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Peter Tatchell: ‘Bruno will make both bigots and gays squirm’

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  1. So Peter goes along to see the film and squirms with the bigots?
    Never mind Peter…as you said “its only a film”

  2. Brian Burton 8 Jul 2009, 4:23pm

    I squirm, you squirm, they squirm….It’s a squermy world old Tatch lives in!

  3. If the newspapers are to be believed, it is currently the Austrians taking the greatest offence at the moment!

  4. I think Peter is right. I believe the documented dramatic rise in homophobic hate crimes there has been here in the UK is due partly to the strange way in which gay humour has been projected in the mainstream media. The two comedians behind “Little Britain”, Graham Norton’s low idea of entertainment in his talk shows, and various other depictions APPEAR to be open and free about gayness but in fact they all diminish us, and thereby cause or increase homophobia. It looks like this film is going to do the same thing. I know that some of my straight neighbours have never met a gay person before they met me. They have in their heads a dozen or so images of camp shallow sex-obsessed gay men from TV and, on the other side, they have me. Which one do they think is the norm? Which one do they think is a lie?

    Cohen, the Little Britain duo, and others are exploiting the progress made by gay rights fighters over the last 50 years or so.

  5. Stuart Neyton 8 Jul 2009, 6:51pm

    “Cohen, the Little Britain duo, and others are exploiting the progress made by gay rights fighters over the last 50 years or so.”

    Really? I haven’t seen the film so i’m not going to judge, but Borat exposed the closed-minded racist bigots by taking stereotypes the the extremes. I love this kind of humour.

  6. Dave North 8 Jul 2009, 7:18pm

    I do wish Tatchell would stop referring to gays as “queer”.

    It only reinforces difference.

    From Dictionary.com

    1. strange or odd from a conventional viewpoint; unusually different; singular: a queer notion of justice.
    2. of a questionable nature or character; suspicious; shady: Something queer about the language of the prospectus kept investors away.
    3. not feeling physically right or well; giddy, faint, or qualmish: to feel queer.
    4. mentally unbalanced or deranged.
    5. Slang: Disparaging and Offensive.
    a. homosexual.
    b. effeminate; unmanly.
    6. Slang. bad, worthless, or counterfeit.

    Just my opinion…

  7. I for one will certainly not be going to watch this movie. There is something I find quite distasteful in the way he uses his characters. People like to claim that his characters roles are to expose bigotry. I don’t find that is the case at all. Far from it. I find him to be as bigoted as the people he ‘tries’ to ‘expose’. He is very clever, I’ll give him that. But then again, so is Nick Griffin.

  8. Thanks Peter for the ‘review’ I shall certainly NOT being going to see that movie. I squirm enough thank you from homophobia given out by people of low intelligence who hit away at the Gay Community, and Gays in general. All I have to do is look at the Tories or P. Benedict among many others and that is enough squirming for me for one day or for a lifetime.

  9. ChristoRay 9 Jul 2009, 2:37pm

    ‘Only’ a film? That’s absurd – the moving image is easily as influential as the written word – always has been since its inception.
    I’ve not seen Bruno, so I can’t comment on the film itself, but, like Eddy says, there are countless folk out there who don’t know or have never (knowingly) met a gay man, and sadly (and understandably, given the media’s love of the stereotype) think that we’re all like Bruno – an imagine also helped no end by the selection of shrieking, bitchy cretins selected to represent ‘us’ on Big Brother.
    It’s OK coming out with that oh-so-clever postmodernist argument that characters such as Bruno (or Borat or Ali G etc) are vessels for Cohen to criticise & mock sterotypes – but not everyone’s critical faculties are that sophisticated – some take it at face value, as we saw when Ali G became someone to laugh with, rather than at.
    The very sight of Bruno himself makes me squirm – not least ‘cos I’ve met many gay men in the past who he could have been based on.

  10. ChristoRay 9 Jul 2009, 2:49pm

    ‘Only’ a film? That’s absurd. The moving image is as potent and influencial as the written word – has been sice its inception.

    I haven’t seen the film, so I can’t comment on that. But, like Eddy says, there are folk who will see the film who may have never(knowingly) met a gay person – and who’d blame them for thinking we were all like Bruno? The media is overly fond of the gay steroetype, and year in and out, Big Brother has offered up a steady stream of shrieking, bitchy cretins to ‘represent’ us gays.
    It’s all very well coming out with the well-worn lines about how Baron-Cohen ‘challenges’ stereotypes with his very depiction of them, but not everyone’s critical faculties are so sophisticated – some take Bruno and his ilk as read; look at how Ali G slowly became someone to laugh with, rather than at.
    The sight & idea of Bruno makes me squirm largely ‘cos I’ve met so many gay men on who he could have been based. As if there can be any joy in a life like *that*!

    Dave North – ‘Strange and odd from a conventional viewpoint’. I think I can live with that! Though not everyone of our ilk could, I know.

  11. “Bruno’s persona also embodies some really lazy, crude gay stereotypes. A sex-obsessed “cockaholic,” he is a shallow bitchy queen who uses and abuses everyone around him.”

    Peter, that is the point mate! Bruno is not going to get many laughs as a straight-acting muscle boy lowering his voice a few octaves and being conscious not to mince as he swaggers, is he? And let’s face it, the stereotype you describe are a dime a dozen on the scene. We’ve all met gays like Bruno, so why pretend otherwise.

    Why can’t we laugh at this movie like most people instead of being so pathetically reactionary all the time? That is the problem today. We are looking for any excuse, no matter how big or minute, to react, get hysterical over and play the poor, down-trodden victim. That is why we will continue to harbour a collective persecution complex, in turn making us open targets for verbal and physical attacks. It is a reaction our oppressors are after, and if we laughed at them instead of reacting each time we would empower our community and earn the respect of the wider population.

    It is something of a dichotomy, I know, but it is the gay reactionary fanatics who are keeping our community downtrodden and in chains.

  12. Codex wrote
    “We are looking for any excuse, no matter how big or minute, to react, get hysterical over and play the poor, down-trodden victim. That is why we will continue to harbour a collective persecution complex, in turn making us open targets for verbal and physical attacks.”

    When you use the term “a collective persecution complex” . . . this is very interesting . . . could you explain further how these Jungian Psychodynamics work?

    Codex wrote
    “It is a reaction our oppressors are after, and if we laughed at them instead of reacting each time we would empower our community and earn the respect of the wider population.”
    Could you explain how this one works too?

    Codex wrote
    “It is something of a dichotomy, I know, but it is the gay reactionary fanatics who are keeping our community downtrodden and in chains.”

    If “Gay reactionary fanatics” cannot liberate us . . . who can . . . and how exactly will they achieve liberation for our community. . . despite there being a dichotomy.

  13. “A sex-obsessed “cockaholic,” he is a shallow bitchy queen who uses and abuses everyone around him.”

    Sounds like Sasha got it spot on then. Sums up pretty well every gay man I know.

  14. John K wrote: “It is a reaction our oppressors are after, and if we laughed at them instead of reacting each time we would empower our community and earn the respect of the wider population.”
    Could you explain how this one works too?

    Simple, John. Take the analogy of the classroom bully. Who does he seek to victimize because he knows he can? The disempowered kids because he knows he will get the reaction he seeks. He is not going to pick on the kids who laugh back at his face because the bully is, at heart, a weak, insecure individual lacking in confidence. By reacting the way we do to all perceived examples of homophobia, no matter how great or small, diminishes us to the role of the victim, and so that homophobia is perpetuated.

    John, you go on about liberation, liberation, liberation as if we were still being herded into concentration camps in Nazi Germany! We are in fact free-er today than we have ever been, but we are crossing the thin line where we don’t realise quite how good we have it and are now demanding not just equality with mainstream society but special treatment. And it is these demands, I believe that is fuelling the anti-gay sentiment in the media most people on this forum are hysterically railing against, and it is the radical, fanatical gays that are sowing these seeds of discontent.

  15. RobN, #11: “Sounds like Sasha got it spot on then. Sums up pretty well every gay man I know.”

    Key in the above statement is the “[who]I know”. It is evident from many previous postings by RobN that he is only familiar with a rather shallow and superficial stratum of gay men . . . and that from this narrow familiarity he generalises to the entire spectrum.

  16. Codex . . . thanks for your response and just to say I agree in part with what you are saying. I certainly agree that we need to be able to laugh at our selves, no one is perfect. Being able to admit to ones imperfections and make light of them is in my view a sign of maturity. I think we are probably in agreement on this point.

    My main concern however is that we need to be careful with what we are laughing at. To laugh at everything would assume that nothing is important serious or problematic. As homophobia is becoming more a more covert, in the same way racism as become, I feel it would be some what counterproductive to laugh at something that may perpetuates an invidious covert situation.

    With regards Sasha Baron Cohen . . . personally I think the man is a genius. I love his character Bruno, not because he is the epitome of everything that is bad about being a certain narcissistic type of gay man. What I feel is cutting edge about Bruno is that unlike the stereotypes in the past which have largely been situational comedy parts, this is taken to a different level.

    When Sasha Baron-Cohen plays the character of Bruno not only does he play a gay stereotype which unleashes some extraordinary displays of homophobic hatred, Bruno also has to face the homophobia that he unleashes . . . this is not only clever but very brave on the part of Sasha Baron-Cohen.

    Mr Baron-Cohen is a genius because he allows us to see homophobic hatred in action

    Would any one else be brave enough to play this character, I know for one I would not be comfortable . . . that’s way I think he deserves our respect.

    With regards your point about liberation . . . I feel this is problematic. Bruno points out some thing very real and dangerous lurking under the surface, it is not hysterical to point out homophobia. . . but the response we get may very well be hysterical . . . and you are quite right it might be safer to stick with what we have achieved . . . but the problem with this is that you assume it cannot be taken away.

    If violent and murderous homophobia is unleashed by a rather whimsical character such as Bruno . . . we need to be concerned by this since our rights can so easily be taken away on a whim if this level of homophobia is really there in the background. This is not an hysterical persecution complex on the part of LGBT people . . . Violent murderous homophobia is still alive and kicking

    Bruno reveals this in action

  17. Eddy: “only familiar with a rather shallow and superficial stratum of gay men . . . he generalises to the entire spectrum.”

    The entire spectrum ranging from bright pink to slightly brighter pink. Stop trying to make out there is some hidden group of ordinary, normal, non-camp, non-political types that actually care about other people and don’t have cock constantly on the brain.
    What makes Sasha so successful is that his characters are accurate and very well observed. Maybe gay men might look at Bruno and realise how damn close he really is to the truth. However, I doubt it because they only look in mirrors and see what they want to see.

  18. We all have “cock on the brain” 24/7, eh, RobN? Phew. WHO are you mixing with? A bunch of sex-addicts?

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