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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I Need A Hero....in praise of Sci Fi.

We all need heroes, real or imagined. We need to know that an ordinary person, caught up in extraordinary events, can rise to the challenge set before them. We need our heroes to be brave but also humble. We need to know that as the planet or the galaxy spin out of control, somebody smart and plucky is going to control the Force, break the Orgazmitron, or throw a gold ring into the volcano.

From our adolescent dreams spring Luke Skywalker, Frodo Baggins and Captain Kirk. Luke and Frodo share many common traits.....country rubes forced into manhood by evil circumstances and a destiny beyond their control. Virginal, innocent they represent all the promise of manhood. For a gay boy like me they represented the promise of heroism, that if I just did my best, worked hard, saved the galaxy, nobody would question the fact that the only crush I've had in a decade was on my twin sister or that I spent an inordinate amount of time with my best friend Sam. Luke and Frodo tells us gay men that if we're extraordinary, our non-existent, secret personal lives won't matter.

Captain Kirk on the other hand tells us being extraordinary forgives personal weakness. Unlike other heroes, Kirk is a kinky son of a bitch. You know its not a big leap from sleeping with a green female alien to to sleeping with a male one. Kirk was a sexual rebel but a great captain...again telling sexual rebels everywhere.....do your job well and you can sleep with whomever you please.

So as hopeful as Luke, Frodo, and Kirk seem....it each case the hero ends up alone. Again, the rewards of heroism are transitory and fade away. Do any of our heroes get a happy ever after? No! Frodo remains tortured and depressed and sails away, Kirk dies in one of the movies, childless and Luke is left staring winsomely at spirits of dead people. That's the other message: saving the world/galaxy/universe takes a huge toll on your personal life.