I thank P. G. Springer for the reply recently posted to my own comment
on another thread of postings. But I'm afraid PGS has misunderstood--
quite possibly because I was not sufficiently clear in what I said or
because such a brief posting cannot make all its presuppositions
Here is the passage of PGS's posting which I think shows the mis-
> ... Ed thinks it's limited to identify with characters who
> are heterosexual, know and love someone who is gay, or may have
> misgivings and fears about homosexuality but overcome them. Rather,
> are we supposed to identify with the homosexuality in ourselves, see the
> inherent evils of the father-mother-children household, and deny all
> traces of the heterosexual impulse? Would that be the "effective
> strategy" to turn off the homophobia in society?
> A most strange and counterproductive tactic, I'd say. No, I think
> The Hanks Method is much preferable, although not the magic bullet that so
> many seem to expect. (Or maybe they would just prefer to see bullets,
> period.) Philadelphia has more potential to effect change than a dozen
> of the independent movies that preceded it -- from Parting Glances to
I did not suggest that the father-mother-child family unit was evil.
Nor would I have the spectators give up hope of finding any trace of
familiar heterosexuality on-screen. My criticisms were aimed at showing
LIMITATIONS of the film's strategy--but I do not believe its strategy
is wrong, merely limited, and I saw my critical goal as pointing out
I agree with PGS's suggestion that in considering the political dimension
of films we often take a baby-with-the-bathwater approach and search
not for an interesting or admirable attempt but rather, as PGS says,
a magic bullet.
The fact that I prefer the aesthetic strategy of Poison, for instance,
to Philadelphia may be as much a matter of taste as a political
question. Indeed, I doubt I would have started to criticize Phila-
delphia if it weren't for the fact that I did not enjoy it.
I hope this clarifies the nature of my comments and makes them seem
less tendentious. I meant neither to praise nor blame--nor to point
a way towards aesthetic-political strategies for ending homophobia
once and for all, especially since I would wonder whether such a thing
is even possible.
Edward R. O'Neill, UCLA