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When Gomez tangoed with Lurch: a queer tango perspective on "humorous" historical representations of men dancing tango with each other

Authors:
  • The Queer Tango Project

Abstract and Figures

If you are invited to laugh at two men dancing tango with each other, what are you invited to laugh at? In a c1965 episode of the US TV series The Addams Family, Gomez attempts to teach Lurch the tango. With a rose between his teeth, Gomez is the "beautiful señorita" and Lurch "her" suitor. They are replicating the well-worn, heterosexual tango creation myth used to explain the countless images of men dancing tango together that historically, they "practised" with each other, the better to secure the favours of women. Of course they did. The Queer Tango Image Archive (an online collection of historical imagery relating to the themes addressed by queer tango) includes many images of male-male couplings devised for comic effect, ranging from the amiable to the vicious. Can this variety be accounted for by the varieties of contexts in which tango was danced, and out of which the images came? Or by the differing themes and ideas found in those contexts? Or by the different comic effects aimed at by their creators, in order to comment on those themes and ideas? I consider in detail two such images, both created in Paris in 1913: a tango sheet music cover and a 'Sem' cartoon. By setting each into particular contexts and using a simple model of how humour works, I build a methodology for considering Gomez and Lurch's tango, the better to reveal, more precisely, attitudes towards masculinity, sex and sexuality, as well as the homosocial and the homosexual.
Content may be subject to copyright.
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When Gomez tangoed with Lurch: a queer tango perspective on
“humorous” historical representations of men dancing tango with each
other
Ray Batchelor
[This paper was delivered at the inaugural Conference of the Dance Studies
Association in Columbus Ohio, USA, on 20th October 2017]
Abstract: If you are invited to laugh at two men dancing tango with each other,
what are you invited to laugh at? In a c1965 episode of the US TV series The
Addams Family, Gomez attempts to teach Lurch the tango. With a rose between
his teeth, Gomez is the “beautiful señorita” and Lurch “her” suitor. They are
replicating the well-worn, heterosexual tango creation myth used to explain the
countless images of men dancing tango together that historically, they
“practised” with each other, the better to secure the favours of women. Of
course they did. The Queer Tango Image Archive (an online collection of
historical imagery relating to the themes addressed by queer tango) includes
many images of male-male couplings devised for comic effect, ranging from the
amiable to the vicious. Can this variety be accounted for by the varieties of
contexts in which tango was danced, and out of which the images came? Or by
the differing themes and ideas found in those contexts? Or by the different
comic effects aimed at by their creators, in order to comment on those themes
and ideas? I consider in detail two such images, both created in Paris in 1913: a
tango sheet music cover and a ‘Sem’ cartoon. By setting each into particular
contexts and using a simple model of how humour works, I build a
methodology for considering Gomez and Lurch’s tango, the better to reveal,
more precisely, attitudes towards masculinity, sex and sexuality, as well as the
homosocial and the homosexual.
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2!
Fig. 1 Gomez teaching Lurch to tango in an episode of the US TV Series, The
Addams Family, c1965
If you are invited to laugh at a representation of two men dancing tango, what
are you invited to laugh at (fig. 1)?
Fig. 2 Two of the
first photographs of
tango dancing ever
published, from the
Buenos Aires
popular Magazine
Caras y Caretas,
1903
The earliest published photographs of tango dancers in 1903 (fig. 2), show two
men dancing with each other, but as blogger Walter Fries confirms, the images
in Caras y Caretas, a popular Buenos Aires magazine, were offered as
!
3!
snapshots of life, with no humour residing in the fact of the dancers being men.1
Yet by 1965-ish, Gomez and Lurch follow in the footsteps of other comical,
male couples, representations of which, archived online at The Queer Tango
Image Archive, have featured in the history of the tango almost from the outset.
Comic representations of women are fewer in number and I leave considering
them for another occasion.2 The sheer variety of humorous, male same-sex
imagery can perhaps be explained by the varieties of contexts in which tango
was danced, and out of which, the images came; by the differing themes and
ideas found in those contexts; and by the different comic effects aimed at by
their creators, in order to comment on those themes and ideas.
Types of Humour and the Queer?
To understand how they do that, we need a rudimentary appreciation of how
humour “works”. Arthur Asa Berger noted three possible models: Firstly,
incongruity theory, which is the most important and also the simplest. It
involves:
…some kind of a difference between what one expects and what one gets.
The term “incongruity” has many different meanings inconsistent, not
harmonious, lacking propriety and not conforming, so there are a number
of possibilities hidden in the term.
Historically, “lacking propriety” or “not conforming” might be recognised from
our 21st century perspective as representations of the “anti-normal” aspects of
the “queer”.3 Secondly, a group of “Superiority theories” typified by that
described by the seventeenth century philosopher, Thomas Hobbes, who wrote
that:
The passion of laughter is nothing else but sudden glory arising from a
sudden conception of some eminency in ourselves by comparison with
the infirmity of others...”4
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
1!For!a!detailed,!well-balanced!account!of!the!appearance!of!these!images!in!the!magazine!Caras%y%Caretas!in!
1903,!see!Walter!Fries’!blog,!El%Victrolero%Castizo!
http://elvictrolerocastizo.blogspot.co.uk/2017/09/tango-in-
theater.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed:+ElVictroleroCastizo+(El+Vi
ctrolero+Castizo)&m=1!!
2!It!strikes!me!as!interesting!that!!on!present!showing!–!there!seem!to!be!far!more!cartoons!and!comic!images!
of!men!dancing!together!than!there!are!of!women.!Why?!In!part,!this!is!consistent!with!the!more!general!ratio!
of!women!couples!to!men!couples,!but!one!wonders:!are!women!dancing!together!not!as!funny?!Are!they!less!
threatening!(to!men),!so!that!they!do!not!need!the!release!of!laughter!to!neutralise!their!power?!
3!Kathy!Davis.!Dancing%Tango:%Passionate%Encounters%in%a%Globalizing%World.!(New!York:!New!York!University!
Press,!2015),!131!!
4!Thomas!Hobbes,!Leviathan!(1651)!quoted!by!Arthur!Asa!Berger.!An%Anatomy%of%Humor.%(Abingdon:!
Routledge,!2017![orig.!1993]).!!
https://books.google.co.uk/books?hl=en&lr=&id=0TgrDwAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PP1&dq=types+of+humor+and
+imagery&ots=i1UEUiax7-&sig=6cu_86UT2XWiQ6FYYssgZupjXNU#v=onepage&q&f=false!accessed!10!10!2017!
!
4!
Heterosexist sneering at homosexuals figures in the material which follows.
Finally, Berger also points to psychoanalytic theory, and in particular, to Freud
who argues that humour is, in reality, masked aggression and that we “…derive
pleasure camouflaging our aggression and hostility (and thus evading the
strictures of our superiors).” 5
So, incongruity, superiority and aggression.
Fig. 3 Sheet music cover for L’avant dernier Tango ou le Tango Dinguo, Paris
1913, and contemporary photographs of those caricatured.
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
5Sigmund!Freud,!Jokes%and%their%Relationship%to%the%Unconscious%quoted!by!Arthur!Asa!Berger,!An%Anatomy%of%
Humor,%(Routledge,!London,!2017),!3!
https://books.google.co.uk/books?hl=en&lr=&id=0TgrDwAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PP1&dq=types+of+humor+and
+imagery&ots=i1UEUiax7-&sig=6cu_86UT2XWiQ6FYYssgZupjXNU#v=onepage&q&f=false!accessed!10!10!2017!
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Fig. 4 (above) Cartoon, “Le Massacre du Printemps” from Tangoville sur Mer,
George Gousat known as “Sem”, Paris 1913 (right) and photographs of
Nijinsky as he appeared in le spectre de la rose in 1911; and of Gabriel Astruc.
Ideas and Themes in Context
To illustrate an approach which acknowledges both context and humorous
mechanisms, I will consider two images, both created in Paris in 1913: a sheet
music cover (fig. 3); and a cartoon by Georges Gousat, better known as “Sem
(fig. 4). In the first, the cover of some music called L’avant dernier tango ou le
tango dinguo, [The Penultimate Tango or The Dingo Tango] a young Maurice
Chevalier (25, maybe?) towers over and leads the music hall and silent film
star, Félicien Tramel, while Rollin” (or should that be Polin? Certainly,
Polin, the stage persona of Pierre-Paul Marsalès always included a hat and
sometimes boots) is leading Fortugé, the stage name of Gabriel Fortuné. In the
second, a young, nearly naked Nijinsky, clad only in ballet pumps and a few
roses [as he appeared in Le spectre de la rose in 1911], is held firmly in the
embrace of the bearded, ageing, balding journalist and theatrical impresario,
Gabriel Astruc, their thighs entwined at crotch level. Nijinsky looks like he is
about to fellate, or be obliged to fellate, Astruc’s nose, which Sem has chosen to
show as phallic and enormous.
Two representations of same-sex male tango couples from the same time and
place yet the first is, arguably, humorous, affectionate and possibly benign;
while the second, by contrast seems humorous, vicious and aggressive. Why
these differences? And what does each image tell us about different
contemporary attitudes towards masculinity, sex and sexuality?
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Certainly, the appetite among the fashionable in Paris for the tango peaked in
1913, as in other capital cities around the world, but here, there is a marked
social, class difference between the subjects represented in the two images: the
first shows figures from popular musical theatre, aping the fashionable, tango-
dancing elite; while the second represents and caricatures that elite directly,
attacking not only them and their tango-ing, but also their equally fashionable
enthusiasm for the Ballets Russes at which the magnetic and sexually
ambiguous Nijinsky was the main attraction. Both images exhibit
incongruities with a broad, common model of a ‘normal’ tango couple in Paris
in 1913, but it is worth noting that this model may be similar, but not identical
to that of our own age, or, indeed, that of 1960s America. Among ‘ordinary’
people, rather than the fashionable that is, people closer in social status to
those shown on the sheet music cover - men dancing with each other in couples
was thought nowhere near as remarkable, or suspect, as it was later to become.
Fig. 5 Men dancing in couples in the street, Paris 1914
These men, for example (fig. 5), danced with each other in the street on their
release from a recuperation hospital in Paris in 1914. Countless similar,
contemporary and earlier historical images testify that this scene is
unremarkable. With an eye to 1960s America, one might add, “as remarkable or
suspect” as they might have seemed after the “homosexual panic” which
followed the Second World War.
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7!
The sheet music cover was created to advertise the music inside, which it was
hoped the viewer would then want to buy. That is its function.
Fig. 6 Cover of sheet music for Le dernier Tango, Paris 1913
In fact, L’avant dernier tango is a spoof on a tango called Le dernier Tango
published earlier in the same year, the lyrics of which are about poor Rita who
in classic tango fashion dances one last time with a rejected lover, and is
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strangled by him.6 By contrast, these men are having a whale of a time dancing
with each other, smiling as they innocently parody their emotionally more
complex, social superiors, who, if they are attacked, are only amiably and
obliquely mocked. There is no aggression. Those who see this cartoon may
want to share in their joy, or to savour the mild lampoon laughing as they
congratulate themselves (in Berger’s terms) as being the superiors, both of these
amiable clowns, as well as of the posturing, tango-ing fashionables they imitate.
Such positive emotions may have prompted them to take the sheet music off the
music shop shelf, and buy it.
Sem’s targets get off less lightly.
To some, both the Ballets Russes and the tango were fashionable, controversial
and suspect. Astruc, the son of the Grand Rabbi of Belgium, had already been
the subject of anti-Semitic attacks by the right-wing politician, Leon Daudet.
Astruc first brought Diaghilev’s company to Paris in 1909, confident that
controversy was good for business. Indeed, he declined to manage Isadora
Duncan, as he thought her too tame. In 1913, with the Ballets Russes installed in
his newly-built Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, a brilliant season climaxed on 29th
May with the notorious premier of Le Sacre du printemp or The Rite of Spring
and the riot that ensued. Sem’s cartoon, to which he had added the caption, “Le
Massacre du Printempswas, Juliet Bellow reminds us, part of the anger that
production provoked:
In reviews of Le Sacre du printemps…critics directed their outrage about
the ballet at the perceived influence of Jews and enjuivés (“the Jewified”)
on the troupe. We can see this in [this] overtly anti-Semitic and
homophobic caricature by Sem...7
Six months after the premier, Astruc was financially ruined.
So much for the humour’s anti-Semitic, homophobic and anti-Ballets Russes
dimensions, but anti-tango? As Mica Nava put it, tango was…
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6!That!is,!according!to!the!website,!le%temps%du%
tango!!http://www.letempsduntango.be/thematique/chroniques!accessed!12!10!2017!
7!Juliet!Bellow,!Modernism%on%Stage:%The%Ballets%Russes%and%the%Parisian%Avant-garde!(Ashgate,!London,!2013),!
66!
https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=yl7XD9p21zgC&printsec=frontcover&dq=Bellow,+J.,+Moderni
sm+on+Stage:+The+Ballets+Russes+and+the+Parisian+Avant-
garde,+Ashgate,+London,+2013&hl=en&sa=X&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=nijinsky&f
=false!Sem!captions!this!cartoon!“Le!Massacre!du!printemps”!or!“The!Massacre!of!Spring”.!
George!Gousat!(“Sem”).!Tangoville%sur%mere.!(Paris,!1913).!
!http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b52501948b/f1.image!accessed!15th!Sept!2017!
!
9!
…more influential and more contentious than the Ballet…because it
involved not only the pleasure of looking of being a spectator but also
body-to-body encounters of an unprecedented sensuality and intimacy
which took place in the public domain.8
Fig. 7 Attacks on tango appeared in popular magazines such as (left to right)
Femina, Le Sourire and La vie Parisienne.
Many did not approve. Nardo Zalko says that Sem was by no means alone in
attacking this dance craze, with satirical material appearing in magazines such
as Femina and Le Sourire, as well as his own work which appeared in La Vie
Parisienne9, where he was quoted as saying “Le tango, monsieur, est une
abomination.” [“The tango, monsieur, is an abomination”].10
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8!Nava,!Mica.!1998.!“The!Allure!of!Difference:!Selfridges,!the!Russian!Ballet!and!the!Tango.”!Visceral%
Cosmopolitanism:%Gender,%Culture%and%the%Normalisation%of%Difference.!(Oxford!and!New!York:!Berg).!14-15.!!
9!Nardo!Zalko.!Paris-Buenos%Aires:%un%siècle%de%tango.!(Paris:!Édition!de!Félin,!2004)!67!
10!Zalko!implies!the!quote!may!have!been!manufactured!by!the!journalist.!Zalko,!71!!
!
Fig. 8 The fashionable gathered at Deauville, 1913.
Tangoville sur Mer was a catalogue of such cartoons based on what he saw (or
what he imagined) while on a trip to the fashionable resort of Deauville. The
conceit of the book is that he caricatures famous figures as tango dancing
couples. All of them exhibit incongruity to comic effect, but the effects are
varied. Three, or possibly four of them are male and same-sex, of which only
this one (figs. 4 & 10) is a savage attack.11
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
11!In!one,!a!slender!Santos!Dumont,!the!aeronaut!clasps!a!billowing!male!figure!in!the!form!of!a!leaky!balloon!
named!Bernheim;!in!another,!the!famously!camp!music!hall!artist,!Felix!Mayol,!is!evidently!enjoying!having!
one!leg!of!the!equally!famous,!if!more!manly,!music!hall!star,!Armand!Dramen,!thrust!between!his!own.!
Dramen!appears!to!lead,!drawing!Mayol!towards!him!and!taking!pleasure!in!doing!so.!Once!again,!the!erotic!is!
to!the!fore,!and!a!source!of!knowing!ridicule;!in!yet!another,!it!is!hard!to!say!if!the!two,!near!identical!figures!
poised!as!if!to!kiss!and!marked!“Maurice!Rostand”!are!men.!Both!have!flowing!blonde!hair!and!distinctive!
profiles.!One!is!in!evening!dress!and!top!hat,!the!other!in!a!kilt!with!tartan!socks!and!lacy!underwear!showing.!
They!are,!perhaps,!a!model!of!self-absorption,!and!show!a!man!dancing!with!himself,!who!is!also!a!man.!
!
Fig. 10 The Nijinsky-Astruc cartoon in the context of the page on which it
appeared in Tangoville sur Mer.
The Nijinsky-Astruc caricature is a detail from a page which also shows a
jockey dancing with his horse and (possibly) the artist, Raimundo de Madrazo y
Garreta, dancing with a monkey dressed much like the women who figured in
his popular genre paintings. Taken as a whole, the page suggests that, in Sem’s
!
eyes, and perhaps in those of the people he expected to buy and enjoy his book,
all these are examples of grotesque, ‘unnatural’ couplings. So, mapping each
example carefully to different, particular details of the common context
shows how the amiable and the vicious can coexist. Are these the two broad
genres of comic imagery of same-sex, male tango dancing? Possibly.
I will proceed almost immediately to Gomez and Lurch, to set them in context
and see how their humour works, but pause to indicate, at lightning speed,
evidence for these two genres over the intervening years a body of evidence,
at once superficial, but suggestive and inconclusive.
Fig. 11 A German First World War propaganda postcard.
An amiable example: a First World War, morale-boosting German postcard
showing victorious German soldiers dancing tango with each other in the
“Londoner Tango Club”. There is a long history of military same sex couple
dancing.
!
Fig. 12 A pre-First World War(?) French satirical cartoon showing Kaiser
Wilhelm of Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Emperor, Franz-Josef, tango-
ing as pigs.
A vicious example: from just before the First World War, a French postcard
aimed at French and English audiences. showing Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany
and the Austro-Hungarian Emperor, Franz-Josef, as pigs, hocks locked in
anotherLe dernier tango” of their unnatural Dual Alliance, while the English,
French and Russians merely look on, providing a musical accompaniment.
Another amiable one.
!
Fig. 13 Popeye and Bluto
dancing the apache dance in
Popeye the Sailor - Morning,
Noon and Nightclub, 1937
Not quite a tango, but Popeye and Bluto dance an apache dance, its violent
cousin, in the 1937 cartoon, Popeye the Sailor Morning, Noon and
Nightclub.12 They dance intercambio swapping roles as they dance with each
other but preserve their masculinity when leading by repeated acts of violence
towards the other which, unlike in the actual apache dance, are comic, rather
than vicious.
To return to Gomez and Lurch. The time and place are significant: America in
the mid-sixties was deep in the throes of political, social and sexual turmoil. An
emerging counter culture of political protest, music, drugs, clothes, and
behaviour, challenged bourgeois norms, including those of sex and sexuality.
Indeed, this scene draws on another, still more famous same sex, male tango
scene in an earlier film, controversial on its appearance in 1959, and which
subsequently acquired a reputation for sexually radical content: Billy Wilder’s
Some Like it Hot in which Jack Lemmon, disguised as a woman to escape the
mob in 1920s prohibition America, is obliged to dance a tango with Osgood, the
millionaire.
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12!The!two!dances!arrived!in!New!York!some!25!years!earlier!more!or!less!in!tandem,!courtesy!of!Maurice!
Mouvet,!and!were!thought!to!share!the!common!characteristics!of!being!latin,!and!overtly!sexual!in!nature.!
Street!Swing.!blog.!“Maurice!Mouvet”.!http://www.streetswing.com/histmai2/d2movet1.htm!
!
Fig. 14 Jack Lemmon
dancing tango with the
millionaire, Osgood,
while disguised as a
woman in Some Like it
Hot, directed by Billy
Wilder, 1959
Writing in 1993, Judith Butler is dismissive of the idea that this and other
similar Hollywood “drag” films were in any way radical, yet concedes “these
films are surely important to be read as texts where homophobia and
homosexual panic are negotiated” but argues instead that they “are functional in
providing a ritualistic release for a heterosexual economy”13
As Suzanne Woodward writing in 2012 observed, many since then have
disagreed with Butler, and in particular, with regard to this film. She, herself
asserts:
Some Like It Hot …is notable for the ways in which it
renders…traditional gender and sexual boundaries visible, but in
addition, it stands out from other gender-bending comedies because it
refuses the conventional reinstatement of a heteronormative status quo.
Who, indeed, can forget the film’s ending?
By contrast, Gomez teaching Lurch to tango is less radical, as it is to help him
secure the heterosexual favours of the “beautiful señorita” he so imperfectly
personates. The pair simply replicate one of the well-worn tango creation myths
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
13!Butler,!Bodies%that%Matter,!1993!p.!126!quoted!in!Carver!2009!
!
used to explain why, historically, men danced with each other.14 The Addams
Family, much like The Flintstones, are essentially critiques of American
suburbia. Laura Morowitz cites Stephan Cox as suggesting that, both the
Munsters’ – the other comedy gothic sitcom of the time and the Addams
families’…
…refusal to conform, aligned them with the burgeoning counterculture
and in fact made them a far less threatening version of it. [Cox writes:]
They become television’s first countercultural role models in an age
when non-conformity was beginning to be regarded as an asset, not a
liability.’ 15
So, perhaps the trace of a smile playing on Lurch’s otherwise immobile face
smuggled in to US TV audiences in the 1960s an acceptable, unthreatening
example of the incongruity of a man enjoying dancing tango with another
except of course, Lurch isn’t a man like you, or like me, is he?
He’s a freak!
Conclusion
While queer tango is, arguably, a largely 21st century phenomenon, its
immediate roots are in late 20th century, counter-cultural social and political
developments.16 Queer tango addresses themes and ideas of sex, sexuality and
gender with long ‘pre-[queer tango] historiesstretching back to the very
beginnings of the dance in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In humorous
historical imagery, these roots are most obviously expressed through same-sex
couplings, but also through couplings where the gender identity of one or other
or both of the dancers departs from whatever conventions applied to a “normal”
tango couple at any one time and place, although I note that these norms are not
a single constant, but vary over time. Following Berger’s informal
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
14!Ray!Batchelor.!“Queer!Tango’s!‘Image!Problem’:!Men,!Intimacy!and!Pictures!from!the!Past”!Joint%SDHS%+%
CORD%Annual%Conference,!Beyond%Authenticity.%(Pomona!College,!Claremont,!California,!USA,!2016).!
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/312085875_Queer_Tango%27s_%27Image_Problem%27_Men_Inti
macy_and_Pictures_from_the_Past!
15!Laura!Morowitz,!2007,!“The!Monster!Within:!The%Munsters,!The%Addams%Family%and!the!American!Family!in!
the!1960s”!Critical%Studies%in%Television%2/1.!2007.!35-56!
https://doi.org/10.7227/CST.2.1.5!
!
!
16!With!Birthe!Havmøller,!I!delivered!a!paper,!“The!Origins!of!Queer!Tango:!Competing!and!Complementary!
Narratives”!at!The%Queer%Tango%Salon%2017!in!London!on!16th!September!that!year,!attempting!to!begin!to!set!
out!some!the!complex,!20th!century!roots!of!this!21st!century!phenomenon.!The!paper!will!be!included!in!The%
Queer%Tango%Salon%2107:%Proceedings,%presently![October!2017]!being!prepared!as!an!online!eBook!by!The!
Queer!Tango!Project:!http://queertangobook.org/!!
!
classifications of humour mechanisms, humour in these images often hinges on
just such apparent incongruities. However, by considering in more detail the
precise, particular circumstances out of which the contemporaneous productions
of the sheet music cover and the Sem cartoon emerged in Paris in 1913, we can
see that notionally similar content can achieve quite different effects, and we
can see how and why: in the first case (again, following Berger) we can see how
the humour hinged almost entirely on incongruity, with only the mildest sense
of superiority in the viewer, and no signs of aggression. To some in the 21st
century, in some parts of the world, the ease of the dancers with each other
might be read as a welcome, queer, “anti-normal” riposte to contemporary
anxieties; while to others dancing in more liberal environments, it may be a
welcome confirmation that the ease in choosing their dance partners they now
enjoy has historical precedents. By contrast, Sem’s casual use of established
anti-Semitic, and homophobic tropes: the fleshly, sensuous, big-nosed Astruc;
and the feminine, un-manly Nijinsky, are repugnant to those self-same, 21st
century liberal sensibilities. In Paris, in 1913, the incongruities in Sem’s cartoon
provided a firm foundation for a casually contemptuous portrayal, inviting the
superior viewer to sneer with the superior artist, and to share in his anger and
aggression. An arbitrary selection of other 20th century comic imagery of same
sex, male, tango dancing couples seems to suggest that these two broad
categories the amiable and the aggressive may be considered as genres, with
most falling into the first, although that assertion is by no means proven here.
However, once its debt to the superior, and more radical Some Like it Hot is
acknowledged, I suggest that the example taken from The Addams Family falls
into the first category of the amiable. Its specific value in its time and place was
that it offered viewers unthreatening role models of non-conformity, and helped
them address the social and sexual issues emerging in the counter-culture of the
time. Once the human laughter joined the canned, an audience of TV viewers
who might otherwise feel threatened, were put at ease, and in control.
!
Bibliography
Ray Batchelor. “Uncovering the Histories and Pre- Histories of Queer Tango:
contextualizing and documenting an innovative form of social dancing.”
Congress on Research in Dance 2014 Conference Proceedings. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 2014.
Ray Batchelor. “Queer Tango’s ‘Image Problem’: Men, Intimacy and Pictures
from the Past” Joint SDHS + CORD Annual Conference, Beyond
Authenticity: Pomona College, Claremont, California, USA, 2016.
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/312085875_Queer_Tango%27s_%27I
mage_Problem%27_Men_Intimacy_and_Pictures_from_the_Past
Ray Batchelor and Birthe Havmøller. “The Origins of Queer Tango: Competing
and Complementary Narratives”, paper given at The Queer Tango Salon 2017
in London on 16th Sept. 2017. The paper will be included in The Queer Tango
Salon 2107: Proceedings, presently [October 2017] being prepared as an online
eBook by The Queer Tango Project: http://queertangobook.org/
Judith Bellow. Modernism on Stage: The Ballets Russes and the Parisian
Avant-garde. London: Ashgate Publishing Ltd., 2013.
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&dq=Bellow,+J.,+Modernism+on+Stage:+The+Ballets+Russes+and+the+
Parisian+Avant-
garde,+Ashgate,+London,+2013&hl=en&sa=X&redir_esc=y#v=
onepage&q=nijinsky&f=false
Arthur Asa Berger. An Anatomy of Humor. Abingdon: Routledge, 2017 [orig.
1993].
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g=PP1&dq=types+of+humor+and+imagery&ots=i1UEUiax7-
&sig=6cu_86UT2XWiQ6FYYssgZupjXNU#v=onepage&q&f=false
Judith Butler. Bodies that Matter: On the Discursive Limits of Sex. New York &
London. Routledge, 1993
Terrell Carver. “Sex, Gender and Heteronormativity: Seeing ‘Some Like it Hot’
as a Heterosexual Dystopia”. Paper presentation. American Political Science
Association Annual Meeting. Chicago, 2007. University of Bristol Working
Paper 03-07
Kathy Davis. Dancing Tango: Passionate Encounters in a Globalizing World.
New York: New York University Press, 2015.
!
Walter Freis. Blog. El Victrolero Castizo. 2017
http://elvictrolerocastizo.blogspot.co.uk/2017/09/tango-in-
theater.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Fe
ed:+ElVictroleroCastizo+(El+Victrolero+Castizo)&m=1
Sigmund Freud. Jokes and their Relationship to the Unconscious. orig. in
German. 1905; in English, 1960. quoted by Arthur Asa Berger. An Anatomy of
Humor. Abingdon: Routledge, 2017 [orig. 1993].
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g=PP1&dq=types+of+humor+and+imagery&ots=i1UEUiax7-
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George Gousat (“Sem”). Tangoville sur Mer. Paris, 1913.
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Tango.” In Visceral Cosmopolitanism: Gender, Culture and the Normalisation
of Difference. 19-40. Oxford and New York: Berg, 1998.
Laura Morowitz. “The Monster Within: The Munsters, The Addams Family and
the American Family in the 1960s”. Critical Studies in Television 2/1: 35-56,
2007. https://doi.org/10.7227/CST.2.1.5
The Queer Tango Image Archive. http://image.queertangoproject.org/
Street Swing. blog. “Maurice Mouvet”.
http://www.streetswing.com/histmai2/d2movet1.htm
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Planet: Queer Politics and Social Theory. Minneapolis. University of
Minnesota Press, 1993. vii-xxxi
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It HotRefractory: a Journal of Entertainment Media. University of
Melbourne. 20. 2012 http://refractory.unimelb.edu.au/2012/11/17/woodward/
Nardo Zalko. Paris-Buenos Aires: un siècle de tango. Paris: Édition de Félin,
2004
Filmography
Some Like It Hot. Directed by Billy Wilder. United States: MGM, 1959
!
Popeye the Sailor Morning, Noon and Nightclub. United States: Warner
Bros., 1937. [information from the Queer Tango Image Archive
http://image.queertangobook.org/film-clip-intercambio-apache-dance-in-
popeye-the-sailor-morning-noon-and-night-club-1937/ the cartoon itself:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-ccjUqmyng
Filmways Inc.. The Addams Family. Gomez and Lurch Tango Lesson,
US TV, c1965 [information from the Queer Tango Image Archive]
http://image.queertangobook.org/the-addams-familys-gomez-and-lurch-tango-
lesson-us-tv-c1965/ [video clip]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hvnfsIxweVk&feature=youtu.be
ã2017 Ray Batchelor
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
Article
Full-text available
This article engages with postcolonial theorizations of orientalism and challenges assumptions about the pervasiveness of imperial ideologies in Britain at the beginning of the century by exploring the adherence of Selfridges department store to the principle of `cosmopolitanism'. The aesthetic and libidinal economy of this popular modernist commercial formation, and the distinctive positioning of women consumers within it, is investigated in relation to two key cultural events promoted by Selfridges in the years before the First World War: the Russian Ballet performance of Scheherazade — based on a story from the Arabian Nights in which the women of the Shah's harem seduce the black slaves of the household — and the tango, which is also associated with a new less constrained sexuality for women and in turn is linked — via Valentino — to the emerging popular form of desert romance. How do these configurations, and the fashionable ancillary merchandise spawned by them, modify our understanding of racialized and national identities? Does the gendered consumption of these exotic narratives and products and their relocation to the intimate territories of the domestic and the body, demand a shift in the way in which commerce is thought of`? What are the consequences for conceptualizations of sexual difference? This article, by focusing on the purchase by Selfridges' women customers of culturally other objects of desire, aims to make a contribution both to theorizations of consumption and to the largely unresearched history of the western fascination with difference.
Article
In the Fall of 1964, America was introduced to two television families of monsters: ABC's The Munsters and CBS's The Addams Family. Both shows functioned as a critique of the suburban nuclear family as embodied in the 1950s television sitcom. They parodied the conventions of the suburban sitcom to undermine its image. In doing so, they brought into question the social norms, values and ideologies of the mid-century American family. These shows were deeply appealing to the TV audience because they satisfied the ubiquitous desire to be “normal”, while giving reign to the need to be different. While alluding to the threatening break-down of the family and the invasion of counter-culture, they made such notions non-threatening. This article examines the production, character development, plotlines, and sets of the shows to reveal what they tell us about attitudes toward the family in mid 1960s America.
Uncovering the Histories and Pre-Histories of Queer Tango: contextualizing and documenting an innovative form of social dancing
  • Ray Batchelor
Ray Batchelor. "Uncovering the Histories and Pre-Histories of Queer Tango: contextualizing and documenting an innovative form of social dancing." Congress on Research in Dance 2014 Conference Proceedings. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014.
Queer Tango's 'Image Problem': Men, Intimacy and Pictures from the Past
  • Ray Batchelor
Ray Batchelor. "Queer Tango's 'Image Problem': Men, Intimacy and Pictures from the Past" Joint SDHS + CORD Annual Conference, Beyond Authenticity: Pomona College, Claremont, California, USA, 2016. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/312085875_Queer_Tango%27s_%27I mage_Problem%27_Men_Intimacy_and_Pictures_from_the_Past
The Origins of Queer Tango: Competing and Complementary Narratives", paper given at The Queer Tango Salon 2017 in London on 16 th Sept. 2017. The paper will be included in The Queer Tango Salon 2107: Proceedings, presently
  • Ray Batchelor
  • Birthe Havmøller
Ray Batchelor and Birthe Havmøller. "The Origins of Queer Tango: Competing and Complementary Narratives", paper given at The Queer Tango Salon 2017 in London on 16 th Sept. 2017. The paper will be included in The Queer Tango Salon 2107: Proceedings, presently [October 2017] being prepared as an online eBook by The Queer Tango Project: http://queertangobook.org/
An Anatomy of Humor Abingdon: Routledge, 2017 [orig
  • Arthur Asa Berger
Arthur Asa Berger. An Anatomy of Humor. Abingdon: Routledge, 2017 [orig. 1993]. https://books.google.co.uk/books?hl=en&lr=&id=0TgrDwAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&p g=PP1&dq=types+of+humor+and+imagery&ots=i1UEUiax7&sig=6cu_86UT2XWiQ6FYYssgZupjXNU#v=onepage&q&f=false
Sex, Gender and Heteronormativity: Seeing 'Some Like it Hot' as a Heterosexual Dystopia
  • Terrell Carver
Terrell Carver. "Sex, Gender and Heteronormativity: Seeing 'Some Like it Hot' as a Heterosexual Dystopia". Paper presentation. American Political Science Association Annual Meeting. Chicago, 2007. University of Bristol Working Paper 03-07