Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Patrick Moote appeals on his worldwide tour as an "UnHung Hero"; size doesn't matter any more
When I came of age and began to recognize my own sexuality, I did develop a process of “upward affiliation”, where I wanted to be around men who were more “complete” than I thought I was, and more “perfect” in every obvious measure. I liked the idea of someone who was both “smart” and “masculine” at the same time, because (in the late 1950s at least) that seemed hard, so it was virtuous. What I noticed visually was that some men “had more” in terms of secondary sexual characteristics than others. And given the society of the time, my exposure was largely based on the Caucasian world.
The premise of the documentary “UnHung Hero”, directed by Brian Spitz, was that in a heterosexual context. The hero or protagonist, Patrick Moote, is told by a girlfriend that she will not marry him because, well, he doesn’t have enough of the “primary” sexual characteristic, which is something (unlike secondary) that stays out of public sight and knowledge almost all the time.
Now of course any adult has the individual right to “reject” another adult for an intimate relationship for any reason. We all know rejection. But when it becomes publicly apparent that we become concerned about whether “I can do better than that” in terms of a partner, and that’s OK, then our culture is in trouble. People who are less “fortunate” will be seen as ineligible to have their own families and becomes subordinate to others. There was a strong undercurrent of this kind of concern during my days as a “patient” at NIH in the latter part of 1962. Today, in some countries (like Russia) it might be seen as interfering with population replacement.
Patrick, about 30, goes on a worldwide quest from his family home on Whidbey Island, near Seattle, to solve his “problem”. The travels, like Anthony Bourdain, to South Korea, Taiwan, and New Guinea. In his first trip to Korea, he gets chased out of a gym for taking inappropriate pictures. In Taipei he learns about “workouts” and tries the bizarre local cuisine (turtle eggs and snakes, that Bourdain would relish). In Papua, he is confronted with his own reticence on the precipice of starting the painful injections that would increase his “size”. Back to Korea, where he throws up when he contemplates plastic surgery. He will have to grow up and accept himself as he is. He's quit things before, like SAT's, and in one crisis he doesn't want to complete this meta-film.
The style of documentary is that of "mockumentary". He often talks to the camera. He doesn't try to be as funny as he could be,
One reassuring observation is that, from what the eye can see publicly, Patrick is quiet appealing. He is lean, agile, and hairy, with clear skin and a nice mop on top. He fits the social stereotype of a good-looking young white male. He talks to one gay man about this toward the end of the film. If he had been gay, he would have been viewed as appealing in the disco scene.
At one point, there is a conversation saying that young men no longer have the opportunity to “see” one another in physical education class like they used to, and that the perception of size as a problem can grow as a result, appealing then to all those Internet charlatans and spammers selling cures.
The official site for the film is here.
I reviewed this from a private Vimeo screener from Breaking Glass Pictures.
The art work above is actually from Panama (estate picture).