These films were made as a joke by people who had no idea of performing to the camera, and you can tell: the way they carry themselves is entirely natural. By the 1930s people realised that they could make money with these films and they became another thing entirely. The charm and innocence was gone.
Despite such evidence, one reason why Americans find it hard to believe Buchanan could have been gay is that we have a touching belief in progress. Our high school history textbooks’ overall story line is, “We started out great and have been getting better ever since,” more or less automatically. Thus we must be more tolerant now than we were way back in the middle of the 19th century! Buchanan could not have been gay then, else we would not seem more tolerant now.
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