Sunday, March 8, 2009

Is Zack Snyder Homophobic?

A young acquaintance of mine tagged me in a Facebook note he'd titled "The Skinny on Homophobia in 'Watchmen.'" He cited the scene in which the lesbian Minutemen are found murdered with the words "Lesbian Whores" written in blood above their bed, as well as Ozymandias' perceived homosexuality, contrasted with shots of Dr. Manhattan's penis. What? He even claims that Ozymandias' hybrid cat is an allusion to Siegfried and Roy (the source material pre-dates S&R by about 10 years). He and other responders then go on to say that director Zack Snyder has a homophobic agenda, citing the character of Xerxes in 300 (more on that in a moment). When I tried to rebut, saying that any issues with homosexuality are Alan Moore's and not Snyder's, another poster brought up the character of the church organ player in Dawn of the Dead. Huh?
I ask you, is it me, or has everyone just gotten too god damned sensitive? Of course I am against homophobia. But I don't go looking for it in every movie I see (unless it's overt - and then I'd probably avoid seeing it in the first place). My Facebook friend then goes on to say that he "has an eye for these things" and that he was "molded" by Larry Kramer and Derek Jarman. Below is an edited version of my final comments on the post:
"None of the things you mention are Snyder's issues. They are Moore's. Snyder was simply recreating what Moore wrote. Are you trying to say that there are no bad gay people? That we are all altruistic do-gooders who would never harm another human being? The film is about the dark underbellies we all try to hide from one another. Comedian shoots a pregnant woman, for God's sake! I was far more offended by that than by anything Rorschach (who is obviously unstable) had to say. And Ozymandias' tiger is right out of the book, pre-dating Siegfried and Roy by about 10 years... The most horrific serial killer in American history, Jeffery Dahmer, was gay. Does that make all serial killers gay?

"I think we'll need to agree to disagree. Not being a fan of Larry Kramer's brand of activism, or someone who goes looking to pick fights, I think the only real way to deal with homophobia is through education and rational discussion, rather than ranting and taking to the streets in the anger. All that seems to do is rile up the opposition and make the protesters look crazy. Maybe once you've reached my age, you'll see the difference. We no longer live in an America where the LGBT community is rounded up and hauled off to jail for "indecent behavior." Real change is slow and painful. The way to be heard is through rational discourse and the democratic process. In the meantime, can't we just enjoy a little dark entertainment once in a while, without analyzing it to death?"
As for 300, I think it is probably the gayest movie of 2006. Where else will you find 300+ scantily clad musclemen, showing off their magnificent physiques for one another (and us)?
Here's the thing: It's never been about Us (the LGBT Community) against Them (the Straight Community), but rather Us (the Rational Humanitarians) against Them (the bigoted assholes afraid of what they don't understand). Maybe that's why I have more straight friends than gay friends. Many gay activists seem to me just as narrow-minded as their fundie opposites. What I want to know is, when will everyone realize that there is no "Us" or "Them," only "We?"
More, anon.


Anonymous said...

the S&R tiger thing was a joke...look back at what I wrote...I think you miss read.

Stephen R. said...

As I said last night in my email to you...

To anyone who thinks that this book or this film is homophobic, I quote the delightfully sophomoric movie, STRIPES...

"Lighten up, Francis." :)

Read V FOR VENDETTA and see what Moore thinks of those who persecute homosexuals.

Great post!!!!

Anonymous said...

How genuinely dense must someone be to see homophobia in the beginning of Watchmen? The whole point of the scene was to make people sympathise with the characters, they were persecuted unfairly and murdered. It wasn't Snyder saying; "This is what these characters deserve!".

Amazing how people can see something that's pro-homosexuality and see it as homophobic.

I guess Brokeback Mountain is homophobic too due to it's ending.

Prospero said...

Catterix, the same argument was lost on my acquaintance. Extremism in any form is wrong. I can only repeat my position that change can only be made through rational discourse and that looking for something where it doesn't exist only leads to false accusations and extremist behavior, neither of which are appropriate when trying to affect change.

Jason Nelson said...

I too see homophobia in Zach Snyder's Dawn of the Dead remake. Whether Snyder intended it or not is up for debate, but someone who is homophobic can view it as such. At the beginning of the movie the preacher states that this is the end of times because of "man on man fornication." This isn't an unusual statement for a preacher to say, but the movie makes no point to counter this statement. Also the gay organ player in the movie is used as a joke when he is telling the redneck security guards his coming out story while they are jailed. And of course the gay character dies. And if I recall correctly at the hands of the mustachioed redneck with glee. I can picture a rabid homophobe viewing the events in this movie and reveling in their delight at a movie FINALLY seeing the evils of homosexuality as they do.

And as far as Watchmen goes all I will say is that the only openly gay characters are the dead lesbians and the evil arch villain. And with Rorschach's diatribe about the "stinking bleeding heart liberals" it's easy to infer that the movie comes from a distinct right wing position.

Prospero said...

Wow, Jason. I'm glad to see someone is still reading my older stuff.

You make some valid points, though Watchman is actually very close to Alan Moore's original original plot and dialogue, which makes Moore the homophobe. Nor did Snyder write Dawn of the Dead. the very funny and not at all homophobic James Gunn, did.

Anonymous said...

Zack Snyder has directed 3 movies and of those three movies, gays were the villains. In Dawn of The Dead, society's tolerance of homosexuals resulted in god making zombies, in 300, the super buff manly men were besieged by the a huge drag queen and his gaggle of degenerates and finally in Watchmen, the character of Ozymandias is transformed from the embodiment of the perfect human into a preening gay stereotype to better suit Snyder's agenda. I suspect in SuckerPunch, the asylum girls will be tormented by a burly lesbian with hairy forearms, right Zack?

And Catterix, you're wrong. Snyder wants the audience to identify with Rorschach and that's why he ad lib's the line, "Silhouette murdered, a victim of her indecent lifestyle", which never even appeared in the novel.

Kurvos said...

Since Zack Snyder did some questionable things with these mentioned movies, I view him as being homophobic until the opposite is proven. At least there was nothing homophobic about Man of Steel, but I don't know.
Call me paranoid, but I want confirmation. Can you blame me for that, when we live in a world still filled with a lot of homophobes?