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On and off I post a note here and there asking for suggestions of gay movies and gay books. Most people don't read my criteria so I'm not going to restate them.
Some suggested movies I can't bring myself to watch: Laramie Project and Boys Don't Cry. It isn't that I don't think they aren't worthwhile. Similarly when Soldier's Girl shows up in the cable listings I just can't get myself to watch it.
Call it aesthetic cowardice. I've never cared for depictions of suffering in art. Not that I expect everything to be another Top Hat. I've watched my share of AIDS movies. And it hits me that my three examples are all movies based in real life.
Suggests that I flinch more from pain rooted in real people's lives than an artist's imagination. Two of the three are about transgendered people who suffer enough among the people you'd expect to understand their apartness rather than sneer at them for not fitting into conventional queerdom. And Matthew Shepherd to me sounded like many young gay men I've known who felt they were lucky to have made it out of high school without a beating.
Given the unavoidable quotidian suffering I guess I'll always opt for the cheerful and accept myself as an aesthetic coward.