In which I substitute an email conversation between myself, Spudsy, and Deeky about Sacha Baron-Cohen's upcoming film Bruno for an actual post…
Liss: Oh this sounds GREAT. Doesn't sound AT ALL like he's playing on gay stereotypes and trying to justify it with a few scenes that expose people's homophobia. Sigh.
Deeky: You mean like the scene where he sneaks into someone's sleeping bag in the middle of the night?
Liss: That (predatory gay) and the stuff with the baby (recruiting gay). This sounds like more Deathbed Confession Cinema, without even the obvious, hit-you-over-the-head ending.
Honestly, the justification for this film is rooted in a rationale as mendacious (and/or naive) as believing that the most memorable part of a rib dinner is the handiwipe you're given at the end. So NOT.
Spudsy: How do you "challenge homophobia" by "embracing" it? I'm sorry, I have real problems with a straight man making this film.
Liss: Why would you be sorry about that, lol? It's like insanely narcissistic—as if he knows so well what it's like to be gay that he can tease out the subtleties of being a gay man in order to expose homophobia, instead of just playing on it. And, clearly, he doesn't.
Spudsy: Honestly, I'm not all that comfortable with his Borat character either, and I hate "predatory" comedy. Seriously, Alan Funt beat that horse to death a long time ago. Who the fuck is he to "expose homophobia?" Live it, then come talk to me.
Liss: Right. It's like when Gwyneth Paltrow puts on a fat suit for 6 hours then claims she totally understands what it's like to be a fat woman in this culture. Uh huh. Except I don't get to take off my fat ass at the end of the day, so not really the same at all, is it?
What's most irritating about this stuff is that they wouldn't ever give a movie to a real gay man who wanted to "expose homophobia." No, instead it's a straight guy who won't, in his real life, ever suffer any blowback from perpetuating gay stereotypes or fomenting gay hatred.
Meanwhile, he'll insist it's all a joke, it doesn't really perpetuate stereotypes or foment hatred because he's just playing a character, an argument which is predicated on nuanced thinking from the very homophobes who are such ignorant, bigoted rubes that they fell for his shtick in the first place.
Spudsy: Exactly, it's only safe to make a gay-empowering movie if it's a straight guy making it. Not that this is "gay empowering" at all. And like it's really hard to get a big reaction out of someone if you sneak in their tent to supposedly have sex with them. Christ.
Deeky: "Right. It's like when Gwyneth Paltrow puts on a fat suit for 6 hours then claims she totally understands what it's like to be a fat woman in this culture. Uh huh. Except I don't get to take off my fat ass at the end of the day, so not really the same at all, is it?"—Which is, if you remember, the very lesson of Soul Man, starring C. Thomas Howell.
Liss: I'm going to have to go on record at this point suggesting that every Hollywood studio immediately institute the Soul Man, Starring C. Thomas Howell, Rule: If a pitch does not pass the enlightenment threshold set by Soul Man, starring C. Thomas Howell, do not, repeat DO NOT, greenlight the project. It is made of fail.