Saturday, June 7, 2014

En Point - Ballet and Bergdahl now, Flint/Coburn and Ballet, then

I am amused at the right wing anti-elitist (when it suits them) radical right which embraces and extols mediocrity in all its many manifestations.

That pro-mediocrity-bia is now being used as part of the discrediting of Bowe Bergdahl, because he liked and participated in ballet.  You see some of the more malicious and ignorant 'talking heads' on Faux News talking about Bergdahl as a "ballerina" in their intent to discredit him, as apparently an intended slight against both his patriotism and his masculinity.

I think the most accurate response from the left was when Bill Maher made the statement, "If life were a Disney movie, John McCain and Lindsey Graham would be the cowardly Mastiff and the gay Chihuahua"."

The whole right wing hysteria made me think of most of all was the action movies of the 1960s featuring the late, great James Coburn in the two hyper-masculine (but evolved feminist) character of Derek Flint in the action adventure movies, Our Man Flint (1965) and In Like Flint(1967), intended to be the U.S. answer to Ian Fleming's character of the sophisticated, cultured, and oh-so-manly-man, James Bond, 007.

You can see a little of the Flint ballet sequence from the second film in the movie trailer:

In the first movie, the character of Flint refers to having just returned from Russia.  When asked why he was there, his response is that he was there for the ballet.  Asked why he would go so far to SEE the ballet, he explains he was not there to SEE the ballet, he was there to TEACH the ballet to the Russians.  In the second film, there is actually an action sequence in which the character of Flint is seen performing in a ballet (it is not clear which one), then seducing the prima ballerina, and subsequently escaping the Russian authorities by using in part, his exceptional ballet leaping skills.

Of course, back in the 1960's, an icon could be not only patriotic, but the heroic savior of not only the United States, but the entire world. It is doubly entertaining that in those films we see the threats of climate change to the world, and a successful repudiation by the hero of masculine fears of feminism and female equality, a fear exemplified by the right wing denial of obvious destructive anthropogenic climate change and the right wing war on women. You would never see Derek Flint using a term like femi-nazis; he loves and respects women.

I will conceded that there have been some prominent figures in the ballet who were homosexual, like the exotic late Rudolf Nureyev. There have been other equally very overtly heterosexual dancers as well, like the modern Misha Barishnikov, and before him the proclaimed greatest dancer of the early 20th century, Vaslav Nijinsky, who clearly had numerous women lovers and who straight married one of his dancing partners, but is alleged as well to have engaged in gay sex with male patrons to advance his career. Anyone who has ever had the pleasure of seeing the erotic concluding choreography of L'Apres-midi d'un faune.

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