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 Post subject: Sexuality in Watchmen
PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2007 5:44 pm 
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[Note: This post was taken from "Watchmen Song References", but it was pretty far off the original topic and I feel that the post is so deep that it merits its own thread. Hope you don't mind, Vynson. --Curiosity Inc.]

[Good move, Curiosity. I noticed that I had wandered astray, but didn't want to leave my reference to CLINT's very smart comment floating out of context. So, I've linked back to his post if that's OK. I think a sexuality thread is a very good call. Thanks for the kind words]

You know, CLINT, we talk about the layers and layers of Watchmen. We go on and on about the symbolism and subliminal thematic imagery and people just think we're rambling, I suppose. We talk about how unlikely it is for a movie studio and a film crew to get the finer nuances of Watchmen and wonder if the director truly gets it.

And everyone thinks we're just being overly anal.

Until you point out something beautiful like http://watchmencomicmovie.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=43&start=20 which I believe you and I have discussed before elsewhere... and people run for their TPB and find things that are more profound than they thought. They start to discover the true depths of the genius of Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons, and John Higgins. And realize that you have to be pretty damned smart to really appreciate this work.

I love it when people who have read Watchmen a couple times get to the point where they realize that there is more there than they will discover in a dozen readings.

I'm still finding cool shit. I'm really trying to focus on Malcolm Long lately. There is so much more to him and his relationship with his wife and with Walter than is evident in the first two or three dozen readings. :)

For example, note that Long is a very sexual creature in a relationship with an insatiable wife. Whereas Walter Kovacs detests sex and sexuality. Recall that Walter Kovacs is Rorschach and sees the world in black and white and his reference for sexuality is symbolized by symmetric shadows that haunt the book from the silhouette (Recall here that the Silhouette was a sexy lesbian adventurer) of his mother and her john (who were kind enough to make a poorly timed cameo in Walter's wet dream introduction to puberty), to Dan and Laurie by Veidt's pool.

But the most constant is the Hiroshima lovers graffitti.

Notice that whenever Malcolm and Gloria Long get in the mood, their image turns to silhouette as in VI:8. But note that as the examination progresses and Walter really starts screwing with Long's mind, that Gloria's image goes into silhouette, but Malcolms does not... not totally. He becomes less sexual and remains in the light as his coffee pot drips Rorschach blots onto the heating plate.

Which begs the question: What kind of man is such a workaholic that he keeps a coffee pot AT HIS DESK? He doesn't go to the kitchen to warm up a cup. He has to have it RIGHT THERE AT HIS DESK! And he drinks it black.

I think Malcom Long's theme song should be Bob Dylan's Not Dark Yet.

"Don't even hear a murmur of a prayer
It's not dark yet, but it's getting there."

Would love to hear your thoughts on this theme, CLINT... and everyone else.


Last edited by Vynson on Sat Nov 10, 2007 7:36 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2007 7:04 pm 
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I really hope that Malcolm Long is kept in the story, as he is one of the more interesting characters. At first, he starts off as a little arrogant, the only reason for his interest in helping Walter seeming to be for his own reputation, but after spending time with him, he begins to change. I think he genuinly cares about the world, and helping people. It's in his words to his wife, towards the end ; "It's the world...I can't run from it". He seems like a man who has the weight of the world on his shoulders. He wants to help, to fix things, even if he is not always happy to do it.

Vynson, you are right about finding things in Watchmen. I just found something I did not notice before just now. As he is about to make love to his wife, you can see he has left his mug on the desk in his study. Written on the mug is "DAD". I guess now that their kid (or kids) are out of the house, Gloria wants to recapture the spark of what life was like before kids and work got in the way. This is time they should enjoy together, not pouring over the case of a lunatic.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 10, 2007 8:35 pm 
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Moreover... do we collectively think that the mainstream major American studio movie will incorporate all the homosexuality in Watchmen, of which several references are made? Gay heroes in the form of Cap Metropolis, HJ, and Silhouette; gay subsidiary characters in Joey, Aline, the two gentlemen openly displaying public affection in Rafael's at I.25.4; will Jackie Earle's Rorschach get to voice his suspicions as to Matthew Goode's Ozymandias's homosexuality? Indeed, not that I personally subscribe to the theory myself but I know many do, will the audience be left with any lingering doubt as to the nature of Rorschach himself's own sexuality: will the misogyny, male bonding and awkward lingering handshake with Dan make it through as a discussion point afterward?



No... I didn't really think so either.


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 Post subject: Captain Metrosexual
PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2007 12:21 am 
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Great point CLINT.

Further amplified by the fact that homosexuality is the new "black" in Hollywood. After years of trying to do write/right by blacks, Hollywood is looking to do write/right by gays. To such an extent that mere "gayness" is sufficient to get notice.

Let's examine Brokeback Mountain. This movie pretty much sucked. Why? Because there was very little going on except the gayness. If this were a heterosexual love story, there would have to be a hell of a lot more story in the movie. But, because it's a homosexual love story, the fact that the guys are gay is supposed to sustain the movie. And that just defeats the purpose.

I want to see a movie where gay people fall in love and have obstacles other than their gayness and everyone elses "uptightness" to contend with. I want to see a gay rom/com. I want to see Brokeback Mountain be a real love story instead of a "look at the gays" story.

But Hollywood isn't that sophisticated yet. Which is why CLINT is absolutely right. I don't expect to see the subtle references to homosexuality that Watchmen has. It will either be blatant and silly or nonexistent.

But Hollywood, for all its immaturity, is positively wizened compared to the red states of the U.S.A. When we can watch a movie about two guys falling in love and no one writes a story about it or goes apeshit about it... then we will know we've grown up a little bit. When the issue isn't an issue, we can actually move forward.

Watchmen would be a great place to see that happen, but after Zack was accused of homophobia in 300, I doubt he's up for such a quiet challenge in this area. Still, Zack has surprised me before...


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 Post subject: Re: Captain Metrosexual
PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2007 1:48 am 
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Vynson wrote:
But Hollywood, for all its immaturity, is positively wizened compared to the red states of the U.S.A. When we can watch a movie about two guys falling in love and no one writes a story about it or goes apeshit about it... then we will know we've grown up a little bit. When the issue isn't an issue, we can actually move forward.

Watchmen would be a great place to see that happen, but after Zack was accused of homophobia in 300, I doubt he's up for such a quiet challenge in this area. Still, Zack has surprised me before...

First of all, do you really expect a stereotypical red-stater to pick up Watchmen, let alone appreciate it? They are definitely not the target audience here.

As for Zack Snyder, he doesn't seem like the kind of guy to back down from this sort of thing. Remember, for all the controversy 300 inspired, he made no apologies. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see him tackle the homosexual aspect in the movie. Then again, I also wouldn't be surprised to see it cut for time. We'll see what happens.

Personally, I'd like to see the sexual aspects hinted at. A little subtext, for those who know where to look. The awkward handshake between Nite Owl and Rorschach is a good place to start. Another possibility... as much as I hesitate to mention that godawful Hamm draft, there was one beat that really stuck with me. After an interrogation at Happy Harry's, Rorschach pauses to throw a coat at a stripper as he leaves. That would've been a great moment, in my opinion. A nice, visual way to show Rorschach's stance on sexuality.

Of course, I prefer his opinions on American love, but that's just me.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2007 6:11 am 
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"Sexual" themes in Watchmen:

"Heteroness"
"Gayness"
Older men lusting over young girls
Older men lusting over boys
Younger women lusting over young men
Impotence
Inter-"racial" sex
Prostitution
Marriages/Partnerships of convenience
Female sexual appetite
Rape
Dominant marital violence
Celibacy
Homophobia
Bondage (gotta love HJ's ropes). "Hooded Justice" — is he uncircumcised? :mrgreen:
Homosexual oral and anal sex as retribution
Pornography

I'm sure there's more.

Thing is, which of those themes would be tricky to handle? Firstly, there's the actual presentation of any of the above. Then there's the ability for an audience to absorb the point at any given moment in time. If the director can present the ideas here matter-of-factly, and keep it simple, then the chances are the audience won't be manipulated into a preconception.

In my opinion Hollywood films tend to "infantilise" sex. (And not just Hollywood, either). An audience will expect to see cliché-ridden scenes of human interaction. Let's hope Snyder can refrain from the more obvious signals and allow the viewer to uncover the sexual layering for themselves.

There is a potential huge world-audience for this production. Some countries have produced films spanning the entire gamut mentioned above, even the US has it's indy pioneers.

The key to this film becoming a cult is the way it presents what other main-stream films do, but in a mature way.

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 Post subject: Re: Captain Metrosexual
PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2007 7:27 am 
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Vynson wrote:
I want to see a movie where gay people fall in love and have obstacles other than their gayness and everyone elses "uptightness" to contend with. I want to see a gay rom/com. I want to see Brokeback Mountain be a real love story instead of a "look at the gays" story.

Well, yeah, than why don't you just watch one? There are lots and lots of good movies about gay relationships (as far as I can judge that). Just recently I saw
"La ley del deseo"
http://imdb.com/title/tt0093412/
, a brilliant film like any other by Almodovar. If americans would watch such movies more, than Hollywood would start producing/copying them. I think the problem is instead that almost all americans strongly believe that they should not watch any movies produced outside their own country, except maybe the occasional eastern. This is not at all Hollywood's problem; Hollywood is merely reacting to it's customers preferences. The supply is already there anyway, just not the demand. Who needs Hollywood to watch good movies though?

Same with comics BTW. For me it is plain alien that someone likes comic books, but did not even hear about classics like "L'incal" or "Astérix" or Miyazaki's "Nausicaä". Why should one restrict oneself that way?


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2007 2:51 pm 
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It kills me to do this, but I have to invoke V for Vendetta. You know, the movie.

In that movie, there was a story about a lesbian who grows up, falls in love and dies in a sort of concentration camp. And the whole thing was heavily romanticized. It's like the Wachowskis were screaming "Here! It's a lesbian! Here's two lesbians! In love! Feel happy for them! Feel sad for them!"

The whole thing seemed forced. I understand what they were trying to do and I appreciate it, but it didn't fit.

The thing about Watchmen is that it doesn't try to impose morals. It doesn't present anything as entirely good or entirely bad, simply as it is. Moore is very good at subtlety, and it shows.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2007 3:02 pm 
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In that movie, there was a story about a lesbian who grows up, falls in love and dies in a sort of concentration camp. And the whole thing was heavily romanticized.


Ironically, that was lifted almost verbatim from the novel the film was most loosely based on. Like Nazi Germany, the England of V systemtically eliminated anyone who didn't fit the prescribed ethnic/political/sexual stereotype.

In Watchmen, gayness is a big deal because it's mostly not a big deal. It's there but not particularly in your face. Joey's butch act is significant only because she is the only one having a problem with her sexuality. Moore uses it to provide conflict.

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 Post subject: V for Valerie
PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 1:14 am 
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VALERIE was a great chapter in the comic and was adapted almost verbatim to the screen, as Dan said. As disappointed as I was with the film, I cried at this scene. Beautifully done.

But I understand what you mean about it looking out of place in the movie. I'd like to suggest though, that this scene was fine, but that the rest of the movie did not fit around it.


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 Post subject: Re: V for Valerie
PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 3:25 am 
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Vynson wrote:
But I understand what you mean about it looking out of place in the movie. I'd like to suggest though, that this scene was fine, but that the rest of the movie did not fit around it.

Okay, now I get why all the Alan Moore fans seem to hate that movie.

Getting back to the Hiroshima lovers: I find it a fascinating image. It's a lovely visual symbol of two people falling in love despite the imminent doom of humanity. To me, that's absolutely Dan and Laurie, as shown in the pool scene and in Dan's dream. Anyone care to offer some analysis on the latter?

And Dr. Manhattan. It's rather curious how the one thing that keeps Jon invested in humanity is sex. It's like he doesn't truly accept his status as a higher power until he completely lets go of Laurie.

Comments? Anyone?

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 4:17 am 
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"God is in the details" ... or something. A. Einstein.

Laurie finally (unkowingly) sways Osterman and interests him in the wonderful result of sexual reproduction.

Each small thermonuclear miracle is what Jon is thinking about. The fact that life is created by a miraculous game of chance.

He returns to earth to "save the world/save mankind". He doesn't really do that at all as Adrian's plans were so out of the box he didn't need to step in. The only pro-active thing he does is vapourize Kovacs.

So he finally does a hippy-number and drops out completely. Like some Clarkeian star-child. Doc Manhattan's motives here are a bit wobbly, I feel. One assumes he'll keep an eye out on his home planet. Maybe not. But he won't be getting any sex for the forseeable future. ;)

Dan and Laurie's talk of costumes at the end are like Viagra to him. Dreiberg will be getting more than enough. ;)

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 5:53 am 
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I didn't get the impression that sex was terribly important to Jon.

Note that he split into three so he could give Laurie a troi and still work in the lab. Even though he clearly knew what her reaction would be, he still did it out of an interest in her... oddly, even knowing it would piss her off, he had to do it because he knew that he did it.

He didn't recognize the decision-making process because for him there wasn't one. You and I cannot decide what to do yesterday. It's dead and gone. For Jon, the future is the same.

Even his interest in Laurie fits into this. It isn't like he made an active decision to care about her. He did. He knew he did. So it just was. But it wasn't until Adrian's tachyons fouled up his perception that there was ever a sense of the unknown. In those moments, he loves Laurie. In those moments he has to exercise his feeble, cripled, retarded will.

Jon is very complex in his absurd simplicity. He is more like a child than an adult. More like a child than a god. And I think he was underestimated by Dr. Milton Glass and the military. When they estimated that Jon couldn't stop all the incoming missiles in a Soviet first strike, I think they were wrong. Jon could have easily disarmed the USSR in any number of ways. His only limitation in doing so... is that he didn't. And he knows it.

Jon, for much of the book, is more animal than human in that he is not volitional. Animals don't make a lot of decisions. They run on instinct. Not intellect. Someone once said that Man is the only animal that blushes. Or needs to. Likewise, man is the only animal that commits purposeful suicide (lemmings don't think they are going to their deaths). Yet, it is often argued that the complexity of the human brain merely renders the illusion of freewill, but that every thought and action is just another domino falling... completely predestined... whether we see it or not. But because we DON'T SEE IT... we either have freewill or think we do. Because Jon can see the strings and knows his decisions before he makes them, he either has the illusion of not making them... or he lacks freewill.

Relativity halps to think about it... up to a point. But then one realizes that deciding to believe in freewill may or may not be predestined itself.

Which is the whole of Jon's sexuality. Lust has very little to do with it for him.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 1:26 pm 
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Jon, for much of the book, is more animal than human in that he is not volitional.


I think he's intelligent (it takes more than a few working neurons to understand physics) but like a lot of people, he's perfectly willing to let others make decisions for him - something he admits to early on. He has a relationship with Janey because she initiates it. He takes the easy way out with Laurie because she's attracted to him. He has sex because his partners want it. He accepts predestination because it means he can avoid making decisions.

You could argue that sex is his last vestige of humanity. Which might explain that while he lets go of things like hair and pupils during his self-reconstruction, he still makes himself a dick. Only once he lets go of sex can he truly realize his godlike potential.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2007 2:26 pm 
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Jon is not confused, or indifferent about sex.

He's just a guy!

He takes no responsibilty for his actions, knows the consequences and don't give a second thought before he gets caught!

He's not god, not even a mature guy. He's a dudeeeeee! I know guys like Jon, doesn't make choices on their own, let others lead them, cheat on their relationship because the opportunity was there etc. well, none of them are blue in colour though. :D

I have a saying that stems to all guys including myself, "a working dick has no conscience!" ;)

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2007 6:54 pm 
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Junky_dude wrote:
I have a saying that stems to all guys including myself, "a working dick has no conscience!" ;)

Robin Williams may have put it better: "God gave man a brain and God gave man a penis, but only enough blood to run one at a time."

New topic: Who is more asexual, Veidt or Kovacs?

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2007 7:12 pm 
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Curiosity Inc. wrote:
New topic: Who is more asexual, Veidt or Kovacs?


Probably Ozy, though it's been argued elsewhere that he hasn't found another intellect that stimulates him in that regard. Basically, sex is an abstract thing for him.

Ror absolutely hates sex, partially due to the abusive nature of his mother.

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 Post subject: Dan's Phallic Cowl
PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2009 1:31 pm 
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[NOTE: For lack of a better option, I merged this post and the thread it started into this wonderful oldie. --"Curiosity Inc."]

Okay, okay, so first off I did do a search which, surprisingly, yielded no results. I'm not pointing out anything ground-breaking, so mods - feel free to merge this thread.

I was re-reading the GN the other night before the film's release, and something that stood out to me that I have never noticed before was that Nite Owl II's mask has the outline of a, well, an upside down package in the section cut-out for his face/goggles.

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This isn't the best picture, I would recommend looking at photos of the cowl hanging up on display in the GN.

Obviously, connections were made with Dan's impotency and not being able to get an erection without his costume on, simply enough.

Has anyone else noticed this? Or has everyone else noticed this and it's just as blatant as the "hidden smileys"? Sorry if I'm treading on familiar territory here, but I just can't look at Nite Owl II now without seeing a penis.

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 Post subject: Re: Dan's Phallic Cowl
PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2009 1:40 pm 
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Hah! Well I've never noticed it before but I think you're right! Hehe, naughty old Moore!

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it was tying it into the rape-revenge stories and making light of a verys erious sub-genre that kind of offended me.


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 Post subject: Re: Dan's Phallic Cowl
PostPosted: Tue Feb 24, 2009 1:57 pm 
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...maybe somebody is reading into it too much; or you have a perverted mind...Ill venture to say both.

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