The Soft Smollett

Item, Hollywood Reporter, October 2: “‘Bros’ Box Office: Star Billy Eichner Decries Homophobia After Dismal Opening.”

Item, Slate, September  30 : “A New Movie About One of Our Most Controversial Pop Stars Shows We’ve Still Got a Lot of Reassessing to Do: A sexist ’90s culture wasn’t ready for an outspoken woman with a shaved head.”

Sundry items, the New York Times: “Is Softball Sexist?” “Are Algorithms Sexist?” “Is Your Pastor Sexist?” “Is Shielding Sarah Palin Sexist?” “ ‘House of the Dragon’ Is Less Sexist and Racist. But Is It Good?” “Is it any good?” is practically a revolutionary question—one that no one seems to have asked regarding that new Billy Eichner movie Bros, a romantic comedy about a gay couple. But the Times is an old hand at this: Feminists may chant, “My body, my choice!” but not when it comes to fashion. Nina Totenberg (best known for covering the Supreme Court at NPR) argued that accepting mini-skirts as a “fashion norm” would be “stupid and sexist” back around the time people kinda-sorta still gave a hoot who Sinead O’Connor is. 

Call this the “soft Smollett.” 

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Comments (239)
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  • "promiscuous and self-serving allegations of bigotry" - the term you're looking for is "Bigoteering". Cooked up by Tim Ferris, it's a term that need far more use these days. It's defined as: "One who makes false or exaggerated claims of bigotry (racism, sexism, homophobia, etc.), usually for self advantage.".

  • 25 years ago, Elisabeth Warren was feted as a popular teacher at Harvard Law School. Her students —at least according to the Harvard Pravda— gave her a golden retriever puppy, to remind her of her likening good faith with a puppy: it calls for a great heart and very little brain. Too neoliberal for European conservatives at the time, but I thought she was a (normal) Republican. She was also the first Native American law professor (and probably the first University of Houston law graduate among HLS faculty).

  • Thanks for this KD! I'm a center left Dem and I can't stand Elizabeth Warren either, for the same reasons.
    And although I have a live and let live attitude toward the LGBTQ community, I'm not interested in love scenes depicting that. As I suspect most of that community are not enthralled with hetero love scenes.
    Good drama that happens to have LGBTQ characters? Fine with that. What I've never been fine with is gratuitous sex and violence scenes that are overused and more "filler" than germaine to the plot. And it doesn't matter which preference those come from...still just bad.

  • “ Americans are happy to watch gay performers in gay roles in gay stories, gay performers in non-gay roles in non-gay stories, stories of all kinds written and directed by gay people, etc.”

    I disagree with the beginning of this. I, and many straight men I know, wouldn’t watch a movie or show if there were homosexual scenes in them. The producer is correct: market a movie that displays that it has homosexual scenes, and people won’t go watch it.

    The fact that an actor is gay or lesbian has no bearing on whether someone will watch a production or whatever. However, if any scene contains homosexual behavior, that’s where people draw the line.

    I don’t understand why people can’t distinguish between how people feel about a person vis a vis how that person acts. I like Barack Obama and Michelle Obama a lot. I think they are great Americans. I never want to see them in power again. I also happen to like Donald Trump a lot. I don’t want to see him in power and wish he would go away. In both cases, it is because I don’t like what they do.

  • I would expand this idea about embarrassing excuses to include things that liberals hallucinate as being bigoted: (American) immigration laws; having to actually register in person to vote; showing state photo ID to vote; speed limits; being expected to renew your driver's license and your tags every few years; the very concept of policing; being expected to sit still, shut up, and let the teacher talk; grades that reflect actual effort and performance; hiring practices that reflect actual merit; chromosomes; etc.

  • If Blasey-Ford made it all up, she sure got a lot of the local color right, which was strikingly corroborated in Mark Judge’s book. Perhaps that was just luck. And I think Kavanaugh clearly lied in his confirmation hearing, particularly about the “Renate alumnus” issue. Whether that was fair, or whether he has matured into a thoughtful, competent judge and good man, is a question I’m more than open to. I rather think he has, in fact. But I think it’s a bit too far to so confidently say she made it up.

  • "... and it was really something to hear theater people insisting that what is holding back Broadway is homophobia."


  • Per usual, I agree with the vast majority of Kevin’s analysis here. But I will give *specifically* Billy Eichner a pass here.
    This was his first starring and producing role in a major motion picture that turned out to just be *bad.* I hope I never suffer that degree of public humiliation. I genuinely feel bad for him.

  • No offense to gay movie makers or straight movie makers, but 95% of all movies being made now suck. Also, if it's not streaming, I aint watching.

    1. Unfortunately, you're right about the percentage of bad movies.

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