“A Mouthful of Ledger”

Below is a deleted scene from Knocked Up, which is tres hilarious (and very unsafe for work). Definitely fits with my perception that the oft-referenced “You know how I know you’re gay?” scene in The 40-Year-Old Virgin is not homophobic, but a flawless depiction of a very particular kind of straight dude of my generationโ€”guys who might best be described as sexual libertarians, who seriously do not give a fuck about their friends’ sexual orientations, who are just as easily friends with gay guys as straight guys because video-game bonding knows no bigotry. These guys, gay and straight alike, will use words like “fag” and “gay” with each other, but the straight guys intuituvely know that “My gay friend doesn’t care if I call him a fag” doesn’t mean they can use that language anywhere, with anyone, and they will “Dude, that’s not cool” anyone who thinks otherwise. They’re more likely to be stoners than metrosexuals, and they are also the fiercest male defenders of a woman’s right to choose that I know. It’s an emergent archetype; Apatow’s got his finger firmly on its pulse.

[Via Sully, who picked exactly the right bit for the post title.]


Filed under 01_shakespeares_sister

32 responses to ““A Mouthful of Ledger”

  1. PortlyDyke


  2. From what I’ve witnessed, this is much more common with today’s teens and 20-somethings.

    They don’t care who their friends sleep with. And, they’re not shy when it comes to talking about sex — gay or straight.

    It is more complex than “My gay friend doesnโ€™t care if I call him a fag.”

    They have a sardonic view of sex in general. When they describe sex in crude terms — like the guy in the clip — it is commonly understood that ALL sex acts are discussed in the same manner.

    Calling a gay friend a “cocksucker” is perfectly acceptable. Saying the same thing to a straight friend is fighting words.

    Most of the young people I know didn’t like Brokeback Mountain simply because it didn’t have a happy ending. They want to know why the characters couldn’t have just gone off together. Their world doesn’t have the kind of restrictions depicted in the film. They want their gay friends to find love and happiness.

  3. Whoa. You know, that would be just incredibly fucking hot to watch. Wow.

    Speaking of things that made my eyes get real, real big, check this out. My favorite bit is the part about snakes.

  4. Unsafe for work? Maybe a little, but here they don’t mind pregnant women on film as much.


  5. My friend and I have a longstanding argument about the nuances of “gay” and “faggy” as used by people in an ironic sense, a word that has lost its meaning despite its original origins (e.g. using “fuck” simply to exprress anger, rather than the actual act of sex), or as an epithet- which ones are acceptable in which circumstances, and which ones are verboten hatemongering? You’ve pointed out one of the distinctions well.

    According to the DVD commentary, the whole scene was improvised and pretty different from the script.

  6. Nik E Poo

    I just went from completely disinterested in seeing this movie … to mildly piqued.

  7. Melissa McEwan

    To be clear, I don’t think “gay” and “fag” have lost their meanings, or power, as epithets. Just look at the (well-deserved) shitstorm after Ann Coulter called John Edwards a faggot. That’s why it’s desperately important that straight men who find themselves comfortable using such terms around and with gay male friends note and understand why “My gay friend thinks it’s okay when I use those words” is a horseshit justification for using them outside their intimate circle.

    A lot of homophobic, misogynist, and racist language can be effectively reclaimed by the people at whom it was directed, and by trusted allies–but all of those people must understand that the use of the terms have very different meanings outside intimate boundaries forged by trust.

  8. wedeman


    I was just about to post a reply along the lines of, “Hmmmm, seems like we have a double-standard going here – I thought these words had power no matter who or where they were said,” (especially since that’s my belief) and what does it matter if a stoner-friend says these words to his gay friends? The use of the word – and its meaning, even if in an ironic sense – continues. In my opinion that simply does not matter – I assume then you would make the same argument with the word “nigger”?

    But your last post seems to address this somewhat. I say “somewhat” because I believe even use of such words in a so-called intimate circle can cause harm – it’s not up to the person using them to make the call that, “Hey! It’s my gay buddy! He’s knows I’m calling him “faggot” in a friendly, non-degrading way”; it’s up to the person who is at the receiving end. And sometimes, it is my belief, that person at the receiving end will not want to make waves with friends, that it’s easier to just go along. Not always, obviously, but I think we can all agree that such situations occur.

    Anyway, the words have power, period, and most often it is degrading power.

    I’m just sayin’, and I don’t mean to bring the vibe down from what obviously is a reference to a very funny movie (which I do plan on seeing).

  9. The rule is very simple: “It’s OK to knock your own team.” It’s OK for my gay friends to call themselves or their gay friends faggots. It is not OK for ME to call them faggots.

  10. grape_crush

    Itโ€™s an emergent archetype..

    What? Socially-conscious men who can get crude and bawdy with the right crowd?

    ‘Bout damn time.

  11. oddjob

    All I know is, in 1994 I saw Threesome (a pleasantly, forgettably lame romantic comedy about a romantic triangle involving two straight college students, and the str8 guy’s homo dormate) at a suburban movieplex. During a threesome entaglement near the end of the flick, when the str8 guy in a gester of honest, open, good-natured generosity of spirit reaches across the girl and takes his roomate’s hand and brings it across to his own body, the audience of teen & twenty-something suburban kids almost universally said, “EWWWW!!!!!”

    That we could go from that, to something this blunt (albeit cut), is cool!

    (BTW, I love that scene! It’s cute!)

  12. oddjob

    (To clarify, I loved the scene in Threesome, but in the above comment what I meant was I love the posted scene that Shakes found at Sully’s blog.)

  13. I’ve had numerous conversations with the young people in my life about their use of the words “gay” and “fag.”

    What I’ve come to understand is that they have a firm, underlying belief that gay and straight are 100% equal.

    If they say, “Quit being such a FAG!” to a gay friend, it is absolutely understood that it DOES NOT and never will mean “quit being a homosexual.”

    It means, “Quit displaying stereotypical behavior” or “Quit being a slave to your sexuality.”

    There is an understanding that both straight and gay sex is an unavoidable and normal part of life. Cynical mocking of everything sexual is accepted.

    The stoner in the clip is upset that Brokeback Mountain does not present gay sex in the same graphic manner as straight sex is commonly presented in film. He finds it insulting that the director tippy-toes around the actual lovemaking.

    I recently heard a converstation between two 20-year-old guys, one gay and one straight, in which the straight guy wanted to hear all the graphic details about his friend’s recent date.

    “Did you go down on him?”


    “You’re such a slut.”

    “Heh, heh.”

    “Does he have a big cock?”

    This is something that would not have taken place when I was that age.

    I’ve also spoken to numerous young people who say the refuse to consider marriage until their gay friends can get married too.

    There is an entire generation that has determined that unequal marriage is worthless. Even if gay marriage is made legal, I bet they probably won’t change their minds about marriage not being for them. I think we’ll see far more unmarried couples in the future.

  14. Melissa McEwan

    I say โ€œsomewhatโ€ because I believe even use of such words in a so-called intimate circle can cause harm – itโ€™s not up to the person using them to make the call that, โ€œHey! Itโ€™s my gay buddy! Heโ€™s knows Iโ€™m calling him โ€œfaggotโ€ in a friendly, non-degrading wayโ€; itโ€™s up to the person who is at the receiving end.

    I don’t believe I said anything to the contrary. The scenario you’re describing is not at all something I would envision as evolving from a friendship built on trust, which was a clear stipulation of my above comment.

  15. oddjob

    Fritz, can you imagine the pearl clutching that’s going to take place when enough of those folks are politically influential? ๐Ÿ™‚

  16. Actually, after thinking about this, I think the scene would be better with a different ending.

    Alison is obviously an outsider. But, she’s beginning to understand Jonah’s viewpoint. I don’t think she would at that point ask Jonah if he’s gay. I think it would go more like this:

    JONAH: No! I wanna se a fuckin’ homerun! I wanna see Jake Gyllenhaal on all fours, gettin’ his salad tossed by Heath Ledger.

    ALISON: Ew! As a woman, I’d rather have seen something more romantic. I think the sex scenes are too rough as they are. Why couldn’t Lee have shown more romantic moments between the two of them?

    JONAH: Because they’re two DUDES, Alison! Dudes ain’t romantic. All they care about is gettin’ rimmed and fucked up the ass.

    ALISON: What do you know about it? You’re not gay, Jonah.

    JONAH: Look, gay or straight, a dude is a dude. Even the gayest gay guy thinks about one thing — hot man-on-man sex.

    ALISON: That’s a pretty sad way to think about relationships.

    JONAH: We’re talkin’ about SEX, Alison. Not “relationships.”

    ALISON: The movie is about their relationship, not just sex.

    JONAH: Two dudes get horny in the wilderness and then meet once a year to have sex in a tent. That sounds more like sex to me.

    ALISON: I think it is a good thing you’re not gay, Jonah.

    JONAH: I have to agree with you there.

  17. Sort of off-topic, but now every time I look at my RSS feed or visit this site today, I keep seeing “A Mouthful of Ledger” and it’s truly distracting. I can hardly focus… must.. have.. Ledger!

  18. Melissa McEwan

    Ew! As a woman, Iโ€™d rather have seen something more romantic. I think the sex scenes are too rough as they are.

    Seriously…I cannot convey how much I would never say this, lol.

    I would, however, totally be cheeky and ask Jonah if he were gay, just like it was written. Because I don’t think Alison’s genuinely asking. I think she’s just harassing him.

  19. Melissa McEwan

    I can hardly focusโ€ฆ must.. have.. Ledger!

    Join the club. ๐Ÿ˜ˆ

  20. Join the club.

    Can we make t-shirts? I’ll get the ceremonial candle.

  21. Seriouslyโ€ฆI cannot convey how much I would never say this, lol.

    In my version, I imagine that Alison is being diliberately contrary — more because she wants to play devilโ€™s advocate rather than actually being grossed out by what Jonah is saying.

  22. Doctor Jay

    I laughed and laughed at that.

    I showed it to my 18-year old daughter, and she said, “That guy’s so far in the closet he’s found Narnia!”

    I just wanted to share that.

  23. oddjob

    โ€œThat guyโ€™s so far in the closet heโ€™s found Narnia!โ€

    ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜† ๐Ÿ˜†

  24. oddjob

    Hmph! Still working on figuring out how this new stuff works……..

  25. PortlyDyke

    โ€œThat guyโ€™s so far in the closet heโ€™s found Narnia!โ€

    Seriously stealing that.

  26. Doctor Jay, that’s beautiful.

  27. Liss, the clip is a hoot!

    Moira, the snake thing? Ouch!

    And Doctor Jay, that is a keeper. ๐Ÿ™‚

  28. Pingback: Mouthful of Ledger at Pandagon

  29. Tim Rooch

    When Mrs. Rooch and I saw “Ghost” in an East Bay California theater in 1990, many in the audience groaned and turned away when Whoopi Goldberg, who was clearly channeling Patrick Swayze, kissed Demi Moore. We were stunned at the reaction. I guess people don’t expect such behavior in a “straight” movie. Pity.

  30. Pingback: Daily Round-Up at Shakesville

  31. "Fair and Balanced" Dave

    โ€œThat guyโ€™s so far in the closet heโ€™s found Narnia!โ€

    Another “wish I’d come up with that” quote! I’m with PortlyDyke, I’m stealing that one.

  32. I love this scene. Go see the movie! It rules.

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