After last night’s boozing (4 pints of beer, two gin and tonics and a couple of shots of Jagermeister) I felt unsurprisingly horrid. I didn’t get out of bed until 2, which was even worse than after last week’s home brew misadventure. I sat on the sofa and watched The Celluloid Closet, a documentary from twenty years ago about the representation of homosexuality in cinema. It was surprising to me that at times British cinema was ahead of the Americans – but under the Hays Code anything that didn’t depict a monogamous middle class white family life was expected to be a riot of such destructive obscenity that it would melt the brains of every good American. We didn’t have that in the UK, just a very strange set of obscenity laws that depend much more on interpretation than somebody stipulating things to be the Love That Is Not Allowed To Speak Its Name.
It’s twenty years since The Celluloid Closet was first broadcast, and we still have mainstream cultural artefacts like 22 Jump Street, where one of the big jokes is “men mistaken for lovers – hilarity ensues”; I’d like to think things have improved, but then you can look at major blockbusters of today (including Transformers 4) with still the same white protagonists and straight relationships being the norm. Should we worry that a film about Giant Metal Robots has few people of colour in it (except the Chinese woman who (obviously) is a kung fu master)? Or are problems like Giant Metal Robots reasons to ignore any inclusive depiction of humanity?
I would have thought more about this, but my brain was threatening to dribble out of my head, so I went for a walk. I felt a little bit better after strolling up to the river, looking at lots of computers that I wasn’t going to buy, and then having a chat on Skype with my wife and child, but I still felt horrendous. I bought groceries, came home and gorged on hummus, then tried to download Blade II from iTunes.
It’s taking eight hours to download a throwaway trashy piece of Wesley Snipes action, over a 100Mb/s fibre connection. It should go quicker than that. My only thought is that my ISP thinks I should be watching something more worthy with my time, unless there’s a hidden third act where Blade settles down with his boyfriend in a yurt in Indianapolis and stops hunting vampires to concentrate on writing a novel about penguins. I don’t think that will be the case.