I’m not the guy who spends all his energy writing about what I consider to be failures on the part of other websites. For one thing, I’m too busy trying to make sure I do my job right to really care whether or not other people are doing theirs. I’d rather link to stuff I like in “The Morning Read” than play schoolmarm for the whole internet. Sounds exhausting.
But sometimes you just have to wonder what’s behind an editorial decision, and right now, I genuinely question what the hell The Wrap is doing in regards to their sensationalistic coverage of the upcoming comedy “Bruno”.
They’re not alone, of course. The New York Times, determined as always to establish that they aren’t even sure what the cutting edge is anymore, ran a whole lot of puffed-up nothing about “Bruno” over the weekend, and even The Hollywood Reporter has contributed one of these empty pieces about fictional hand-wringing.
Fellas… settle down. Really.
First of all, the gay community will be just fine. “Bruno” will not radically alter the fortunes of gay people in this country, pro or con. It is a comedy film from an artist who uses the outrageous to get laughs. That’s it. Really.
Second, just because Mike White was shown the film doesn’t mean “they changed the film to appease the gay community.” Was Mike White elected to some office I’m not aware of? Or could it just be that the filmmakers have shown the film to a whole bunch of funny people and asked them to give them feedback while they fine-tune the movie? Because in my interview with Seth Rogen at SXSW this year, he talked about seeing the film and offering up some notes, too. Was that so the young Jewish comedian community isn’t offended?
Here’s my real issue with all this noise over what is not an issue: if you think the character of Bruno represents the entire gay community, then I’d suggest you have a problem. I’d say that the majority of the gay people who are my friends or colleagues or family are not over-the-top flamboyant stereotypes. But I know a few people who are absolutely superqueens, prissy and outrageous, and that is an act. It’s an affectation. It’s something that a certain percentage of people adopt as their way of announcing themselves to the world. If you’re going to tell me that flamboyancy is off-limits for comedy for any purpose, whether it’s to expose homophobia or to indulge it, you’re wrong. There is a world of difference between making fun of someone because of something as fundamental as their sexual preference and roasting someone who decides to be a three-dimensional cartoon character. Bruno is an attack on vapid celebrity. He’s an attack on people who are homophobic. And, yes… brace yourselves… he may even be an attack on people who blanket themselves in one aspect of their personality and then crank that aspect up to a deafening “11,” just to force a reaction out of others.
Oh, no. However will our culture survive?
I’m seeing “Bruno” very soon. I loved the footage I saw at SXSW. I am able to interpret comedy for myself, so I’d like to respectfully ask that the rest of the media shut up about what I’m supposed to feel about the film, and I’d like to suggest that the outrage the media’s trying to fuel doesn’t really exist, or at least not to the degree they’re trying to portray. When you do a Google search for “outrage” and “Bruno” and “gay community,” I see a lot of newspapers and feature writers telling me that there’s outrage, but that’s about it. I don’t see any real organic outrage out there. This is manufactured, pure and simple, and as with most cases where people try to stir up noise about a movie, they’re doing it without actually having seen much of anything.
If you see the movie and it infuriates you, just remember one thing: any reaction you have is a victory for Sacha Baron Cohen, except for complete and utter indifference.
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