So I’ve been enchanted by this new show on Showtime called Penny Dreadful. It’s basically a retelling of all the old horror novels all encompassed into one show. It strangely works on so many levels for me. For one I am a huge fan of the horror genre, but I also love that the actors and the dialogue are not cheaply done like most modern horror tales. It feels new, and old, and it’s just everything you could want if you like horror.
I had been downloading the episodes to watch them later, and one of my friends asked me if I had seen the most recent, episode 4. I said that I had not. He said, “Well prepare for the gay!” And for a brief moment I wondered what specifically was he referring to? Was it male sex, female sex, what could he be complaining about? So I inquired. “What exactly are you talking about?” He paused, and then stated that there was some huge gay kissing in this episode. “Kissing?” I replied. Could he be making a fuss over kissing?
And so we began a short argument where he stated that he wasn’t a big fan of the gay scenes in movies and shows. I said, “They call that being a bigot.” He replied, "No, I’ll watch it, but I don’t care for it.” What does that even mean I thought? Does one not care about someone who is heterosexually attracted kissing someone of the opposite sex? I believe that the answer if you are heterosexual is yes of course, but why? What is the difference? If a man kisses a man, or a woman kisses a woman, why does this disturb you, but a man kissing a woman does not. There was probably a time when this disturbed me too, probably when I was younger, when the sight of anyone kissing anyone was disturbing, male or female. But I grew up.
So I watched the episode to see what all the fuss was about. And I got to tell you, it was disturbing but not for the reasons you think. I could care less if two men kiss each other, but in this case it didn’t make sense to the rest of the story, and I won’t go into detail, I suggest you watch the show. I would only say that for me, the plot, the characters, the dialogue, these are important. Scenes of a sexual nature, or something as non-sexual as a kiss they do not affect my senses either way.
But I wondered why did this disturb him so much? He watches Game of Thrones, which is brimming with copious amounts of sex, gay or straight. But I’ve never heard him whine about that? And when we compare the two, you have GoT which does not just suggest sex, but comes as close to simulating it as possible, gay or straight, and then you have Penny Dreadful which shows very little in comparison, the biggest thing being a kiss. Why is this worse?
I imagine it’s not, but maybe like me, it was so unexpected he felt that it was unnecessary and so disturbing. Or maybe when you compare a show like Game of Thrones to Penny Dreadful you juxtapose lots of action against much inaction on the part of the latter. Much of Penny Dreadful is consumed in dialogue, as opposed to GoT which many could call a show about war, with some talking tossed in. Of course I don’t see it this way at all, but I can understand why others might.
But then it’s possible that we have been essentially desensitized to the abundance of sex we expect in Game of Thrones, thus sex in any form becomes seemingly part of the existing plot, and we notice it less when it comes. Compare this to Penny Dreadful, that although has some sex scenes, it’s few and far between with not much being shown, which could account for the shock at a simple male on male kiss.
But this brings me to my next point which is I’m sure that a male on female kiss would not have elicited such a reaction, so why does a male on male kiss? And knowing my friend, I also know that a female on female kiss would also not elicit any kind of reaction, so again what is the big deal? Is it a bias as males, we see sex between men to be icky, but not between men and women, or women and women?
I suspect this might be the case.
In fact, even the hard Christian males who condemn homosexuality in all forms while standing on the picket lines, jerk it to some form of lesbian erotica. I know for a fact this is true, because I am a man. Because if there is one thing men do not like seeing it’s a dick. Serious. I don’t know many men who enjoy looking at their own junk, or any man’s junk, except maybe those who are gay. There are the exceptions of course, narcissists, being one. Now I’m not saying this is true in all situations, but frankly as a male, I don’t want to see another man’s junk in a movie or on television.
But does this make me a bigot?
The answer is NO, because I am not consumed with a dislike for the male anatomy because it’s part of a gay male, but rather because it’s just an ugly utility, much like a hammer or wrench. And don’t get me started on the uncircumcised…
But then I imagine you might wonder what happens when I’m confronted by two males touching each other, or having intercourse, simulated or otherwise on film? Naturally I would be disturbed by what I am seeing based on what I have stated? The answer isn’t clear, because sex in any form should not disturb you, whether it’s male on male, or male on female or female on female. But then I ask, is this pornography I am watching or is it meant to pique an interest of mine other than sexually?
I am not sexually aroused by the sight of two males having intercourse so I would not sit and watch male gay pornography, but that does not make me bigoted either, because for what purpose would anyone watch pornography if not to get aroused by it? If I were gay, and I needed to get off, I would watch gay men having sex, but when it comes to a dramatized show or film that simply has gay characters, I do not turn it off or turn away if they engage in a natural biological imperative.
We; all of us, need to be loved. There is no difference whether you are male, or female, gay or straight. Should Hollywood simply refuse to show what we all know is happening between two characters just because they are gay? This seems to be disingenuous to any story since part of what makes someone who they are, is how they love and want to be loved, especially when that is central to the plot. So we are back to the type of film, and can any film be sexual and not be pornographic? Yes. Of course it can. Pornography is not about the story, there is no development there.
If you can’t sit through a show or film because you might encounter a gay scene than you are going to miss out on some amazing storytelling. My friend during this conversation brought up the film Brokeback Mountain and with a jovial tone stated, “I bet you liked that movie too.” “As a matter of fact I did.” He paused and then laughed. Why was this funny I wondered? “Did you see the film?” I asked. “No. And I won’t watch it either.” “Then you will miss out on a good film about love, and the gay scenes are incidental to the story.” I replied. He didn’t seem to care.
In Brokeback Mountain, there are of course a couple of gay sex scenes but this is not elicit sexual arousal, but rather to show an act of love between two people who love each other deeply, to go where we naturally go as humans in love, sex is the ultimate show of our affection for one another. The moment when our two bodies collide like galaxies, until you cannot tell where one begins and the other ends. This was the point, as it is with all scenes of this nature. This should not disturb you as a human being, because love between two people is as important to their being alive as oxygen.
Imagine for a moment that you were told you could not love someone, or that your loved would need to be censored? It would bother you, and it should, because love is as natural as the wind that blows, or the water that flows. Love isn’t limited to humans, it spans the entire animal kingdom, which should tell you that it is important to our existence as anything else that we evolved a sense of love, which all animals did.
Sex is just an extension of that love, and we should equally not be disturbed by the sight of it. When two people want to share that experience together on film, to further the story as a whole we should celebrate it, not condemn it. I know many men who find love stories to be stupid, for the girls, I say: “Whatever! You know you like to watch it, but you can’t admit that to anyone.” This is especially true when admitting it to a female because a male telling a female he likes to watch those sappy movies with her, well you better just give up the masculine card now, right? But that’s like saying men can’t cry or shouldn’t.
We all know men DO cry, and we need to drop the idea that being a man makes you stronger than a woman, that this façade of masculinity makes you immune to human frailty. Sorry it just doesn’t work this way. Men are identical to women in almost every way that matters, we share the same biology with the exception being we have a few different parts, and some different hormones rushing through us. But men want to tell each other that these differences make us superior, make us stronger. But how can anyone claim to be stronger, if one cannot even admit their weaknesses.
And I’m not referring to the crying bit, or the love of love. Just fucking admit it, you are a sap too because nature made you this way. Your weakness as a male isn’t that you like sitting with your girlfriend watching movies she loves, holding hands and being a nice guy, it’s that you are unwilling to admit that this is YOU. And women do not have this problem, so in my opinion women are stronger by nature. Being physically stronger well that’s evolution, but being a “man” that’s devolution at work there.
So we should accept that we are all the same, we do all like these kinds of things. And so seeing the expression of love on film should not disturb our nature. If you choose to be a bigot and pretend that you care deeply that two men or two women are having sex on screen and it consumes you enough that you lose focus of what the real story is about, then you are going to miss out on some truly amazing films, just because you can’t sit through a sex scene. Heterosexual Sex is natural. Homosexual Sex is natural.
I have seen some truly amazing films that happened to have characters in them that were gay, and expressed love and I will never be one of those people who shy away from the possibility of enjoying something because others are disturbed by the nature of what they see, even if this is only true because they have been indoctrinated to believe it. We convince our children that sex is evil, we tell them that masturbation is the devil’s playground that their hands will fall off. We go to church where we are told that being with someone you are not married to is a sin. That expressing love that is not male on female missionary, is sinful, against our nature.
If any of that were true, why are we so flexible? If any of that were true, how do you explain the male fascination with fellatio? If any of that were true, why do we begin masturbating as children? If any of that were true, why do we bother at all, when sex is such a messy fucking situation?
Could it be that all of this just evolved as a way to further the species? Probably. But then how do you explain something like masturbation? I mean can you think of anything less likely to further the species? But alas, even that furthers the species. Yes people masturbating is an evolutionary imperative. Females who masturbate regularly increase their fertility when they have intercourse, and males who do it help to flush out old sperm with low motility. Fuck, so masturbating is good? And it actually makes us even more useful for propagation?
And then there is this: Does oral sex have an evolutionary purpose?
But it has long been argued that Homosexuality conflicts with evolution, because natural selection has a way of weeding out that which is unnecessary to the persistence of the species. It does this by passing on the traits which further propagation. But there lies a mystery because if males and females that are gay are having less children naturally and you expect they are, then over time there would be a decline in the natural inclusion of genes associated with sexual preference of the same sex.
What that means is that males and females have sex, they pass on the genes that promote this kind of attraction because more males and females having sex, means more children. Gay men and women do not have this luxury as they cannot reproduce together, so you would imagine these genes would have probably disappeared long ago, but this is just not what we see in nature. So the conundrum.
Here is a link to a really good story of why homosexuality is evolution at work.
But all the science aside for a minute, what this comes down to is whether you should be disturbed or disgusted by sex on television or in film, if that sex is anything other than your preferred way, ahhh…
So that’s what it comes down to, doesn’t it? Maybe as a species our problem is we feel bias against anything that differs from our own ways, and that my friend is bigoted. So if whether you sit and watch a film, and dislike something because it’s different from your way, or you sit at McDonalds and dislike the two girls kissing in the corner booth, or you refuse to sell someone a product because they may or may not be having sex with someone of the same sex, you are a douchebag, but you are also a bigot. If you fail to see that what makes us different really makes us all the same, then you fail to understand the reason for our existence.
Yes we are different than all the other animals, we have egos, and personalities. We are self-aware, we are conscious and sentient. But even though we have our differences amongst the species, we are all the same in that we are different as a species. Throughout the animal kingdom, animal after animal with the exception of a few are really nature’s carbon-copied existences. A fish is a fish, a dog is a dog, a cat, a cat, all products of their evolution to follow instinct because they lack the intelligence to appear self-driving, with minor idiosyncrasies. Or maybe we just see them as being different, but in any case, only humans have the ability to show each other for sure.
Our actions, our words allow us to be different, and as unique as we want to be. Our pseudo free will makes us unique, because we would appear to make our own choices, and that allows us infinite possibilities. Nature has given us an ATM card with no limit on where we want to go, and what we want to do, and the only constructs we are limited to are ones we build for ourselves. So then why are we so concerned with being the same, or doing the same? We are we so offended by the idea that someone could be different than us?
Do you not believe that you were born the way you are now? That doing anything could change whatever it is about yourself that makes you the person you are? Than why do you think differently of others who would be faced with the similar position? Is it that we are so self-absorbed in our own lives we fail to realize that others even exist? Surely we know they do, we speak to them, we see them, we work with them and do activities together. Then why are their differences any different than yours? What if you like cats as opposed to dogs? In their eyes you are just as wrong as you feel about them.
Only when we start to see each other as the same creatures can we begin to understand that the differences we share together make us all individuals, and that as individuals we each have a set of rights that in the interest of the group, each one of us should want to protect one another. Knowing that you enjoy the right to something, should give you pause and wonder what happens when another is not granted such a right.
I guess it’s probably just a utopian dream, but we can start by not being offended in the things we see that differ from what we consider to be normal. I mean what’s normal anyway. I see people putting ketchup on their eggs, and I want to hurl, or cheese on fish, WTF! But I don’t try to take away their eggs, or their fish, and I don’t lock up the condiments whenever someone gets breakfast. Maybe for them, putting ketchup on their eggs is the Zen-like beginning of their day. Does it matter? I don’t have to like the same things as other people, but more important I don’t have to be offended or invoke pseudo-punishments on them.
As I said, if I’m watching a porn film, it’s not likely going to be “Lord of the Cocks” but I’m not offended by those who would watch it, and I’m certainly not going to turn away anytime some guy kisses another guy, because seriously, it’s 2014, and I’m an adult. I like kissing women, I like sex with women, but what does this have to do with me being unable to watch something on television or in film, if the person on screen does not feel the same way as I do?
It doesn’t. We need to grow up as a society, start to embrace anything that differs from the normal, or our perceived normal, and enjoy things the way they are, because life is short, and too short to be hateful, ignorant, and bigoted.