The Apolitical Politics Of 'Love, Simon'

The Apolitical Politics Of 'Love, Simon'

The realities of coming out of the closet in a "post-homophobia" world
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I generally try not to get too excited about movies that people continuously hail as “important” before they actually come out. Almost every review of movies like this, that deal with a social issue and are meant for mainstream audiences, no matter what they actually have to say about the movie itself, makes sure to reiterate how important it is that there is finally a mainstream movie out there that deals with the issue. The cynic in me always suggests that these critics want the world to know that they, too, have progressive politics.

Love, Simon is definitely one of these “issue” movies. And I loved it. Politics aside, its portrayal of the often-painful coming out process was incredibly realistic, and not whatsoever gimmicky. Advertised as a teen rom-com with a twist, it depicts a teenage guy, the titular Simon, struggling with his conflicting desires to be open about his sexuality and to retain a sense of normalcy. He seems to live in a fairly progressive area, and knows that in the end he will be accepted, but is still repressed by both his own insecurities and the expectations others place on him. His struggle with his sexuality is far more central to the story than the romantic subplot, but this seemed fitting to me.

Based on a novel written by a (heterosexual) clinical psychologist who specializes in dealing with teenagers, the core theme of repression struck a chord in me. Even though Simon is lucky enough to live in a fairly accepting area with a fairly accepting family, there’s always that caveat, fairly. People won’t care that much. Most people are open-minded. You probably won’t have any issues. And that’s the reason why he continues to repress who he really is.

As someone who also grew up gay in a fairly liberal enclave, I can definitely relate. I’ve lived all over, but most of my childhood and the first part of my adolescence was spent in a college town in northern California. This town, Davis, had all the liberal cultural hallmarks‒a thriving farmer’s market full of organic food, its own offshoot of Occupy Wall Street in the local park, and lots of Hillary Clinton yard signs.

It’s easy to forget, then, the “yes on Prop 8” yard signs of my childhood that supported a proposition in 2008 that repealed gay marriage in California in the name of “family values” (yep, the bluest state in the nation). It’s easy to forget the flamboyantly gay kid at my elementary school who was so relentlessly bullied (by people who would grow up to post Instagram pictures of themselves getting wasted at San Francisco Pride) that he transferred to another district, or about one of my best friends, whose parents threatened to excommunicate her when she came out of the closet.

The movie doesn’t overtly deal with any of this‒politics are mentioned only in passing and the setting is left deliberately ambiguous to appeal to the widest swath of Americans as possible‒but it is still a movie that seems very attuned to the realities of its time.

The core conflict of the protagonist‒to be normal‒is one that I can personally relate to, and questions the idea that we’ve somehow, since the federal legalization of gay marriage three short years ago, suddenly leapt into a post-homophobic America, at least in our liberal enclaves. Maybe I’m giving the movie too much credit for reading into it that much, but I think it deals with the subtle struggles of being “different” in a society that supposedly celebrates difference remarkably well.

The conversations that Simon has with his family and friends about his sexuality are the strongest points of the film. Each one feels like a release of tension, and through this tension we see the weight of all that secrecy and repression. For the most part, it’s a light-hearted story, but these conversations have a poignancy to it that reflect the reality of coming out.

Sadly, it’s almost always going to be a risk.

Cover Image Credit: Love, Simon trailer

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35 Major Life Facts According To Nick Miller

"All booze is good booze, unless it's weak booze."
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Fact: If you watch "New Girl," you love Nick Miller.

You can't help it. He's an adorable, lovable mess of a man and you look forward to seeing him and his shenanigans each week. While living the infamous and incomparable life of Nick Miller, and obviously Julius Pepperwood— he has learned many valuable laws of the land. And, although Nick refuses to learn anything from anyone besides his mysterious, old Asian friend Tran, he does have a few lessons he'd like to teach us.

Here are 35 facts of life according to 'Nick Milla Nick Milla':

1. Drinking keeps you healthy.

"I'm not gonna get sick. No germ can live in a body that is 65% beer."

2. Dinosaurs never existed.

"I don't believe dinosaurs existed. I've seen the science. I don't believe it."


3. A paper bag is a bank.

"A bank is just a paper bag but with fancier walls."


4. Having sex is similar to delivering mail.

"I'm like a mailman, except instead of mail it's hot sex that I deliver."

5. Moonwalking is a foolproof way to get out of any awkward situation.

Jess (about Nick): "Now he won't even talk to me. I saw him this morning and he just panic moonwalked away from me. He does that sometimes."

6. Using a movie reference is also a great way.

Cece: "Come on, get up!"

Nick: "No, I don't dance. I'm from that town in "Footloose."

7. There's no reason to wash towels.

Nick: "I don’t wash the towel. The towel washes me. Who washes a towel?"

Schmidt: "You never wash your towel?"

Nick: "What am I gonna do? Wash the shower next? Wash a bar of soap?"

8. Exes are meant to be avoided at all costs (especially if/unless they're Caroline)

"I don't deal with exes, they're part of the past. You burn them swiftly and you give their ashes to Poseidon."

9. IKEA furniture is not as intimidating as it looks.

"I'm building you the dresser. I love this stuff. It's like high-stakes LEGOs."

10. You don't need forks if you have hands.

Jess: "That's gross. Get a fork, man."

Nick: "I got two perfectly good forks at the end of my arms!"

11. Sex has a very specific definition.


"It's not sex until you put the straw in the coconut."

12. Doors are frustrating.

"I will push if I want to push! Come on! I hate doors!"

13. All booze is good booze.

"Can I get an alcohol?"

14. ...unless it's weak booze.

"Schmidt, that is melon flavored liquor! That is 4-proof! That is safe to drink while you're pregnant!"

15. Writers are like pregnant women.

Jess: "You know what that sound is? It's the sound of an empty uterus."

Nick: "I can top that easily. I'm having a hard time with my zombie novel."

Jess: "Are you really comparing a zombie novel to my ability to create life?"

Nick: "I'm a writer, Jess. We create life."

16. All bets must be honored.

"There is something serious I have to tell you about the future. The name of my first-born child needs to be Reginald VelJohnson. I lost a bet to Schmidt."

17. Adele's voice is like a combination of Fergie and Jesus.

"Adele is amazing."

18. Beyoncé is extremely trustworthy.

"I'd trust Beyoncé with my life. We be all night."

19. Fish, on the other hand, are not.


“Absolutely not. You know I don’t trust fish! They breathe water. That's crazy!"

20. Bar mitzvahs are terrifying.

Schmidt: "It's a bar mitzvah!"

Nick: "I am NOT watching a kid get circumcised!"

21. ...so are blueberries.

Jess: "So far, Nick Miller's list of fears is sharks, tap water, real relationships..."

Nick: "And blueberries."

22. Take your time with difficult decisions. Don't be rash.


Jess: "You care about your burritos more than my children, Nick?"

Nick: "You're putting me in a tough spot!"

23. Getting into shape is not easy.

"I mean, I’m not doing squats or anything. I’m trying to eat less donuts."

24. We aren't meant to talk about our feelings.

"If we needed to talk about feelings, they would be called talkings."


25. We're all a little bit too hard on ourselves.

"The enemy is the inner me."

26. Freezing your underwear is a good way to cool off.


"Trust me, I'm wearing frozen underpants right now and I feel amazing. I'm gonna grab some old underpants and put a pair into the freezer for each of you."

27. Public nudity is normal.

"Everbody has been flashed countless times."

28. Alcohol is a cure-all.


"You treat an outside wound with rubbing alcohol. You treat an inside wound with drinking alcohol."

29. Horses are aliens.

"I believe horses are from outer-space."


30. Turtles should actually be called 'shell-beavers.'

Jess: "He calls turtles 'shell-beavers."

Nick: "Well, that's what they should be called."

31. Trench coats are hot.


"This coat has clean lines and pockets that don't quit, and it has room for your hips. And, when I wear it, I feel hot to trot!"


32. Sparkles are too.

"Now, my final bit of advice, and don't get sensitive on this, but you've got to change that top it's terrible and you've got to throw sparkles on. Sparkles are in. SPARKLES ARE IN."

33. Introspection can lead to a deeper knowing of oneself.

"I'm not convinced I know how to read. I've just memorized a lot of words."


34. It's important to live in the moment.

"I know this isn't gonna end well but the middle part is gonna be awesome."


35. Drinking makes you cooler.

Jess: "Drinking to be cool, Nick? That's not a real thing."

Nick: "That's the only thing in the world I know to be true."

Cover Image Credit: Hollywood Reporter

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The End Of An Odyssey: My Time As A Writer

Like all chapters in life, there has to come an end. This ending is by no means easy, but rather one that is bittersweet. But, like all odysseys, it is time for this one to end.

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When I first decided I wanted to write for the Odyssey, I was going into my senior year at the University of Maine. I had always been an avid reader of Odyssey articles, whether it was to seek advice, comfort, or sole entertainment. I was always inspired by how raw and honest each article was, and I really wanted to have the chance to write such types of articles as well. When I applied and later got the call that I had made it onto the Odyssey team at UMaine, I was ecstatic! I felt like now was finally the time I could share my innermost thoughts and feelings publicly and work on becoming a better writer.

I have always loved to write. Since the day I first picked up a pencil, writing has been a passion of mine. Now as an Odyssey member, I knew this was my chance to be truly heard.

I began by writing solely political articles, as I was a political science student and loved to shed light on controversial topics. My first article was about the then-recent presidential election. I was full of nerves the day it got published, and rightfully so, as my post drew in many critics. Facebook is a shark-tank of sorts, everyone there is waiting for just the right bait to come out and attack. However, I loved the fact that my opinions were being formally materialized for everyone to see. Pretty much anyone in the world could read my article, which served as an inspiration to keep writing.

What started as a political-only "blog" of sorts slowly evolved into a diary-like platform. I found that writing about whatever hardship I had been going through at the time helped me process it and move forward. Writing is very therapeutic, and I wasn't ashamed or embarrassed to put my private emotions out in the open, though I had received much backlash for it from many.

Yet what kept me motivated to keep pushing the envelope and staying true to my word-literally, was my amazing, influential Odyssey team. We all would share our topics for the week and vent about any criticisms we may have received after one of our articles had been published. I have been very fortunate to have such a supportive, caring team of Odyssey writers, else I likely would've regressed back to writing neutral articles.

So as weeks turned to months, writing for Odyssey felt like second nature. The pride I would feel once an article went public was indescribable. Looking back now at the 70+ articles I wrote, I can literally be transported back to a certain point in my life with every past article. I can see how much I've grown as a person and can acknowledge that I successfully was able to overcome certain obstacles I never thought possible.

Writing, just like time, heals everything.

The Odyssey saw me through the toughest times of my life, and no matter how uncertain things may have seemed at the time, what was for sure was the fact that I had the written word to fall back on. With each article that I wrote, I felt like a weight had been lifted. And not only that but also knowing that any particular article may have served to help someone else who may have been going through a similar situation, only inspired me more.

So, my decision to stop writing for the Odyssey came with great difficulty, as it has become such a huge part of my life. The adult world is very hectic, and responsibilities pile up as fast as bills. Lately, I just felt like I haven't been putting the time and effort into writing articles like I did during college. I owe it to the Odyssey community to be honest, as a privilege like this should never be seen as a chore.

I am so unbelievably grateful to have had this experience for the past year and a half of my life. Now, I have a permanent online library that represents who I truly am, and for the rest of my life I can look back at these articles and relive some of those memories. The Odyssey helped me to grow emotionally, and I met so many amazing, inspiring people along the way.

But, like all odysseys, it is time for this one to end.

Thank you to everyone who has supported my writing and read my articles. You have no idea how happy it made me feel to hear someone say how much they loved a certain article or how relatable another one was. Thank you to my Odyssey team for always encouraging me to write from the heart and never be too afraid to speak my mind.

And lastly, thank you to Odyssey, for serving as a safe, encouraging place for young people to voice their opinions and ideas freely. I will forever be thankful for this journey of growth, reflection, and expression.

Off to the next odyssey.

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