vinny, she rushes over anyway.  They kiss.  The end.

Whoa, that was not at all what I was expecting.  And the title was completely misleading.  I guess there was a wedding and it was set in New York, and Christmas happened, but...whoa.

Question: Was this all a fantasy in Jennifer's mind?

My grade: B for the movie, A for the suprise.

"The Package": A movie about a penis, with bonus penis pics. What could go wrong?


You recall that Adam Devine rarely goes more than a sentence or two without mentioning his penis?  In 2018, he and the guys produced The Package, a movie about a penis.  He didn't write or direct, but still, it' about a penis.  I can't wait. 

Link to NSFW version

Scene 1: Sean (Daniel Doheny) is carefully putting on his pants while in the kitchen, Mom slices up an eggplant (foreshadowing, anyone?).  His bud Donnie (Luke Spencer Roberts, ginger) picks him up for a camping trip.  Uh-oh, he's hacked into the family's tv to show them fat lady porn.  Gross!  He then criticizes Sean's shorts, which cover "your belly button but not your balls."  Sean criticizes his moustache, but Donnie counters that with the 1980s nostalgia craze, he'll be "swimming in puss."  Ok, these guys are hetero, but...a penis!

Left: Google says that this is Luke Spencer Roberts.  I think it's really someone else named Luke Roberts.  But I've never heard of either of them before, so what's the difference?   

Scene 2: Next they pick up Jeremy (Eduardo Franco, who you may know from The Binge).  They criticize him for being a virgin, and counters by pretending to jerk off with a walking stick.  He invited some girls!  Donnie is irate; he wanted it to be guys only.  I hear that.  They happen to be Donnie's ex and Jeremy's twin sister/

By the way, Jeremy has a girlfriend, too, but only online.  The guys think he's being catfished by a guy.  Ten to one he'll come out as gay.

Top photo: When you google "Eduardo Franco" and "nude," you get Nino Ceperkovic.  I don't understand why.

He insists that Sean have sex with his sister, because as twins they share a psychic bond, and he'll feel it too.  Sean finds this disgusting, but only because it would be psychic-incestuous, not because it would be homoerotic.

Scene 3: On the way to the campsite, they make fun of Donnie for sharting during blow jobs.  Donnie counters by sending Sean a photo that makes it look like he is giving a blow job to his crush's ex boyfriend.  Thankfully, Sean is not offended; he laughs. 

Jeremy leads them "deep up Mother Nature's puss."  I don't care for the vagina references.  Let's hear more about cocks!

Left: Daniel Doheny, who apparently played a gay character in something called Alex Strangelove.  I haven't seen it.  Who wants to be told that gay love is weird, bizarre, abnormal, strange?

They set up camp and divide into boy and girl groups.  Everyone is obsessed over getting Sean to screw his crush.  He had a chance with her at the Rent cast party: she touched his thigh and invited him onto the roof for sex, but he couldn't stand up because he had a boner: "You were cock blocked by your own cock!"  Rent has gay characters.  These guys know that LGBT people exist. 

The pressure for Sean and his crush to screw continues into the night.  Finally they are eating s'mores around the campfire.  Jeremy goes off to piss; the guys follow to mess with him.  For some reason, he is slicing through his stream with the knife he showed them earlier...and when the guys distract him, he accidentally slices his dick off!  It flies off against the full moon.  

Sean climbs to a cliff, calls 911, and orders a medevac.  Now they just have to keep Jeremy from bleeding out, and find the penis!

Complications:  They find it, but it suffers a lot of damage before the medevac comes.  One of the girls throws up on it.  Another tries to roast it over the campfire (idiot!).  Finally they put it on ice. 

Then the medevac leaves, but they send it off with the wrong ice chest!  They still have the penis!  They have to get it to the hospital within the 12 hour time frame.

Mishap after mishap.  Their cellphones are destroyed.  They get lost hiking down the mountain. They fall into a river.  They run afoul of a hetero-sleazy little boy (Chance Hurstfield, who has grown up a bit).  His Dad attacks, thinking that they molested him.  The penis is bitten by a snake, so Sean has to suck the venom out (fortunately, there are no homophobic "giving a blow job" references).  

A convenience store clerk helps them clean the dick, thinking that Jeremy was a soldier injured in the line of duty.  When he discovers that they are high school students, he goes ballistic and shoots arrows at them. "The only dicks I touch are mine and my husband's."  This is apparently a "gay people exist!  hilarious!" joke.

Then the penis is attached to a redneck (Blake Anderson): his own was cut off by his girlfriend!  I don't think that's possible. Fortunately, she comes in and cuts it off again, so they can gie it to Jeremy.

Conclusion: The two couples reunite.  Jeremy's on-line girlfriend is real after all.  Darn, I thought he was going to come out as gay.  The end.

My Grade: This movie is not about penises, it's about three heterosexual couples falling in love.  Watching disgusting things happen to a 3-inch cylinder is not as homoerotic as I thought.  Not at all funny.  No gay characters or subtexts -- well, except for the convenience store guy, and he was only gay as the punchline of a joke.  A big, big disappointment. F

The bonus penis pics (still attached to the guy) are on the NSFW version of this review.

Nov 30, 2023

"The Treasure of Foggy Mountain": Enough beefcake or queer codes to make subscribing to Peacock worthwhile? With bonus dick pics


Please Don't Destroy is a sketch comedy group consisting of  Ben Marshall (left), Martin Herlihy (right), and John Higgins (below), who have graduated from the short films of your dad's generation to memes and TikTok videos.  They were hired to write for Saturday Night Live in 2021, and their first movie just dropped on Peacock: The Treasure of Foggy Mountain.  I want to know if it's worth subscribing to Peacock to see it, so I've been checking trailers, synopses, and reviews for gay characters, gay subtexts, and beefcake.

Actual link to the NSFW version

The plot:
 Like Adam, Anders, and Blake of Workaholics, the three play "themselves" as clueless dudebros who live together, work together, and haven't quite made it to adulthood --  which in movies usually means hetero-romance.  Only Martin has a girlfriend.  Ben wants to impress his Dad by being a business success, and John is content to play video games and drink beer.  They decide to go on one last adventure, searching for a lost treasure, a bust of Marie Antoinette worth several million dollars. 

On the way, they run afoul of a homicidal hawk (who becomes an ally), greedy park rangers, a gang, a cult, fireworks, fist-fights, and danger.  

  Martin already has a girlfriend, and John falls in love with one of the cult girls.  As far as I can tell, Ben stays unattached.  

Gay Characters/ Subtext: None that I could tell from the plot synopsis or reviews, but Bowen Yang, who plays the head cultist, is gay in real life and plays a lot of gay roles.  There also might be a queer code in this scene of a communal bath: Martin and Ben are being soaped up by men, and John by a woman.  

: The guys are shirtless at least twice. Also, when they are learning to glide off mountaintops, with the help of their hawk buddy, John's suit busts open, and we see his penis swinging around.  

Worth Subscribing to Peacock for:  I already have Workaholics, and I've seen Adam's penis, so probably not.  Maybe I'll watch when it drops on Vudu.

Marvel's Agents of SHIELD: Lots of Beefcake, One Fleeting Gay Character

Agents of SHIELD (2013) is a tv adaption of the Marvel comics series, produced by Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Joss Whedon.

SHIELD stands for Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement, and Logistics Division -- rather a clumsy way of saying Homeland Security.  Except instead of ISIS, they're fighting "inhumans" (people with paranormal powers that emerge suddenly, for various reasons).

The Big Bad is Hydra, a secret society run by reptile beings, which has attempted to intervene into world history many times, from ancient Egypt through Nazi Germany (Hitler was a Hydra stooge).  Its current secret weapon is the Hive, some alien parasites merged into a single sinister being.

There's also an evil government agency that wants to kill all inhumans, regardless of whether they're on our side or not.

There are 11 agents of SHIELD, each with their own alliances, hidden agendas, and angst-ridden back stories.

1. Grand Ward (Brett Dalton, top photo), an undercover Hydra agent who is possessed by the Hive.

2. Leader Phil Coulson (Clark Gregg), who died at the end of The Avengers,  but who said that all of the movies, tv shows, and comics in the Marvel Universe have to have continuity?

3. Pilot Melinda May (Wing-na Wen), who has a horribly tragic backstory.

4. Lincoln Campbell (Luke Mitchell, left), an inhuman who can manipulate electricity.  He dies.

5. Skye Johnson (Chloe Bennett), an inhuman computer hacker who joined the good guys.

6. Leo Fitz (Iain de Caestecker, left), a weapons expert who suffers from brain damage and lacks emotion.

7. Jenna Simmons (Elizabeth Hemstring), a biochemist who was trapped on the planet Malveth for six months, and emerged psychologically damaged.

8. Lance Hunter (Nick Blood, left).  Does anybody else like the actors' names more than the characters'?  Blood, Hemstring, De Caestecker vs. Hunter, Simmons, Fitz?  Anyway, he's a gruff mercenary who was married to Bobbi.

9. Bobbi Morse (Adrienne Palicki), who works undercover at Hydra.

10. Mack McKenzie (Henry Simmons, left), an evangelical Christian mechanic who dislikes people with superpowers.

11. Holden Radcliffe (John Hannah), a transhuman (don't ask).

Plus a huge supporting cast of government officials, Hydra agents, college professors, college professors who are really Hydra agents, Hydra agents who are really government officials, civilian ex-boyfriend and ex-girlfriends, monsters, kids, lions, tigers, and bears.

David Conrad as Ian Quinn, a billionaire industrialist who tries to sell Deathlok soldiers to the U.S. military and has gravitonium (whatever that is).

Gabriel Luna as Robbie Reyes, the vigilante superhero Ghost Rider.

Matthew Willig as Lash, a forensic scientist who helps the SHIELD agents track newly-emerged inhumans.

Leave it to wishy-washy Joss Whedon to wait until the series has been established to gingerly introduce a gay character.  During Season Three, Joey Guttierez (Juan Pablo Raba) was introduced, an inhuman who can melt metal (and hearts).  He was adopted (and outed) by the SHIELD agents.

He even managed to go out on a date -- well, the beginning of a date, before he was called away on SHIELD business.  Then, his story arc ended, his character was dropped.

I guess we'll have to be content with straight guys taking their shirts off.

Nov 29, 2023

Spring 1973: My Date Must Be a Boy

When I was growing up in the 1960s and 1970s, heterosexual desire was assumed a constant, a universal of human experience.  Same-sex desire was not only never mentioned, it could not be mentioned.

It not only didn't exist, it could not be conceived of.

It wasn't just a certainty that no boy on Earth had ever longed for the touch of another boy, not once in the history of the world.

We were unable to even imagine the possibility.

Boys who obviously longed for boys?

They were looking for a buddy or a role model.

Boys who obviously didn't care for girls?

They were shy, or immature, or hadn't found the right girl yet.

Boys who were derided as "fairies" and "fags"?

Their interest in art and ballet, their inability to catch a ball, obviously represented deficient masculinity, but they desired girls as heartily as every other boy.

Desire for the same sex was simply beyond the boundaries of our imagination.

It was easier to conceive of hobbits.

But there were hints, mysteries to mull over, to contemplate like zen koans, to puzzle out like cryptograms.

Men on tv or in movies who cared for each other, fought for each other, and walked side by side into the future.

Men who didn't marry, who lived alone or with other men.

Boys smiled at me, or touched me on the shoulder.

The sight of a muscular frame that filled me with inexplicable joy.

Small subtle signs.

With a bit of a mind flip, you're into the time slip.

It's not raining upstairs.

Sometime in junior high, I read an one-page story in an Archie comic book.  Big Ethel's friends criticize her for being indiscriminate, accuse her of accepting dates with anyone, anytime, anywhere.

On the contrary, Ethel says, she has very exacting standards.
1. Her date must be a boy.
2. He must be breathing.
3. He must be a slow runner (so she can catch him as he's fleeing in terror).

It was just a throwaway joke with the punch line of "slow runner."  But I was mesmerized.  There was something -- a logical fallacy -- a paradox -- a hint.

Slowly it dawned on me: Ethel has a rule about dating only boys.

Such a rule is necessary only if there are other groups of people whom she could date.

Does she only date teenage boys, and not adult men?
Or only date boys, and not girls?

Could a girl date a girl?
Could a boy date a boy?

It's not raining upstairs.

Nov 28, 2023

"Vacation": Skyler Gisondo as the victim in a horribly homophobic scene. And apparently it gets worse.


I didn't see the original National Lampoon's Vacation (1983), due to the vocal homophobia of star Chevy Chase.   I'm definitely not going to watch the sequel, Vacation (2015), in which  Rusty, the kid in the original (Ed Helms), tries to take his family on the same woebegotten journey.  Richard Roeper called it "a vile, odious disaster populated with unlikable, dopey characters bumbling through mean-spirited set pieces that rely heavily on slapstick fight scenes, scatological sight gags and serial vomiting."  Plus the plot synopsis looks horribly heterosexist, with eldest son James (Skyler Gisondo) in search of the Girl of His Dreams.  But I am going to check for beefcake, and then review a horribly homophobic scene that I found by accident on youtube.

Link to NSFW version 

 James shows his chest (top photo). Stone Crandall (Chris Hemsworth), married to Rusty's sister, walks around in his underwear, displaying a bulge.  Plus he "accidentally" displays his penis in a vacation photo.

On to the cringy homophobic scene: 

 The family is staying at a sleazy motel.  James plays his guitar at the sleazy hot tub.  A girl drops by to flirt with him.  

Medina: I have a penis.

James (shocked, transphobic): What?  Um...

Medina: It's written  on your guitar.  

He explains that his brother wrote it there as a prank, and goes on to make his move, Just then, Dad shows up (but Medina thinks that it's just a random perv)

Dad/Perv: I'm just a stranger passing through town, but I couldn't help noticing how incredibly handsome this young man is. You got a girlfriend?  Or boyfriend, heterosexist idiot  -- but then, Dad probably knows that his son is straight.

James: (Painfully embarrassed.) No.

: No girlfriend?  Cute boy like that, somebody's gonna snatch you up.

Medina (to James): Do you want me to call the cops?  

James: No.  Dad/Perv hasn't done anything illegal yet.  But...why doesn't James tell the girl that it's his Dad, being embarrassing?

Dad/Perv: And he plays guitar. Dream boy!  Make a muscle!

Skyler: I'd rather not.

Dad/Perv: Take your shirt off, make a muscle.  Don't be shy -- show us what we're working with.  

As Dad/Perv approaches the hot tub, Medina asks James if he'll be ok, and scrams.  

Dad: Dang it!

James: Dad, why would you do that?

Dad: I saw you talking to her, and figured you could use a wing man. Oy!

In most U.S. states, it is a crime to propose sexual activity to someone under the age of consent, or expose them to erotic material.  Commenting on their erotic desirability is technically legal, unless you are their parent, teacher, or in a position of authority.  Skyler Gisondo here is 18 or 19, but his character is 14.  Dad is pushing the boundaries of legality, and has gone far beyond what is appropriate. 

Left: 17-year old bodybuilder. Attractive, but not hot until next year.
This exchange keys into the myth that gay men are all hanging around schoolyards, trying to pick up teenagers (ephebophilia)  -- or 12 year olds (pedophilia)  

Another review says: "All homophobic, xenophobic, scatological grossout, with some rape and pedophilia “jokes” for flavor."  You mean it gets worse?

To make up for subjecting you to this mess, I posted some naked grown-ups on Righteous Gemstones Beefcake and Boyfriends

Nov 27, 2023

Why the Devil Has No Penis

When I was a kid at Denkmann Elementary School in Rock Island, my friend Greg, had a small oil painting on his bedroom wall: a muscular guy plunging headlong from a sky of thundering, blue-black clouds.  Naked, his backside bare, looking angry, not terrified, as he veers toward the dark mass of land below.

I found it disturbing, and also fascinating.  Who was this guy, why was he falling, and why was he so nonchalant about it?

Later, after Greg moved away, I surmised that the painting depicted Lucifer, the greatest of angels in Christian myth, who began a war to dethrone God, and as punishment was cast down to Hell, where he became the Devil.

 John Milton's Paradise Lost presents Lucifer as a tragic figure, striving against oppression even when he can't win.  Others see him as a queer figure, subverting the hetero-normativity of Adam and Eve in the Garden.

I've never found that particular painting -- it must have been an original -- but Lucifer appears in a lot of artwork.  His muscles are drawn in loving detail, every curve and bulge in place.

All but the penis.  He has none (except maybe Jason Lewis, who played Lucifer in the 2007 movie).

Notice the wisp of fabric hiding the Morning Star's manhood Lucifer in the Bower of Adam and Eve (1805), by Stephen Rigaud.

Or Pietro Calvi's muscular, winged statue (1883), with a rock outcropping covering his privates.

William Blake's 1808 depiction is androgynous and sexless, and so are most modern versions, like Michael Creese's Lucifer (2013, below).

Painters and sculptors who have no qualms about frontal nudity in their depictions of Biblical heroes, epic heroes, Greek gods, famous people, and the guy next door suddenly get skittish when they portray Lucifer, and obscure or erase his sexiest part.

How can we explain the absence of Lucifer's penis?

My suggestions:

1. Because Lucifer is "beautiful," a full set of male sex organs would make him too stunning to bear.

2. His fall from heaven has "unmanned him," left him without male power and potency.

Nov 26, 2023

A World of Jimmy Olsens

In an April 1940 episode of the radio Adventures of Superman, the Man of Steel helped a young boy named Jimmy Olsen protect his mother's shop from racketeers.  Sensing audience identification, the producers soon gave Jimmy a part-time job at the Daily Planet so he could follow leads on his own, snoop around abandoned warehouses, get into trouble, and require lots of nick-of-time rescues.

Jimmy arrived in Superman comics in November 1941, somewhat older, perhaps seventeen.  He was a redhead, like the cliche sidekick in boys' adventure novels of the period, and his v-shaped torso suggested muscleman potential.  But he was never a sidekick, like Robin to Batman  or Bucky to Captain America.  Jimmy never lived with Superman, he never learned Superman's secret identity, he only participated in the adventures by accident.  Was he homoromantic partner, or merely a coworker and pal?  

On the TV Adventures of Superman (1952-58), Jimmy Olsen (ack Larson, top photo and left ) seems mostly a coworker to Superman (George Reeves). We rarely see the two together, except on the job, and even then, Lois (Noel Neill) usually forms the third.  Jack Larson, who died in 2015, was gay, and stated in interviews that he was out on the set during the period; maybe that explains why he kept Jimmy carefully free of any romantic feelings for Superman.

When Jimmy Olsen got his own comic book title in 1954, the gay subtexts began to proliferate.  Jimmy was Superman's "pal," a euphemism like "special friend."  The two went out to dinner and on vacations together; they broke up, realized how much they cared for each other, and reconciled.  Jimmy had a special signal watch that allowed him to summon Supe whenever he wanted to; but it also worked as an emblem of their love, like a wedding ring.  

Since the pal comic folded in 1974, several comics have hinted that Jimmy is gay, most recently in 2016. But what about the tv and movie Jimmya?

1. In the Superman movie series starring Christopher Reeve(1978-87), Jimmy was played by Marc McClure.  Supe was infatuated with Lois Lane, so they didn't develop any gay subtext.

2. Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman (1993-97) starred Dean Cain  and Terri Hatcher as the famous couple (yes, now a couple), with the standard antipathy turning into romance ("He's so...arrogant!").   Jimmy was played by Justin Whalin, a former child star (the child of lesbian parents in a 1993 School Break special). Given the hetero-romantic story arc, it would seem that Jimmy would be a third wheel, but he actually has an unrequited crush on the hunky Clark. And there are a few Jimmy-rescues.

3.  Smallville was about Superboy, the teenage Clark Kent (Tom Welling). Jimmy (Aaron Ashmore, left) was not introduced until Season Six, when college graduate Clark arrived in Metropolis.  Jimmy had at least two girlfriends during his three years on the program, and expressed no romantic interest in Clark or Superman.

4. Superman Returns (2006) cast Sam Huntington as a Jimmy Olsen who is little more than a work colleague to the Man of Steel (Brandon Routh.

5. In Supergirl (2015-2021).  Mehcad Brooks plays a grown-up James Olson, with no Superman around and an on-off romance with Lois Lane's sister, Lucy.

6. In Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), Jimmy (Michael Cassidy) is a CIA agent who is killed without ever meting Superman (Henry Cavill)

7. Not a very good record.  Where there is a gay subtext at all, it is between Clark Kent and someone else. But maybe the upcoming Superman: Legacy (2025) will give us some gay-subtext interaction between Supe (David Corenswet) and the cub reporter (Skyler Gisondo).

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