Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Love Between Men Is Good.... Sometimes

"Christian had a thing for Tony Curtis so he brought over Some Like It Hot and Sporadicus."- Cher, Clueless

So, if you've been hanging around these parts for awhile, you know that I love subtext.

Like many a non-heterosexual gal, I live for finding it in the most intentionally-heteronormative of shows, movies, video games, and books. If two female characters are in a story, oh yes I will find a way to ship them: Xena/Gabrielle (doy), Buffy/Faith (yes please), Meredith/Christina ("person," mm-hmmm), Alex/Olivia, Quinn/Rachel, Kate/Claire, Starbuck/Laura, Tempe Brennan/Tempe Brennan, and I could go on.

And I will. Let's just say that pretending Jordan Catalano is a brooding, butch lesbian can make some TV shows way more interesting.

Naturally, then, I was amused to come across this post, written by an anti-gay fella calling himself "Magister Christianus" (MC). Entitled "A Love Between Men," MC writes of showing Spartacus to his Latin students:

"Toward the end of the movie, chief bad guy Marcus Licinius Crassus (Olivier) orders Spartacus (Douglas) and Antoninus (Tony Curtis) to fight to the death, with the promise that the winner will be crucified. To spare his friend the agony of crucifixion, Spartacus plunges a sword into Antoninus' chest. As he draws his final breath, Antoninus gasps, 'I love you, Spartacus...as I loved my own father.' Spartacus replies, 'I love you, like the son that I'll never see.' My students never hear that line, however. They are still laughing over the words of Antoninus. The gasping pause in Antoninus' line unfortunately leaves the words 'I love you, Spartacus' hanging for a moment, long enough for the students to assume a homosexual reference and begin howling in laughter."

Now, I'm not as into snail-on-snail subtext as I am into the oysters, but from what I understand of those who harbor such proclivities, Spartacus is a classic in the male homoerotic/subtext movie canon. And, understandably so since the "chief bad guy" in the movie had sexual relations with and attractions to other men. As did other male Romans dating back at least 100 years prior to Spartacus' time.

So, regarding that "gasping pause" in the movie, I think it's entirely plausible to read sexual tension into it. It's a tension that, in 1960, directors wouldn't necessarily make explicit but could insinuate with a wink and nudge to certain receptive audience members. Of course, one could stay on the surface and interpret the moment only as an expression of non-romantic love. That's the thing about subtext. If you don't want to see it, you can pretend it away. (Much like can be done with gay people, in Tennessee!)

But let's see how MC sees it. After noting that his students' laughter at the gayness of this "gasping pause" moment indicates that "the gay agenda" has "failed spectacularly" at promoting tolerance of gay people, a failure MC undoubtedly sees as a good thing, he then claims:

"What the gay agenda has accomplished instead is the obliteration of any notion of proper love between men. Perhaps now more than ever, men are at a complete loss for genuine male-to-male companionship, interaction, and, yes, even love."

I mean, at this point, aren't you wondering if there is any problem in the world not caused by the Gay Agenda?

Anyway, what MC's statement means in non-bigot speak is that "the gay agenda" informed modern society that homosexuality and bisexuality are real things that exist in the real world and, consequently, that not every embrace between, say, two men is necessarily non-romantic in nature.

And while MC attributes to the Gay Agenda men's alleged inability to form deep non-homo bonds with each other, it is more accurately attributed to the stigma attached to sex and romantic love between men (you know, like calling such things "improper"). Men who are scared of being called fags for giving another guy a hug are going to miss out on a lot of male-to-male companionship, interaction, and yes, even love.

So, contrary to MC's bizarre claim, men have Team Anti-Gay and Team Real Man to thank for that one. Because guess what, you stop telling dudes that it's gross, immoral, sinful, and improper to love other men and they might get better at loving other men!

Just Another Helpful Deep Thought brought to you free of charge from the radicalesbianfeminazi brigade!

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