By Jamie Ebbs
Being that I am a gay man, I figure I’d insert some deviance into this on-again-off-again cyber-periodical (i.e. some GAY SEX), and certainly there has been some notable LGBT fucking in the moving-pictures latterly (Harry Potter in Kill Your Darlings; James Franco in, I imagine, a slew of things; Matt Damon in Behind the Candelabra)—sadly though I am not cultured enough to have seen any of these films. Regardless, the hypergamous evolution of gay-for-pay (from humblebeginning to Oscar bait) is pretty much undeniable. Actually, I did see 2014’s gay-blockbuster, The Imitation Game at the cinema. The only problem is there was no gay sex at all, WTF?! (BTW I’m not the first to arrive at this shame party.)
Going into the film, I was in a pretty maudlin mood. I was on Day 2 of quitting weed, and started crying during the opening credits. After all, I knew the ill-fated story of homosexual genius, Alan Turing: a significant war hero later persecuted for indecency with postwar relish by his own government. I was so ready to indulge in my empathy for this man, a true victim of his time. Though, once the narrative picked up, I soon realized that this film intended to exploit sexual oppression rather than celebrate it.
In the words of Tyra: I WAS ROOTING FOR U! WE WERE ALL ROOTING 4 U! HOW DARE U!
Morten Tyldum’s The Imitation Game presents a pretty one-dimensional view of sexuality. This is not to say that Benedict Cumberbatch is not delightful in his role as Alan Turing, because he is pretty awesome, particularly his idiosyncratic manner of speaking. The film though, treats queerness as something disembodied—an unwanted rash on an otherwise upstanding man. Here, homosexuality is something that must be hidden, and apart from an innocuous schoolboy crush and a couple innuendoes involving a “poofter” rent-boy, the movie does a pretty good job at sanitizing Turing of his sexuality. Yes, I know being gay was illegal in the 50’s (the love that dare not speak its name, and what not), but there was not a single moment in The Imitation Game where homosexuality was celebrated or even enjoyed.
Tyldum does not paint Turing as a queer hero. He makes him a national hero who was also, unfortunately gay (desexualized, depoliticized). The tragedy of Turing’s life—the arrest, the court case, the chemical castration, the inevitable suicide, is completely glossed over by an underwhelming epilogue—a text informing us of his posthumous royal pardon by Queen Elizabeth II in 2013 (sorry girl, a minute too late and a dollar short). As if Tyldum’s revisionist teleology provides any sort of relief to Alan Turing’s life. He died humiliated, tortured, and destitute—but 59 years later (yea, I did the math) his government says sorry. I posit this type of ending was made to make liberal-minded people feel good about themselves and the “progression” of modern society. It does not, however, take responsibility for ethical failures of the past. You can read Morten Tyldum’s half-hearted defense here.
Oh, and check out Benedict’s effort to get the other 49 000 gay men convicted of indecency during that time royally pardoned (we’re waiting, Elizabeth!).