Re: RARA-AVIS: RE: RARA-AVIS Digest V3 #853: marlowe's homophobia

From: Mark Sullivan (
Date: 30 Aug 2001

I wrote:

"The classification alone means the group is defined by their sexual preferences. Add that the main stereotype of gay men, even now, but especially then, is that they act feminine and the problem for Marlowe becomes that they are nothing more than tarts in male drag."

Martha replied:

"i would guess that you'd get a LOT of argument from gay men about your contention that they define themselves by their sexuality. that strikes me as a rather offensive generalization, but i'll leave it at that."

For the record, I did not say that any homosexuals define themselves by their sexuality, alone or even mainly. I meant the label, or classification, used from within or without, defines them that way. Excuse me while I lapse into a cultural studies outlook for a moment, but labeling tends to unfairly reduce entire groups of people to single traits. Those traits are usually the summary of how they are "other" than the, often idealized or mythologized, majority, status quo, hegemoonic view.

For instance, much of the recent discussion of female writers revolved around the question of whether they could be lumped into a single mindset other than the, once, majority male view of hardboiled.
  Martha went on to write:

"the issue of marlowe's homophobia is interesting to me, particularly in light of his very odd relationship with red in FAREWELL MY LOVELY."

Now this is an interesting observation. I've always thought the bomb under the toilet scene in Lethal Weapon II was a declaration of love scene that could be transferred to a Julia Roberts romantic comedy with few, if any, changes. Of course, they'd have to actually say the word instead of just saying, "I know" as they gaze into each other's eyes.


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