Ever since the Crush video leaked, there have been numerous threads throughput the web veering in all kinds of directions based on a suggestion in various blogs and forums that there was perhaps some ambiguity in the video, in a couple of shots, about who the main character (please note the use of the phrase main character, we’ll be seeing this again) was crushing on. I have commented on this on several occasions; there was long discussion about it here on notingDavid in a previous post; even David’s father made a remark about such comments. I felt it was time to go on the official record with some perspective. I think it’s important.
What I want to make clear about this question–and not just about the video–will already be familiar to most of notingDavid’s regular commentators and readers, because what I feel needs to be addressed are some persistent misunderstandings and unfortunate assumptions of the type that tend to emerge more often on other sites with broader memberships and more varied commentators. For better or worse, discussions here at notingDavid tend to be of a, shall we say, more theoretical nature. We try to keep the drama at a minimum (although gushing is tolerated!) and the respect at a premium. Still, I hope it will helpful for all to review some basics about this topic.
David is Separate From His Work
I explored this notion in a previous post, so please investigate that for more detail, but the point is very relevant here. The original questions about the video for Crush had nothing whatsoever to do with David’s own sexuality. They posed a question about a certain ambiguity that quite a few people saw in the video, which is a work of film fiction in which David is playing a character. Inevitably, some comments that followed this perfectly legitimate and interesting question sought to blur the line between the work and the person in irrelevant and disrespectful ways. It is important for those who feel compelled to defend David that they steer the discussion back to the premise–not to engage so-called haters, who usually want nothing other than to wreak havoc by getting people to react angrily.
David’s Personal Life is Not for Discussion
Attempts to “defend” David by insisting he is straight are no different than attempts to say he is gay. They are equally invasive. It’s one of the reasons that his most thoughtful and caring fans cringe when clueless, vulgar reporters ask him about kissing or about girlfriends or about crushes. That crosses a line from discussions about David the artist to discussions about David the private person in precisely the same manner as if a reporter were to ask if he had a boyfriend. It’s no different. It involves assumptions about things that David has not chosen to put into the public discourse, and it is disrespectful to engage him or anyone else about it in discussion. Even more problematic is that well-intentioned fans who vociferously try to “defend David’s honor” by insisting he is straight are inadvertently supporting a persistent cultural prejudice that being gay is inherently wrong.
It Is Wise to Cultivate An Ambiguous Appeal
Let’s say for the sake of argument that there was some intentional ambiguity as to who the character in the video has a crush on. It’s David’s work, and so he might be reaching out to his gay fans to say, ‘hey, you guys have crushes, too.’ (Incidentally, on the gay blogs where this topic was brought up, the overwhelming conclusion in the comments was that there was no intentional gay subtext at all.) If David’s work now or in the future contains indications of ambiguous sexuality, then it means that he is being very smart about the diversity of his fan base, about what his cultural position and responsibilities are, and about conveying a broad and compassionate world view. There are many artists who do this with a great deal of conscious intention. And if the line between the artist and the person gets blurred (as it will inevitably be by less sophisticated minds), so what? If anything, it makes the person more interesting and more appealing to a larger and more diverse audience.
Finally, I think it is very interesting to consider that precisely because David chooses to avoid explicit expressions of romance or sensuality in his work–in stark contrast to most of his artistic peers–that the question of orientation (in the work) is likely to be more open than it would otherwise be. In other words, David’s commitment to reserve in this matter may, in and of itself, leave the door open wider for different interpretations by his diverse audience. Personally, I think that’s a pretty cool consequence of a preference for wholesomeness.