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    Monday, December 12, 2005

    Big Queer Asks the Tough Questions

    Are Fags the New 'Tards?

    At the end of Joel Siegel's piece Geishas and Gay Cowboys Bring Controversy on Good Morning America, Mr. Siegel predicted that Brokeback Mountain would be the most-nominated Oscar movie of the season and even named Heath Ledger as his vote to win Best Actor.

    That kind of talk makes me wonder whether the Hollywood It-ness of all things queer has finally propelled gayness to that lofty place formerly reserved for the mentally ill. Remember the '80's, '90's, and even the early '00's and Hollywood's efforts in awakening empathy for the mentally ill, reshaping the "drooling crazy" into Dustin Hoffman looking cuddly in pajamas? Actors took on everything from Rain Man to Radio in the hopes of being proclaimed Master Thespians and getting Oscar gold. "I am Sam," proclaimed Sean Penn as Jodie "Nell" Foster waved like a "tay" in the "win'" and Billy Bob Thornton slung his blade. Oh yeah, and remember how we all thought Leonardo DiCaprio would be the next Brando because he was so good at playing autistic Arnie Grape to Jonny Depp's Gilbert?

    I guess we really have come a long way in re-thinking of place of queerness in society. I certainly never thought it would come so fast, but I guess life really is like a box of chocolates! Who knew people would want to see us on screens, want to see our stories portrayed by straight actors, and want those straight actors to get Oscars and continue to have successful straight careers unstigmatized by playing gay? Now if we could only remove the stigma of being gay...


    Later on, Bigmouth brings up Heath Ledger's "Oscar-worthiness". This is something I've been thinking about a lot. Brokeback was sold out this weekend, so I didn't see it yet, but I've read enough reviews to know that Heath Ledger plays the butch, not-even-necessarily-gay-just-loves-this-one-guy top while Jake Gyllenhal (who is not getting Oscar-for-Brokeback attention) plays the man who sleeps with men, not just Heath's character, and the more sensitive let's-run-away-together bottom. What does it mean that the stoic "straight-acting" (to take one gross term from the world of personals) guy is Oscar-worthy? It's entirely possible that Ledger is just incredible- like I said, I haven't seen it. But I am, as always, suspicious.

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