We’ve been here before. Salon.com — a progressive, mostly political site that engages in a lot of shame-trolling — got shredded to bits a few months ago after Patton Oswalt fired back at it after the outlet threw a bunch of absurd accusations of racism at him. The site has seemingly had its sense of humor excised, and in its efforts to be politically correct, it often wildly overshoots the mark. Last night’s Golden Globes ceremony is just such a case.
This morning, I saw this headline posted on Salon: “Jared Leto and Michael Douglas’s homophobic Golden Globes speeches show the worst of Hollywood.” What? I saw those speeches, and as someone who is often (overly) sensitive to these issues myself, I was completely befuddled. Maybe it was that I couldn’t see the homophobic trees through the forest of Jared Leto’s douchiness? Or that I was so delighted to see that Michael Douglas was back with Catherine Zeta Jones that I somehow missed his homophobic remark.
Then I read the piece, and I still couldn’t see the homophobia. But Daniel D’Addario insists it was there.
Leto’s speech managed to pat Leto on his own back while trivializing actual transgender people — he played a trans woman with AIDS, at the height of America’s AIDS crisis. He began by mocking expectations about his anatomy. “I did not ever use any prosthetics in this film. That tiny little Brazilian bubble butt was all mine.”
Wait, what? I thought he was just flattering his own ass, in typical Jared Leto fashion. Is there more?
“It was a very transformative role. I had to do a lot of things to prepare. One of the things I did was wax my entire body, including my eyebrows,” Leto said to the audience’s laughter.
It’s an actor’s job to prepare for a role in whatever way the script demands; it may have been difficult for Leto to wax his entire body, but it’s sort of a weird punchline for a person whose entire role was about body discomfort and the painful modifications one must make to feel okay with oneself.
Again, I really don’t think he was minimizing the painful modifications of transgendered people. I think he was just making a joke about having to wax his eyebrows.
But what about Michael Douglas? What was wrong with his speech, which he gave after winning Best Actor for a Miniseries in Behind the Candelabra?
And at the Golden Globes, he unburdened himself to the audience, telling a laughing gaggle that he had been worried when first offered the role of Liberace in “Behind the Candelabra,” because it implied he had previously been “mincing.”
While Leto’s speech was just weird and tone-deaf, Douglas’s calls the quality of his work into question. Can a person who uses language like “mincing” to describe effeminate gay men find humanity in such people? Or was his performance an elaborate work of caricature whose biographical accuracy fooled us all into thinking Michael Douglas cared about the character he was playing?
Huh? What? I don’t even understand the nature of that supposed homophobic remark. I thought he was just being self-deprecating. The fact that there was a “laughing gaggle” in a room of some of the most progressive people in the country suggests that maybe it’s D’Addario that’s being weird and tone-deaf.
But the most befuddling reach here was in suggesting that Matthew McConaughey was somehow being insensitive.
These two men [Leto and McConaughey] devoted months of their lives to a project specifically about the AIDS crisis, and then went off on tangents when accepting awards for their work about how goofy and weird it is to make your body like a transgender person’s (Leto’s speech) or about how your wife calls you “king” (McConaughey’s).
WTF? I thought it was kind of weird when McConaughy said that his wife called him “king,” but only in the sense that he’s a stoner Texan, and that’s the kind of thing that McConaughy says. I did not, however, read anything homophobic or insensitive into that comment, and to suggest that a guy who put his “own skin in the game,” spent five years on the role, and lost a ton of weight in order to accurately portray the heroic efforts of a man with AIDS is homophobic because of a benign remark is complete and total bullsh*t.
I think Patton Oswalt said it best: Salon is “The FOX News of Beta Male Humorlessness.”