Friday, January 01, 2016

James Blunt tries to say the right thing, misses badly

What's really a pity about James Blunt's terrible comments about gayness is that he clearly meant well. It's just he has such a cloth ear.


"But to call me gay is a compliment."
This sounds quite positive, doesn't it?

Except it followed this:
Singer-songwriter James Blunt isn't fazed by fans and critics who mistake him for gay. In fact, the five-time Grammy nominee considers it a great honor.

"I sing songs that aren’t very macho, and so people will say, ‘Oh you’re effeminate,’ or ‘gay,’ as if calling me gay were an insult," Blunt, 41, told the BBC.
Oh James. Oh James. Being "macho" isn't the opposite of being gay.

If someone listens to one of your reedy songs and says "it's a watery nothingness and sounds gay", you shouldn't be saying "yes, it's a pissweak emoticon of a song, and I am proud to have written something that sounds gay", you should be staring at them and asking why they think that gay is a synonym for feminine.
He went on to joke that he'd like to be considered "an honorary gay man," primarily because "I’m totally at ease with myself."
Oh James. Oh James. Oh, James. Apart from just how offensive the idea that you should be allowed to identify with an identity you don't identify with, you're again assuming that there's a type of person who is gay, with whom you share those attributes.

That's not how it works. The only attribute gay people have in common is being gay people.

And if you think "being at ease with" yourself is the thing that makes the difference between straight and not-straight people, you might want to ponder the mental health crises some of us experience.


Robin Carmody said...

There's probably a class thing as well here - he's probably used to people automatically assuming he's gay because he went to Harrow. The dominance of such schools in the American *conception* of England, far beyond the number of people who actually attend them (and for much of modern history although not alas now, far beyond their power even in government, let alone pop culture), is most definitely a factor in "England as a whole (coding as) gay" there.

So to some extent he's internalised as self-defence of his own privilege something which actually has its roots in the most reactionary tendencies within working-class culture (whether the Sun or Mirror factions). Doubly unsettling.

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