Monday, November 17, 2014

"Foxcather" John du Pont, Gay Angle; Crimes of a Chickenhawk; Foxcatcher 1996

"Foxcatcher" John du Pont, Gay Angle

In 1996, John du Pont, from the wealthy du Pont family in the Philadelphia area, shot and killed a wrestler named David Schultz. I remember the story well because it was all over local Philadelphia news at the time, partly because du Pont was from such a prominent family and partly because he locked himself in his house for days until he finally surrendered to police after a long stand off.

Also at the time, I remember hearing rumors about du Pont being a closeted gay man. Of course none of those rumors were ever brought out in public, at least not through local mainstream media. If you do a search you'll find several fascinating articles about it...and many come with comment threads where people have left even more fascinating pieces of alleged information that the press conveniently overlooked. This link to wiki states that du Pont was, in fact, gay.

 du Pont married Gale Wenk in 1983. They annulled their marriage ninety days later. du Pont was gay.

Now there's a film out about du Pont, Foxcatcher, which focuses on the murder of David Schultz. It would have to focus on the murder because the only other interesting thing about du Pont's life was that he loved wrestlers. He loved them enough to build a wrestling training camp on his estate, which is called Foxcatcher. He called the wrestling camp "Team Foxcatcher." And, David Schultz was living on the estate with his wife at the time he was murdered by du Pont.

The film has received a few negative reviews, this one being the worst I've seen so far.

Not content to portray the vaguely sexual murder through In Cold Blood–style social observation and psychological speculation, Miller pretends to get “political.” The du Pont–Schultz disaster is presented with solemn music (including Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changin’”) and a nighttime image of the Washington monument here contextualized as a defiled phallic symbol — evidence of national decadence and decline. Miller shows the instincts of a dull-witted editorial writer, not an artist.

I'm not getting into film reviews, but notice the comment about "vaguely sexual murder." That same vaguely sexual aspect of this case has been following the story since it first happened. This morning I was flipping through local Philadelphia morning news channels and several had short segments devoted to du Pont and the new film out about him. Not one mentioned anything about him being gay. Not one mentioned the fact that there's even been speculation. I was waiting, but it was completely ignored. And I find that hard to take because it's still implying that there is shame associated with being gay.

Here's a link to a comment thread where someone posted some interesting facts.  

This is only part of the comment:

John duPont was a whack job and gay. His marriage was clearly an attempt to throw people off of the truth. Many Delaware Wrestlers trained at his estate in the off season because it was the best facility around. These men are now in their 30′s and 40′s. They attended the facility in groups and never wanted to be alone with the guy. 

I will see the film, but my point with this post is that I'm tired of anything remotely associated with being gay is treated as if it's a taboo topic by the mainstream media. At least mention it as a possibility if it's important to the story and don't censor us anymore...even if it's not flattering and it doesn't create a happy-cry moment.

Here's a link where you can read about the book, Foxcatcher.

Crimes of a Chickenhawk

This is about John du Pont, too. I wanted to post something from a gay media POV and found this review of the film, Foxcatcher. The title, for those who don't know what a "chickenhawk" is, refers to older gay men who are ONLY attracted to much younger gay men. That term's been around for a long time.

The earlier part of this post is how the media ignores the gay angle in the film. This part of the post is how the film allegedly insults gays in general. I haven't seen the film so I can't comment.

When du Pont awakens Mark for an after-midnight work-out, we’re shown the beast-with-two-backs in silhouette. Miller’s “tasteful” approach keeps us in the dark but surely du Pont and Mark know they’re humping. Miller’s innuendo robs them of their full tragedy while indie movie power brokers who sponsor Miller’s elite homophobia deflect their snobbery with a violent climax. They promote gayness as a pathological stereotype. In its grim, art-movie way, Foxcatcher is a form of gay-bashing. Lovers of the singlet had better stick to Matthew Modine, Michael Schoeffling, and Frank Jasper (pictured below) in the 1985 wrestling mat classic Vision Quest.


You can read the entire review here.

Foxworth: The History l996

And here's an article from l996 that discusses the murder and all kinds of eccentricities du Pont had. And then this:

 There were also rumors that du Pont was gay, and that his interest in wrestlers went beyond the appropriate bounds of a coach.

Interesting. And I had to dig to find that one.

You can read the rest here.

Again, my point has nothing to do with the more complicated matters presented about du Pont or the murder investigation. I'm not even commenting on the film right now. My point is simple and I'd like to know why the strong gay angle in this story isn't mentioned when it's being discussed by the media almost twenty years later.


The Sheriff and the Outlaw
by Ryan Field






 








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