Thursday, April 9, 2009

It's good to be Bay! (and gay)

It's been a gay marriage-centric week here on BHG, but I hardly think you can blame me...what with two states granting gays the right to marry in just the last few days. This, of course, has spawned some good debate from people on both sides---"good" meaning that those opposed to gay marriage are exposed as being utterly void of any justification for their beliefs. As I've said on here and elsewhere many times before, the denial of equal rights to gays and lesbians is the only black and white issue for me. I've never heard a cogent argument against gay marriage and, believe me, I've now heard them all. With no logical argument to be made against it, I long ago came to the conclusion that those who opposed gay marriage did so on the basis of a strictly visceral reaction...a cringe, if you will. Or, as John Holbo articulately describes on Crooked Timber, it's the "ick" factor. He really nails it, I think:

They want to stop same-sex marriage as a way of sending a message of ‘ick’ to gays, and about gays. But they also don’t want to be labeled homophobes. That is, although saying ‘gay marriage shouldn’t be allowed because I believe gay sex is icky’ is actually a less terrible argument than anything they’ve got – hey, it’s not flagrantly internally incoherent, it’s basically honest (I’ll wager), and who doesn’t believe that on some level people steer, morally, by emotional attraction-repulsion drive? – it’s considered embarrassing.

There are countless things which can make me cringe or go "ick." Previews for Michael Bay movies, for example. And yet, some people truly, freaking love Michael Bay movies! Hell, if memory serves, even I used to like Michael Bay movies once. But now, as somewhat of a (theoretical) film snob, there's a part of me which would be happy if Michael Bay was no longer allowed to make movies or show them in public. If this was a ballot initiative in a bizzarro universe where such things are actually voted upon, I might even vote for it based on my cringe reaction to Michael Bay. My thought process in doing so would seem sound, of course. I would rationalize that his movies are too violent...and thus contribute to an overly violent society. I would rationalize that his movies are dumbing down its audience...thus contributing to a society which might also find Jim Carrey movies funny (the next ballot initiative). And if people are watching Bad Boys II, that means they're not watching The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford...and that's just baaaaaad for society.

But just because you have a visceral reaction to something...just because you cringe...just because it makes you go "ick," that doesn't mean you get to use that as justification for its elimination. You don't get to least not that way. If you don't like Michael Bay films? Don't watch them. If you don't like gay marriage? Don't marry someone of the same sex. If you don't like Michael Bay films? Write a scathing review. If you don't like gay marriage? Be a homophobe and share your thoughts through a blog. If you don't like Michael Bay films? Try showing someone who does like them a film that puts it to shame. If you don't like gay marriage? Introduce your gay friends (if you have any) to a really hot member of the opposite sex (this won't work, but I suspect it would be only slightly less successful than trying to transform a Bay devotee into an Ingmar Bergman devotee).

The point is simple and obvious to anyone with a functioning brain: not liking something is not justification for denying it to people who do. If it is, and if that's the way you want to play it, fine. Give me your guns. Give me your Hummers. Give me your Jim Carrey and your Michael Bay. Give me your Celine Dion and your Jack Johnson. Give them to me so I can make sure those cringe-worthy things never see the light of day ever again. Give them to me so I can make sure they don't gain "legitimacy" and ruin music the way God intended it (I'm looking at you, Rick Sprinfield). Absurd, yes, but if Michael Bay can exist in the same world as Whit fucking Stillman, and if both can somehow appeal to their audiences in doing what comes natural to them, why can't straight marriage exist in the same universe as gay marriage? I'll repeat this ONE more time: YOU DON'T HAVE TO LIKE GAY MARRIAGE, YOU JUST HAVE TO NOT STAND IN THE WAY OF THOSE WHO DO. You go to your megaplex. I'll go to my art house. My art house aint putting your megaplex out of business, so don't worry. Michael Bay will always trump Whit Stillman. Always.

And here's the funny thing...I'm a closeted Michael Bay fan. I'm overcompensating my hate for him to hide the dark, guilt-inducing truth...which is that I fucking loved Armageddon! I cry every time. God, that feels so good to say. It's like a weight has been lifted from my chest. I only hope my friends will understand and accept me. They probably will. They won't understand it, and they won't go see Bad Boys III with me, but they'll accept me for who I am. Because that's what we fucking humans are supposed to do.


Blogger Christine said...

uh oh...i kinda like Michael Bay films...(not that they are great art...but they don't usually require much thought...) how will our marriage survive this...


April 10, 2009 at 4:01 AM  

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