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Now that that's over, I can talk about other things! - Mo's Journal
August 8th, 2005
02:43 pm

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Now that that's over, I can talk about other things!
In this case: War of the Worlds, post-apocalyptic fiction in general, and closeted gay celebrities.

So, I quite enjoyed War of the Worlds. I thought it really captured the paranoia and just general sense of impending doom that was much of the book's appeal, while effectively translating it into modern times. I really loved how it's framed with narration that's the opening and closing paragraphs of the book, with only the dates changed. I didn't mind at all the changes in plot and characters, feeling that it still had the spirit of the original with a more accessible story for modern viewers. I quite loved that they didn't make it Mars or say at all where the aliens came from, just leaving it mysterious. I found some of it cheesy and thought Dakota Fanning was just as annoying as advertised, but mostly I think it was a fine show.

It's a favorite genre of mine, post-apocalyptic fiction. Mostly in novels and short stories, but to some extent in movies. I've always loved it and been fascinated by what different authors do with that theme - how they envision the apocalyptic event, the variety of societies they imagine afterwards, etc. I particularly like those set (unlike War of the Worlds) well after the apocalyptic event, where the people in the story really don't know what life was like before. We as the reader try to understand their society from a perspective of knowing our own society, its precursor, and I think that can be fascinating.

Beyond that, what is the appeal? I'm not sure. One thing my son suggested is the simplicity of life that shows up in a lot of these stories. As he said, "Life isn't easy, but it is simple. You don't have competing demands on your time. You only have to do one thing: escape aliens, kill zombies, find unradiated food, whatever. The task is hard, maybe impossible, but it's not complicated." Maybe that is part of it.

As you can see from the above, I have passed my love of post-apocalyptic fiction to my kids. This became embarrassingly clear one morning last year while taking my nine-year-old to school. We commute by public bus and often read or chat en route. "Tell me a story," she said this particular morning. I agreed and asked what kind of story she'd like. "Oh it doesn't matter," she replied. "Anything really. It could be a family story, it could be an X-Men story, it could be post-apocalyptic fiction." I was dying of embarrassment as the other commuters were stifling laughter.

So, before we went to see War of the Worlds I imposed a rule that there was to be no ruining it with snarky remarks about closet case scientologists who don't believe in PPD during the movie. My son was puzzled, saying that Tom Cruise is far from closeted about being a scientologist. I said that he's not closeted about being a scientologist, just about being gay. Which got to the question of how do I know he's gay.

Of course I don't really. No matter how many FOAFs keep spreading the rumor, no matter how many times I hear that his marriage to Nicole Kidman broke up because he had sex with her male cousin or that there's an endless stream of attractive young men in and out of his trailer when he's on a set. I still don't know. I've changed my mind a whole lot on the whole Gay Celebrity thing, though, and I'm less skeptical than I used to be.

Okay, so this dates back to the mid-1980s. There was this set of celebrities that "everybody knows" are gay. I never believed any of them except Leonard Bernstein. I wasn't sure they weren't gay; I just didn't believe they were. If someone told me that he knew that Soandso BignameActor was gay, I'd say, "Oh. Have you fucked him?" I mean if these people were really so closeted and so careful not to reveal their sexuality, then how is it that I and all my friends knew their big secret, yk?

So, I developed the Wish Fulfillment Theory of Gay Celebrity. It said that people we "know" are gay aren't really. We just want them to be. Maybe because we find them particularly attractive; maybe because (in the case of actors) of a particular part they played that appeals to our queer selves. Maybe because they're homophobic and we'd rather think that's self-hatred than just hatred of us. So we make them gay.

My Wish Fulfillment Theory was contrasted by the Charles T. Edwards, Jr. (my friend Chuck)
Triangulation Theory of Gay Celebrity. Chuck said that if you heard from 3 people that a celebrity is gay and you can establish they didn't hear it from each other, then it's true. I scoffed, openly.

Well, I never quite embraced the Triangulation Theory. Still, my two prime examples of the Wish Fulfillment Theory were Rock Hudson and Roy Cohn. When the facts conflict with the theory, I believe you have to change the theory. I'm kind of old school that way.

I think what I was missing was that these very closeted people are having sex. And the nature of being very closeted is that you're not having a relationship - you're tricking. There are a lot of people to tell and it makes a kind of a good story. So somebody tells somebody who tells somebody and eventually I and all my friends know. I don't automatically believe it if I hear it from 3 people, but I think there are a lot of closeted gay celebrities out there, and I no longer feel I have to hear it from someone I trust who had sex with them (which was the case with Leonard Bernstein) to think the preponderance of the evidence suggests it's true.

So, in conclusion I say: Tom Cruise is a big fat homo. Everybody says so.

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[User Picture]
From:devildoll
Date:August 8th, 2005 07:29 pm (UTC)
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So, in conclusion I say: Tom Cruise is a big fat homo. Everybody says so.

*dies*

Best. Last. Sentence. Ever.
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From:mofic
Date:August 8th, 2005 11:37 pm (UTC)
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One looks at the lifetime of the rumor, variance of sources, variance in the source's potential bias, etc. All that increases the likelihood that the rumor is true.

This was all interesting, both for similarities and differences. I snipped this part, because I think it's in some ways easier and harder now to determine truth based on those things. We have a lot of sources, more than we do for ancient history. And widespread communications mean we can get sources from many different places. But OTOH rumor spreads farther and faster now, so it's much harder to know that the various sources weren't influenced by one another in some long chain of influence...
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From:talktooloose
Date:August 10th, 2005 04:45 pm (UTC)
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I dunno is Cruise is gay but he's clearly hiding something painfully. There were ten minutes there where he could act but lately, he seems completely constricted on screen as if he's afraid he'll give something away. This, of course, makes for terrible acting.

He's even worse in interviews where he puts on a strange superior smirk meant to deflect anything potentially revealing. His role in Magnolia was actually one of the most convincing of recent years precisely because the character was hiding something and Cruise was using his very own interview techniques with the character. Scary.

Then there was his strange coked-to-the-gills speech at the first post-9/11 Oscars. He seems to think he's the official spokesman for something, but I doubt anyone's actually elected him to that position.

I have a slightly different take than your son on post-apocolyptic life. "Simplicity" is not a bad way of thinking about it, but to me what defines life in times of survival is that it is meaningful. Everything you do is about survival or rebuilding. Compared to our own endless consumer cycles in a society that has lost any kind of philosophical underpinning, life in wartime can be exhileratingly productive. Furthermore, tragedy draws people together into the kinds of social networks that we often avoid in the workaday, Starbucks world.

Btw, it sounds like you are raising wonderfully insightful children. Brava.
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From:mofic
Date:August 10th, 2005 05:31 pm (UTC)
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I have a slightly different take than your son on post-apocolyptic life. "Simplicity" is not a bad way of thinking about it, but to me what defines life in times of survival is that it is meaningful. Everything you do is about survival or rebuilding. Compared to our own endless consumer cycles in a society that has lost any kind of philosophical underpinning, life in wartime can be exhileratingly productive. Furthermore, tragedy draws people together into the kinds of social networks that we often avoid in the workaday, Starbucks world.


That's a really interesting take on it, and I bet one Doran would relate to, too. Search for meaning is very present when you're 16. If you don't mind, I'll share it with him.

Btw, it sounds like you are raising wonderfully insightful children.

Thanks. I like them :-).
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From:talktooloose
Date:August 11th, 2005 11:22 pm (UTC)
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Of course share it. I'm not likely to build a Learning Annex course around it any time soon!

I would love to meet you next time one of us is in the others' city, Mo!
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From:mofic
Date:August 12th, 2005 02:21 am (UTC)
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I would love to meet you next time one of us is in the others' city, Mo!


It would be great to meet you!
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From:auntiea_33
Date:August 13th, 2005 05:55 am (UTC)
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Well, I gotta say that something is definitely weird with Mr. Cruise. I was thinking mid-life crisis, that kinda thing but I don' know. I do know that my appeal to see him in any movie decreased greatly after his half-assed statements about PPD. Leave it to someone who never suffer through PPD to make such a statement.
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From:mofic
Date:August 13th, 2005 12:25 pm (UTC)
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Well the rumors that he's gay have been going on since Risky Business, so I wouldn't think midlife crisis explains them. Not that you were suggesting it does...

I do know that my appeal to see him in any movie decreased greatly after his half-assed statements about PPD.

I try to separate artist from art. I mostly succeed.

I couldn't bear to watch Woody Allen for a long time, though, and I'd been a huge fan. And then when I got over that and saw "The Curse of the Jade Scorpion" I barely laughed at all and have concluded he's lost his touch.

I still won't see Roman Polanski movies, but I consider that a little different, since he's a fugitive from justice and I don't feel I should support him. Not that I think he's really suffering financially because I won't spend my $10 on a ticket to one of his movies (or, more likely, my $3.00 to see it on video).

Leave it to someone who never suffer through PPD to make such a statement.

It was a particularly unwise example to use to convince people that psychotherapy and antidepressants are not a good idea.

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From:auntfaintly
Date:August 23rd, 2005 03:20 pm (UTC)

there's also the absence of opposite rumors

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Another aspect of the consistency of rumors is the lack of rumors saying the opposite - there aren't lots of tabloid covers of TC with other women, claims he fathered someone's love child, et cetera. Quite different from the Jennifer-Brad-Angelina or Bruce-Demi-Ashton hoopla, for example.
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From:mofic
Date:August 23rd, 2005 05:20 pm (UTC)

Re: there's also the absence of opposite rumors

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That's an interesting thought! Of course, closeted gay celebrities (or, more often, their publicists) often plant such rumors on purpose to throw the public off. Rock Hudson, for example, was styled as a "playboy."
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From:kestrelsparhawk
Date:April 28th, 2006 07:28 pm (UTC)

End line

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So, in conclusion I say: Tom Cruise is a big fat homo. Everybody says so.

Bwahahaha! I wandered here to see how to do the meme, but this was much more fun to respond to. So I'll just post it randomly, and hope it's vaguely as directed. (One skill hardly anyone knows I DON'T have is that I don't follow directions because I suck at it, not because I'm a rebel.)

Ummm... why is Roman Polanski a fugitive from justice?
[User Picture]
From:mofic
Date:April 28th, 2006 08:03 pm (UTC)

Re: End line

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So funny to get a comment months later! If you tell me what you're unsure of about how to do the meme, I can probably help.

Ummm... why is Roman Polanski a fugitive from justice?

A long time ago (late 1970s?) he raped a thirteen-year-old girl, pled guilty to a lesser charge and then, while out on bail, fled to France where he's lived ever since.
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From:kestrelsparhawk
Date:April 28th, 2006 08:11 pm (UTC)

Re: End line

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Months later, huh? So much for my ability to navigate LJ too. Oh well. Useful to know he's an evil twerp nonetheless.
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From:mofic
Date:April 28th, 2006 08:27 pm (UTC)

Re: End line

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Yes, this is an entry from last August.

I'm surprised you don't remember the incident. I was so outraged. He did not help his cause by saying in interviews that it was consensual (as if a 13-year-old and one who, btw, he'd fed champagne and quaaludes, could consent to sex with a middle-aged man), that she wasn't a virgin, and that she looks like a woman so it's okay. Oh! If he's attracted to her, then of course he can do whatever he wants to her, as long as he's not "ruining" her for some other man who might want to be the first to rape her. He didn't claim he didn't know how old she was, since there were plenty of witnesses who could testify he did.

And he was just indignant to find out that even with the plea deal there would be jail time involved. So, he left the country. I guess there's no statute of limitations on this kind of thing - he couldn't even come back to accept an Oscar.
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From:kestrelsparhawk
Date:April 29th, 2006 05:03 am (UTC)

Re: End line

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I'm delighted to hear there's no statute of limitations for that -- how terribly disgusting. Funny how it's NEVER mentioned about him in commentary on his films. He obviously didn't ever think what he did was wrong in any way...

But don't be surprised I don't remember the incident. It's highly possible I read all about it at the time, and had strong opinions even then.... My memory is going all askew. Stress.
[User Picture]
From:mofic
Date:April 29th, 2006 01:37 pm (UTC)

Re: End line

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I'm surprised you haven't seen it mentioned. Maybe I just look for it? I know when he got an Oscar a few years back (The Pianist), they didn't say anything about it at the awards ceremony (which I actually think is appropriate) but it sure got mentioned in all the articles - both before and after.

Sorry about the stress memory stuff...

In other news, I answered your meme questions.

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