Observations: An Offer He Couldn't Refuse - PopcornReel.com

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Wednesday, February 7, 2018

OBSERVATIONS
An Offer He Couldn't Refuse


Marlon Brando in the title role in "The Godfather", Francis Ford Coppola's legendary 1972 film.  Paramount Pictures

       

by
Omar P.L. Moore/PopcornReel.com        Follow popcornreel on Twitter FOLLOW                                           
Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Would news of Quincy Jones's revelations about Marlon Brando and Richard Pryor having sex (confirmed by Pryor's ex-wife) have greeted the way it has had it been divulged in the 1970s while both were alive and in the prime of their careers?  How about if the rampant homophobia that pervaded (and is still present) in America before the marriage equality U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2015?  How about if Elton John had revealed in 1977 that he had sex with a heterosexual actor or musician?

How would America have reacted to all of this 40 or 50 years ago?  Would careers have been ruined?  Would those named have denied it?

In the 1950s and 60s because of the vast hatred of gay people Rock Hudson had to pretend he was an item with a female celebrity actor.  Everyone in Hollywood knew Rock Hudson was gay.  And everyone kept that secret.

What of Marlon Brando?  Everyone in similar Hollywood and celebrity circles surely knew about Mr. Brando and Mr. Pryor, and Mr. Brando and James Baldwin back in the 1970s.  There's no reason to think that sex between famous men whether straight or gay, doesn't occur now, as it has for centuries, whether the men are famous or not.

There's a touch of fascination, it seems, with Quincy Jones's revelations about all of this in his already-classic interview with Vulture.  All of this is recalled with a "hey-that-was-the-Seventies!" zeal by Mr. Jones. 

Were Mr. Brando and Mr. Pryor "closet" gay men?  Or was this all just a case of too many quaaludes? 

Does any of this really matter?

No it doesn't.

Frankly, one doesn't get a sense that many are reacting in a visceral or negative way to Mr. Jones's revelations about Mr. Brando.  How we talk about sex between men in America is an indication of where many of us (specifically heterosexuals) are vis-a-vis attitudes towards gay people -- and to sex between those of the same gender.

So where exactly are we?


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