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I Don’t Care About That TERF Pussy Church And Neither Should You

23 Aug

There’s been a bit of a hub-bub lately over the IRS granting non-profit status/recognition to an anti-trans Pussy Church of Final Judgement or whatever. On the surface, this definitely seems like some seriously bad news.

On one hand, the Trump administration has displayed a growing commitment to redefine anti-LGBT discrimination as a matter of “Religious Freedom/Expression.” On the other hand, TERFs and other typically secular anti-trans movements are increasingly adapting the playbooks and accepting funding from the anti-LGBT Religious Right. Advocacy and acceptance of trans rights and visibility of our needs has been a largely recent thing, and the current political climate has seen increasing hostility and the looming threat of losing what small gains that have been made.

People have been asked my opinion on this, because I’ve had a reputation for dunking TERFs that goes back years before I got a pussy myself. It would be remiss of me to not put something out there regarding The Psychic Temple of Pussy Youth or whatever. So I thought for a bit over what I wanted to write. However, honestly this doesn’t seem quite so dire when you take a minute or two to think about it. I mean –

Okay First Of All That Fucking Name

There was a real opportunity here for TERFs. They could have formalized an organized sect of Dianic Wicca for instance. Called it “The Sisters Of Mary Daly” or something with similar gravitas and sense of reverence. But no, TERFs gotta be oh so clever with everything they do, so now it’s the Super Special Pussy Power No Penis Boys Allowed Church. This is not going to work out well for them in the long run.

I literally cannot wait for a case against this group to go to court. I cannot wait to see a representative of this group argue to a crusty elderly ninth circuit court judge that they have a First Amendment right to discriminate against trans people because they “worship at the altar of pussy” or whatever. That’s practically begging for a contempt of court verdict, no matter how many tax forms you filled out.

You want to see how well this will turn out? Look up any number of cases regarding the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and driver license photos. There’s a handful of wins here and there, but largely it’s a disaster and considered an embarrassing joke. There’s a certain decorum expected when making claims or appeals towards upholding your deeply-held religious belief and expression, and claiming membership in a Holey Pussy Church isn’t gonna win anyone over in that regard.

It Couldn’t Be A More Transparent Honey Trap

So like, at this point it’s pretty well known who is behind this thing. If you don’t know, ask around about it on Twitter. I’m kind of thinking a certain someone must have fallen off the wagon because this scheme is a bit harebrained even for them. But anyway, despite being off the grid for a bit, they seem to be back to their old playbook.

It’s an old, tired playbook, y’all. We should all be familiar with it by now. Can we not be stupid about it this time? They want you to grouse and be upset by their existence and create screen-cappable posts they can claim are “threats” for the sake of their persecution complex and recruitment appeals. You’ve seen blogs compiling these posts, many of which go back to like 2010. Once they find a post they hold onto it forever. It’s not a type of fame you want.

If they can’t find anything they’ll just make stuff up, so why hand them ammo? Even now on r/GenderCritical or whatever they are going over this post with a fine-tooth comb for something to sob over…

“HE… HE SAID DUNKING! DUNKING LIKE IN WITCH TRIALS! THAT IS CLEARLY WHAT IS MEANT BY THAT! TAPPING INTO THE UMPTY THOUSAND YEARS OPPRESSION OF WOMEN BY PENISMALES IN DRESSES! THE USE OF SUCH DELIBERATELY CRUEL LANGUAGE IS PROOF THAT MISTER RANI IS AND FOREVER WILL BE, ON A SPIRITUAL LEVEL, A MALE PENISMAN!”
somebody on r/GenderCritical probably

The Endgame Is Sort Of Obvious, And Kinda Sad

I know these people aren’t stupid.

The likelihood of this church being used to facilitate workplace or housing discrimination is pretty slim. The idea that they will join forces with the Religious Right to sponsor some sort of Holy Bathroom Police Militia is unlikely. Hell, the idea that they are going to actually find anything more than token lipservice support from the Dark Web Free Speech Vanguard is practically non-existent.

So what are they up to? This may be premature of me to guess, but given what I know about who and what is involved with this organization, I have a pretty good idea. I’m willing to bet dollars to donuts the endgame of this group is to use it as a base to form a new trans-excluding women’s festival around. Yeah, like Michfest, remember ever caring about that? Seems like a century ago.

But anyway, if this turns out to be the case oh my god can we let these people have their sad stinky hippie festival full of terrible music now? Trump is literally going to kill us all and these clowns have made it more than clear they are willing to burn down everything and help erect a Gilead 2.0 if they can at least guarantee making a few trans women’s lives harder along the way.

#Wikileaks And #AltRight Annouce Plans To Build Reaganbook 2.0

21 Jul

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It gets boring hiding in a foreign embassy all day, I’d imagine. Not exactly sure what crawled up the ass of rapist/webhost Julian Assange this morning, but he decided to throw one of his periodic racist tantrums on the Wikileaks twitter. Previous tantrums he’s thrown mostly involved piss-crying everywhere about Black Lives Matter, but this time he had a martyr. Twitter’s permabanning of some white supremacist twink well past his use-by date has got a lot of the most repulsive creatures on the internet bothered, Assange is no exception. After pestering the CEO of the company over it, because disallowing private companies the ability to refuse service is a libertarian cornerstone all of a sudden, he made a proclamation of “creating a new service”. Cool, go for it.

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Wait a minute. A far-right anti-gay racist-friendly cesspool social media site with administration that is absent and/or incapable to handle trolls and other internet dregs? Turns out one of those already happened; it was called Reaganbook. And it burned to the ground within a week of launch almost exactly two years ago.

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To be fair, Reaganbook was just the latest in a line of similar experiments. Preceding it were sites you’ve totally heard of like Tea Party Community, Social Postup, and FreedomTorch. Reaganbook was founded by Ohio Republican Janet Porter, from the activist group Faith2Action, in protest of Facebook’s acceptance of the gay community. Steeped in Republican Christian persecution complexes, she considered her rights violates somehow and strove to create a safe space for conservatives to gather.

To make sure things were as free as possible, there was no moderation to be seen and no verification for new accounts. Because freedom. A lot of folks found this hilarious and decided to join and watch the trainwreck, myself included.

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It started out mildly entertaining for the first couple sessions. Lots of ironic usernames and groups and folks taking the piss out of each other. And watching the actual conservatives trying to use the site and getting flustered was amusing.

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Before long the feed was swamped with beastiality porn, surgery videos and photos of gore. Just trying to make funny posts seemed pointless so I logged off for good. Within a couple days the website shut down completely.

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They’ve later relaunched as Freedombook, but that site hasn’t exactly been booming. Interested in seeing how this new far-right troll coddling site turns out. Maybe it’ll last two weeks? Anyone wanna start a betting pool?

Who Owns Queer Culture? Not Exclusively Cis Gay Dudes.

14 Apr

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I will admit to a difficult, but not entirely negative, relationship to the nihilistic queer media of my youth in the 90s.

It’s what I grew up on, and what I reciprocated in my own writings of the time. Despite the progressive, laid-back image, the 90s still had a lot to feel hopeless and pessimistic about as queer youth. My formative young adult sexual experiences began under both the continuing spectre of AIDS as well as under Texas sodomy laws. Not to mention, um, Texas. Matthew Sheppard was only a bit older than me, and a year later a drag queen/trans lady (like myself) in the same scene I performed in that was saving money for transition was stabbed 60 times and dumped in a ditch.

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So, I mean, I get the appeal of the medium. I also get the cheeky “scribble an anarchy symbol on your high school notebook and call it politics” attitude fuelling writer(?) Tomas Allende’s recent screed in some neo-reactionary buzzword factory imaginatively named “Trigger Warning”. Yawn. It’s a rambling, premise-less manifesto basically insisting that transgressive art, and thus “queer culture” is exclusively the realm of angry edgy gay boys that jerk off to anime. Double yawn.

That said, the article opens up promisingly enough. Allende describes the struggles of his closeted youth in Chile, a story I can deeply sympathise with, along with his awakening through discovering the Greg Araki film The Living End. A damn fine movie.

He then states:

“Queer cinema was not about married same-sex couples with a furry pet in the suburbs. It was the disenfranchised, the freaks, and the non-apologetic crowd of queers that served no purpose other than to be themselves. It was nihilistic, pointless, and fucking fabulous.”

And I’m inclined to agree.

I’m quite familiar with the films of Araki and Todd Haynes, as well as similarly bleak works like the short stories of Dennis Cooper and darkly humorous romps like I Shot Andy Warhol. I have a soft spot in my heart for all those tragic transsexual movies that I’m supposed to hate. If the story involved some nervous twenty-something trying butt stuff for the first time in the second act and then dying tragically in the third, I was probably all about it in the 90s.

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Strangely enough, this protest by Allende against banal gay assimilation just sort of hangs in the air, and is never elaborated on. In fact, things he says paragraphs later completely negate it.

Allende then begins gibbering the same sort of tired knee-jerk incomprehensible MRGay boilerplate about “third-wave feminism” you’d expect from the sort of chronic masturbator that would still have the Gamergate hashtag in his Twitter bio in 2016. Wait, holy shit he actually does. You can’t make this up.

It’s interesting, because second-wave feminism wasn’t exactly friendly to or inclusive of gay folks at the time. It took the intervention of a lot of folks now considered part of the core of the third-wave movement to reconcile the archaic racism and homophobia of the second wave.

Bringing up real history hardly means anything in this context, because Allende isn’t actually talking about culture. He talks about movies. He believes video games are a political movement. He admits the wild bareback fucking hard-partying boys in his cinema daydreams bear no reflection on his actual life. He exists in some reactionary simulacrum of the radical queer life he both idealizes and loathes.

I find it interesting that, despite claiming to be a fan of Greg Araki he spends two paragraphs railing against formation of sexual identity. Araki made A GODDAMN TRILOGY of movies about literally that. Totally Fucked Up is about exploring the boundaries of homosexuality, The Doom Generation is about exploring the boundaries of heterosexuality (literally billed as “A Heterosexual Movie by Greg Araki“), and Nowhere explores a sexual landscape akin to pansexuality. If you don’t believe that term existed back then, here’s queer actor Alan Cumming describing himself as such in gay magazine OUT in 1999.

Allende: “The characters in those films… would never attempt to garner pity”

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Even after denying that queer folks experience oppression (or something), Allende laments how “being gay meant abuse, rejection, and the possibility of contracting an incurable disease which could lead to a horrendous death”… in the past tense.

Newsflash: HIV is still around. It would take more fingers than I have to count off the number of folks I consider reasonably close that have to deal with it as an immediate medical reality. There are still a staggering amount of homeless queer youth, due to rejection and abuse at home.

In any case, while dudes like Tomas are sitting at home watching 20+ year old movies and harboring political views less radical than my grandparents, there are people actually living in queer culture. Working to develop and upkeep sustainable communities of support. Making our own art to communicate with each other.

Maybe we don’t need you or your tired-ass homocon opinions.

Sissy Killer: Silence Of The Lambs’ “Good/Bad Queer” Dynamic

24 Mar Sissy Killers Queer Coding

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It’s been 25 years since Silence Of The Lambs was released, and there have already been plenty of hot takes to go around. Recently, Jos Truitt over at Feministing posted an unflinching and thorough deconstruction of what the character “Buffalo Bill” represents to the trans community. Naturally, cis people completely lost their shit.

“How could anyone identify with a serial killer?” they lamented. Good point, it’s not like Hannibal Lecter wound up in four novels, five films, and a television series currently on it’s third season where he is the protagonist. Oh wait.

sissykillers2Dinner’s Ready.

Why is it considered ok to empathize with Lecter and not Jame Gumb? Both were brutal mass murderers known for short tempers and for mutilating their victims. Gumb was a gender dysphoric survivor of child abuse and neglect, and Hannibal Lecter was a calculating abusive manipulator that shut her off from medical care and murdered her boyfriend. So why do people root for Gumb getting gunned down yet also for Lecter’s escape and promise to kill again?

Seriously, check out the last couple minutes of Silence Of The Lambs again. Lecter all decked out like Truman Fuckin Capote bragging about “having an old friend for dinner”. He’s a triumphant anti-hero rather than a villain. And it gets worse with each subsequent film/tv depiction.

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The answer is simple: Lecter represents the “good kind” of queer, and Bill represents the “bad kind”.

While I don’t share Truitt’s particular tattoo choice (although I have seriously considered both the spear wound and the “LOVE” hand tattoo), I do have a tramp stamp of “In Voluptas Mors”, and yes it is a reference to Silence Of The Lambs. I, also, have a bit of a soft spot for the movie. A particularly fascinating element of the movie is that it features two queer codedsissy villains”, but coded in different ways and pitted against each other.

What’s that? Hannibal Lecter isn’t actually gay? That’s ok, because Jame Gumb “isn’t actually transgender”, right?

sissykillers3Meanwhile, the only definitely gay person in the movie is dead.

In the book, the infamous “tucking scene” also invites the reader to voyeuristically review Gumb’s hormone regimen, thinning body hair, voice training, electrolysis and even passing mention of breast development. This is presented with both a clinical air and a sense of disdain at the progress. But this is ok because Gumb is not “really transgender”, right?

Later in the book Agent Crawford threatens to have federal funding cut from the Johns Hopkins sex-reassignment wing and have the surgery re-classified as of non-medical necessity. There’s no telling how many transsexuals ongoing medical treatment were effectively being held hostage as an afterthought in this power-play. But this is ok because Gumb is not “really transgender”, right?

I’m sure there is also something to be said about namechecking the Johns Hopkins Trans Surgery wing as a plot point in the book, considering the actual one was shut down a decade before.

And even as Ted Levine’s lumbering, gangly tr*nny monster performance is frequently superimposed over depictions of the lives of trans folks, and the spectre of which haunts discussions of everything from “bathroom bills” to TSA clearances, Lecter represents the opposite of this stereotype. Lecter is theatrical without camp. He is effette but not effeminate. He drips with sarcasm and is impeccably refined and cultural and worldly.

The comparisons don’t stop there. In the novel, through Agent Starling’s feminist hero eyes she recognizes Lecter as “small, sleek, and in his hands and arms she saw wiry strength like her own” in contrast to Gumb’s frequently referenced large hefty frame. In the film, Lecter is depicted as deliberately clinical and meticulously clean, a contrast to the squalor of Gumb’s living area and poor hygiene and posture. Anthony Hopkins came up with the idea of having Lecter dressed in white in order to invoke imagery of doctors and dentists and peoples instinctive unease around them. But it also positions him yet again as an virtous-appearing authority figure. Perhaps this is why we are expected to continue to take Lecter’s gatekeeping of Gumb’s dysphoria at face value, despite the fact that it’s coming from a man restrained in a strait jacket and spitter’s mask.

“He’s not a transsexual, Clarice. He just thinks he is, and he’s puzzled and angry because they won’t help him.”

There’s almost definitely a “high/low functioning” mental illness dynamic going on as well that someone may choose to explore further down the line. How does nobody ever question Lecter’s capacity to make psychological diagnoses not only without clinical observation but while also himself deemed in a dangerous enough capacity mentally to warrant institutionalization?

sissykillers4Definitely someone with authority’s best interest in mind – Everyone Somehow

It’s not like positioning the audience to arbiter Lecter as a gatekeeper of queer sexuality is limited to his interaction with Jame Gumb. I mentioned earlier his murder of Gumb’s boyfriend, named after a leftist French intellectual. In the opening to the movie Red Dragon Lecter is literally shown in judgement of Raspail’s performativity, and Jesus Christ as Lecter scowls at Raspail’s unsatisfactory ability to blow the flute I’m sure Freud was doing cartwheels in his grave. And then, in the following scene, a bunch of progressive intellectuals giggle over Raspail’s missing status and subsequently nonperson him based on the same inadequate perfomativity Lecter judged him worthy of death over.

sissykillers5He’s either decided to kill a man or poop himself.

This sort of gatekeeping, this arbitration of judgement over folks less desirable is clearly the role the unexamined audience wants from Lecter. He returns to this role over and over and over, evolving from a useful monster to a justified protagonist in his own universe, while his gruesome body count silently grows.

Maybe y’all should re-evaluate what you consider so identifiable in Hannibal Lecter.

Honestly, Who Actually Gives A Damn About Hitler’s Penis? And Why?

22 Feb

hitlerspenis1Above, faked footage of “Hitler’s Jig

So, like, no offence but Hitler is a piece of shit. Cool, we got that out of the way.

He occupies a particular place in history as a reviled and defeated political force, as well as the public face to unfathomably horrible human atrocity. There is an instinct when discussing him to relegate his humanity to some sort of “othered” status. “Normal” people would be incapable of what he has done, people say, somehow missing the irony of assigning aberration to a political regime devoted to exterminating aberration. More curious, however, is how folks choose to relegate Hitler’s otherness.

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The current lascivious sexualized detail is his life folks are gleefully poring over is an atypical urethra formation that affects as many as 1 in every 250 folks born with penises, and an undescended testicle (a commonly associated malady). But why in the world should that matter? The frequent assertion is that it “could explain things”, but what exactly?

Gratuitous exposes assigning various sexual deviancies to Hitler gloss over the devastation his reign had on homosexual and gender-non-conforming people. 100, 000 gay men were arrested during the Nazi Regime, 50,000 of which were jailed and up to 15000 may have died in concentration camps. Records of transgender folks involved in these arrests is difficult to ascertain because they were lumped in with homosexuals, but it was enough to be contemporarily remarked upon. Alongside human cost, the Nazi Regime also destroyed the records of Magnus Hirschfeld’s Institute For Sexual Science, annihilating invaluable decades of compassionate scientific research and political works on homosexuality, gender-non-conformity and transsexual surgery.

It’s one (fairly complicated and not particularly admirable, tbh) thing to attempt to remove Hitler’s humanity rhetorically, it’s another to disdainfully invite others into the crossfire who suffered under him as well. One would think that after meditating on the man’s horrible quest for ideological, racial and sexual purity through terror, one may choose not to engage in similar demonization of historically marginalized individuals.

Sorry Shitnerds, Twitter (And Other Social Media) Is Not A “Public Forum”

25 Jan

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First sentence in, I’ll acknowledge that yes Twitter is public, in a sense.
Second sentence in, I’m going to point out this has nothing to do with my premise.
Doesn’t matter, however, because all of you dipshits have already forgotten me saying that three sentences in. Anyway, you can’t throw a rock on Twitter without beaning some creepy entitled fuck undulating up into a stranger’s mentions to assert that “Twitter is a public forum/platform“.

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Let’s see, there’s a Gadsden flag, an anime avatar, a generic knight… all this needs is a Gamergate hashtag and…

publicforum3YAHTZEE

Anyway, we were talking about “public forums”. First of all, a “public forum” as a concept only has meaning in relation to the First Amendment in the United States Bill Of Rights, which surprise surprise isn’t international law. A judge in Canada declaring that “Twitter is a public forum” in a court transcript means jack shit. He could have declared Twitter a “First Amendment Naked Pool Party” and it would have carried the same weight legally because Canada is not the United States. Trust me, I’ve googled a few boring as fuck law school PDFs and I know I my shit here.

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The concept of public platforms was established in US Federal Law to allow political demonstration, rather than to bolster the sad fragile egos of sneering manchildren surrounded by cumstained anime figurines that wanna yell insults at women and minorities about video game politics. As defined by US Constitutional law, there are three types of public forum:

  1. A closed public forum, like a jail or military base. Typically not open to public expression, but political and religious views are still protected to an extent.
  2. A limited public forum, like a meeting or organization hall or public theater. Much more freedom of public expression, but you can’t exactly yell “FIRE” in the middle of it.
  3. A traditional, open public forum. These sorts of locations are set aside by communities or the government expressly for the purpose of public expression. These are places like parks and street corners.

The thing about actual “open forums” is they aren’t private or corporate owned, because that would defeat the purpose. Twitter is very much a corporate-owned entity, signing on requires agreeing to Terms Of Service, and content is moderated to accommodate that (or at least is ideally). It could even be argued that Twitter fits more the definition of a “limited public forum” but that isn’t the way these dweebs contextualize it.

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Is Kylo Ren Queer-Coded? Well, Yes And No.

14 Jan

kyloren0Image from this comic by Andi Espinosa.

Since finally getting to see the new Star Wars movie about a month after everyone else did, I’ve found myself immersed in the surrounding discussions of it. Like, why the fuck was Han so excited to use Chewbacca’s weapon for apparently the first time in the decades they’ve been friends? How come in 30 years has none of the computer tech advanced past 16 color raster graphics, blinking lights and LEDs? Also is Kylo Ren technically yet another Disney queer-coded villain, and how awful are you for empathizing with the Nazified little shit in a queer way?

kyloren5Okay maybe I’m participating in different conversations than y’all.

I’ve been seeing a lot of talk lately about how Kylo Ren is the modernized face of impotent nerd rage. He’s like a one-man Gamergate, without all the Nazi imagery… oh wait. And, honestly, many of the traits that could be read as queer have been gradually integrated into uneasy heteromasculine posturing the past few decades, as addressed by fans and critics thinking of him as “emo“. There is a lot to be said about imagery of nerdbro ego projection and predation in many of his actions as well.

kyloren8Above borrowed from this comic strip.

And yeah I get that. I’m sure even more can be said in that regard. I’ve personally been humoring the idea that Kylo Ren’s encounter w/Han Solo is a commentary on neo-masculinity. Like Han represents old-guard swagger and grit and “benevolent sexism” and is a masculinity relic… he’s literally a cowboy. An artefact of a different age of manhood. Kylo Ren represents the new face of such: internally tortured, confused, with wildly inappropriate idealizations and bad posture. Watch Kylo Ren walk around uneasily in his uniform next time you see the film, see how forced his movements are. Kylo’s nervous stilted gait represents the new guard carrying the torch for men’s advocacy. Kylo winds up doing what he does (SPOILER: murders his dad) cuz of his misplaced interpretation of how masculinity works: aka a compulsive desire to “prove himself”.

But we’re not actually suggesting that Kylo Ren is queer. Or at least I’m not. But we have to keep in mind what queer coding is. We also need to differentiate queer coding from queer-baiting, a more modern trope of hinted sexuality, which also appears in the film.

kyloren1And how.

Spoiler alert, but I’m gonna be hammering on and on about this sort of thing over the course of several upcoming articles (not about Star Wars tho). In this case, I believe whether Kylo Ren is queer-coded or not may mean different things between folks older or younger than 30. Folks like us grew up with less media representation. Some of us may be a bit more sensitive or in-tune with the “nod-nod wink wink” aspects of this than folks growing up in an era where a character can actually be queer without also having to be a mass-murderer to satisfy some garbage moral clause.

To me Kylo’s unmasking scene in the torture chamber more than a little bit resembled when Ra unmasks himself in the first Stargate movie. The hard, cruel gray and black immobile feature-obscuring mask giving way to reveal a soft androgynous face and sensitive eyes. In the case of Stargate, particularly, strategically revealing the face of the actor that played a trans woman in The Crying Game just a couple years before, one of the most iconic and recognizable trans characters in film (for good or for bad).

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And it’s not like we haven’t seen the “prissy evil son in the shadow of an impossibly badass father whose shoes he may never fill” dynamic before.

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Also, this is Disney we are talking about. The company that pretty much wrote the book on queering up their baddies.

kyloren4Coincidence? I think… actually yeah probably coincidence.

The thing about Star Wars movies, however, is that just by existing they change the face of  everything they touch. While doing so, they completely reinvent the visual language surrounding such, from fashion to archetypes and of course special effects. These changes become so widespread because damn near everyone winds up seeing them.

kyloren7Well everyone that matters, anyway.

Perhaps this really is a calculated narrative side-step to replace tired Hollywood Golden Age homophobia with biting commentary on evolving male ego. If so I have to admit I’m impressed.