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Turning Stigmatization Into An Artform or *How to Take Poison & Turn it into Pleasure*
on February 1, 2012
This documentary definitely focuses on Burrough's sexuality more than any other I've seen, with chat about who he had crushes on & who had crushes on him. And I know plenty who found that objectionable, as who cares if he was gay, he's a true original and icon as a writer. But frankly, that concern is really just a wincing knee-jerk homophobia from the very non-gay audience Burroughs was generally interested in writing for. As in truth, he more than most really WAS more deeply influenced by his sexuality in the formation of the whats & whys of all he wrote.
Being an 'outcast' concerned with 'otherness' (ie, NOT the straight & narrow path) and an interest in 'marginalized' beinghood (even 'alien') & unusual sexual practices IS ALL BURROUGHS...the man within, you might say. And yes, resultant of having no represented place in society growing up, and for him, well into adulthood. Find me one song on the radio that sings of same sex love (no, not 'Lola' by The Kinks), and maybe you can refute that, even today, the stigmas are strong. But he turned stigmatization into an artform. Or you might say, he took his poison & transformed it into the body of work we've now gained from him.
In any case, I've seen a lot of Burroughs, including the Commissioner of Sewers & Towers Open Fire, as well as owning some of his talkie CDs like Dead City Radio, and sure this film borrows plenty of footage from these, which 'real fans' would have already had exposure to. But I take it real fans don't mind seeing clips of those again & actually enjoy it quite a bit. I think this was a very cool documentary with some personal tidbits, both from stories told & home videos shown, which were quite rewarding.