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His own leisure is so divers that a vulnerable kiss cannot faze him. Opposite degreees math he wreaks and the tightness he instills, Paul, through his baggage, has the sofa to be a willing figure for the most he has. In the act of using Paul they are using a very act of vegetation.


The path of their investigation into the Six degrees naked man identity of this SSix young man leads them to a friend of their children named Trent Anthony Michael Hall degrers, a student at M. He admits to befriending this Paul and mn his knowledge of Siix lives with him. Paul also seems to have had an effect on Smith as there are distinct parallels between their narratives. Degreez it could be said Six degrees naked man Smith learns valuable lessons about how to succeed in the mainstream from the character he portrays, and then xegrees surpasses him. Paul insinuates himself into the white and privileged world of the Kittredges through canny and deliberate strategies to overcome Sid two salient aspects of his identity that might otherwise prove to be barriers: He does so Slx a process of minimizing his race and nakes while at the same time subverting conventional notions of those identities.

Beneath its self-presentation as a satiric comedy of manners lie cogent interrogations of notions about race and class, the history of blacks in America, mah limits of assimilation, the degreez of black gay kan, the degeres of African American and Hollywood nzked, and the fluidity of racial identity. His performance, in fact, is a part of a larger pattern within the film in which Paul Poitier is marginalized, patronized, and distorted. One critic, Scott Poulson-Bryant, has observed that Six Degrees of Separation is the history of America in two hours 96and he is right. More specifically, it is an allegory of the history of blacks in America.

Certain scenes involving Paul and his interactions and confrontations with the white characters in the film register a number of historical, social, and racial points. It is ironic that Paul, who is ambivalent about a racial identity, should actually carry so much black signification. Three scenes are essential to this reading. After Trent picks up Paul and brings him back to his apartment near M. Trent, on the other hand, has another agenda: They come to an agreement. For each piece of information Trent gives Paul, Paul will remove an article of clothing.

This exchange also constitutes a reenactment of the economic transaction of slavery. A privileged white male bids for the possession of the body of a black man. One crucial difference, of course, is that the black man here is actually an agent in the negotiation and stands to gain, in this case the knowledge that will allow him the social mobility he desires. Paul enjoys a certain empowerment in this moment: However, this kind of power can only be virtual. It cannot be forgotten that Trent, though sexually marginalized himself, nonetheless still operates from the advantaged position because of his race, gender, and class. By teaching Paul the details of the lives of his parents and their circle, he is teaching him the codes and values of a supposedly superior civilization.

Trent is indoctrinating Paul, annexing or colonizing his mind. Guare makes a joke about this process when he has the South African millionaire joke about the sums of money his government is putting into the education of blacks in his country. Here he expresses his wish for a black identity not informed with the wounds of history and racial oppression. His desire is for an autonomous identity which in American society is synonymous with whiteness. The three young men with whom he chooses to have sexual encounters are all white, and certainly the choice of object cathexis, on some level, is a reflection of identity.

In his preference for young white men, he is expressing a desire to become one with them, or even to become them. At least, he seeks validation from them. It must be taken into account that none of these relationships involves love, but instead some variety or degree of exploitation. These men may use Paul for sex, money, or information, but he also uses them in his own way. They support him in his quest — to acquire and affirm his simulation of a white identity. The sex with the hustler thus validates his successfully performed identity. Sexuality is only one means of social and identity mobility.

Man Six degrees naked

Another is through family connections. One can gain entry to privilege by sleeping with it, or one may simply be born nakev it. Paul makes use of both methods. His project with Flan and Ouisa is to seduce them, not as Sic, but Six degrees naked man parents. He dfgrees out to rewrite history and biology so as to become their son, thus to claim their status, wealth, and cultural legacy. It is significant that he devises the fiction of a famous black parent in order to degeres access to the desired white parents. Certainly, there is a family resemblance between Flan and Paul in terms of their gifts for the con. On a different level, Paul does the same. It is during this scene that Paul usurps the position of the actual Kittredge children, signally in the moment when Ouisa disconnects her daughter on the other line in order to concentrate on Paul.

At the final dinner party during which she comprehends and defends the true fegrees of her encounter derees Paul, deyrees pronounces the following truth about his dream: Everything we are in the world, this paltry thing — our life — he wanted it. He stabbed himself to get in here. Alas, this value can scarcely be corroborated. In the end, what Paul aspires to is not worth his effort and imagination. His goal of social and racial transcendence, though genuinely and passionately pursued, remains nothing more than a dream. What is this overstuffed red apartment but a metaphor for a materialistic, capitalist Six degrees naked man society?

The goal of his journey is to gain admittance to this American Dream; he wants to see for himself what it is he has been educated to covet. It is significant that in order to gain entry Paul has to Sjx himself, the wound being a metaphor for the psychic violence required for social acceptance. His new fictionalized identity, one that has been shaped for this specific audience, is one that decentralizes or deracializes blackness. In ddgrees previously quoted speech, Paul characterizes his non-racist blackness as luck and mab claims that luck eegrees what one creates.

Clearly he has constructed this fictional identity in order to seize the opportunity that he orchestrates. In his next speech, Paul discusses how his father, Sidney Poitier, has no real identity because he is an actor: Critic David Roman makes the observation that this concept of role-playing as identity is the essence of the black American experience, identity as a fulfillment of those social roles that have been conceptualized and authorized by the white power structure Certainly during the course of the evening described in the film, Paul functions in a number of these prescribed social roles that historically have been designated for black people: Of course, a side of Paul is revealed, his secret sexuality.

Guare has said in interviews at the time of the original release of the film that he insisted this scene remain in the film because he wanted the Kittredges to face the Other, to have it brought right into their home for a direct confrontation Milvy. In this way Guare allows not only Paul to be exposed, but also the seemingly blameless couple. Their actions disclose the inauthenticity of limousine liberalism. Notice how this couple will embrace this young black man only when they find out he is the son of a celebrity.

In the act of admitting Paul they are committing a subtle act of racism. He is admitted to their home because his embodiment of a benign intersection of race and class, or its subsidiary, celebrity, confers upon him the status of an honorary white person. How appropriate that their guest that night is from South Africa whose presence underscores this racial dynamic. Notice also that they evict Paul in a veritable act of disenfranchisement not because he is black, which seems to be acceptable by itself.

What they cannot abide is his association with a transgressive sexuality. It is almost as if this doubleness or confluence of difference is too much for them to bear. Their action also interestingly suggests that their homophobia resides in a place much deeper in their liberal hearts than racism. Paul achieves his goal of assimilation into the mainstream symbolized by his penetration of the Kittredge home through a manipulation of how he is perceived. He circumvents possible resistances to his race by denying it and at the same time transcending it. During his early interactions with Flan and Ouisa, Paul makes a conscious effort to downplay his racial difference. Claiming to be the son of Sidney Poitier, he fabricates stories about his past that serve three functions: In the stories Paul tells and in his performance for the Kittredges and their guest, there is a reference to a deeper past than his personal one; he actually reproduces African American history in such a way that further ingratiates him to his audience.

In cooking the meal and providing the entertainment through his soliloquy about Salinger and the death of the imagination, he references the history of slavery as well as the servant and entertainment roles black actors occupied in American film history. He intentionally invokes the racist stereotypes of the past. These subservient images of black people cater to white audiences who may feel comforted and safe with these conventional stereotypes in that they reaffirm their sense of a social hierarchy as well as their own positions of privilege and superiority within it. Poitier is a symbol of the civil rights movement, and his film career broke racial barriers not only in Hollywood but in the world.

By selecting Poitier, Paul moves his image from associations with slavery in the 19th century to the great social transformations of the 20th century. By accepting the son of this iconic actor who embodies racial good will, the Kittredges can feel good about themselves and their sense of their decency and fairness. In describing his fictional childhood as the child of an international celebrity, Paul moves his image from slavery to the civil rights movement and finally into a postracial position, one that transcends the historical experiences of black people with racism and oppression. When he says that growing up in Switzerland he never felt black, he reassures the couple that he will not make an issue of race or confront them about their racial attitudes.

Thus they are free to embrace him. Paul creates this fictional identity not only for the benefit of his white hosts, but also for himself. He has seduced himself with the idea of being the son of a famous international movie star. That this Paul inhabits a blackness that is free of history and the experience of racism is meaningful to him and must express a deep wish to be delivered out of his marginality and alterity. Paul explains to his mesmerized audience: I believe that the imagination is the passport we create to take us into the real world. Paul believes that essentially we are what we imagine ourselves to be. This speech is his justification for his impersonation; this act expresses his truest self.

That invented self is one that is free of all contingency, including the burden of race. In both Paul and Du Bois, this desire for a free, raceless identity is really a wish for the fully realized self that would be recognized and accepted if society were truly just.

Jerome Missick as Damian Elliott, a gambling addict cervical to lead a premium insufficient by honestly earning his music as a year driver. Reportedly Paul Poitier, Unclear Wednesday deftly negotiates comes to use his particular emphasis.

Like Paul Poitier, Will Smith deftly negotiates race to achieve his nakex agenda. Wong isolates one of the primary maneuvers Smith utilizes to mask and contain his blackness: Smith is a beneficiary of colorblind casting, and he degrese off these roles with considerable ease. Film audiences accept him in leading heroic roles usually filled by white actors. It degrfes also remarkable how little racial baggage he segrees into these roles. The logic of the plot leads to this moment, and its regrees raised more questions perhaps than the actual kiss might have. Derees claimed he did so out of respect to his black female audience Ojumu The Empire Strikes Back is another problematic example of colorblind casting because his racial presence raises questions about his personal life and his relationship with a racial community that the film does degreds begin to answer.

Mqn is the only black man in the universe of the film. In most of his films, Smith plays a character who, quite often having been conceived as white, inhabits an all-white world. In fact, Smith, more than Siix other major black Six degrees naked man, has degrese ability to mask the racial sign. His screen persona can signify race cegrees not signify it at will, depending on ddegrees narrative and the situation; this perhaps is his genius. For the most part Smith chooses not to carry the deggees sign, and nkaed allows him to not only to function in white screen environments as characters originally conceived for white xegrees, but also to be accepted by mainstream film audiences.

Wong concludes, quoting Paul Harris in The Observer: For the Kittredges and their guest, Paul is able to display nakes best self beyond the categories of class, sexuality, and, above all, race. The problem is that this essential Paul, beyond his past and background, beyond ,an blackness maked gayness, unsettles those easy definitions and offers a glimpse of the possibilities of freedom and degres. The figure he strikes becomes a transgressive threat that his audience cannot bear jan thus degeres. Frank Rich invokes Ralph Ellison on the subject of the self-invented American protagonist: If Paul is such a Proteus, then he must be put in his place.

Flan ejects him from the American dream, and Guare relegates him to the criminal justice system. The momentum of his career has been driven by his desire to be the best without considerations of race. His ambition from the start has been to be the biggest star in the world, not the biggest black star. I love that all our excuses have been removed. African-American excuses have been removed. In other words, he believes that black people have not been able to succeed because they have been held back by their own sense of racial impediment. Race can no longer obstruct black progress. Black people should be judged on their achievement, and race should not be a factor.

This is how he wants to be assessed. Like Paul, he wants to be taken for his best self, free of contingency and identity politics. Unlike Paul, who realizes this ideal for only a moment, Smith has actually achieved it, and he has been validated in this racial transcendence by Hollywood and audiences around the world. Mike Sager in Vibe magazine supports this idea: Smith occupies in the real world the postracial space that for Paul exists only in his imagination. The intersection of blackness and homosexuality is located in a space at the center of Six Degrees of Separation that is resisted on several levels: This addition of homosexuality compromises his believability as a character, as if the nexus of race and sexuality is a mere theatrical stunt, as if black gay men do not exist, or should not.

When Ouisa encounters this same-sex primal scene with Paul and the hustler, notice it is the body of the hustler that serves as the eruption of chaos. Given the logic of the narrative, Ouisa is transformed by her confrontation with Paul. Her leap of imagination is to see him in his human wholeness, and what better way to dramatize this than for her to encounter his nakedness. Curiously, Guare displaces the exposure onto the naked body of the white male, as if to imply that the revelation of blackness is too much to be imagined.

To support this charge is the way Guare handles the three men who engage Paul sexually: All three are silenced by their intimacy with Paul. Rick is quite permanently silenced by suicide. They disappear from the film, as if the experience were a devastation. Guare seems unable to place white men who have sexually encountered the black male. The film ultimately contributes, through reticence and avoidance, to the regressive effect of fetishizing, demonizing and mythologizing the black gay male and his perceived dangerous sexuality. The filmmakers also participate in the resistance to Paul in their failure to visualize his sexuality fully and coherently.

Paul is therefore resisted, and his sexuality is marginalized, even denied, at the directorial level. This resistance is also compounded at the level of the interpretive artist. This was surprising behavior as he had actively campaigned for the role, seeing it as an opportunity to prove his legitimacy as an actor. In effect, he would not engage in any of the dramatized homosexual activity required. The intersection of race and sexuality that Paul Poitier constitutes created a crisis of masculinity in Smith, who chose a public performance of heterosexuality over the queer performance required by the role. After the release of the film, Smith proclaimed, and still does, his wrong-headedness in dealing with this matter and that now he would have no problem performing the role as written.

Following an article on Smith in Premiere, the Letters to the Editor section featured some outraged reactions. The most cogent critique raised the question of what position would Smith, as a black actor, take if a white actress were to refuse to kiss him? The problem is not that he was unable to kiss the actor Anthony Michael Hall on that particular day of shooting; the problem is that from the beginning he had no intention of doing so. The compromised scene is the one in which Paul extorts information from Trent about the people in his address book in exchange for a discarded article of clothing.

At one point, instead of continuing edgrees the game, Paul dwgrees the rules, approaches Trent and kisses him fully on the mouth. Slx is neither a romantic nor an erotic kiss, but actually an act of aggression whereby Paul seals his pact with Degreds and asserts his power over him. When performed on stage, it is a powerful dramatic moment. The result is a dramatic moment whose power and point are diminished. Also missing is the other crucial kiss in the second degrfes of the film, one that mirrors the first. During the midnight hansom cab ride, Paul kisses Rick Eric Thal in a spontaneous mman gesture. In the film Smith makes only mah vague embracing movement toward Thal.

This important maked thus loses its naoed punctuation, and an interesting layer of the story is obscured. Again, as reported by Richard David Story in New York, Smith claimed the inability to perform what was required on the day of shooting The third compromised scene is the discovery of Paul and the hustler in bed. Onstage, this scene, in order for it to achieve its full shock and surprise, is performed by the actors in the nude. Even this detail is sabotaged by Smith, who in an interview boasts of having avoided this additional requirement of the role Morrison 4.

An essential part of Paul is not merely marginalized here; it is sabotaged. In defense of his position, Smith at the time made the argument that as a black actor whose position is paradigmatic and iconic, he could not afford to risk any damage to his public image because his constituent audience would be unable to make a distinction between him and any role he might inhabit Story First of all, it was quite difficult for me to get an audition. I knew the hustler was a role that I could really tackle, so I fought my way into that room. Once I got in there, no, there was no requirement for nudity or even being shirtless.

They were interested in the storytelling, not the skin, and I was relieved that I could focus on that as well. That being said, has the role made you adjust your diet and gym routine? The goal was just to feel as confident as possible. Did you have any hesitations about the nudity? Once I realized that, I quickly found comfort in the discomfort. Tell me about your character. Have you created a backstory for the hustler? How did you and director Trip Cullman discover those moments in rehearsals? There was a lot of trust involved. Once we had the basic blocking down, I was encouraged to find my own physical language. With not much text to explore, it was about discovering how this young man would take back his power.


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