Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Left Hand of Beowulf

It's an allegory for the Bush Administration! Well, sort of. Well, not really at all. I guess "'Beowulf': War Porn Wrapped in a Chippendale Dancer's Body" is the article you write if you work for Alternet. Note that it is found in the "Sex and Relationships" section of the website, not in the culture section. It's the kind of lazy writing you find when you combine three ingredients: A tight deadline, a writer with nothing particular to say, and an editorial board whose raison d'etre is to hate Bush. Take subject area, mix in equal parts recent pop culture phenomenon and Bushbashing, blend. h/t Gypsy Scholar.

By the way, following that link, I found this article (which was originally a blog post, I think) from Queer Universe, arguing that Beowulf is not homoerotic. I finished the article more convinced that it is than I was before, but maybe some of you will be persuaded.


  1. Rivera claims that some thought Beowulf was erotic because he fights in the buff, which, I s'ppose, might make sense if one were suggesting that there was erotic interaction between Beowulf & Grendel, but otherwise, nekkid mens != homoerotic. Just erotic. If you're into that sort of thing.

    What about the article made you more receptive to a homoerotic understanding of the film?

  2. Scrop,

    I suppose it was the sloppy conflation of homoerotic with homosexual -- a little strange, for the writer of a blog devoted to things "queer."

    Naturally, the situation in Beowulf is homosocial, but the film pushes it into homoerotic territory with all sorts of ridiculously inappropriate nudity, impromptu wrestling matches, etc. In trying to convince me that it wasn't homoerotic, Rivera used as evidence very homoerotic situations, and so instead reminded of how many such situations I'd forgotten about in the film.

  3. an editorial board whose raison d'etre is to hate Bush.

    Actually, weirdly enough, the reviewer for either the Weekly Standard or the WSJ (I think it was the former, but I can't remember now), also thought Beowulf (the movie) was an allegory for the Bush administration. Of course that was why that writer thought it was a bad movie.

    So the moral is: Beowulf is bad for politicians, good for business, but really an allegory for the Bush administration whether you're a lefty or a righty. ;)

    Or maybe it was just a bad movie by overgrown adolescent boys.