Love is all you need?
April 26, 2013 1:24 PM   Subscribe

Imagine a world where "gay" was "straight" and "straight" was "gay"... How Would You Live If You Couldn't Love? (19:13)
A beautiful short film centered around themes of childhood bullying, community intolerance, and bigotry from within one's own family that is a lot more affecting than one might expect at first from the deceptively kitchy concept.
posted by Blasdelb (17 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
As I've said before, the 2007 film Cthulhu implements a "dual critique" rather well.
posted by jeffburdges at 1:33 PM on April 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

The concept reminds me of The Crooked Man, originally published in Playboy magazine in 1955.
posted by mediated self at 1:35 PM on April 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

Didn't Ellen do this in the episode after she came out?
posted by wittgenstein at 1:36 PM on April 26, 2013

Also: Zanna, Don't!
posted by Lutoslawski at 1:43 PM on April 26, 2013

*smiles at mediated self and begins to dance his fingers on his chest*
posted by adipocere at 1:49 PM on April 26, 2013

From mediated self's link,
"Charles Beaumont’s “Black Country” was selected as the first short story ever to be featured in Playboy, but it was his “The Crooked Man” that drew the most attention. The story inverted the era’s rampant homophobia by chronicling the unjust plight of a straight man trying to escape detection and persecution in a society where being gay was the standard. Although the story was originally rejected by Esquire, Playboy agreed to publish it in 1955′s August issue despite an angry outcry from readers, to which Hugh Hefner later responded: “If it was wrong to persecute heterosexuals in a homosexual society then the reverse was wrong, too.”
Wow, Hugh Hefner said that in 1955
posted by Blasdelb at 1:52 PM on April 26, 2013 [27 favorites]

This theme was also a component of the Forever War, wherein our protagonist soldier of the future finds himself returning to an earth where virtually everyone is gay due to social engineering to constrain population growth. Ridley Scott is currently working on a film version, so I'm looking forward to see how the director responsible for Alien and Thelma and Louise treats the concept.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 2:26 PM on April 26, 2013 [8 favorites]

Wow, Hugh Hefner said that in 1955

Say what you will about Hefner, but he's been on the side of acceptance for his entire life.

But, seriously, say what you will about Hefner.
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:43 PM on April 26, 2013 [10 favorites]

This was very, very difficult to watch. Too many kids go through this. (One, of course, is "too many," but you get my meaning...)
posted by andreaazure at 2:49 PM on April 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

Blasdelb, my girlfriend has an extensive collection of vintage Playboys, and one thing that struck me almost as much as the quality of the articles--it's a cliche, but no joke; the piles of playboys are my go-to for when I'm in the mood for short fiction--is how vocal and out in front Playboy was in the fight for gay rights. I don't remember what issue it was in (probably mid 60s), but I remember reading letters to the editor in response to a series on "rights for homosexuals" that were a mixed bag of support and disgust, but I remember the response Hefner gave to those opposed. It was basically along the lines of "I know this magazine caters to the preferences of heterosexual men, but if we don't stand in solidarity with homosexuals, who do you think is going to save the likes of you perverts when the arbitrary sexual morality police cast their gaze on you?"
posted by [expletive deleted] at 2:56 PM on April 26, 2013 [12 favorites]

"You know, sometimes it’s been cute, sometimes it’s been offensive, and it’s had a hell of wild ride, but I think we can retire the Role Reversal to Prove Injustice story now.

We understand the theory, and in principle, it’s not a bad idea. People in the world are so consumed by irrational hate towards a people - perhaps those of other color, or other sexualities, and so on? - that they can’t see the harm they’re doing to themselves and others. So, let’s show them the harm they’re doing. Let’s make the whites black and the blacks white. Let’s set this in a universe where being gay is the norm and being heterosexual is just unnatural. There are more, but those are the most common, I believe.

Then the majority will be in the position of the minority as they experience the story, and finally they’ll see what’s wrong with hating that minority. They’ll understand the pain they’re causing, and stop.

It’s not a bad idea, based on that. But it’s got these problematic trip-ups, you know? And I’m really tired of things tripping up on them all the time.

Here’s the problem with your story based on a majority character in the world where the minority rules: why can’t you just tell this story in our world, with the minority character?

Black individuals have been reading about white folk doing white people things for ages; it shouldn’t be a hardship for a white person to pick up a book about black people. Is compassion so without reason that a heterosexual person has to pick up a heterosexual person’s book to understand and sympathize with a character’s struggles? Why make up new slurs when the ones out in the world already remain so damn hurtful?

You’re telling us that our stories, the stories of the oppressed, just aren’t good enough. They can’t be told as well. They’ll never be heard.

And, on top of that, you’re making us the enemy. To get your point across to the majority, you’re turning the minority into hateful beasts. Just because it’s a metaphor for how things are reversed in the real world, doesn’t mean the consequences of making black-and-gay people into violent and vitriolic aggressors just disappear - it’s still a white-and-het world experiencing the story, after all.

You mean well. Honestly, you do. You want to reveal our suffering to the world by creating a fantasy where it’s different. But we shouldn’t have to prove the fact that we are hurt every single day by telling it to the majority through their voice. Our voices should be believed and understood on their own.

If an oppressor only listens to the oppressed’s problems when those problems are presented by another oppressor, how much does the oppressor really, truly care about the oppressed’s problems? Maybe you just have to be “better” for your stories to be heard?

Retire the trope. It’s starting to rust. "

(via lizzledpink)
posted by ShawnStruck at 3:20 PM on April 26, 2013 [11 favorites]

Re retiring the trope:

Think of it like remedial math courses. Whether or not one "should" need math remediation by the time they get to college, some people are just not prepared when they enroll. To evaluate whether remedial math is appropriate, the relevant questions are "do they need some kind of intervention?" and "does this intervention work?"

If there's still oppression going on, yes, the oppressors need some intervention. So what remains to be answered is whether this kind of story works.
posted by a snickering nuthatch at 3:59 PM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

This was a powerful movie, thank you for linking it OP.
posted by Jernau at 4:16 PM on April 26, 2013

I haven't really been allowed to have sex in years, so heteros and homos basically both feel like enemies to me.
posted by Iknowno_one at 7:38 PM on April 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

Imagine a world where "gay" was "straight" and "straight" was "gay"...

Ancient Sparta?
posted by Renoroc at 8:15 AM on April 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

The trope my be rusting, but I'm very grateful this movie used it. Perhaps I lack the empathy to relate to what gay teens go through, but I think it's more likely that after reading so very many stories of bullying and suicide that it has just become a thing. A tragic thing, definitely. But, still, just a thing. Seeing it from a different angle, and one that I'm more wired to relate to, let it become real again. So very real. Damn that was a powerful little movie.
posted by imbri at 8:51 AM on April 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

The "rusting" role-reversal trope thing: it seems to me that it might help get the point across to those who would otherwise be deaf to it. You can't " just tell this story in our world" because the people you want reach wouldn't be interested in watching.
posted by treepour at 11:27 AM on April 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

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