Aubrey Ward III
I'm not telling you what to see. I'm not telling you what not to see. I'm just sharing my experience and opinion on the movie, tv show or play that I have seen. I'm merely an advisor. Ultimately, you will have to go with your own gut and decide if you'll buy the ticket or not.View all articles by Aubrey Ward III
Then the Watchmen film came out and all the devoted fans went to see it (though based on the US box office numbers there aren’t as many fans as I thought). Most of my fellow comic book enthusiast pals were thrilled with the final product. Of course, there were still some things they would’ve liked to have changed but for the most part it was a positive reaction from the geek community.
The most consistent jeer I heard was about Dr. Manhattan’s blue hued “frank & beans” taking center stage several times on the big screen. That critique was made most clear when I saw the midnight showing of Watchmen. When the good doctor waltzes in and the camera gets a good shot of his full frontal persona the groans and snickers from the audience were surprisingly numerous. I was kind of shocked. I mean, the graphic novel shows Dr. Manhattan naked throughout the book. Director Zack Snyder promised to be as accurate to the novel as possible. I would imagine the readers would’ve been prepared to see Dr. Manhattan in all his luminescent glory.
Color me incorrect. I could imagine the readers taking their books and putting Post-It flaps over Dr. Manhattan’s wang or blotting it out with a black marker. The general public having the wiggins over this, I could understand. I would expect the religious minded to be a little uncomfortable. But the sci-fiers? The gamers? The geeks? With all the porn and half naked characters we view on a daily basis I figured full frontal male nudity would barely register on the radar. Life Rule# 15: Never assume.
Okay, just typing “penis” elicits at least a smirk even from someone as cultured and forward thinking as myself (yes, She-Ra cartoons count as high art…..somewhere). But, c’mon, this is 2009. We have “For Sale” signs on the moon. Dontcha think it’s about time we got over this fear of phallic symbols?
I return to Watchmen. I didn’t hear anyone groaning over Silk Spectre showing her breasts on screen. I didn’t hear any of the women squealing “Eeww, boobies!” when Silk Spectre and Nite Owl were grinding in the Archie and I certainly didn’t hear much complaining from the men either.
So I got to thinking why some of the male Watchmen viewers were so icked out by Dr. Manhattan’s nards. And these weren’t even real nards.
Anyway, I think a major factor is the gay suggestion. My thinking is that if a straight guy is looking at another guy’s penis and it is not attached to a statue or illustrated in a painting then he thinks he’s gay or doing something gay-like. Then he has to run home and do his girlfriend before the evil thoughts completely overtake him and he ends up shopping at The Gap and listening to Judy Garland’s greatest hits.
Simply put, it’s not gay to look at a penis. Think about it, my fellow gents. Most of us see our little dippers pretty frequently. We don’t get all out of sorts when we’re scrubbing down in the shower or whipping it out to take a wizz. And what about those straight adult films? Those guys aren’t pleasing those starlets with toilet plungers……well, in mainstream adult films anyway. Now, if you are a guy and you’re looking at another guy’s private part and you feel somewhat aroused by it then that’s a slightly different story for another day.
Other than the fear of any guy’s wiener making a straight guy feel all tingly I really don’t see why guys would get annoyed by full frontal nudity. Perhaps it’s the genre? Museums have paintings and sculptures featuring naked men and there isn’t much hubbub over it. I saw The Reader and I didn’t hear any complaints about David Kross walking around in his birthday suit for most of the first act. Is it because The Reader is a high-brow drama set in another country?
Could size be an issue? I figured that male actors shied away from full frontal because they might lose fans. Oh sure. They’ll show their butts. Butts can be worked on. But peckers? Usually that’s a case of the “haves” and “have nots”. Women have been showing it all off. Breasts, butts, vaginas and that’s all okay. While an actor showing off his package is still viewed as obscene and possibly even a career risk. I thought an actor was supposed to be judged on his acting ability and not the size of his manhood?
I’m gonna end my observational query / mini-rant here. Dr. Manhattan’s glowing penis just made me reflect on where we are in the sexual revolution. We’ve come a long way but it seems we still have this one last penis, I mean, hurdle to jump over. There are so many reasons why some people feel uncomfortable about seeing a man’s genitalia specifically in film. I was just puzzled that the geek community bristled over Dr. Manhattan’s penis. I read comic books featuring guys running around in their underwear all the time. Superman, Batman, Namor, Conan the Barbarian, The Ambiguously Gay Duo; they might not be stark naked but those bulges between their legs make their gender statuses very clear.
Magneto ripping out Wolverine’s adamantium? Shocking! A glowing blue guy’s flaccid rod? Not so much.
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