Theories abound as to why, one day, the 1954 Nobel Prize-winning American laureate Ernest Hemingway blew his brains out with a shotgun. Was it due to depression? Heavy drinking? The fear that he was a latent homosexual?
We will probably never know for certain but one thing is clear: Feminist critics, such as Nina Bayme, who labeled the author as “public enemy number one,” were probably pleased that Hemingway added his name to the multiculturalist’s infamous hit list of Dead White Male Authors.
Testorenone-driven, tough guy fictional characters are no longer palatable in today’s literary market. The majority of New York agents, who are female and filled with deconstructionist doctrine fed to them by politically correct professors during their literature college courses, want books that glorify ‘sheroes’ or emasculated men. Unless, of course, they are G.I. Joe carictures that fight the enemy overseas at a safe distance away from contemporary American society.
John Irving, who has also faithfully (and successfully) followed this path, which covertly leads to the coffin-nailing of strong, white heterosexual protagonists, has come full circle with the release of his latest novel, In One Person. Amazon’s book description blurb says the book is about “Billy…an intimate and unforgettable portrait of the solitariness of a bisexual man who is dedicated to making himself ‘worthwile’.”
Indeed. I think I’ll pass on reading it just so I can be labelled homophobic and draw the venom out from a multitude of rainbow-colored fangs because I’m secure enough in my masculinity and discernment capabilites to no longer be influenced or feel threatened by teachers who wield the sword of the good grade above my head.
I met Jim Harrison once in a bar in northern Michigan. At that time, he had just finished writing Sundog,a gutsy male-dominated novel set in the rural upper peninsula and written with a lean, mean Hemingwayesque style. That’s how I would write a novel if I ever did, I thought to myself.
But Harrison was cutting against the grain and didn’t reach the pinnacle of success until he released Dalva, a finely written novel but featuring a strong female protagonist. The winds of change had finally filled his sails and he probably realized that it was pointless to come about and tack against the prevailing publishing forces that earlier had embraced his novella, Legends of the Fall, turning it into a movie starring Brad Pitt as a wild, lonesome, macho renegade.
I could be wrong but I’m not a politician, just a small time critic with very little clout, so I can stick to my guns and not care about polls or potential votes.
Anyhow, the nail that I want to drive home with one single, perfectly centered smash of masculine pride is this: Literary agents may shun my novels because of their white, tough guy, heterosexual protagonists and feminists might read this and curse me for throwing off the shackles of deconstructionist criticism lectures that I suffered silently through in the past, and gay activists might get their knickers in a twist and denounce me as being bigoted and behind the times, but as Clark Gable said in his legendary, aloof and über male portrayal of the character Rhett Butler in the 1939 classic film, Gone With the Wind: “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”