Andrew Sullivan points out that the tan/muscle/visible boxer-briefs band vibe popularized by Jersey Shore is pretty much a wholesale adoption of “the steroid look perfected by gays in the early 2000s.” It wouldn’t be the first time that gay fashion had its delayed revenge on straight style. What strikes me most is how self-obsessed, how self-referential, and how self-objectifying it all is. Or really, self-alienating — a guy’s abs take on this semi-independent, alien character usually reserved only for that part of the male anatomy often accused of doing its thinking for itself.

When Andrew and others predict ‘the end of gay culture’ in a big sea of bourgeois normalcy, I look at something like this strange development and I think, hmm, perhaps that’s not exactly it. We have this persistent desire to be able to oscillate back and forth between the comfortable, predictable, everyday world and the crazy planet or wild side. I doubt that’s going away. And I do think that the looser our sexual mores get, the more dramatic that oscillation is likely to become.

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  1. Profile Photo Member

    James, I appreciate your taking a stab at an intellectual discussion of pop culture. But what strikes me most about this post is that nothing is really changing except Andrew Sullivan — he’s my age and he’s getting old. Gay people Sullivan’s age are either driving minivans to carpool or they’re renovating their bathrooms.

    (Urbanite) 20-something culture — gay and straight — is as shocking and anti-bourgeois as it ever was, and I suspect ever will be. But Sullivan increasingly won’t be invited to attend it. He’s now firmly in the pot-luck-and-farmer’s-market stage of life and that’s just how life works — no matter your quantity of abs.

    As for loosening sexual mores increasing the scope of oscillation between the shocking and the bourgeois? I’m not so sure. Like all the homilies offered in other Ricochet posts on the institution of marriage, I suspect some selective social memory at work here. History is full of loose sexual mores and hypocritical marriages. And I suspect full of 25 yr-olds heralding new moral ages and of 45 yr-olds shocked and dismayed by youth culture. C’est la vie.

    • #1
  2. Profile Photo Contributor

    Know what I like about this topic?

    Sullivan isn’t blaming we Italians for the actors playing their awful roles on MTV’s Jersey Shore.

    Meraviglioso, Andrew!

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  3. Profile Photo Member

    P.S. Also amusing to note the ads that this particular post inspires in the right hand banner. Congrats on diversifying Ricochet’s revenue stream James!

    • #3
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