Cover image for Queer (un)friendly film and television
Queer (un)friendly film and television
Keller, James R., 1960-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Jefferson, N.C. : McFarland, [2002]

Physical Description:
x, 211 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Format :


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Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN1995.9.H55 K45 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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In the past, representations of alternative lifestyles on film were, even in their most explicit forms, faint and ambiguous, and the television industry was even more conservative. But in more recent years, thanks in part to the success of such films as Philadelphia, The Birdcage, To Wong Fu and In & Out, and television programs such as Will & Grace, a collective effort is underway to construct a positive new public image for gays and lesbians. This work studies recent cinematic and television depictions of gays and lesbians. It examines the gay male conversion fantasy in Get Real, Beautiful Thing, I Think I Do, and Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss, the metaphor of the aging artist as a teacher to young gay men in Love and Death on Long Island and Gods and Monsters, gay violence in Shakespeare and The Talented Mr. Ripley, unacknowledged homophobia and theories of traditional masculinity in Gladiator, the ethical complexities of the human genome project and genetic screening for the gene associated with homosexuality in Twilight of the Golds, profanity and protest masculinity in The Usual Suspects, the controversy arising when the cast of Will & Grace urged Californians to vote against the Knight Initiative refusing recognition to same-sex marriages, male egotism in Flawless, gay parenting and other family issues in The Birdcage, The Object of My Affection, and The Next Best Thing, and rehabilitating homophobia in American Beauty, Urbania, Oz, Kiss Me Guido, Chuck & Buck, and Billy Elliot.

Author Notes

James R. Keller, is a professor of English and director of the honors program at Mississippi University for Women

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Keller analyzes male sexuality and gender construction in a set of recent film and television shows, ranging from American Beauty to Will and Grace. The author's familiarity with queer theory, particularly that of Jonathan Dollimore and Alan Sinfield, enables him to write with minimal jargon. In ten chapters--each a self-contained essay--his book considers how homophobia becomes internalized by gay men and socialized within the performance of American masculinity. Individual chapters consider what this process implies for concepts like "family values," "protest masculinity," "male autism," "the politics of inversion," and the "gay male conversion fantasy." With sensitivity and insight, Keller reiterates his thesis: even as Hollywood has increased its presentation of more acceptable gay figures who subvert negative stereotypes, it softens or omits those elements of queer gendering that its mainstream audience has been conditioned to reject. The text includes a list of 35 films and shows, most from the 1990s. It also has a three-page bibliography of works cited and a three-page index. Recommended for academic libraries serving students and scholars at all levels, especially for institutions interested in diversity within popular media. J. J. Marchesani Pennsylvania State University, McKeesport Campus

Table of Contents

Prefacep. vii
Introductionp. 1
1 Queer and Self-Loathing: The Gay Male Conversion Fantasyp. 7
2 Courage Teacher: The Portrait of an Aging Artist with an Angry Young Manp. 46
3 "Naught's Had, All's Spent": Shakespeare, Queer Rage, and The Talented Mr. Ripleyp. 68
4 Gladiator: Family Values and Promise Keepers in the Colosseump. 82
5 Twilight of the Golds: Jews, Gays, and Eugenicsp. 97
6 Forbidding Desire: Profanity, Protest Masculinity, and The Usual Suspectsp. 108
7 Will & Grace: The Politics of Inversionp. 121
8 Rehabilitating the Camera: Loquacious Queens and Male Autism in Flawlessp. 137
9 Queering the American Familyp. 153
10 Scared Straight: Rehabilitating Homophobia and the Dread of Proximityp. 175
Conclusionp. 199
Film and Television Listingp. 203
Bibliographyp. 205
Indexp. 209