Toronto
2 min

Über allies

Do fascism & porn mix?

SKINHEAD EROTICS. Is Skin Flick, the neo-Nazi porno by Bruce LaBruce dangerous or daring? Credit: Richard Kern

Is wanking off to a simulated rape scene on a porn tape a harmless release of aggressive sexual energy or is it reinforcement of negative, violent tendencies? What if the violence on the porno is racist?



It’s just a movie after all; nobody’s actually getting hurt.



These are questions raised by Bruce LaBruce’s new porno, which follows a gang of hunky, sucking and fucking neo-Nazi skinheads through a series of violent escapades that culminate in the rape of an out black man in front of his white lover (as the gang chants “Fuck the monkey” and one of the skinheads sings “Deutschland Über Alles”).



In the film’s denouement, the white “faggot” finds a gun and rapes one of the skinheads -though, significantly, the black guy never gets to top anybody, not a visiting plumber in an early scene, not his own boyfriend and not his rapist.



How you respond to Skin Flick – whether you see it at all – is probably related to the attitude you bring to SM porn, or whether you can look at a Leni Riefenstahl film and say, “That’s beautiful.”



Skin Flick is beautiful – lush and sexy and seductive. The boys themselves are breathtaking: chiselled Neanderthal faces, bodies pumped up beyond Bruce Weber perfection. Like Tom of Finland illustrations come to life, these least likely, most macho of all sexual objects give and take it up the ass for each other.



But the gorgeous guys, lovingly photographed, cinematically fetishized, are brutal neo-Nazi thugs who, when they’re not fucking each other or jerking off to Mein Kampf, bash gays and women, harass and steal from immigrant shopkeepers and bystanders and generally make life miserable for anyone who’s isn’t a white, male neo-Nazi.



As for the climactic rape scene, we’ve seen this type of fantasy sequence a thousand times – the ubquitous gangbang in prison showers or army barracks. Except this time, there’s a fascist flavour: Nazi iconography and white supremacist hatred. Of course it’s not meant to be taken seriously. It’s porn! It’s Bruce LaBruce’s trademark camp! It’s so awful, it’s funny. And the most hideously hilarious part is you can still get a hard-on watching it.



LaBruce contends he’s just taking gay porno, which he feels is already “implicitly fascist,” to its logical conclusion. On his website, LaBruce seems loathe to ascribe any “meaning” or philosophy to the work, or to justify his intentions, despite attacks in the UK and calls for the film’s censorship from leading British anti-racist groups. “I have no idea what my take is,” he states, glibly.



Skin Flick was initiated and financed by German porn producers, so perhaps LaBruce’s motivation was simply to get paid. But whether or not he wishes to take responsiblity, the fact is there’s a danger to such extreme irony – not everyone will get the joke.



As someone who has been bashed for being both gay and Jewish, I find it difficult to sustain a detached gaze. LaBruce’s eroticization of Nazi violence, however flippantly presented, feels dangerous, degrading and threatening. Laughing and jerking off are not options.



And I can’t help worrying about the monsters out there who will lap up Skin Flick’s potent imagery without cracking a smile or batting an eyelash s they plot their next rape or bashing.



Showing with Skin Flick is Vaginal Davis’s short film, The White To Be Angry. Filmmaker Bruce LaBruce will be present at the Thu, Nov 18 screening.