Monday, March 24, 2008

Queer Reaction

Can someone tell me what's so off-putting about this image? Why, at a French film (Love Songs), on Manhattan's Upper-West Side, at 8 p.m. on an Easter Sunday (an hour you'd figure social conservatives might be otherwise engaged), the image of two men kissing was met with laughter, whoops and whispers, and uncomfortable shifting? Or why a similar scene, involving two women, provoked no reaction?

The questions may sound disingenuous, but the wonder is genuine: What is it about gay male sexuality that people find so disconcerting? And why are people so comfortable expressing themselves about it in public? I can't imagine Jungle Fever would be met with so much as a hiccup if it were shown today on the Upper-West Side. What distinguishes gays? What is it about that picture?

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