Monthly Archives: June 2007

Panic Attack

Dear Mr. Feeney:

Just read your inadvertently hilarious piece of heterosexual panic in “Slate.” As a 60 year-old gay man, and long-time political activist (I was a member of Gay Activist’s Alliance of New York back in the immediate post-Stonewall era) I never thought I’d see the day when heterosexuals would be running for cover like this. You are not alone. Judd Apatow’s films are ENTIRELY centered on heterosexual panic.

I don’t know what you guys are so upset about. You run the world. The laws are written expressly few you. And until a few years ago when the Supremes overturned the sodomy statutes I was an illegal alien in extremis.

So let’s review, shall we?

While the dudes in Big Wednesday are nice looking there’s nothing homoerotic about them. It’s a John Ford western in cut-offs.

Keanu Reeves is arguably the most disturbingly beautiful creature to walk the face of the earth, but the main thing about Point Break is IT WAS DIRECTED BY A GIRRRL! So consult you Better Misogynistic Gods.

300 is an explosion at the Tom of Finland Factory. It’s instant camp — too silly to be as homoerotic as its forebearer The 300 Spartans. Directed by Rudolph Mate, The 300 Spartans stars the granite-jawed Richard Egan (or as “Mad” magazine called him “Richard Egad”) the lovely Diane Baker and the even lovelier Barry Coe — who has a hilarious line about how he hears the upcoming war is going to be real excting and everyone’s going to it.

Rudolph Mate began his career as a cinematographer. His most important credits : The Passion of Joan of Arc, Vampyr and (wait for it!) Gilda. The latter is, as has been noted by many, a homoerotic tsunami with a heterosexual goddess at its center.

Less noted is the fact that during the shooting of Vampyr, Carl Th. Dreyer fell madly in love with Mate and had a nervous breakdown. As a result Dreyer claimed in later years to not remember the shooting of Vampyr at all.

The Heterosexually Panicked are advised to avoid all films by Sergei Eisenstein, Luchino Visconti, Robert Bresson and Lindsay Anderson (especially If… just on on DVD from Criterion with notes by yours truly)

Surely I don’t have to remind you of the homoerotic dangers lurking in the works of Derek Jarman, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Jack Smith, Kenneth Anger, Andy Warhol, Paul Morrissey, Todd Haynes, Greg Araki and Tom Kalin.

But Ozu was gay too — so watch out!


David Ehrenstein
Los Angeles, Ca.


This just in from Matthew Feeney:

“Mr Ehrenstein
One of the things I didn’t get a chance to argue in my piece is that I don’t really think the claim of homoeroticism is actually serious. To borrow from the somewhat rickety categories of speech act theory, it is performative rather than substantive. It’s about cultivating and policing a particular conversation (by, among other things, resorting to silly stock ad hominems when people say displeasing,off-the-reservation sorts of things) rather than an attempt to make defensible good-faith claims about the world. This would explain a certain shrieky tone in many of the criticisms of my piece.

Your letter, in any case, confirms my suspicions in this regard.
Matt Feeney.”

Off WHAT “Reservation”? An eminently Republican meme. Doubtless you own the complete works of Sully– personally inscribed.This would make you “open-minded” in the circles you travel.

Send Mary Cheney my regards.

Shriekily yours,

David Ehrenstein