This week’s bravery badge has been earned by The Stranger‘s Christopher Frizzelle, author of “I Am a Gay Man, and I Liked Bohemian Rhapsody“:
“Did you know Freddie Mercury died of AIDS? Did you know he lived in a time when gay sexuality was criminalized in most jurisdictions? Did you know he liked gay sex? Did I mention he died of AIDS?
“Those are the only important things to know about him, according to the cool kids. Vox’s review gave the movie 1.5 stars out of 5. Why? ‘Bohemian Rhapsody was made with the cooperation of Queen’s surviving members, but they reportedly were only willing to sign on if it wouldn’t be R-rated, and thus it’s scrubbed clean of much of the content that might round out a film more committed to accuracy regarding the lifestyle of its characters.” Shorter version: needs more gay sex, needs more AIDS.
“Memo to the moral crusaders: Mercury did not want to be known as an AIDS icon. He wanted to be known for his art. Your insistence that he is an AIDS icon, that what was meaningful about him was his AIDS, and that only a movie that dwells on his AIDS and how he got his AIDS is acceptable is frankly disgusting.
“The sub-headline of a negative Stranger review: ‘It’s a ballad of tragic gay cliches.’ Actually, it’s not. It’s a movie set in a time before you were born; there’s a difference. And if you want more AIDS, more bathhouses, more dick, more repression, more orgies in the dark, etc., well, you’re asking for more ‘tragic gay cliches,’ not fewer.”
“There are some fellows who are a bit irked that Bohemian Rhapsody doesn’t depict Freddie Mercury‘s amorous escapades in franker terms. It’s not gay enough, they mean. Too sanitized. Why not a heifer-ramming scene or a splooge shot a la Taxi Zum Klo?
“There’s no question the film feels a bit chaste — it probably needed to be a bit ruder, darker, crazier. And maybe a little Mine Shaft action. Hard to say. Then again if Bohemian had been shot in a way that would have been gotten a Guy Lodge stamp of approval it probably wouldn’t have earned nearly $50 million this weekend.”