Who’s Scared of a little Buggery?
The Founding Fathers would be so proud of the Chik-Fil-A patriots.
Last week I was pretty stunned at the big turnout for Mike Hucakbee’s “We Hate Gays But Pretend We Care About Straight Marriage Day.” How decidedly American the whole event was as people only needed to get politically engaged enough to scarf down fast food.
How did we get here? Well, you don’t have to look too deep into American pop culture to see homophobic messages. I recently got around to watching the Hangover Part II out of some terribly misguided sense that I should see it in an effort to understand the current zeitgeist. I mean, it grossed over half a billion dollars worldwide. Read that last sentence again. Yeah, that’s a lot of money that could have been diverted to cleaning drinking water in a third world country, spaying and neutering stray cats or creating jobs here in America. The free market fixes everything right? Isn’t that the line being spoon-fed to those patriots in the Chic-Fil-hAte line? A lot of people took their hard earned money to spend another two hours with some Straight White American Male (SWAM) characters who sneaked their way into America’s hearts just a little over three years ago in the original film.
What hilarious hijinks did the guys get up to in Part II? I can’t remember much about the movie other than it was in Thailand, there was a monkey and Ed Helms was buggered by an attractive transsexual. “Standard comedy fare so far for the multiplexes,” I said out loud to my cats while the DVD played. The next few scenes really played up how terrible Helms feels about being on the receiving end (Ed. Note – pun fully intended), he freaked out, like OMFG! WTF!! I laughed at the great lengths the movie went through to show how this was the worst thing in the world that could ever happen to a SWAM (don’t forget the clever acronym introduced above.)
Is it really the worst thing? Seriously? Being broke, homeless, injured, depressed, or a Republican all come to mind as being way, way worse than getting your a-s-s tapped by a transsexual.
Let’s step back for one second and watch this movie through the eyes of the White Gay American Male (WGAM). Does he laugh at this scene for the same reasons? Do WGAMs enjoy the Hangover movies at all? If we were to take Helms’ transsexual scene and reverse it, can we see if the funny holds true the other way – a gay man gets drunk and is tricked into having sex with a man who is actually a woman. Wait a minute, that is actually hilarious. But why would that be funny and not the Helms scene? It comes down to who holds power in a culture. The power in America is held almost exclusively by SWAMs which is why the Helms scene is fodder for a mainstream American comedy whereas our reversal scene is not. The recent Danish comedy Klown handles similar material but in a far different manner. Watch that film as I do not want to give away any spoilers.
I guess Hollywood movies like to feed into people’s misguided beliefs, like if you come into contact with the gay lifestyle you may catch it like a cold, and then what are you supposed to do on Saturdays and Sunday’s fellas? Football is out now that you came down with a case of the Gay and everyone knows that gay guys don’t watch football. Wait a minute though, maybe if all of your SWAM buddies caught the Gay you guys could all have sex with each before and during the football watching all weekend. This sounds like a win-win situation here guys, you just need to channel that Ancient Greek vibe! Think of how peaceful the world might be if more uptight SWAMs were getting laid by each other.
Ok, I’ve been hard on the SWAMs and their fear of the gay lifestyle when the Hangover movies are really a list of Things White People Are Scared Of. It is also a bit troubling when Zach Galifianakis reportedly refused to work with noted anti-Semite/misogynist Mel Gibson in the Hangover Part II.
Funny when you realize the movie promotes a very Chic-Fil-hAte approved hetero-normative narrative with the text and subtext that anything gay is to be mocked mercilessly by the SWAM. Wasn’t convicted rapist Mike Tyson in both films? Isn’t that a bit problematic in lieu of the stance about Gibson?
Pandering to the same reductive male mentality that hates anything gay is not pushing the boundaries in comedy, its reinforcing discrimination of a minority that rarely gets a chance to fight on a level playing field. Once you start to see this you become a bit like a Gay Neo seeing the Straight Matrix everywhere. Maybe more dudes should see Magic Mike (out on DVD in the fall, you can catch a lovely and disturbing review of that movie by the ladies of the Arabella clan here) where they can get comfortable with images of naked guys without any of the usual negative homosexual overtones.
Tune in next week as we uncover the Hidden Conservative, Anti-Feminist Agenda of Judd Apatow!