Just Saw the Movie Philadelphia
I was astonished at the extent to which it is designed to be consumed by straight, middle-class, white people. Anything that might rub “normal” straight middle class white people the wrong way has been stripped out of the film.
- The gay men barely touch one another except in one dancing scene. When they do dance it is like a brother and sister dancing—there’s no passion.
- They never kiss.
- There is a “crazy” gay costume party that is not crazy at all. It’s the sort of party my parents would go to.
- The gay guy is surrounded by normal, middle-class, straight, white family members who love him and support him.
- There is a roll of 8mm home movie footage of him as a kid at the end that is incredibly stereotypical—it practically could have been filmed in Mayberry.
I imagine my extended family members watching this and thinking, “Yeah, that discrimination against that guy was so unfair. He seemed like a good guy.” But if he had been a transvestite: “That’s sick.”
The lesson to be learned (by white middle class straight people) is this: gay people are okay because they’re normal and just like you.
The coordinate lesson: those gays who are not normal or not just like you may not be okay.
I’d rather the movie had said: being gay is okay even if they are not like you at all.