This is Aciman’s trick, but not his exclusively: everybody’s doing it.The teens of our books are too often not teens, but vessels for adults’ sexual and emotional gratification, something to memorialize through or to act on or to punish for adults’ faults, or else adults as they wish they themselves had been: suave, sophisticated, skilled, loved — and not only loved but adored. Their bodies, their minds, their words, their shit and their semen, all adored as Elio adores Oliver. But that’s not a lover or a partner — that’s a votary. That’s taking everything you feel, everything you hate about yourself, and making a child carry it. Why, except that Aciman wished it, is Elio seventeen and Oliver twenty-four? Would their relationship, the passion, the eroticism, the tropes of romance, be less relevant or less incendiary for a person later in life? Could a person not have a sexual awakening at thirty? All else being equal, why did Elio have to be a child?
“We are choking on this utterly manufactured sense of staving off the inevitable.”
“The cancellation of Agent Carter reminds me of Cagney and Lacey. This award-winning series about two women cops ran from 1981 to 1988 — but not without struggle. As detailed in Faludi’s Backlash, Barbara Corday and Barbara Avedon shopped their pilot around for six years before CBS picked it up for a made-for-TV movie. The movie was successful and the network launched a series, aired two episodes, then cancelled the show, brought it back, cancelled it, brought it back, and cancelled it again — and this back-and-forth doesn’t include the episode, ultimately cancelled anyway, where executives barred Gloria Steinem from guest-starring. Despite a popular and critically-acclaimed run (fans wrote thousands of support letters), showrunners battled regularly with executives over the latter’s insistence that Cagney and Lacey were “‘too tough’”; that women cops were not marriage material; that Cagney was too promiscuous and insufficiently “‘vulnerable’”; and that Cagney could not be permitted even to contemplate an abortion, years after Roe v. Wade.”
“This is the beauty of Voyage — it doesn’t go in for “that macho stuff.” Unlike the recent reboot, of which I am still very fond, there is no Kirk creeping on various women as they undress, no attribution of McCoy’s nickname to a mean ex-wife instead of his profession, no dismissal of Christine Chapel as a forgettable hook-up. There is no anxious hyper-masculinity in old Star Trek, and it’s not because they have nothing to prove but because they know they don’t need to.”
“It feels good, of course, to not fight the binary. Everybody likes to feel beautiful (whatever beautiful is wherever we are) and to be recognized as beautiful, because to be beautiful is to be rewarded for it. We like it when we look nice, when we try hard and it pays off, when we receive compliments in person or online.