He Had It Comin’: Beware The Boxes You Tick

The Event

The British Film Institute (BFI) will hold their London LGBT Film Festival FLARE from March 19 to 29th this year. According to Wikipedia, the BFI officially started the London Film Festival in 1953 in response to Cannes and Venice‘s International Film Festivals, which was established in the 1930s, as well as their fellow island city of Edinburgh‘s International Film Festival, which was established in 1947. However, BFI FLARE (formerly known as London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival) was established in 1987, making this year it’s 28th annual festival.

Obviously, the most anticipated film is I Am Michael. ” Directed by Justin Kelly and produced by Gus Van Sant, BFI wrote the following precise description of the film:

Adapted from Benoit Denizet-Lewis‘ New York Time Magazine Article ‘My Ex-Gay Friend,’ I Am Michael tells the real-life story of Michael Glatze, formerly a leading US journalist for prominent gay magazine XY, and also an activist working for LGBT rights. After a profound and life-changing epiphany, Glatze gradually renounced his homosexuality and turned to Christian ministry, becoming outspokenly opposed to queer lifestyles.

James Franco, Charlie Carver and Zachary Quinto in I Am Michael
James Franco, Charlie Carver and Zachary Quinto in I Am Michael

Given, the topic itself will raise discussion and curiosity enough for a large audience, but a large draw to watch this film would be Zachary Quinto, James Franco and Charlie Carver. They are all three talented in their respective TV and Film careers, but landing a homosexual role where they act out a threesome is bound to stir up news as well as boners.

Two other notable films on the festival’s programme would be 54: The Director’s Cut and Tab Hunter Confidential. However, the film that is highlighted in attitude magazine is Mirrors, which is described as:

a 12-minute film written and directed by Neil Ely, which tells the story of a pair of ‘straight’ guys who discuss their feelings in the cramped confines of a gay club toilet cubicle.

The film features Shameless star Jody LathamSkins actor Liam Boyle and pop star Kavana. The article from attitude magazine continues with an interview with the director and stars about the film. To better understand the film, the interviewer asked Neil ‘what inspired the storyline?’ which Neil responded:

 I met a guy in a club a few years back; we talked a lot about sexuality he said he didn’t know what box he was in or what label to give himself. I assumed he was bi, and then all got a bit messy… I wondered for a while about boxes and why people feel the need to be in one, why I really wanted him to be in one…


The Media
(News Pieces Divided By Colour)

James Franco for FourTwoNine, by Damon Baker
James Franco for FourTwoNine, by Damon Baker

The gay community became baffled on March 17 when James Franco submitted an interview with Four Two Nine, It’s not quite the fact that he interviewed himself, with ‘Gay James’ and ‘Straight James’ alternating questions, but his answer to the question, “… are you fucking gay or what?” His answer:

Well, I like to think that I’m gay in my art and straight in my life. Although, I’m also gay in my life up to the point of intercourse, and then you could say I’m straight. So I guess it depends on how you define gay. If it means whom you have sex with, I guess I’m straight. In the twenties and thirties, they used to define homosexuality by how you acted and not by whom you slept with. Sailors would fuck guys all the time, but as long as they behaved in masculine ways, they weren’t considered gay…

Out Magazine perfectly describes our reaction to his quote as, “So… That’s where we’re at.

He continues his interview with an abstract poem reiterating his points on being gay or queer. The majority of the interview circles around why his recent projects have usually centred around homosexuality, why they include sexually explicit material, and the struggle between public and private self. He concludes with a promotion of his film I Am Michael

Gay media continued to remain in the red emotionally with the screening of the film Get Hard. Summarised by Variety, the film is about an “L.A. millionaire who’s arrested on embezzlement charges, so he enlists the help of a stranger, whom he mistakes for a former convict, to help him toughen up and avoid being raped in jail.”

Variety writer Ramin Setoodeh wrote about the negative feedback that the director Etan Cohen had to address at the post-screening. Racist and homophobic jokes and jabs were in the focus of the disapproval of the film, stating that many of the audience could not quite enjoy the movie after a few of them. Despite having two kings of comedy (Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart) on the giving side of the humour, it was ill-received.

Despite the abundance of obvious stereotype of African-Americans, other races and religions were also poorly represented in the film, such as the case when Hart impersonates a hispanic prisoner. Moreover, both attitude magazine and Pink News were outraged on the matter of the ‘ugliest gay-panic humour to befoul a studio release in recent memory.’ The overzealous description of the film was due to the running joke of Ferrell preparing for prison rape by putting objects up his ass and a particular scene where he was unable to perform oral sex on an ‘older predatory’ man. 

Kevin Hart, whom prides himself in his comedy, reportedly told the audience before the screening:

Jump on Twitter, I’ll talk to you back. But if you don’t like it, what I want you to do is go into the middle of the street and kill yourself

Republican Representative Aaron Schock of Illinois came under a lot of fire, both socially, politically and ethically. His reputation, his conduct and any controversies could be read by any outlinked website of the following information. (I’ll briefly touch on each topic.)

When his clothes are on, they're quite flamboyant.
When his clothes are on, they’re quite flamboyant.

As one of the youngest currently serving US representative, he’s made quite the impression, gaining a seat on the Ways and Means Committee and House Administration Committee. According to Politico, Schock was a ‘prodigious fundraiser,’ pulling $2.5 million from 2013 to 2014. Raising and giving $2 million to the National Republican Congressional Committee as well as chairing the committee’s March Dinner 2014 (raising a record $15 million), he was favoured by his Republican colleagues.

As well as fundraising, he fits the Republican structure in legislation as well. According to The Advocate,

he has voted against including sexual orientation in federal hate-crimes legislation and opposed efforts to repeal of the military’s ban on out LGBT service members known as “don’t ask, don’t tell.” He was also a vocal critic of the Obama administration’s decision to stop defending the so-called Defense of Marriage Act in February 2011.

However, it’s odd that throughout the media, he’s been pigeonholed as a flaming homosexual. Throughout the internet, you could find numerous places that question Schock’s sexuality, whether it be The Gawker, Slate, Huffington Post, Wonkette, Towleroad, Out, Instinct or any other website. But it’s always said that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but you can’t help but make a first impression. The way he dresses like Jack McFarland, his comfort with his body that’d make Ashley Parker Angel and Nick Jonas look like priests, and the way his office is duked out like the red room of Downton Abbey (which his representative says he might not even watch).  Not to mention his ‘personal photographer’ Jonathon Link.

Jonathon Link, Schock's Companion and Photographer
Jonathon Link, Schock’s Companion and Photographer

Which leads to Schock’s ethics. Apparently Link’s work was well-received, earning him the gig as Schock’s personal photographer. As Blue Nation Review states, despite voting for salary freezes for federal workers through 2015 and opposing minimum wages increases, he gave his staff members raises and/or bonuses — with Link benefitting tremendously. After being on Schock’s payroll for 3 months, Link was paid $21,666 in wage as well as $29,000 for ‘services.’ Likewise, a paid intern’s regular wage of $1,000/month was increased to the total of $18,000 in three months.

If he likes to splurge on his staff, even as shady as their actual jobs entail, it doesn’t cover up his ludicrous spending habits overall. He has chartered private planes, stayed at five star resorts, attend exclusive clubs and eaten Michelin-starred meals. He’s had vacations to Las Vegas, Miami, Las Angeles, New York, Vail, Aspen, India, London, Barcelona, Ethiopia, Israel, and Turkey.

Politico was kind enough to timeline the most recent events in their diagram entitled “Schock’s fall.” All his frivolous spending caught up with him, and when under the microscope, he caved, stating on March 17th the following:

Today, I am announcing my resignation as a Member of the United States House of Representatives effective March 31. I do this with a heavy heart. Serving the people of the 18th District is the highest and greatest honor I have had in my life. I thank them for their faith in electing me and letting me represent their interests in Washington. I have given them my all over the last six years. I have traveled to all corners of the District to meet with the people I’ve been fortunate to be able to call my friends and neighbours.”

“But the constant questions over the last six weeks have proven a great distraction that has made it too difficult for me to serve the people of the 18th District with the high standards that they deserve and which I have set for myself. I have always sought to do what’s best for my constituents and I thank them for the opportunity to serve.

As Shock quoted Taylor Swift in his ABC interview with Jeff Zeleny, “Haters Gonna Hate.”


The Opinion

HE HAD IT COMIN’. HE HAD IT COMIN’. HE ONLY HAD HIMSELF TO BLAME.

I only wished I could be in London for the BFI FLARE event. All the movies look amazing, and I love gay-themed films — or all film, really. Finding the description of the film Mirrors really intrigued me because firstly, I love short films and secondly, I was intrigued by a Skins actor in it (despite not really remembering him in Skins). 

Jody Latham and Liam Boyle in Mirrors
Jody Latham and Liam Boyle in Mirrors

Mirrors really brings out a real genuine topic, though, doesn’t it? Two boys in a gay bar stall, talking about life and feelings. Given, I do not know exactly what the movie is like, since it’s not out for public watch, but the theory of not particularly knowing what box you tick is intriguing. Presumably in the film, they talk about which box you tick in accordance to your sexuality, whether straight, gay, bisexual, lesbian or even asexual. But in life, are there boxes you must tick?

Creepy James Franco
Creepy James Franco

It’s true, that James Franco is a little nutty. How he expressed himself as ‘straight’ if you are strictly speaking sexually is a bit of a turn off, because he then goes out to say that he’s queer in a social sense — that he wishes, almost encourages, the public to think of him as queer because it gives him a better image. It’s almost like what the gay community condemned Russell Tovey about — ‘stereotyping’ gays, particularly femmes, but since he wants to be one, it’s alright?

But I digress. James Franco is really trying to break the barrier of only ticking one box. He wants the world to consider him as artistically gay (because, apparently gays do art better) and sexually heterosexual. Two ticks, one dick.

Ferrell and Hart in Get Hard
Ferrell and Hart in Get Hard

As for Get Hard, I desperately want to feel as offended as much of the gay community are, but I really can’t. I’m an Asian Catholic gay 25-year-old that loves to laugh, joke, be sassy and don’t let people get me down. I’ve grown a thick enough skin that most people think I’m just a heartless bitch with no emotions to anyone, and I actually enjoy that. For those I don’t care for, I don’t find offence from because it’s a short life and you gotta really let some things go.

But even if I was so sensitive to just try to find offence out of anything, I think that being offended by this film is a bit of a stretch. Is it offensive because it’s a straight guy putting things up his ass? Because in movies like The Mostly Unfabulous Social Life of Ethan Green, Eating Out Series or even the American Pie Series have scenes of similar context, as to loosen yourself or for pleasure and I didn’t see any cries from the gay community about those films, but rather laughter.

And what’s the real big deal about Will Ferrell not being able to suck an old man off in the bathroom? Is it because he was revulsed by the thought of sucking his cock? If that’s a crime, then I’m sure many gays should be jailed, including myself because I’d find it sick myself. My ex-boyfriend even told me one time that he was taking a shit and a fat old guy broke through the door, whipped out his dick and tried to push him into giving him oral sex. My ex’s uncle came in and pushed the man off before anything happened, but being revulsed by a cock is not illegal, nor is crying about it.

I would understand if people are mad about the racism in the film, because that’s always a touchy subject (not for me, personally, but I know the sensitivity of the subject). But honestly, you get what you want when walking into a movie with the known premise. I don’t so much think people should be mad about Ferrell being gay raped, but maybe just the idea of rape, whether guy or girl. That’s a topic that could be sensitive about, but consensual same-sex intercourse between inmates is said to be common in the prison setting. 

Photo From Photo That Reads "TN Prison Bans Consensual Same Sex Marriage"
Photo From Photo That Reads “TN Prison Bans Consensual Same Sex Marriage”

I honestly didn’t think I’d watch this film, but reading about it intrigued me. If you already think you’ll be offended by it, why watch it? Apparently boycotting is what gays like to do, with Chick-Fil-A and with Dolce&Gabbana, so just boycott it and don’t send your money their way. As for me, I’ll probably go watch it and have a couple laughs because that’s the sort of person I am. It doesn’t tick any of my boxes of what would offend me.

Former Representative Aaron Schock really had it coming to him. After seven years in the government, he started to get greedy. I mean, love makes us blind, but at least keep some sense. He’s a corrupted man who liked the finer things in life. He took advantage of his position of power, but at least he’ll soon be stepping down.

BpoL_bLCUAEROk9
But to focus more on his lifestyle, I can’t help but sympathise with him. Writing this blog really puts it in writing that I’m really in between two contradicting worlds. To me, my centre world makes sense and really is logical and practical, which I always am in thought and actions. For some things, I have no opinion over whilst others I have strong opinions over. The political views that I actually am strong about lean me to be more Republican than Democrat/Liberal, but that doesn’t make me any less sexually gay. If Schocks turns out to be gay after office, then power to him. He’s a gay Baptist Republican — Three ticked boxes.

If I was to draw any conclusion from my thoughts written here, I’d think I’m similar socially to Aaron Schock, which is actually the opposite of what James Franco claims to be. I’m not self-hating, as many people may believe and what many people have learned to yell as they point fingers at Dolce and Gabbana, but I rather not be a “prancing, singing in the street” gay and be a socially straight gay with Perseus and my children at home.

The thing is, like in Mirrors, if I don’t come to a conclusion to what box I tick, or if I tick every single box there is, this isn’t the SATs, GMAT, MCATs or even a ISTEP test. Whatever boxes I tick, I tick and there’s no right answers. What business is it of yours, a person I don’t know nor care the opinion of? Even those I do care for, I agree to disagree. I had a best friend in high school who was a straight Jewish liberal who’s parents teach sociology at the university. I celebrated Rosh Hashanah with him.

So quit the witch hunts. If you want acceptance, you gotta accept some people, no matter what box they tick. You can’t force them to accept your ticked box, but only control what you’ve ticked. If you want to be a negative, pessimistic troll that look for the bad in the world and if other people’s opinions mean nothing to you but you still have to complain and yell at them about their opinions, you can keep walking because I’m not that sort. I’ll accept you for whoever you are. If you were down on your luck, I wouldn’t say…

HE HAD IT COMIN’. HE HAD IT COMIN’. HE ONLY HAD HIMSELF TO BLAME.

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