Week 6

With some slight hesitation, I would argue that there are liberal communities, NYU for instance, that respects or “takes for granted” all forms of gender, race, and religion. Having said this, and obviously understanding the historical difference between now and the seventies, I found Ronald Gregg’s article Fassbinder’s Fox and His Friends and Gay Politics in the 1970’s very interesting. In the article Gregg’s cites many gay film critics who found Fassbinder’s film unsatisfactory because rather than tackling gay issues, the film “took for granted” the characters’ homosoexualty. What really caught my eye, was a quote form Fassbinder in the article that read as follows; “But homosexuals have been very self-pitying, and almost all of them are dominated by a sense of shame, which the Jews haven’t had. The Jews have have never been ashamed of being Jews, whereas homosexuals have been stupid enough to be ashamed of their homosexuality” (566). Fasssbinder’s argument is extremely progressive for the time, and is clearly reflected in his film according to Gregg. Gregg writes, “Fassbinder introduces gay viewers to a culture in which homosexuality was as “normal” as heterosexuality” (572). Gregg continues to support this notion but mentioning some of Fasssbinder’s aesthetic choices. “The costumes often look like they came off the racks of the German department store C&A, where Franz purports to buy his clothes even after winning the lottery. The apartment seems tiny, lived in…” (Gregg 574). Gregg even mentions how Fassbinder, who plays Franz, uses his nude body to normalize the spectators views on homosexuality because his body is “non-erotic” and “untaylored,” or rather identifiable. Through all of this, Fassbinder depoliticzes homosexuality and in a sense forgets about individual homosexual anxiety of coming out of the closet that Sedgwick attempts to unpack in her essay The Epostomolgy of the Closet. Sedgwick of course draws the difference between Jews and homosexuals in terms of the closet in that Jews share an ancestral lineage, where homosexuals identify and come out individually. Having read this article, I am very intrigued to see the movie because I wonder is the world of the film was ahead of its time or an all-excepting, post-Sotnewall utopia. 

Works Cited

Gregg, Ronald. “Fassbinder’s Fox and His Friends and Gay Politics in the 1970s.” A Companion to Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Chichester: West Sussex, 2012. 564-76. Print.

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