21 JUMP STREET
Directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller. Starring Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Ice Cube, Brie Larson. 109 mins.
In cinemas March 16
HOLLYWOOD MISTAKES HOMOPHOBIA FOR HUMOUR’: AN ACADEMIC ESSAY, PAGE 123
(Cont’d)… and though masquerading as an interpretation of the 1980s American television series, the plot of Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum as policemen working undercover in a highschool is actually a metaphor for the Western male’s prolonged adolescence in not only behaviour but insecurity, as the castration anxiety [see Appendix: Freud] of infancy is re-experienced. This need to assert their masculinity manifests itself in a series of infantile “dick” and “fag” jokes.
In a typical scene, Tatum asserts to a drug dealer that he will “beat [his] dick off.” This phrasing leads the drug dealer to disgustedly believe that Tatum wants to masturbate him – an even more feared threat. At this point, translator Hill explains the irony; when Tatum threatened to “beat [the Drug Dealer’s ] dick off”, he meant he would punch Drug Dealer’s genitalia in such a strong, manly fashion that they would fall off, thus emasculating him as he wouldn’t be able to have forceful sex with women whose bodies he objectifies and minds he hates. When Tatum finally arrests Drug Dealer, he proves his dominance by simulating anal rape upon him while shouting “You have the right to…SUCK MY DICK!” This is presented as a comedic highpoint and a jubilant victory, as threats of sexual violence against men are of course funny, but only as long as there is no actual homosexual desire behind them.
To offset any confusion between the ‘heterosexual bromance comedy’ genre and the narrower ‘homosexual drama’ genre (see Appendix: Brokeback Mountain), clichéd heterosexual relationships assert that Hill and Tatum’s friendship is based on ‘guy love’ (see Appendix: Scrubs) , not ‘gay love.’ Thus Tatum attracts the obsessive attention of a teacher (Bridesmaid’s Ellie Kemper) and Hill flirts with student Brie Larson, as desperate, one-dimensional “cougars” and jailbait are the most desirable conquests for heterosexual male; the unequal relationship dynamics assert the male’s irresistible, youthful virility and their dominance over naïve females, respectively. (Continued: Pages 124 – 2,736)
[Review originally appeared in Hot Press magazine, March 2012.]
I found myself shamefully unmoved by Alcatraz Prison. As an audio-tour guided me around a jail building filled with educational posters and carefully presented cells with mannequins in beds, the blandly recounted tales of riots and escapes felt too much like a school tour — and history’s always been more interesting to me on a personal, told-from-a-therapist’s-couch level. Besides, the gift shop filled with souvenir shot glasses and convict-striped onesies had left me with an unabating sense of cynicism — not to mention a pain in my judgementally-raised eyebrow.
It’s actually outside the prison where the punishing isolation hits you; in the recreation yard, on the path to the officers’ lodge. From there, you don’t just see the skyline of San Francisco; you see it all. Individual skyscrapers and buildings; the shades of pastel on houses creeping up those famous hills; the expanse of the Bay Bridge leading into Oakland, the Golden Gate leading into Sausalito. Only 1.15 miles away, prisoners testified to the psychological torture of that stunning view; how on New Year’s Eve the sounds of jazz music and laughter and celebration would carry across the water, reminding them of a city shimmering with hope and possibility, so close yet so far.
I was aware of the feeling. I’d fallen out of love with Dublin the year before — the ripple effects of a destructive relationship had left me a city populated by ghosts and threats, and no real desire to lay down the personal foundations needed to rebuild myself here. I’d instead started mentally sketching myself onto maps of San Francisco, dreaming of that city that embraces writers and poets and artists and hippies and hipsters and kinksters and outcasts; that hilly city of misfit toys. I’d spoken of moving often and even applied for an unattainable scholarship to study there; a method of pretending to be proactive while keeping my fantasy at a safe distance. Because what would happen if I went to that city that welcomes all and found myself not fitting in? I had already failed at belonging here; leave me my untarnished dream of belonging there.
I’m having a bit of an issue with my boyfriend which has also led to a debate with a friend so I’m hoping you can help me with both problems. I’m 24 and have been with my boyfriend for nearly four months. I was with my last boyfriend for two and a half years and we had a really good sex life. One thing my ex boyfriend really enjoyed was me putting a finger in his ass (sorry that’s gross to write) while I was giving him oral sex. I’ve heard most men enjoy this too, but my new boyfriend won’t let me at all and thinks it’s weird and “a bit gay.” I’ve been trying to convince him to let me do it once because I think he’ll enjoy it and I really want sex and oral to feel as good as possible for him, but he still refuses. It’s frustrating for me because I love making my partner feel amazing and like feeling like I’m amazing at giving oral!
But when I was telling my friend about this and asking her advice on how to get my boyfriend to let me do this for him, she said I was pressuring him and it wasn’t fair. She said if the situation was reversed everyone would say he was awful because he was pressuring me to do something I didn’t want to do and it didn’t make it okay because I’m a girl. She said that if I didn’t want to give my boyfriend oral sex and he kept telling me I had to and his ex used to and so I should and I’d enjoy it, she would tell me to dump him, so I need to stop telling my boyfriend to let me do this.
I don’t feel like I’m being mean or pressuring him in a bad way, I just want our sex to be good! But now I’m worried that she’s right and maybe I am being horrible trying to make him do something he’s not interested in. Should I stop asking him to try this and what’s the general rule with partners? If they say no once is that the end of the discussion?
I’ve been reading through your columns and in the one titled ‘It’s “Degradation”, Not Degradation’ you made a reference to rape fantasies, in the context of fantasies beings safe and empowering as long as they’re consensual and with a respectful partner.
But isn’t that a blatant oxymoron? First of all, how can a woman who is in any way aware of the horrors of rape turn that into something sexual and erotic? And second of all, how can any man even pretend to rape a woman unless he’s violent or misogynist? Really, just imagine the level of emotional disconnect involved in pretending to inflict that kind of pain onto a woman, and the twisted mindset that would make a woman fantasise about it. That can’t be normal or healthy? And in case you’re wondering, no I was never raped or sexually abused so this isn’t a reaction stemming from personal experience. I just can’t believe that women (or good men) are actually into rape fantasies. Doesn’t it sound more like facials or Brazilian waxes – a misogynistic and damaging idea created by men for porn that women now feel brainwashed into going along with, even though they’re not actually into it?
Sorry about all the questions but this idea just sets off so many alarm bells for me. I know you’re all about being “sex positive” but “Rape Fantasies Empower Women” rings in my head like a headline from The Onion.
Hi, twenty five year old Galway Girl here. I know you’ve written a little about open relationships before so I wanted to share this with you. It’s become a bit of a clusterfuck for me, and hopefully my story could serve as a bit of warning to non-monogamous people who believe their usually-monogamous partner when they say they’re fine with trying non-monogamy. I started going out with one of my best friends, who knew that my last two relationships were open. He said he wasn’t particularly comfortable with it, but that he was so crazy about me that he would try to adjust. Stupidly, I took him at his word, and after we were together about three weeks, I went out with my friends for a girls’ night out and ended up going home with a guy I met. When my boyfriend found out, he was so angry and shaming, asking what was “wrong” with me and saying I was a horrible person. We broke up, him furious with me but also me furious with him for claiming he could deal with it and then shaming me when I was always upfront. Just shows you the importance of not pretending to be comfortable with something you’re not.
First of all, love the column. I’m a very sexually active 26 y.o. woman and it’s great to have someone talking about sex in such a positive way. I have a lot of casual sex and enjoy it, and I’m hoping you can help me out with a tricky subject. I know you’ve spoken about causal sex and being safe about using condoms, but there’s one thing I’ve never heard anyone discuss: If you’re having causal sex, when and how do you ask someone if they’ve been tested for STDs? I get tested regularly, but I am a bit paranoid, particularly about catching HPV or herpes. But because these can be asymptomatic, when and how do I ask the person I’m sleeping with if they have an STD?
Note from Roe: A while ago, I was invited to talk at Trinity where I was faced with a rather interesting question about sex & sexuality, so I’m using that question today. Regular readers may recognise an example I use in the piece, but I gave myself full permission to self-plagiarise, promise. Plus, it’s just a really god point…
Would you use your sexuality to get what you want?