July 13, 2011
Whither conventional manhood?
You never really see a teh ghey Mexican guy, but that's because in Mexico they don't have sexual orientation like we have here in the US. In Mexico, every guy is straight... except when he isn't. You can have sex with another guy and not be considered teh ghey, as long as you're the top. This is probably why a lot of So-Cal hispanic youth are really into Morrissey, but none of them will admit to being teh ghey, or even believing that Morrissey is a fudge. I know this for a fact, because I heard it on Adam Carolla, and he was the co-host of Loveline for like 10 years, which makes him a medical professional himself for all intents and purpose.
I was reminded of this just now, reading this Playboy interview with James Franco. No James Franco. Apparently, sexual orientation here in the US was once similar to how it is now in Mexico and the parts of the American Southwest that have essentially been annexed by Mexico, much to the chagrin of racists who find the US to be a better country than Mexico.
As Franco himself explains:
“Straight” and “gay” are fairly recent phenomena. One of the things the great book Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture and the Making of the Gay World, 1890–1940 is about is the way those labels have changed behavior. Between World War I and World War II, straight guys could have sex with other guys and still be perceived as straight as long as they acted masculine. Whether you were considered a “fairy” or a “queer” back then wasn’t based on sexual acts so much as outward behavior. Into the 1950s, 1960s and so on, the straight and gay thing came up based on your sexual partner. Because of those labels, you do it once and you’re gay, so you get fewer guys who are kind of in the middle zone. It sounds as though I’m advocating for an ambiguous zone or something, but I’m just interested in the way perception changes behavior.
But I'm actually less concerned with whether or not James Franco considers himself a fudge than I am with whether or not this could be the beginning of a trend. There's already more Mexicans here in the US than there are black people, and presumably one day their cultural influence will extend beyond their delicious, delicious food. I remember reading in high school that by the time we're 50 years old, they'll make up a full 78% of the population - but that may have even been sped up some. Then there's the prison-industrial complex, where they toss so many (admittedly not so promising) young black men in the clink, on some ol' bullshit, and invariably some of them end up fucking each other in the ass. I don't want to draw any connection between that and why one in three black women probably have AIDS, because I heard that's somehow homophobic, so I won't. Finally, there's the fact that gay people are finally getting equal rights. Eventually, teh ghey people will be able to get married anywhere in the US except of course here in Missouri. Not that I'm against teh ghey people having more or less the same rights as straight people, mind you. But if I were given my choice of any positive political political development, teh ghey marriage would be at the absolute bottom of the list, based on priority, right beneath legalized pot-smoking. I'd much rather see the president try to chip away at this 48% black unemployment. By the time 2012 election rolls around, he'll be the last black man in America with a job. At least for the time being.
Is it any wonder our current system of sexual orientation is a relic of the 1950s and '60s? I read somewhere recently people are coming to realize that the vast middle class in this country and the widespread economic prosperity of the Leave It to Beaver era were in fact a historical anomaly. For most of US history, this was a country where most people worked like a Hebrew slave and walked around in shoes with holes in them, while a few rich people stole all of the money, and we're gradually reverting back to that point - the real norm in this country. We can't have a return to most people in this country earning a living wage any more than we can have a return to really good early '90s-era rap music. It's just not possible. My fear is that that may also be the case with '50s-era social mores.
Byron Crawford a/k/a Bol is the celebrated author of several books, most recently NaS Lost: A Tribute to the Little Homey.
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Posted by Bol at 11:12 AM | Permalink
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