The reason I brought up this bit of personal history is that there are some people -- who are either members of, or closely associated with, the Homintern -- who are apparently whining about the politics of sexual orientation being a factor in the flop of a recently released motion picture:
Alexander has proved to be the Thanksgiving weekend's biggest flop, and while it is a portrait of a legendary leader who ruled far-away lands more than 300 years before the birth of Christ, it has brutally exposed the cultural and moral divide which slices America in two.
The three-hour, big budget epic, starring Colin Farrell, Colin Farrell's shockingly bad blond hair-do and Angelina Jolie has dared to suggest what most historians have long taken for granted - that Alexander was bisexual. And that gets rather different responses in different parts of the US.
The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation says the $150m (£79m) film breaks new ground for a big budget epic because it shows boyhood friend Hephaestion "as the true love of Alexander's life". A line from the film says: "Alexander was defeated only once - by Hephaestion's thighs."
But conservative Christians have loudly denounced Alexander as "pro-gay" propaganda from Tinseltown, insisting that Alexander was a firmly hetero hero. To add to the film's problems, the public has stayed away from what was to be the big movie of the Thanksgiving weekend.
Big Alex liked guys too? So what?
No serious military historian, or any of us who actually read serious military historians, ever made an issue of Alexander's well documented sexual habits. And if there was anything about Alexander that I was positively impressed with, apart from his use of applied reason to win battles against overwheming odds, it the fact that he suffered a punctured lung in battle and survived in spite of the slightly more advanced than witch-doctory state of medical practice at the time. First aid for the sucking chest wound was a big part of battlefield first aid as taught at the Benning School for Boys when I attended back in the spring of 1982. And it remained a part of the skill qualification testing throughout my time in the army.
But Alexander as the ultimate soldier of his time was apparently not the subject of Oliver Stone's film.
It was apparent in the block of promotional documentaries shown on the History Channel that Alexander was going to be, as my landlady put it, a big-budget soap opera featuring oiled musclemen in leather for the gay guys, large breasted women for the straight guys, and a few straight warriors for the ladies in the audience. In short, as I would put it, this movie was going to be just another Hollywood clusterf**k.
Stone made casting choices that would have been questionable under normal circumstances but are totally senseless in this film. A peroxided Irishman as Alex. Val Kilmer, who was apparently still channeling Jim Morrison, as the not so dear old dad. And that over-tanned Hollywood glamdroid with a bad euro-accent Angelina Jolie as mommy dearest. Really, Jolie comes across as overly artificial in appearance, that is fake, to the point of being ugly. And given the actual ethnic composition of the Macedonian and Greek population at the time I would say that a certain 43-year old Minnesota hausfrau would have been a better casting choice. But then would I have to admit to being a bit biased.
But the real deal-killer with respect to this film was the fact that it was directed by Oliver Stone. The communist-thug hugger who has made a career out of cinematically trashing the values of Western Civilization and trashing America in particular. I personally suspect that this is why a lot people chose to see other movies or stayed home altogether.
As for myself, I won't pay to see Alexander, but I might catch it when its shown on the History Channel.