pop culture · Sexual politics

Beauty and the Beast

My son and I saw the new Beauty and the Beast. It was lovely. Magical. Almost perfect.

This is the story everyone wants to hear: darkness and evil and selfishness transformed by love into light and good and self-surrender. Life and love conquer death and fear.

The ultimate Christian Story: Death does not get the last word.

This just happens to be the Christian story. That is why we never tire of hearing this story. It is hard-wired into our hearts, by our Creator. We were meant for love, for communion with others, for radical self-giving. The Nihilist Story that nothing really matters just doesn’t work for us. Nor does the Lone Wolf Story, that no one really needs anyone for anything.

What about the Beauty and the Beast “gay moment?” Interestingly enough, LeFou doesn’t really fit the Official Gay Storyline. He is unsure of his masculinity. By attaching himself to the hyper-masculine Gaston, he can reinforce his own sense of maleness.

But his attraction to Gaston does not do anything positive for him. In fact, it weakens him. LeFou lied for him. He acquiesced in an attempted murder. He participated in the mob violence. All along, he knows that he is doing wrong, but he stifles his conscience, all for the sake of pleasing Gaston. When Gaston finally throws him under the bus (actually, under the piano), LeFou has second thoughts. After he mentally ditches Gaston, he can fight for what he knows to be right.

In other words, he becomes a truly manly man. He doesn’t need Gaston. At the end of the film, he is dancing with women, along with every other man in the castle.

Is it really a gay moment” in the last scene when he momentarily gets partnered with a man? Or is it reversion to heterosexuality when LeFou dances happily with women in the bulk of the scene? More importantly, what is this even doing in the movie? It adds nothing to the theme of self-giving love.

Director Bill Condon paid obeisance to the Big Gay Activist Machine, by hinting about the “exclusively gay moment,” to “the UK’s best-selling gay magazine.”

But was it enough? Of course not. Nothing is ever enough for the Activists. Cracked and Polygon panned it. USA Today called it “queerbaiting:” promising just enough to get gays into the theaters, but not nearly enough.

As David Horowitz has said in another context, for the true revolutionary, the issue is never the issue. The issue is always the revolution.

The Disney people allowed themselves to paint a mustache on their Mona Lisa of a film, in order to placate the Activists, who, in the end, were not satisfied. I wonder how the Gay Artists who worked on Beauty and the Beast actually felt about it. I seriously doubt that everyone who is same sex attracted puts activism ahead of art.

Yes, a viewer could blink and miss these moments in the theater. When the DVD comes out, and parents watch it endlessly, how will the “gay moments” hold up? All the rest of this live-action remake could be watched again and again, without losing its beauty or magic. But the gratuitous gay scenes will be boring the second time you see them. They are the gay equivalent of a juvenile fart joke.

 

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