Sunday, 28 August 2016

DON'T BREATHE Deciphered

Donald Trump worms his way into everything these days. 
He’s even managed to wiggle his way into a summer movie hit. 
Don’t Breathe is a very entertaining movie which needs no help in order to take its pride of place at the top of its genre. But it does get help — and from the darn’dest things.
All entertainment is, after all, political. 
So beware of those who say ‘It’s just a movie.
I’m not suggesting a vast right wing conspiracy. But filmmakers want money. And the best way to get it is to make sure a movie —without being evidently controversial — strikes the deepest emotional chords possible.
Don’t Breathe is all about race and sex.   
On the one hand there is a man with a dark complex past living alone in a house, and on the other hand there are three juvenile delinquents who attempt to rob him. 
All these people are white. 
Race enters the film (craftily) through the characters’ hair. The least sympathetic juvenile delinquent (and the gang’s leader) is called ‘Money.’ He also has a dollar sign tattooed on his neck, and sports dreadlocks. The man living alone in the house, on the other hand, sports — atypically — a quite magnificent head of perfectly coiffed white hair. He also wears a white t-shirt. He is very white.
The film is not accidentally set in Detroit — a poster-child for the abandonment of the American worker.
The very-white-guy-who-lives-alone also happens to be war vet, and also happens to have kidnapped a young woman — who he thinks is responsible for running over his daughter with her car.
This rather convoluted and somewhat unlikely ‘dark past’  (as ‘dark pasts’ in these movies go) clearly makes the very-white-vet into a very-angry-very-white-man-with-a- gun who has decided to take the law into his own hands, because he doesn’t trust the legal system to right the wrongs that will plague him until the day he dies.
In other words, he is a Trump voter, for sure.
And then we get to the climax.
You think it takes a lot to scare people these days? Well this movie is so scary, it will frighten not only pretty straight girls, but big butch dudes as well. The very-white-vet — when he is trying to impregnate a young woman with a turkey baster filled with his own sperm (don’t ask!) is then forced to eat his own ejaculate.
I’m not kidding!
I just thought you should get the news here, as most people will probably neglect to mention the sperm-eating incident. They will say they liked Don’t Breathe because it reminded them of Wait Until Dark
At the showing I attended, the sperm-eating moment caused the biggest reaction I have ever heard from a thriller movie audience. Several young men generally indicated an extremely high level of manly discomfort.
All of which goes to show that if you want to scare straight guys, decapitation and disembodied entrails won’t do the trick. 
But this rather seminal discomfort, I would posit, is highly hypocritical, as most men have tasted their own sperm at one point or other. (Or somebody else’s.) 
Out of curiosity, if nothing else.
That this sperm-eating moment is a hugely ‘gay’ event in the film needs hardly to be remarked upon. And who do we habitually associate with sperm and turkey basters? 
Why lesbians, of course.

Take my word for it: Don’t Breathe is one uncannily frightening thriller — and it’s destined to be the hit of the summer — but for reasons that perhaps, so far, I suspect, no one has mentioned.

Friday, 26 August 2016

Overheard Conversation: Donald Trump and Kellyanne Conway

I want to say she's a a bigot.

You can’t say that.

Why not?


Because why?

Because it’s not a good idea.


But she called me a bigot.

Yes, but just because she called you a bigot, doesn’t mean you should call her one.

Why not?

I told you, it’s not a good idea.


What about if…if I say I won’t deport all the Mexicans.

You would say that?

Sure, I would say that.

You would?

Yes. For sure. If  I can call Hilary Clinton a bigot.


But if you call Hilary Clinton a bigot, you have to have a reason.

I have a reason.


She didn’t help them.

That’s not enough.

Why not. 

When didn’t she help them?

Whenever. In the…past…she had a powerful position, she was running this country, and the blacks aren’t doing any  better. Why can’t I say that?

Okay Don’t say ‘blacks.’ Don’t ever say ‘blacks.’

Why not.

African Americans. Say it with me. Right now.

Okay, okay. (pause) African Americans.  (pause)  But why can’t I say she’s ignoring African Americans then?

Because ignoring African Americans is not really bigotry.

Why not?

It’s just not.


Look, what about if I say, okay, we’ll let the Mexicans stay and they’re not bad people,they’re good people and maybe just maybe, there’s a path to citizenship and…and I’m sorry I hurt their feelings.

You’ll say you’re sorry?

Yes, I will. I’ll say…I’ll say — I shouldn’t have been so harsh. I’ll say I have feelings. I feel for them. The Mexican people.

You’d say that?

Yes of course. Of course I’d say that. I’d say that in a heartbeat. I’d say that now.


But I really want to call Hilary a bigot. 

Why? why are you so obsessed with calling Hilary Clinton a bigot?

I told you, she called me one.

Come on. That’s schoolyard stuff.

I don’t care. It’s what I want to do.


So…you’re willing to give amnesty to the Mexicans?

I’ll give them whatever they want. Whatever the Mexicans want, I’ll give them..

Really? Amnesty?

Sure. Amnesty. If that’s what they want. If that’s what you want.

Well maybe we shouldn’t say amnesty. But you can say you have feelings for them.

Okay. I can do that.

And you regret…

I should say, regret?

Yes you can say you regret. You’re not sorry, you regret. (pause) 

But -- dammit. (pause) Shit. 


They'll say it’s a flipflop.

If they do, that’s not a problem.



Why not?

We’ll just say it’s not a flipflop.

I should just deny it you mean.


I should deny it just like that?

Just like that. That’s not a problem.  If they ask us if it’s a flipflop we’ll just say, a candidate's opinions evolve. Especially a thoughtful candidate, who listens to his constituents. A candidate like Donald Trump. In fact, it could be a good thing for you to change your position.

Okay. Makes sense to me.. (pause) So I can say Hilary Clinton is a bigot?




Yes. This morning if you like.

High five?

High five.


Saturday, 13 August 2016

If That’s What It Means to be Queer — I Quit!

A few years ago I wrote an article titled ‘If that’s what it means to be gay, I quit!’ I was tired of apolitical, churchgoing, family-oriented, unsexual gays and lesbians, and outed myself as an ‘ESPIE’ — an effeminate sexual person. 
As a limp-wristed horny gay man I thought — ‘Well even if I’m not gay anymore I can still be queer!’ But recent developments have indicated that I might not be comfortable calling myself queer anymore either.
Last month I attended a queer conference in Vancouver. Someone at the conference said: ‘I have a dear friend who is asexual, they consider themselves to be queer.’ I said ‘That  doesn’t make sense to me. Queer is a word originally used against people because of the kind of sex they like to have. Hasn’t being queer always been about sex?’ Nobody seemed to agree with me.
At the same queer conference I also learned that some very vocal queers these days don’t like drag queens — and they’re certainly not ashamed to say so! Someone said drag was misogynistic, someone else said that drag queens perform to appropriated music — and that their humour is hurtful and unpleasant. Others agreed. My understanding was always that drag (as Judith Butler taught us) gives freedom to stretch the binary gender boundary. And don’t forget, drag queens are, and have always been, radicals — they were on the front lines at Stonewall.
But that is all history. And modern day queers don’t seem to care a fig about history.
All this is relevant to the changes taking place at Toronto Pride. The Executive Director of Pride Toronto — Mathieu Chantelois — recently resigned. 
His resignation has a lot to do with ‘new queer’ vs. ‘old gay and lesbian.’ 
At the the most recent Toronto Pride, Black Lives Matter marched in the parade, staged a protest against the police, and offered an agreement for Chantelois that would ban the police from formally marching in the parade. Chantelois signed the document, but after the parade he promptly disavowed his action. Now, as Chantelois resigns, there are voices calling for a more race-sensitive, trans-inclusive Pride.
The battle lines are pretty clear. The question is this: will Toronto Pride be a gay and lesbian parade — celebrating the mainstream values of nice, married middle-class white gay and lesbian parents pushing strollers and waving rainbow flags? Or will it be ‘new queer,’ focused on  issues of trans and race?
I haven’t marched in Pride for years; but I don’t think I’ll be marching when it turns ‘new queer.’ I mean, I’m all for a more race-sensitive, trans-inclusive parade, and I’ve fought against racism and for trans people most of my life. But the conference made it clear to me that in the ‘new queer’ world, there is absolutely no time or space for subjects that matter very much to me, for instance: AIDS, drag, sex, and feminism. The lack of support for my ideas at the queer conference made it very clear: these subjects are past-their-due-date and irrelevant, and the ‘new queer’ powers-that-be might even be offended by someone bringing them up.
So you see, now that I no longer can call myself ‘gay’, I find it doesn’t make sense to call myself  ‘queer,’ anymore, either.
Gee, what’s ol’ Sky to do?
It looks like I’ll be having my own party every June — all by myself!
Wish me luck!