The filmmaker's new documentary about Rock Hudson rewrites history to turn a stolid, fallible, and ultimately cowardly man into a hero of gay liberation.
"A stronger approach might have examined how Rock Hudson’s story reflected the types of lives queer men of that era lived so that we could see that every man who survived in those times had some degree of heroism and that living was itself a noble act worthy of celebrating without the theatrics, fanfare, and rewriting necessary to turn real people into gilded saints" I wanted to quote this section in whole because it says it perfectly and I couldn't say it any better. I haven't seen the documentary myself, but it feels like that by glossing over aspect of Hudson's life/career and trying to turn him into a beyond reproach hero/icon it did a real disservice to everyone and Hudson's experiences and life story/the larger history.
You hit on something that I was (not as articulately or precisely) thinking about myself: "In short, Hudson’s experience was that of a small minority of well-connected urban elite gay men, while James Dean’s experience, until his last year or so, was closer to that of the countless queer men who were not part of the small, urban gay culture." And it feels like that sort of double standard /not extending the same empathy/understanding/sympathy to Dean as they do for Hudson for both mens' experiences of being queer men in Hollywood in the 1950s is also carried through in this documentary itself, which is frustrating and unfortunate.
Terrific piece, Jason!