LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Collected here are comments of general interest made on individual articles. LTTE will highlight reader information, insights, questions and answers regarding any aspect of Greek love history and literature. Please feel free to comment from this page (some editing may be involved).
Sam Hall, 11 June 2022
Kevin Esser's fictional world is a curious fusion of the pederastic and gay. As an author he has a modern gay sensibility, but he hews to the outdated notion that male adolescence is homosexuality's raison d'être.
The boys in Esser's world represent nature's unstoppable vitality and fecundity. In a local neighbourhood, twelve-to-fourteen-year-old boys, restless with new instinct, seek each other out, check each other out, develop an exotic argot all their own. The young adventurers are always rambling and ripening and sexually connecting in increasingly entangled patches of juice-spilling life-affirmation. It's a fertility ritual that precedes the more sombre procreative concerns to come.
To all this, Esser's occasional adult male interloper makes a shocking contrast. "Ordinary Secrets" presents a good example. Uncle Mike: I cannot take him remotely seriously as a character -- and I suspect I'm not meant to. He is a flat, lifeless collection of sentences that are nothing more than dim echoes of the red-blooded boy-life thundering around him. I'll eat my hat if he really manages to pedicate the Mexican firecracker at the end.
It's the same with Peter in Street Boy Dreams. A dreary gay man in his thirties, who has never quite got round to having sex with anyone, and who discovers the attractions of early teen boys in the manner of a philatelist discovering a new Queen Anne. Well, well, you never know what you'll find if you rummage round the op shops long enough.
Esser's adult male characters, usually gay, cannot find a way to successfully escape or mature beyond the hot, dense-matter gravitational pull of adolescence. The man part of the man-boy dyad has no secure standing, no independent weight or foundation. These drab men are like the ghosts from Homer's Odyssean underworld, listless and disembodied, approaching the rude and red-blooded boys in the hope of snagging a libation, a brief reminder of what is was like to live.
Gay community as a land of shades, a place where heroes like Achilles go to spend an eternity of worthless, sterile tolerance. It's certainly one valid reading of Esser's always interesting work. And it might explain why I can't find out a damn thing about this fine writer on the world woke web.
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Hitched to a Crock, 5 May 2022
I'd like to know more about Joe Orton's relationship with his mother. It might shed light on his persisting in his relationship with Kenneth Halliwell. Something about these two remind me of Norman Bates and his fright-wig mum. Joe, loveable rogue, was really an eternal adolescent, sporting with other boys in the sort of healthy way that stops a young man drifting into Bates's mummy-fired neurotic sex obsessions. The great missed chance in Joe's life was not to have manned up, left Halliwell, and taken Mohammed “Yellow-jersey” as his beloved.
Although the sexual aspect of their relationship was long over, Halliwell continued to seek total domination of his "son-lover". He wanted to procure Joe's boys and dictate to him what nice boys do in bed (which is certainly NOT to become a man!) Every move of Joe's toward independent manhood sent Mummiwell into a screaming fury until, in a reverse Psycho, the psychotic queen donned the costume of a big man and beat the boy's head in with a hammer.
* * *
Daemonic Rise, 21 November 2017
And Kenneth rose up against Joe, and slew him, but Joe's hot blood still cries out from a parched ground, like a prick up the bum...
Damn your eyes, Kenneth Halliwell! -- you always were too queer to be trusted.
Any fool can fuck a boy, but if you want proof Joe was no gay Johnny who on occasion o'erflowed the measure, look no further than this diary extract:
"I have fucked the arses off aging queens quite easily, but found a beautiful young boy often too difficult to come, because I loved him too much."
No, not middle-class guilt, but a touch of the Platonic shivers, the Aschenbachian delirium. Only a boy-lover knows that particular soul-slaying score—an aria way above the sensory range of your average lumpen goat-lover.
With most of the swashbuckling pederasts around here, I envy them and want to be them (twice). But with Joe, I make an exception. With Joe, I want to travel back in time and be his boy. What a blast! What a catch for a kid trundling through dreary suburbia like a wax-work wannabe.
Sure, you'd probably never quite snag him, and he'd break your heart, but you'd never forget him, and his incorrigibly boyish smile would brighten your dotage better than any line of dancing daffodils.Write comment (0 Comments)
Adolescent Pimpernel, 21 April 2022
It's hard to overstate the importance of the "pseudo boy" phenomenon. Could we have created a gay community without it? Ideological fervor is today stripping all sexual content from the public face of gayness, but it's not long ago that the community celebrated the homosexual worship of beautiful boys as smooth, buff 18yo's.
Two very important works of boysexual literature utilise the pseudo boy: Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray and Herman Melville's Billy Budd. Some boys, particularly blonds, carry a significant amount of adolescent charm into early adulthood. For the ancient Greeks, the danger this posed was the temptation for a man to continue in the boy's role, a decadent dereliction of duty. For us, the danger is that a beautiful young man might lead the unwary to the attic where the original kouros sits tucked carefully behind iron drapes... Which is why, I guess, today's gay community celebrates the 34yo lawyer. What could be hotter than a new State by-law?
Authur V., 18 April 2022
Saw this great film many times, but never saw it this way, thank you for this clear view of this amazing film, so many years after.
A stupendous review. This is what the world needs to know about this superb movie.
Anonymous 93, 12 April 2022
Great take on this interesting subgenre. For those interested, would suggest also Stig of the Dump, Clive King's classic children's novel about a boy befriending a time-stranded caveman, which has been adapted for television twice: once in 1981 starring Grant Warnock, and once in 2002 starring Thomas Sangster.
Anonymous 93, 11 April 2022
Very sorry to hear of the author's death -- would have liked to suggest to him and read his opinions on some further titles, such as Monsieur Papa (France, 2011), André Valente (Portugal, 2004), Bertrand disparu (France, 1986), Rue des Cascades/Un Gosse de la butte (France, 1964) and Katok i skripka (Russia, 1961).
Louis, 4 April 2022
Now that the Taliban are back, I suppose these relations are banned again ?
“I was beautiful. I never left home for a year and a half – I was that afraid," says Farid...when an Afghan commander took a liking to him.
Hey, I'm gunna steal that one: no, I wasn't a sad, sickly little 'fraidy cat -- I was too damn beautiful to live!
Look on the bright side, Farid - at least you were safe from covid.
In the space of three sentences we're told that Kandahar's Greek love culture is one of rampant boy rape, and that the boys openly flaunt their relationships with men. Funny boys. Hope they never teased Farid.
Born to be Mild, 2 April 2022
Our scribe may be anonymous, but I'd be willing to wager he's reasonably advanced in age. A time-honoured geezer lament: standards are slipping, morals are in decline, boys ain't what they used to be... Republican Rome blamed it on warm baths; now a far more exciting cause-and-effect can be targeted for inflation: the molly.
The moraliser rails against "the Fulsome Custom of Men Kissing each other". A huge and ongoing mistake of those opposed to gayness. Trucking a new-found homophobia into the area of ordinary male physical intimacy is in fact a guaranteed way to exacerbate the occurrence of exclusive, gay-tending homosexuality. JA Symonds' memoirs provide a very good example of this. He detested and was unable to join in the rambunctious, often sexual byplay going on between boys. This leads to a fetishisation of the masculine bonding experience he's isolated from. Eventually his entire sexuality is shaped to pursue only boys and young men. This shaping may, in the main, take place very early, but it's a real phenomenon and the one behind the rise in gay identity.
It's also interesting to compare this writer's discussion of homosexuality with Jeremy Bentham's, fifty-odd years later. Bentham doesn't really address the molly phenomenon, assuming homosexual behaviour to be pederastic. Outside of the secret London clubs and beats, it probably was. Commentators like the Plain Reasons author were a very important part in creating a gay mountain out of a homosexual molehill. The phobic solutions his ilk pursued (and pursue) -- making males afraid of physical intimacy -- was the most ingenious "recruiting" method ever devised.
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