Lisa Schwarzbaum from Entertainment Weekly wrote this blog post today in which she rails the creators of the weekend’s box office champ, Kick-Ass, for being overtly homophobic. This qualifies as the overreaction of the day.
It doesn’t bother me so much that Schwarzbaum is uncomfortable with the way the lead character, Dave, pretends to be gay to impress a girl, even though she was being far too sensitive about that, too. We’ve all done dumb things to impress girls. Hell, I’ve read The Crucible, watched the entire series of Roswell (which I’ll admit to actually enjoying, but it doesn’t make it any less lame), and even waxed my thatch of chest hair once, all in the name of making girls like me. The way Dave went about his deception in the movie, when the girl of his fancy mistook him to be gay, wasn’t even stereotypical of homosexual behavior; he just continued being himself except for the omission of his sexual orientation.
The thing about Schwarzbaum’s essay that really bothers me is when she talks about the early scene after Dave gets sent to the hospital following his first attempt at super heroics. He’s beaten, stabbed and hit by a car. He asks the paramedics not to tell anyone about the super hero suit so the medics say they found him naked. Dave’s dad brings this up to Dave when he’s recovering.
Dave’s father asks him if anything else happened. He doesn’t outright say what was on his mind, but it’s very clear he wants to know if Dave had been sexually assaulted during the mugging, due to his “nudity” at the scene (Dave has the paramedics throw out the costume during the ambulance ride to the hospital). Schwarzbaum insinuates–incorrectly–that Dave’s father is simply worried his son might be gay. The scene is pretty clear he’s just concerned even worse things may have happened to his son than a beating and is just checking to make sure. There is no implied homophobia at all, but Schwarzbaum creates some to help her case. As a film critic by trade, she should have caught on to this instead of twisting what was actually shown to champion her cause.
Schwarzbaum also mentions the way Dave’s friends tease him for the gay rumors, and besides, they are generally making fun of him for not being brave enough to go after the girl he likes. And, you know, a boy liking a girl in the first place is super gay, right, Lisa?
Schwarzbaum acts shocked that this would happen. As a guy who’s only a couple years removed from high school–an all-male Catholic high school, no less–I can assure you, Ms. Schwarzbaum, that it happens and I’ve never once seen anyone get too bothered by it. The razzing in Kick-Ass wasn’t even close to the worst I’ve seen in real life, and it actually helped heighten the reality of the movie, because these exchanges are pretty similar to conversations I’ve heard or participated in myself.
Schwarzbaum and other people on the hyper-political correctness bandwagon, particularly in regard to Kick-Ass, need to relax a little. It’s a little action movie which holds a mirror up to extremely violent action movies and works as a great satire, and these homosexual overtones Schwarzbaum’s alluding to don’t exist between the credits of the movie I saw.