J.T. on SNL this past weekend was very good. As all the bloggers are probably briefly saying before linking to vidclips, he killed, in practically every sketch he was in (and he was in just about every one), even upstaging Wiig’s Target lady in her own eponymous sketch. Most folks will probably link to the latest Samberg-Timberlake collab vid “Motherlover”, but for me the highlight of the show was “Immigrant Tale”, where J.T. played Irish immigrant Cornelius Timberlake, prophesying on the benefits to be reaped by his famous and talented great-great-grandson.
It starts out obviously enough: “I actually dream of a day when my great-great-grandson will bring sexy back,” Cornelius says.
Fellow immigrant A: “What does that mean?”
Cornelius: “It will be gone and he’ll bring it back.”
Fellow immigrant B: “Where did it go?”
Cornelius: “Just trust me, people will be on board!”
But then whoever wrote the sketch pushes the conceit, and Cornelius predicts that our notable offspring will have “hit it” vis-à-vis some “popular female singer” while all the time professing along with her to some phantom virginity, which prediction has the effect of basically enabling J.T. to remind all of America that while he may not have been the first to explore Britney’s bald abyss, he was able to accomplish same while U.S. males everywhere could only fantasize about doing so. I.e., the joke asserts his virility as some U.S. alpha male we all either want to be or be with.
And then the Britney joke is followed by this: “Then he’ll make love with women so beautiful and so often that it won’t be enough for him and he’ll I dunno maybe try some stuff with guys.”
His fellow immigrants protest and Cornelius begs them to forget that part, but of course we’re not able to. What’s interesting about the passage is the way such a … well one can’t really call it a confession, but like such an admission does nothing to sully J.T.’s sexy-back image at all. In fact I want to make the argument that he’s rendered somehow more virile and desirable by playing around at maybe being more open to whatevs.
Women of course have forever been expected to move fluidly among genders when it comes to sexual possibilities, and now men are getting the same kind of treatment. And it’s almost as though not being up for some male-male exploration can be read as some kind of outdated sexual (f)rigidity that contemporary U.S. women want little part of.
I won’t recommend a visitor’s tour through popular gay-male pornography, but were you to take one the number of gay-for-pay stars you’d find would surprise you. I will, though, direct you to Mark Simpson’s blog, where he’s uncovered a confusing but illustrative YouTube trend of straight men fellating* bananas. “No, I’m not bisexual or homosexual,” one of them announces, before deep-throating fruit on a bus of what could very easily be high-school kids on a church mission trip.
My possible point to this blog post: Soon even such a disclaimer won’t be necessary.
* I typed “fellatio” into my browser’s Google-search window just to doublecheck the spelling, and the number-one search suggestion it prompted, which I read as number-one because of its popularity as a common Google search query, was this: “fellatio may significantly decrease the risk of breast cancer in women”. This brings up a fake CNN news story the lede to which is so odious I can’t bring myself even to quote it. So while sexuality may be more bidirectionally fluid, this doesn’t necessarily mean we’re all more enlightened or anything.