Tuesday, November 25, 2008

All You Will Get Is Fake Peen

It's not that I'm dying to see flaccid penises on the big screen, you understand. I like 'em fine enough, but 1) if it's a porn, I'm going to expect to see it get hard, 2) if it's a mainstream film, I'm going to expect it to be either very brief and thus unimportant or unnecessary and distracting from the plot, or 3) if I'm hunting for celebrity masturbatory fodder, more non-genital nudity would go further than the peen, which I can construct just fine in my mind. So following that logic, I really shouldn't be so upset at the fact that I won't be seeing Sean Penn or James Franco's penises in the upcoming movie "Milk".

And yet I am, and I'll tell you why.

(On a side note, I am sooo excited about "Milk", the biopic about the first openly gay politican Harvey Milk. I have to admit it- I'm not that much a fan of Sean Penn. Others love him, tell me he's great, but I just don't care for his personality. But just watching the preview, I'm super-stoked, not only because it looks tremendously well-made, but because I really think it has the potential to rally people. Think about it- angry GLBTQ folks fresh off of being denied marriage + a moving portrayal of political activism + newly politically mobilized youth = a new revolution. Maybe? I don't know. But I'm still excited.)

Anyways, back on topic. When the two characters shimmy down to nothing, their penises are going to be fake prosthetics, as James Franco told Jimmy Kimmel. The question I have, though, and which doesn't seemed to be addressed in any of the other blogs posting the news, is: "Why?"

The last two big prosthetic penises I remember seeing on-screen belonged to Transamerica's Felicity Huffman and Boogie Night's Mark Walhberg- one for the actress who didn't have one herself, and one for the man needing to portray some hefty porno endowment. Both of these were exceptional cases, ones that I just don't think are present in the case of "Milk". I don't remember hearing any rumor that Milk or his lover were hung like horses, thereby requiring filmmakers to provide historical accuracy by means of plastic genitals.

Mind you, I'm not faulting Penn or Franco. Not only must it be incredibly difficult to expose yourself to millions of strangers, making yourself vulnerable through the removal of protective clothes, but it also opens up the wide and ridiculous arena of penis commentary that is sure to follow. Anybody not swinging an enormous club is immediately subject to intense discussion and criticism- all we have to do is look at what happened to poor Jude Law. One outside changing of clothes and boom! everybody is talking about how small the guy is, despite the fact that he appears more than average to moi. (And I've read countless articles in "defense" of Jude Law's penis- from claims of shrinkage in the pool, a hairy bush hiding and diminishing the goods, all the way to the hydraulics of his crouching stance). Dropping trow is a huge risk to one's career, and if I were an agent, I wouldn't be recommending my male talent to be flopping freely in front of cameras, either. And who wouldn't rather put on a fake and let it take all the heat? Penn and Franco, it turns out, are victims of our size-obsessed culture.

I'm just very tired of penis size being yakked about so much. Even after Enzyte has been sued for its false claims and lack of peer-reviewed evidence (even though c'mon, anybody who bought it was an idiot!), I still have to see Bob's damn smiling face while a cheery announcer tells me all about natural male enhancement. Guys are incredibly worried about their size and national male anxiety increases tenfold. But there's little men can do about penis size without dropping serious cash or risking lumpiness (eek!). It truly is the most ridiculous thing to worry about- it just ain't changing. Best learn to love your penis (why are women encouraged to love their bodies, but men rarely are?), learn to modify your lovemaking skills and tool box if your lady/man says size is causing you to lack, and stop stressing.

But unfortunately, watching "Milk" will make sweat break out on your forehead all over again. You might feel better, having heard Franco regale audiences with his humorous tale, as you remind yourself that they're fake, and even Sean Penn, who bedded the eminently beddable Madonna, worried about his own size. Or not. Nobody seems to be calling out the fake penises for what it says about our culture and our sexual anxieties, and I don't care if it's been talked about to death. Somebody should say it and put it on the table, at the very least.

Until then, though, expect a new trend- Judd Apatow be damned- of the dicks being larger than life, because all you're getting is fake peen.

Ah, well. Go and see "Milk" when it comes out- for the story, instead.

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