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"Moonlight" spots a light on something suspect developing in the liberal mind, seeking free expression




Moonlight


Amanda Marcotte, at Salon.com, has famously accused many of the supporters of Bernie Sanders as being misogynists -- they, she claims, constitute the misogynist left. According to Marcotte, before he emerged, they probably thought themselves to be pro-female and to truly hate misogynist men, but as soon as someone came around which permitted them to express hatred towards women without blow-back (aligned with Sanders, they can vent their hatred of all woman upon Hillary and readily convince themselves they are only venting hatred at the corrupt establishment candidate), they immediately revealed to those still true in their faith their actual, true, women-hating selves. I wonder if in their huge admiration for "Moonlight" liberals are admitting to something equally corrupt. For "Moonlight" is mostly about the advancement of the thesis that being gay is not intrinsic to an individual, but about combating early childhood deprivement involving an overwhelming mother and an absent father. The movie demonstrates life-triumph as becoming someone who could daunt other men, and who lasted long enough to see the powerful virility of the near demon-possessed mother succumb to insanity, self-doubt/self-incrimination, and physical degeneration: to see her neatly boxed up and no longer any threat to you. 

His -- that is, the main character, Kevin's -- homosexuality in the film is about intimacy, not about "ingesting masculinity" (mind you, the only other time we see someone fondle through his pants is his mother invasively doing so, so in that the act might also not just be a discovery of sexual satisfaction but also an undoing of maternal invasion this isn't quite a given either), but otherwise the film demonstrates proof for the psychiatrist Charles Socarides' thesis that the most important development for a homosexual young man is to incorporate more manhood into his life: out of this comes his life "cure." Young Kevin is afraid to go anywhere near his home. And how could he not be? Returning home everyday is like everyday going back to the dragon mother who might eat you (his father is long gone: probably gobbled up). He is not allowed to stand up for himself in his home. He has no propriety, no ability to resist his mom from her invading any part of him she pleases: as mentioned, we witness her encroach upon him and invade his trousers while he's still wearing them to take every scrap of money kept secretly within. But one day young Kevin, while at a distance from his home, is met by a decent man who offers him some temporary succour, as well as a permanent alternative as someone he might dare allowing himself to latch onto. The model is someone who is careful not to encroach upon him, someone who is a master in his own realm -- not in his impressively egalitarian household, but on the streets where he's the head drug dealer -- and someone who would as much as possible confront and challenge his mother's abuse, induce her to better care, while supplying the replacement. 



When young Kevin morphs into adulthood and becomes himself one of the lords of the streets, built, imposingly, like a linebacker, he gets challenged by a former lover as not becoming who he should have become, as perhaps not having discovered his true self. But he has become a version of the man who saved him, if stripped a bit of his decency (we see in his conduct over people buying drugs from him, some savouring of intimidation, of being the bully, even if he eventually relents off of this), and it feels like an accomplishment. Like a base, a secure base, upon which, yes, he can make improvements, rejoin previously promising threads -- like his poetic disposition -- but certainly not a life journey gone completely amiss. 

Liberals are also all for removing would-be tormentors from people's lives. To them, "Standing up for yourself!" is a maxim for a culture that tolerates too many people being shamed and bullied from freely expressing themselves. But in this movie ignoring the school counsellors who implore Kevin to name his tormentors is shown as a kind of higher thinking on Kevin's part, as evidencing advanced powers of discernment. For it isn't just that if Kevin were to name his tormentors he would be forced to implicate the school mate he loves and who was forced to attack him, it's that what he clearly needs to do more than anything is show that he can fight back. What this movie shows is that withdrawing bullies from Kevin's life is about eliminating the opportunity for him to see himself reject the endless onslaught of his oppressive mother, which simply got continued on in school through weakness-attuned (they are shown as really more this than homosexuality-attuned), bullysome young men. Through them, he can begin to fight back at her. When Kevin decides to handle his daily oppressors by coming to class, grabbing a chair and smashing it over the head of his chief oppressor, ostensibly, since it leads to his subsequently being completely divorced from high school life and affixed to the criminal, this is a terrible development. But it mostly comes across as a self-actualized moment, a triumph, even as no reality-adrift liberal therapist could wrap her (note: it might be relevant that the therapist who counsels him and advises him awry -- that is, towards having someone else settle the problem for him -- belongs to the realm of females) mind around this fact.

The intimidating adolescent who was daily tormenting him surely came from one hell of an abusive household as well. But the film doesn't direct us to consider this sure fact. Rather, it dangles him out as just one of the nasty monsters out there that requires someone who has known being cowed to him to triumphantly stand up to him, for everyone else to feel like some part of them might store the very same sort of liberating prowess. In this film, counsellors can't offer this because they seem a world of coaches, who, rather than empower their players in a game they have to play to fight their way past past-haunts and towards freedom, would stupidly remove the opponents entire, leaving them lifelong, creatures mastered by past abuse. 

This is not the way things are. This is simply an articulation of reality. And it's one I would have thought more liberals, while still rightly appreciating the movie, would nevertheless have seen as something to strongly rejoinder rather than acquiesce to as if native to themselves. 

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