An amazing article – highly recommend it – Keanu Reeves is a Queer Superhero

Recently, the intrepid co-hosts of Sound on Sight radio asked me to help host a podcast devoted to Keanu Reeves. I had been hoping for a long time that they would have just such a podcast, and I wanted to take this opportunity to explain a little bit more about why I find Reeves to be such a fascinating figure, and why I have spent so many hours of my life thinking about him and enjoying his films. It’s already fairly common knowledge that Reeves is a pretty spectacular human being. In terms of recounting his personal awesomeness, this article ( does a better job than I ever could. Give it a glance. But being an amazing human hasn’t necessarily won Keanu the accolades he deserves in the artistic world. And so, in terms of arguing for his value as a film star, I’ll take my own crack at it with this claim: Keanu is queer.

Now, before you get too excited, I should probably explain a bit more about my particular use of the word queer. In colloquial language, the word is still associated with sexuality and, in particular, sexual identities that aren’t straight. In academia, where I spend most of my time, the sexual connotations are taken to be just one part of the larger arena in which queerness operates. As Peter Brooker says so well in his Glossary of Cultural Theory, “‘to queer’ is to estrange or defamiliarize identities, texts and attitudes that are taken for granted and assumed to have fixed meanings.” (212) So, in effect, queerness can be at work anywhere where hierarchies have been erected that aim to make one thing seem better than another, and, really, to make us believe that we can be sure there are two self-evident ‘things’ there at all.


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