"The Kids Are Alright" - An Ethical Media Event?

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For my major project for QE I am thinking of looking at "The Kids Are Alright" informed through Somerville's project of looking at the ways race and sexuality are intertwined. In terms of this film, it seems like a case could be made that gayness becomes a site of privilege and a version of moral superiority at the expense of the racialized characters who are minimized, mocked, and rejected. In this sense, "The Kids Are Alright" ideologically functions to accept "difference" but only a narrow, white, privileged version of difference. In particular, the character of the Latino gardener is probably the most offensive characterization in the film, reminiscent of a minstrel performance. Also, although maybe unintentionally, the film as a whole delivers a scathing critique of marriage between women. Fatherhood, after 18 years of a maternal parenting situation, is framed as necessary in order to intervene amidst the cloying and smothering behavior of maternal love. It would also be interesting to look at the ways in which desire is framed in the narrative in this film. While Paul (the sperm donor turned father) has women basically throwing themselves at him, the lack of desire between the moms (Nic and Jules) naturalizes his sexual prowess and tips the scales in favor of male heterosexuality. In the bigger picture of the project of ethics, this piece might interrogate the ways in which norms, normativity and normalization function via the narrative of the film. I think the queer futurity issue/debate will also become relevant here as the the title of the film implies, the narrative trajectory of the film asks us to primarily be concerned with the next generation. Lisa Chodolenko's film tells us that change and the future equal settling down passively for the long haul and that there is not much hope for future generations, and in that sense, maybe the kids are not alright.

See trailer here

2 Comments

This looks like a great project (more feedback to come)! Just a quick note: have you read Jack Halberstam's The Kids Aren't Alright over at Bully Bloggers?

Yes, in fact that blog post very much inspired my interest in this project!

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