Bud Abbott tries to teach Lou Costello about the male gaze.

“Say, Lou.”
“Yeah, Bud?”
“I was reading the most fascinating article the other day, all about something called the ‘male gaze’.”

Bud and Lou

“The what?”
“The male gaze.”
“The mail gays?”
“That’s right, the male gaze.”
“Why would anyone want to mail gays?”
“No, not mail gays, male gaze.”
“That’s what I’m saying! How do you even mail gays? What’s the postage? Where do you put the stamps?”
“Not mail like a letter. Male like a man.”
“The mailman is gay?”
“No, no. Male, meaning the gender.”
“Oh, male, meaning the gender!”
“That’s right.”
“So just the men.”
“Yes, just the men.”
“So just men are gay? What about women?”
“No, not gays! Gaze! Gaze, like ‘to look’.”
“Gays like to look?”
“That’s right, gaze, like ‘to look’.”
“Everybody likes to look, not just the gays.”
“What? No, gaze! Like when you gaze across the horizon.”
“I don’t care where they are!”
“No, no, no. This is a film theory.”
“A film theory?”
“That’s right, a film theory.”
“Well, why didn’t you say so! It’s a film theory!”
“That’s it. It says visual culture has a tendency to depict the world from a masculine point of view and in terms of men’s attitudes, especially in how it looks at women.”
“Oh, so it says visual culture has a tendency to depict the world from a masculine point of view…”
“And in terms of men’s attitudes.”
“And in terms of men’s attitudes, especially in how it looks at women?”
“Yes, that’s it.”
“So you get it?”
“Well, that’s alright. Let’s say you’re watching a movie.”
“But I’m not watching a movie, I’m talking to you.”
“Yes, but let’s pretend you’re watching a movie.”
“Oh, pretend?”
“OK, give me fifty cents.”
“Fifty cents?”
“Fifty cents.”
“What do you need fifty cents for?”
“To get into the movie.”
“I’m not going to give you fifty cents.”
“Some friend you are!”
“Just pretend you’ve already got your ticket.”
“OK. What about popcorn?”
“Pretend you’ve got that, too.”
“That’s too bad.”
“Why’s that?”
“I don’t like popcorn.”
“Can we just get on with this?”
“OK, but you’ll have to eat the popcorn.”
“Never mind that! Now we’re watching a movie, and a sexy dame comes on screen.”
“Ooh, I like this movie.”
“I bet you do. Now…”
“Wait a sec.”
“How sexy is this dame?”
“Oh, I’d say she’s very sexy.”
“Very sexy?”
“Uh oh.”
“Uh oh?”
“Yeah. I don’t like where this is going.”
“Why not?”
“Last time I saw a movie like this, the theater got raided.”
“No, it’s not that kind of movie.”
“Now, the theory of the male gaze says how the camera shows the actress…”
“Wait a sec.”
“What now?”
“Who’s the actress?”
“I don’t know. It doesn’t matter.”
“Well, it matters to me! I just paid fifty cents!”
“Fine. Let’s say it’s Jean Simmons.”
“Jean Simmons?”
whistles “I like this movie already.”
“Who else is in the movie?”
“What? It doesn’t matter.”
“Sure it does!”
“I don’t know… Montgomery Clift.”
“Ooh, he’s good.”
“Can we get on with it?”
“OK, so Jean Simmons walks into the scene, and the way the camera shows her enter is all based on how men view the world, which means the camera will make her look sexually pleasing.”
“Sexually pleasing?”
“That’s right.”
“The male gaze is what makes Jean Simmons sexually pleasing.”
“Now you’ve got it.”
“But if they’re gay, why would the males care about Jean Simmons when Montgomery Clift is standing right there?”

copyright 2016 David Cornelius all rights reserved


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