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male bonding

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“Male bonding”: what the hell is that? (See yesterday‘s entry on The Devil’s Own if you’re wondering why this bugs me.) This seems to be a particular invention of Hollywood; if, for example, British crime films of the 60’s (The Ladykillers, The Italian Job, Get Carter etc.) had been made in Hollywood, I shudder to think how the characters would have been asked to behave. One of my all-time favourite films, Heat, is slightly compromised by this, in its subtext depicting how both police and criminals exist outside polite society and have more to say to each other than to “normal” people. The main protagonists, played by Al Pacino and Robert de Niro, even hold hands at the end.

Why are we told that people always “bond” in difficult situations? My experiences tell me that the opposite is true. If I found myself in a life-or-death situation, I would be all too aware that it’s “every man for himself”, and even if there were other men on my side, I would hardly want to get up close and personal with anyone. That doesn’t mean we couldn’t be civil, or even joke about it. It’s well known that being in mortal danger gives one the urge to confess, to share, to get it all out, but that doesn’t require any particular person to actually be there. You might as well be talking to the wind.

I tried looking up “male bonding” up in my Britannica 2001 encyclopaedia, and it pointed me at ancient Sparta, where warriors took “male bonding” to its ultimate extreme. Current Western culture mandates acceptance of homosexuality in all its forms, from the camp imagery to the messy reality. Expressing an opinion to the contrary leads to immediate accusations of homophobia, as if one’s disapproval was covering a hypocritical male fear of rape.

Well, I disapprove of homosexuality as a practice. When it comes to individual people, though, I don’t need to know or care as long as they don’t project their desires onto me. Yes, I have a problem with the, um, physical aspect, but I also have a strong philosophical objection. Gay culture very often involves worship of the male form, which is just too narcissistic for my taste. No, I’d rather look at someone very different to me – as different as possible.

I’m sure what I’ve said here (and elsewhere in this Blog) could be analysed to reveal “character flaws”, but I don’t care. Do that in private if you must, but don’t bother telling me. I find psychoanalysis, amateur or professional, to be arrogant and insulting. Nobody on this planet can claim to know anything important about me, unless I am prepared to tell them that of my own volition.

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Written by brian t

August 25, 2002 at 12:22 am

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