THE SIMPLE ART OF
FAG NOIR FICTION
“In everything that
can be called art…”
The Simple Art of Murder
In everything that can be called “Noir”—there is a quality of Subversion. It can be white trash tragedy, dinge denouement, high camp drag or dreary-dearie
sobs of distraught, heart-broken poor closet-cases.
And then there’s the fag noir writer—cruising down the mean Str8t streets who seemingly remains nonchalantly both tarnished white trash as well as dizzy dinge queen without giving it a second thought.
Like Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dali, the fag noir literati know how to trash the str8t bourgeois avant-garde and shock all the hetero peons—with charming surrealist shockers like the slit eye in “Un Chien andalou” (The Andalusian Dog).
Guided by instinct—writing out of inevitability without thought, without thinking about what’s good for the church or state, not caring about the contemporary bourgeoisie, neither eunuch nor satyr, neither a duchess or a virgin queen, neither a nun nor a cross-eyed, harelipped, hunchbacked, gimpy, child-idiot nincompoop.
Insolent and snarky when in a grand dame Guignol trashy mood, quick to say “What a dump!” when in a Bette Davis bitchy disposition. Dispassionately dishy when reading some other queen’s beads, but equally as rude and caustic when parlaying with some tacky grotesque creature from “The Night of the Living Straight Dead.”
The story the fag noir writer seeks doesn’t have anything to do with truth—because the world is a grotesque House of Mirrors in a creepy str8t Circus of Sideshow Freaks and Nightmarish Debaucheries.
Genet smirking at his handsome one-armed lover Stilatano in “Journal of a Thief”—as the hoodlum stud gets confused and lost in a carnival house of mirrors and can’t get out. So he sits down on the floor—and simply gives up. Genet doesn’t attempt to help his stra8t lover—but rather enjoys seeing such an epitome of muy macho masculinity castrated, emasculated and helpless before the laughing crowd of jeering spectators…
The story the fag noir writer seeks—doesn’t have anything to do with anything. Since the fag noir author senses the inevitable—that it’s all just a fake House of Mirrors with a range of awesome awareness by everyone that there’s no escape which startles and stuns even the dumbest reader.
The classics of fag noir fiction ooze with camp, kitsch, burlesque, cabaret and drag acts—spawning fag parodies and queer pastiches of the most sacrosanct str8t icons.
Villainous femme fatales of both sexes are cheaper by the dozen—with the resulting dose of cynicism and trashiness giving deliciously the tired, bored, str8t bourgeoisie a nice little dose of DOD.
Not that the discrete charms of the gay bourgeoisie are much better or more acceptable—with their inevitable Fetishization of Coiffures, Cunts and stylish Contempt for each other. The usual parade of tacky tropes and typical faggy types—swishy stereotypes performing in our little “Birdcage” theater.
It probably started with Poetry—almost everything does anyway, my dears. Chandler took fag noir out of the Venetian vase and dropped it in the Vienna sewer. It doesn’t have to stay there—but it’s as a good start as anywhere. For a gay well-bred debutante—to get gnawing on a nice Justin Bieber chicken bone.
Queens with a sharp mature aggressive attitude toward life aren’t afraid of the seamy side of things—Chandler giving campy fag noir back to the queens who committed the the despicable crime in the first place for whatever reason.
Satire and kitschy parody of the Str8ts—is like Murder in the Cathedral. Lovely Homicide—for the Haughty Spoiled Heterosexuals.
Fag noir is a style—even though audiences don’t know it because it’s in a language not supposed to be capable of such gay refinements.
But when language develops to the point of becoming a fag noir language—it only looks like speech. Such a style doesn’t belong to anybody—but is the American gay lingo (and not even exclusively that anymore). It can say things we don’t know how to say or feel the need for saying. It has no overtones, leaves no echo, evokes no images at the end of the rainbow.
Hemingway says somewhere that the good writer competes only with the dead. The good fag noir story writer (there must be a few out there) competes not only with the Night of the Living Dead str8t writers—but also all the hosts of living walking dead str8ts as well.
The thing that makes fags read fag noir fiction or be fag noir moviegoers—isn’t at all the same kind of book or movie that str8ts enjoy. It’s about entirely different things. But the fag noir story and the str8t story are about the same thing. There are reasons for this too—and reasons for the reasons.
The classic Str8t Story has learned nothing—and forgotten everything. It’s a story you’ll find every day on TV, in movies, in advertising.
The fag storyline is a trifle different—the dialog a little quicker, more risqué, more glib. There are more frozen daiquiris and stingers—more clothes by Vogue and decors tres chic.
We spend time in Miami Beach in expensive hotels like The Carlyle—engaging in campy “Birdcage” burlesque and drag comedies. Sipping our Singapore Slings and sneering at each other.
Straight storylines as well as fag noir ones—don’t truly come off intellectually as problems or artistically as fiction. Escaping form genre boredom—is impossible. Both str8ts and fags so similar to— Miss Genet and Stilatano in Journal of a Thief.
“every original novel is
‘anti’—because it does not
resemble the genre or
kind of its predecessor”
There’s this scene—
In Journal of a Thief when
Genet’s lover Stilatano gets
Lost in a House of Mirrors
The fairground audience—
Laughs at the spectable and
Miss Genet does nothing to
Help his handsome gangster
Genet betrays Stilatano—
Weeps yet takes a gay perverse
Satisfaction in being a voyeur
To this one-armed youth’s angst
Usually it’s the other way—
The gays continuously betrayed
By the aloof stra8t coolness
The usual homicidal homo hate
So when Puig plays with—
Betrayal by Rita Hayworth
It’s his femme fatale alter ego
That’s getting even, my dears.
Authority frightens fags—
And yet we’re drawn to it
As surely as a nelly moth
Is drawn to butchy flame