Saturday, May 23, 2015


Unluckily the end is short-winded


I resisted a long time before buying it and then it stayed on my shelves for a long time too. But when I finally got to it I was amazed. I expected an American remake of a good plus English gay sit com and I discovered something totally different, extremely powerful and on the verge of a real gay manifesto. I then discovered it was Canadian. This explains that then.

This series is absolutely fascinating, mesmerizing and hypnotizing up to the last two episodes of the last season. It is a manifesto and it shows both sides of the coin of being gay, or lesbian, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. On one side the mental ghetto in which the gay and lesbian people are trying to live their lives as if the world was gay and lesbian, so among gay and lesbian people without really mixing with straight people (note little is shown about the labor market where mixing is necessary). So they find ways to build partnerships, to get married though it is not marriage since it is not legal, except in Toronto they say. Otherwise they have their own life of entertainments and that is rather limited actually since it is dancing clubs with some techno or disco Oom Pah Pah music because it is nothing but rhythm and beating noisy boom box and mechanical tempo or tempi, though it is always the same tempo indeed. Thye might even call that fox-trot.

There is no future in that musical escape from segregation with a music that is more straight than a ruler because it is no escape. It is oblivion. It is a habit forming drug that closes your critical mind and let you believe that everything is possible, at least in the back room. And that music is the key and the keynote of promiscuity, let’s say it is safe though apparently there are quite a few HIV positive people, but all extreme forms of it are shown: the professional video gang-bang that is done for Internet exploitation or some gang-bang under high level influence done for the private top members of some clubs that exploit the gogo boys who only want free drugs, free alcohol, free music and free carnal intercourse and are no longer conscious after a while. You then have two types of people mainly: those who believe in such conditions they may find love – probably beyond promiscuity – and those who believe there is no love because there is only promiscuity.

One marginal culture is exploited: comics and superhero but since all superhero are straight they have to invent a gay superhero and that is easy indeed if you have a couple of imaginative minds and a good artist. But you can beat about the burning bush as much as you like superheroes are not going to be gay. That is of course reminiscent today of what was going to come soon, Dean and Sam Winchester and Wincest, and those cheese shows for straight people who cultivate fan fiction and fictional fans and reach a one third proportion of gay followers, and most of them are women, who fantasize the incestuous two brothers. That does not change the fact that superheroes are straight, even when they may one night stray into gayness by accident or out of boredom like Anne Rice’s Lestat de Lioncourt, her favorite vampire.

The series shows then the other side of that reality emerging in the USA after the both devilish and doomed Defense of Marriage Act. The series is wrong on who is responsible. That DOMA was passed under Bill Clinton as one compromise to pacify Congress in spite of the fact that this act was not constitutional since these questions (marriage, family, sexual orientation, . . ., ) are not a constitutional competence of Congress, nor of the US Government according to the US constitution. Since then, but recently, that DOMA was deemed to oblivion by the US Supreme Court. But between 2000 and 2005 all states were adopting some legislation or constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage. In the last season such a proposition, proposition 14, is shown as an important stake in the electoral campaign coming up. But is it mid-term elections or will it be the 2008 presidential election? We cannot know though in 2005 we may think it is for the 2006 mid-term elections. A few states were already changing their orientation on the subject but the real turning point will come with Proposition 8 in California, passed in 2008 launching a campaign against it that will end up in the US Supreme Court that nullified a ruling of a Federal Appeal Court and thus legalized the decision of the Federal Circuit Court that declared Proposition 8 anti-constitutional, but the US Supreme Court did not use that term nor argument, though it used the 14th amendment stating every citizen has the right to have equal assistance and protection in everyday life to turn down some discrimination in one state against a married gay couple.

But that’s where the series is too short since it stops in 2005 with Proposition 14 banning same-sex marriage pending for popular vote at the earliest in November 2006. The manifesto is thus not completed.

Yet everything is explored on the segregation and violence side. It shows some Americans are ready to kill if they can to bash out of American society those that are different. They cannot speak of race – though some really do not hesitate, particularly in the police forces – so they speak of sexual orientation. And the reference to God is not a wish to be blessed by God. It is the assertion in the name of God that God blesses the anti-gay bigots and deems all gays and their supporters to hell and blazes.

But that stance, that strong and realistic manifesto for the same human rights to all human beings, not because all human beings have to be the same but because these human rights are the same beyond differences and including differences. Gay people have the same rights as any other Americans not because they are the same as all Americans, but because they are different. Human rights are the guarantee that I have the right to be different and naturally assisted, protected and respected like any one else including in that difference. That difference might not be a choice but I will not discuss what it is if it is not, but what is a choice is to stand for one’s rights and one’s differences.

And that brutally stops with the last two episodes of the last season. The whole series is brought to an end brutally and melodramatically.

Melodramatic is the decision of the two lesbian mothers to move to Toronto with their children, even if they accept to ask for the agreement of the two fathers, because one of the two mothers is Jewish and her grandfather did not leave Germany under Hitler and ended up in smoke. To identify George W. Bush as a menace as serious as Hitler against fundamental human rights is overreacting and what’s more it is a total lack of confidence in the American people and in democracy: no right has ever been conquered without some struggle. The abolition of slavery was not performed by God as an act of justice, but it was voted with a one vote majority by Congress and ratified with a one state majority because 600,000 men had been killed in the Civil War when it was passed and Lincoln had been assassinated when it was ratified. Why did Louisiana left the Confederation in the middle of the Civil War to rejoin the Union is the key question but it was the result of the struggle of Louisianans, blacks, whites, and all shades in-between, to be a slavery-free state.

Melodramatic is the end of the couple Michael and Ben and their adoptive son Hunter with this adoption precisely. The young man is 17 moving to 18, is HIV positive, and he is adopted by a gay couple in which one man is HIV positive too. That’s a beautiful demonstration that love is important in life, more important than carnal satisfaction which would be absurd and incestuous in that case, but they just forget to insist, even to mention, the fact that adoption is not possible at the time for a couple who cannot be legally married in the US at the time too. It is just a happy ending but it does not really expand the manifesto because it just does not or hardly mention it.

Melodramatic is the end of Emmet and his football quarterback or whatever who has made his coming-out  with him, when Emmet decides to break up the relation because the football star who has just been reinstated is looking at other masculine opportunities now he knows what it is all about. Emmet is once again probably over-reacting and being melodramatic.

Melodramatic is Theodor who escapes in extremis a possessive relation in which he would have become a slave but he is pathetic at forty to be still thinking that dancing clubs are the only possible option, the only possible oom pah pah road to happiness and a partnership.

But the most pathetic and melodramatic is the brutal epiphany of Brian who decides to marry his real love Justin and Justin at first refuses since he does not believe in the change: Brian has always been an anti-marriage fan and freak. But then he accepts when Brian puts on the table a mansion in the countryside. And yet he will refuse in the end, on the day of the rehearsal of the wedding because Brian wants him to cuddle with him the night before in bed and that is not the man he loves since the man he loves is a beastlike animal who takes anything that comes too close. Brian is aging and has to face he will not be able to be that kind of an animal soon since he is thirty-two. But Justin is a fool who does not see the aging of the one he loves and he still considers he is his age, which means hardly twenty. And the departure to New York, after the fiasco of Hollywood, on the basis of one good article by one good art critic in one good art magazine is light, without a studio there, without digs there, without contacts there and without funds in his pocket, or in his shoe.

So the last voice-over from Michael saying that this rhythmic beat og Babylon, or whatever name the club will take, is there to stay forever and it is the future of gay people, meaning in fact gay men of course, is absurd after his enthusiastically endorsing the adoption of Hunter. Love is not that kind of drug-induced and music-imposed oblivion of reality in the back rooms of some dance club. Love is an emotion that is so strong you cannot reduce it to the evanescent and transient bang-bang encounter with a stranger whose nose is his main attraction, and you know what I mean by nose. Love is a passion and one must be ready to sacrifice everything to love and since it has to be a shared passion love can only be the construction of something common that transcends the simple present of each one member of the loving partnership. Love may have many colors but it sure has many shades in every single color it may take. And do not forget grey is not a color but it is the absence of pure light. I am pretty sure love is a rainbow adventure and no rainbow on earth contains any grey.

And that’s what is so disappointing in these two last episodes that leaves essential elements unsolved and that brings everything down to some kind of fanciful and unrealistic ending that kills love but enables the producer to say: “It’s finished, folks!”


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