Masculinities Conference, Session 6, Manning the Nation

After the break (amazing brownie and peanut butter cookie), the final session of the day began for the Masculinities Conference.

The first speaker, Davinia Thornley, presented on “Out of the Blue: A Case of ‘National Genre Confusion’?” Pressures to enforce generic conventions on non-US film making that represent stereotypes about those nations. “Man alone” >> “Domestic life”  films. “Out of the Blue” stars Karl Urban. Two mass shootings in the history of New Zealand. Wandering camera perspective. “Man alone” films + Critical Suggestions by Art Cinema? Man Alone is social problem. Importance of community. Importance of authorial vision. Aramoana.

Ed Madden presented his paper, “Intimacy, Affect, and Masculinity in Ireland, 1998-2001.” Cultural specificity. Ireland went from poorest to richest nation. Liberalization. Secularization. Celtic tiger. Positivity of homoeroticism/homosocial > disrupt the social and the sexual. Ed showed us a short film titled “Chicken.”

Unease and discomfort. Forms of masculinity that allows for broader emotional responses. Edelman. Deviant sexual potential. Quar (Irish word for queer). Private versus public. Affect. Semiotically linked. Visual echo or chiming. “I don’t know why I brought you up here”–similarity to Brokeback Mountain.

Merri Lisa Johnson presented, “The Other Protest Psychosis: Borderline Personality Disorder and Black Masculinity in Mainstream US Hip Hop.” Her presentation was rescheduled from yesterday. Instead of schizophrenia, she argues that it is BPD. Crip feminist analysis. Crip theory? Gendering of supposed mental diseases–why are those persons diagnosed with BPD primarily female?  Criticisms against the DSM. Why are hip hop videos considered not art when supposed art house films depict similar imagery? Kanye’s public embarrassments and humiliations–turning the monstrous from outside to in. Lil Wayne. Monstrosity. Compulsive Able Mindedness. Not saying these guys have BPD (Narcissism). BPD can be turned into an “optic of analysis” in feminist studies for reading stereotyped groups. She mentioned this cool blog: Racialicious.


Argentinian gay films.

Irish film: The Long Falling. Less and less coalition building after decriminalization of homosexuality in Ireland.

Bill on the film Chicken: how you hold your beer to drink it. One man teaching another man to do what you do. The gay man who takes his own sperm/load into himself. Centralizing view that takes it into yourself and produce difference. Narcisitic image, holding one’s self, hands on top of one another. Redirect the energy into himself. “Spew!” He blows his load. How would you struggle with the term homosexual and queer? Does homo mean the same? Obsessed with his own image, looks for another man hoping to find that other man within himself. “I’m just shooting stuff in your direction.”

Homosexuality has a pathological background.

Chicken shown to adolescent men and women in Ireland. Men interested in the film until they hold hands, and then they viscerally push back. Women uninterested UNTIL they boys hold hands. Marketing has framed it as a gay film. Director says it was not a gay film. Queer film?

Problems of terminology.

David Gray. No talk about his sexuality. Collected guns–highly unusual behavior that the community kind of allowed, which set an unfortunate precedent according to Davinia. Outsider within the community. Small disagreements over the rocks Gray was putting around his crib/patch. Davinia hadn’t seen a gun until she first come to the US when she was 25.

Heavenly Creatures.

New Zealand film industry. Before the Gray film, the director did a popular film, Scarfies. Some resistance to Out of the Blue from community at first. Sarkies argued to them that he was from that community, too. Community involvement.

Kanye: “GWB doesn’t care about black people.” Crazy person vs. the political core of that statement. Crip theory allows you to see both at the same time.

Psychosocial–cluster of mental disabilities, social contexts create or exacerbate those conditions, mental conditions that break with reality.

Man alone is the problem. No single man alone solves the problem created by Gray. Several main characters responding to the trouble. The community responds and the community is the center of the story. Does not reify the man alone. Staring girl doesn’t buy Davinia’s explanation.

Monstrous black male. Co-opting the word ‘monster’ as the black community had previously co-opted the word ‘nigger’?

Madness and hiphop–Lauryn Hill. Removal of her from the public of hiphop? “Mad with motherhood.” Other controversies?

Published by Jason W. Ellis

I am an Associate Professor of English at the New York City College of Technology, CUNY whose teaching includes composition and technical communication, and research focuses on science fiction, neuroscience, and digital technology. Also, I direct the B.S. in Professional and Technical Writing Program and coordinate the City Tech Science Fiction Collection, which holds more than 600 linear feet of magazines, anthologies, novels, and research publications.