Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Bruno's Political Messages

Bruno is a triumph for free speech. In this film heterosexuals are portrayed as frozen, stupid, repressed homosexuals. Conservatives have to squirm as pastors are mocked. And yet, Bruno is quite the stereotypical pansy. Worse yet, his outrageous sexual antics reinforce the stereotype of gay men as vapid amoral sluts. In an age of enforced political correctness, Bruno serves as a hilarious icebreaker for necessary culturist discussions.

When seeing Bruno we are forced to ask “to what extent are gender roles and sexuality socially constructed?” Is the fact that all the men who made it past editing showed great discomfort with Bruno a sign of repressed homosexual tensions? Bruno assumes that the minister who tries to convert him to heterosexuality is suffering from repressed homosexual urges. Are the hunters who do not want to be compared to Sex in the City characters repressed homosexuals? Are they ignoring vast portions of their potential?

If heterosexuality is a form of repression, as the film implies, must it then inevitably be paired with ignorance and the violence needed for suppression? The reactions to Bruno’s sex scene in the Ultimate Fighting cage make one fear for his safety. The military personnel respond brutally to Bruno’s suggestion that they should get promoted for good skin. Since the West adopted Freud, it has become a commonplace that gay bashing represents repressed homosexual desire. Paraphrasing Obama, when masculinity is threatened people turn to their religion and their guns.

Culturism argues that the Victorians were not ignorant of the power of sexuality and violence. Their drive to enforce propriety was as much a homage to the great power they wished to bottle as plain prudery. Bruno would provide them fodder. His visit to a terrorist’s home and silly effort to create peace in the Middle East mocked vacant consumerist thought. And, this mockery reinforced the need for the macho men of the military; certainly a society comprised of people as effete and frivolous as Bruno would not last long. This is especially true when, as we see in the film, our enemies take their constructs very seriously.

Virtually no women appear in the film. When Bruno meets a sensual female swinger with an overblown boob job he comments, “you must get a lot of milk out of those.” He interviews mothers who would starve their children and approve liposuction to get their children into commercials. From this culturist’s perspective, the acceptance of gays is a strong western selling point with which to confront our intolerant global competitors. Most gays have higher than average incomes and educations. But families need committed parents. Bruno’s involving his bought child in gay sex orgies hints at limits a society must be aware of if it is to remain viable. Having seen the dumb males within the context of their families would have pulled much of the punch from this film.

Go see Bruno. Few films, comedic or serious, raise so many important issues. Beyond that it is very funny. Paula Abdul talking about her love of humanity as she brunches seated on Mexicans is priceless. Bruno’s interaction with the typically socially conservative African – American audiences about their cultural touchstones deserves dissection and discussion. The hollowness of celebrity worship runs through the film. And the propriety of his puncturing the vanity of the fashion industry can be used to lead discussions concerning the need for restraint, decorum and assuming roles in society. Bruno is a culturist must see because it illustrates and questions so many political principles.
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