MATTHEWS (1/18/06): Have you gone to see it yet? I’ve seen everything else but that. I just—(Daily Howler, via Atrios.)
IMUS: No, I haven’t seen it. Why would I want to see that?
MATTHEWS: I don’t know. No opinion on that. I haven’t seen it either, so—
IMUS: So they were—it was out when I was in New Mexico and—it doesn’t resonate with real cowboys who I know.
IMUS: But then, maybe there’s stuff going on on the ranch that I don’t know about. Not on my ranch, but you know—
MATTHEWS: Well, the wonderful Michael Savage, who’s on 570 in DC, who shares a station with you at least, he calls it [laughter]—what’s he call it?—he calls it Bare-back Mount-ing. That’s his name for the movie.
IMUS: Of course, Bernard calls it Fudgepack Mountain...
I’m not even going to comment on the hateful absurdity of these comments. (Bareback Mounting, btw, is very funny indeed when Mr. Furious and I come up with it, but that’s the thing about comedy—it’s all about context. Inclusiveness. Exclusivity. Having fun. Making fun. Laugh at. Laugh with. It’s a distinction the likes of these two knob-ends don’t make, but it’s a selective blindness. It’s probably safe to assume they understand why black people can use the N-word and they can’t.)
Anyway, the thing that’s really getting in my craw is this whole “Why would I want to see that?” thing. I’ve heard even some progressive straight men say the same, though they always issue the caveat that they’re not homophobic—they’ve just got “no reason” to see a movie about two dudes in love. I don’t get it. Who only sees movies that feature people just like them? I’m not a drug-addled porn star, but you know, I quite enjoyed Boogie Nights, and I’m not a black Yuppie, but I quite enjoyed Brown Sugar, and I’m not a member of a rebel alliance fighting an evil empire…okay, strike that one. You get my point.
“Why would I want to see that?” smacks of the idiotic notion that a straight man has nothing to learn from or enjoy about a story focusing on gay men. It’s the same principle behind employing “chick flick” as a tool of denigration.
Last night, Mr. Shakes was explaining why he loves watching ice skating (OMG—that’s so gay!), and he said, “I enjoy watching football and rugby and American football because those are sports I’ve played, and I can play them well and enjoy playing them. But I like watching ice skating because I can’t do it. I’m so uncoordinated and ungraceful, and I’m just amazed at people who can ice skate so well. It’s like watching a concert pianist—I couldn’t begin to do it, and I watch them in awe and wish that I could.”
There’s something in that I find quite beautiful, something about being open to the world. Difference as a means of connection, rather than distance.
“Why would I want to see that?” Maybe the inability to find an obvious reason is a reason in itself.