Holly Golightly’s Story
This article about the creation of Holly Golightly in Truman Capote’s novella, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, has several interesting points. One of which deals with her personality and how she thinks about men.
In her disregard for the conventions of polite society and her sexual adventurousness, Holly is something of an avatar of the liberated woman of the Sixties and Seventies, although she probably wouldn’t have approved of hippie sartorial practices, nor would she have likely appreciated the more strident male-bashing aspects of the radical wing of the feminist movement.
Truman Capote was a gay man, but not an openly gay man in the sense that he worried about equality and coming out. In his day the word gay meant happy and he was considered a homosexual, among other pejoratives. When he wrote the character of Holly Golightly it most likely came from many of his own personal experiences, because in his time, just like now, the world was owned by straight men.
I found this interesting, too.
One of the strongest endorsements of the novella came from Norman Mailer, normally the most competitive and certainly the most macho of all of Capote’s contemporaries, who wrote: “Truman Capote I do not know well, but I like him.
“He is as tart as a grand aunt, but in his way he is a ballsy little guy, and he is the most perfect writer of my generation, he writes the best sentences word for word, rhythm upon rhythm. I would not have changed two words of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, which will become a small classic.” (Indeed, perfectionist that he was, Capote might well have placed a semicolon after the word “generation”. Capote was a master of that particular punctuation mark.)
On the surface that sounds like a compliment, but some gay men would take offense to the grand aunt reference. I know I do. As flamboyant as Capote was, he was still a man. A good deal of his career, however, was spawned as a result of his being so flamboyant, and I’m sure he knew that. Gay men have always done whatever they have to do to survive, and in some cases, if that means acting the part of a pet poodle they are not above that. I understand that, I don’t fault them for that, and I admire them for doing what they had to do to survive. I can tell you one thing for certain, if the character of Holly Golightly had been written as a gay man, the book would never have been published, Mailer would never have praised it the way he did in the quote above, and I probably wouldn’t even be writing this blog post about it.
I could ramble on with this topic for days. But the point I’m trying to make here is that when I parodied Breakfast at Tiffany’s the way I did with gay characters in The Virgin Billionaire, I was making my own statement, not trying to become the next Truman Capote. By writing the VB as an erotic romance only took that parody to another level because that’s also something Capote never would have been allowed to do during his time…books about gay men AND sex were hidden in the mattress. And there weren’t that many around in the first place. Gay men had nothing with which to identify in books or in films during Capote’s time…or any form of mainstream entertainment. So they wound up identifying with characters like Holly Golightly for lack of anything better. And Capote did do a great job of creating her, but I’ll always wonder that if he’d lived in a different time and place if he would have made her a gay man instead.
You won’t see that mentioned in the article I’ve linked to. I doubt the author, Jay McInerney, even thinks along those lines. And why should he? He never had to think that way.
Cory Booker Gay Rumors
I think this next article to which I’m linking is important for a variety of reasons. Cory Booker is a talented young politician I’ve been watching for a while now. He’s the mayor of Newark, NJ, and the things he’s done in that city to turn things around have been wonderful. I was born in Newark, NJ, and as a young child my family moved away because the city started to decay. And I never thought I would see such a huge rebound in my lifetime. No one can dispute this.
This fall Cory Booker is running for a seat in the senate, and another senate candidate, Steve Lonegan, has been throwing those proverbial darts in Booker’s direction. And the way he’s been doing this is not only shocking, it’s about as sickening as it gets with regard to what he thinks of gay men in general.
“It’s kind of weird. As a guy, I personally like being a guy. I don’t know if you saw the stories last year. They’ve been out for quite a bit about how he likes to go out at three o’clock in the morning for a manicure and a pedicure,” Lonegan, the conservative former mayor of Bogota, N.J., told Newsmax.
This comment is an indirect result of the fact that Booker does not comment on his private life or his sexual orientation at all. Booker made this statement last week.
“Because how unfair is it to a young lady to put them in the spotlight if they haven’t signed up for that yet?” he said. “And people who think I’m gay, some part of me thinks it’s wonderful. Because I want to challenge people on their homophobia. I love seeing on Twitter when someone says I’m gay, and I say, ‘So what does it matter if I am? So be it. I hope you are not voting for me because you are making the presumption that I’m straight.’”
I understand what Booker is stating, and I don’t disagree with it…if Booker is NOT actually gay. I get the way the political machine works, too. But if he is gay, and he’s not disclosing that now, he’s really only adding to the shame other gay men have been experiencing all their lives, and promoting the concept that being gay does make a difference. I don’t like that. Openly gay men nowadays don’t like that. And we are tired of that brand of thinking. Mayor Koch of New York did that sort of thing all his life, and I would like to see that brand of thinking die with Koch’s generation so that future generations of gay men don’t have to worry about that “young lady” in the spotlight, and all they do have to worry about is that “young man” in the spotlight.
This actually even gets more complicated in this article, where Booker talks about how he once hated gays.
He added: “Allow me to be more direct, escaping the euphemisms of my past — I hated gays. The disgust and latent hostility I felt toward gays were subcategories of hatred, plain and simple.”
Booker’s self-cleansing column seems to dispute rumors that he is a closeted homosexual. Is it possible for a man to be virulently homophobic and still be gay? One published study suggests that it is within the realm of possibility.
If I were Booker, I would say something one way or the other and address the issue openly. I will never forget the day I came home from work to a news conference on TV where Gov. McGreevey of NJ said, “I am a gay American.” It was as entertaining as it was pathetic. I had seen McGreevey in person once in Lambertville, NJ, up close, during a parade. I knew he was gay the moment I looked into his eyes. And this was long before his disclosure. When he did finally decide to come out, blogs all over the web branded him Governor “McCreepy.” And I would hate to see Cory Booker turn into Senator Creeper.