May 12, 2024

"My Friend Dahmer": How did they avoid the myth that all gay men are murderers? With bonus Kartheiser cock.


Link to the NSFW review

I wanted to review My Friend Dahmer, because it stars Ross Lynch and Alex Wolff, two of the top teen idols of the 2000s, and both strong gay allies.

Plus perennial gay-subtext favorite Tommy Nelson and several gay actors, such as Harry Holzer, left, and Cameron McKendry.

And Vincent Kartheiser, who played the surly son of the vampire/  private investigator Angel,  then grew up to star as Pete Campbell in Mad Men. 

But could I stomach it?

When Jeffrey Dahmer was convicted of killing, dismembering, and eating 17 young men between 1978 and 1991, homophobes were jubilant: "This proves what we've been trying to tell you: all gay men are murderers!"  

As early as the 1920s, Freudian psychologists like Wilhelm Stekel proclaimed that "overt homosexuals" were responsible for most murders and rapes, and men with "repressed homosexual conflict," for most other crimes.  Through the 1960s, criminologists and sociologists generally agreed. Talcott Parsons argued that Nazi concentration camp commanders were all gay, since no one else would enjoy genocide.

During the 1970s and 1980s, criminologists promoted the myth of "uncontrollable rages" that resulted in almost all gay men murdering their partners, or being murdered.  Or they figured that the main reason men have sex with each other is to satisfy "an inner fury against prolonging the race," that is, to kill future generations. 

Today articles and books in the field of criminology ignore LGBT people except as victims of hate crimes and domestic violence, and in lists of deviants on "the margins of society":
Drunks, vagrants, paupers, homosexuals, prostitutes
Homosexuals, murderers, vagrants, scum
Homosexuals, infanticides, cannibals, murderers

Given the ongoing homophobia in contemporary criminology, how the hell could you make a movie about Jeffrey Dahmer without falling back on the old myth that to be gay is to be a murderer?

Some of the reviews seem to be promoting the myth: it's about "a gay, cannibalistic serial killer," placing gay, cannibal, and serial killer as equally disturbing. Ross Lynch commented in Out Magazine about playing a "gay necrophile." 

Gulp.  Well, here goes...

More after the break

My Friend Dahmer is based on the memoir-comic book of John Backderf, named Derf here (Alex Wolff), who befriended the young Jeff  (Ross Lynch) when they were in high school in 1977-78.  They begin hanging out with a crew of homophobic bullies played by Tommy Nelson and Harry Holzer). 

The gang is also racist, anti-Semitic, ableist -- whew. Even for the 1970s, that's a bit much.

They have fun mocking interior designer Mr. Fedele, who is gay and has cerebral palsy.  They even pay Jeff to imitate his behavior in the mall, and video tape it. 

The swishy gay-vague Oliver, played by Jack DeVillers, takes Jeff to a Neil Sedaka concert -- an opportunity for a normal gay relationship -- but later, when the boy is subject to homophobic bullying, Jeff callously walks away.

So the movie avoids the "all gay men are murderers" accusation by showing us two gay men leading ordinary lives. 

Jeff's main sexual interest during the movie is in a male jogger, Dr. Matthews, played by Vincent Kartheiser.  Upon discovering that he's a doctor, Jeff makes an appointment, so he can get naked and display his arousal.  But he's not really interested in genital sex with Dr. Matthews, or even in the dominance/control of BDSM scenes.  Jeff is turned on by the thought of murdering him.  

Left: Kartheiser butt.

So the movie avoids the "all gay men are murderers" accusation by establishing that Jeff is different from most gay men. His attraction to the same sex is not erotic or romantic, but murderous.

Left: Kartheiser cock, probably a prosthetic.  In Most Likely to Murder, 2018: a guy stares at it through a glory hole, but changes his mind.

Nor does the movie imply that being gay, or suffering from internalized homophobia, is pushing Jeff toward murder.  He's already on the path to serial murder, torturing, killing, and dismembering animals -- all off camera, except for stabbing a fish.

Why is he heading down this path?  The movie doesn't speculate.  Jeff is a nasty, vicious delinquent, but so are the guys he hangs out with.  So are thousands of other juveniles who never go any farther into violence than an occasional fist fight.  He has a horrible home life, with an abusive, alcoholic father and a mentally ill mother. But so do thousands of juveniles who turn out fine.

That may be the most frustrating part of the movie.  We are looking for answers, and there aren't any.  There never were. 

Left: leftover from my Hungarian Hunks photo collection.

My Grade: C+.

Karthesier nude and a random Hungarian dude on RG Beefcake and Boyfriends

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