I keep getting in trouble with straight people my straight friends because I complain about straight boy bullshit and dude bro lifestyle assholes. Whenever I complain that a party or band or scene is exclusive and homophobic and boring and violent, competitive, aggressive I get yelled at because I’m being a killjoy (actually I also get yelled at because I’m gay and no one wants the gay person in the room to ever say anything because then you can’t ignore the us, we're often tolerated only if we're silent). But for now I’ll say that the reason I keep getting yelled at is because I’m being too vague when I complain about certain straight boy behaviors that are marginalizing, oppressive, and unproductive.

Something that sort of clarifies my point is Ferris Bueller from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Basically, I hate Ferris and I have always hated Ferris and even as a kid watching the movie, which is endlessly rerun on television, it makes me feel pretty pissed. The only useful parts of that movie are the older sister, because watch how she’s the bad guy for SHOWING UP, and the brief glimpse of Matthew Broderick masturbating in the shower during the monologue at the beginning. Those are the only interesting or useful parts, the rest of it makes me want to kill myself. Or, rather, kill the dudes I went to school with and now live across the street from.

Ferris illustrates for us how rewarding it is to be selfish, aggressive, conniving, dishonest, competitive, narcissistic and stupid. These are maybe some of the worst aspects of maleness and it makes me sick> makes me want to fag out even more, but I’d probably get beat up for walking around. Probably get beat up by boys like Ferris.

So, I’m obviously not on the side of the principal or even the parents. I’m not going to defend the institutions of the 1980s white suburban utopia. I don’t even think Ferris is fighting these things, really. It’s not about him not wanting to go to school or thinking school is particularly dumb or anything. Even though he cuts class, Ferris totally supports the institutions because he knows that it is his / my / our birthright to become the institution, this is how boys like Ferris are going to make their first million. Rather, Ferris disregards the institution only in deference to his own pleasure. He hasn’t even planned a good day or anything, he just knows, has some kind of boy-star intuition that his pleasure, his leisure is more important than anything else in the world. The message is: if I can get away with it, then I deserve it. He gets his best friend Cameron in trouble because he wants to have fun. I feel bad for his girlfriend. POP QUIZ: What’s her name? How’s she doing? Oh, as long as she’s present for Ferris to enact his weird fantasies on, it’s all good. She's only present enough for him to occasionally make out with. Whatever. If I knew his girlfriend in high school I would have told her: “Ferris or me!". Maybe she would have chosen Ferris and would have missed out on being friends with me, I guess.

I feel most bad for his sister who, like I said, is sort of just doing her job, being a killjoy the way girls / older siblings / gay people always are. His sister is punished because like me, she refuses to find him funny. She’s punished for being excluded from Ferris’ pleasure. She is one of two people in the whole movie who do not directly, enthusiastically affirm Ferris and his leisure / pleasure. The other is the principal, and both are punished. He offers an ultimatum: the fun being had is Ferris’ fun; either you can accept and vicariously support / experience Ferris’ boy fantasy or you can shut up and get beaten up. We have to play by the rules because when we break them the punishment is twice as hard. When Ferris beats us for skipping school, he leaves a mark.


Yarish said...

I find that when I write well measured critiques such as this, all of my writing for months, maybe years, gets stogged in polemics. It's like a pneumonia or mono, leaving you with a nasty rolling cough that follows you around long after the fact. Max, on the other hand, is able to do this sort of writing with tha agility and reflex of a flying squirrel, making the transitionn between voices seem as easy as simply puttung down your salad fork in exchange for the dinner fork. It's not something all of us know how to do well, or do at all. bravo

Hoopermazing said...

There is nothing straight about anyone who could be categorized as living the "dude/bro lifestyle." That name alone screams closet case.

Hoopermazing said...

...also, if you think that Ferris Bueller would beat up a gay guy, you clearly never paid attention to the movie. Neither Ferris nor Cameron were particularly masculine. Ferris was very much in touch with his feminine side. He dances, he jumps up on parade floats and lip-syncs Danke Schön, he skips school to go to fine restaurants and museums and he walks around with a towel wrapped around his head after showering. You seem to be describing Emilio Estevez from The Breakfast Club, not Ferris Bueller.