Sunday, June 24, 2007

Opinion: Cruising

"The Evolution Will Be Televised' has just aired on Logo. It is, overall, a pretty good history of gay rights and pride. Almost everybody who is a gay anybody seems to be part of this film. It's thoughtful and fun.

However, as is part of any such retrospective of our culture, there is the obligatory outrage at the release of the 1980 film "Cruising". This film about Al Pacino going into the New York City gay leather world in search of a serial killer knocking off leather queers. Usually the outrage is displayed by having a some of the guest commentators (predominantly lesbians) complaining that Cruising would be miscontrued as the portrayal of what the gay community was all about: gritty, superficial, and sex-crazed.

Helllloooooo. For a segment of the male gay community at the time, life was gritty, superficial, and sex-crazed in the pre-aids 70's and early 80's. I never got what the deal was. Since when was a fairly accurate portrayal of a group of people a reason for outrage. Sure, we would have come out of the film with a better image if killer hadn't turned out to be gay, but everything else did pretty much describe a segment of our community. And proud of it.

Anybody who has ever read John Rechy books of the '70's (especially the Sexual Outlaw and Rushes) would know for sure that this was a segment of our culture. To some degree, there is still a part of that segment alive today. Its descendant is, perhaps, a bit less gritty, superficial, and maybe even sex-crazed, but it is still there. Visit a fetish bar sometime.

Two really good things about this film:

1. It was a mainstream film that was about gays from the beginning to the end. This was groundbreaking. Pretty freaky for the day outside of porn.

2. Al Pacino's hetero character began to "get lost" in the culture he was investigating. He began to care about some of the gay characters. His character demonstrated that sexuality can be somewhat of a continuum. Sexuality was not quite as cut and dry as conservative thinkers want to make it.

Are sexual outlaws to the gay community what the gay community is to the Southern Baptists? More tolerance, boys and girls!

That's my opinion. What do you think?






2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ah... The good old days!

The Dykes were just jealous. Yes, that is what us fags called them back then.

brothasoul said...

Any film not helmed by a socially conscious individual is bound to have shades of stereotypical fallacy. And given that none of us is perfect, the film could be viewed a realistic view of an imperfect world; which, in my inconsequential opinion, is better than having no visibility at all...

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