Please leave James Dean and Sal Mineo alone. Leave their memories alone. Let them rest in peace. There are so many themes about which you can write... Who Jimmy loved or did not love was his concern and noone else's. Thanks. Paula, Portugal

Expand full comment

Somewhat off topic, I but recently viewed "Kenneth Anger's Gossip" on YouTube. It was an appalling self-revelation of the author. Gimlet eyed and ghastly stone-faced, he pumped up his minor involvement as a filmmaker and repeatedly referred to his Hollywood Babylon books as some kind of canon. His unhealthy obsession with death and weird visions of Queer life startle at every turn. Most disturbing are his easy acceptance of unfounded and untraced rumors. Dean, of course, makes his appearance front and center when he actually gets to Hollywood Icons. Some truly forgettable and long forgotten bit players are brought forward from Anger's youth to no real purpose.

Expand full comment

Jason, when the topic turns to Dean, you do injury to your reputation as the apostle of sweet reason. Look again at what you've written. What does it come to? Gay authors repeat a silly ghost story that (you suggest) probably first appeared in a gay publication. You attribute this story to homophobia. But the only vaguely-similar story to appear in an earlier mainstream publication has no reference of any kind to homosexuality.

In other words, gay people came up with a yarn you decry as homophobic. Because you don't like said yarn, you blame it on an amorphous, reified "homophobia," even though you can't point to a single straight person who played a role in the story's transmission. Hell, I never even heard this story until this morning.

When I see this kind of anti-logic, I imagine how I would respond if someone suggested (say) that white people forced Ray Charles to take heroin. No matter what hardships Charles went through in his life -- and yes, I know the story -- each individual ultimately bears responsibility for the initial decision to take poison.

Similarly, gay people and ONLY gay people are the ones responsible for this bit of silliness. Gay magazines and newspapers published a lot of silly shit in the 70s (as did all sorts of other magazines serving other subcultures). Pointing to some outside force and screeching "They MADE us do it...!" is just childish.

A lot of us straight white males are getting VERY testy about this. We are no longer going to be used as the scapegoat whenever others do injury to themselves.

Expand full comment