What’s Sex Got to Do With It?

I have just learned that the finale of the Legend of Korra is supposed to establish Korra as a lesbian. Or: sort of.

I haven’t been watching the show. I’ve watched maybe three episodes, and left the rest on the list of things I really meant to get around to. I’m not a big TV guy to begin with, and most of my media consumption lately has been catching up on iTunes with the Disney shows of my childhood… and my mother’s childhood. With this announcement, Korra has been pushed a good deal further down the list, together with Noah and Exodus: Gods and Kings.

As I say, I haven’t seen the show, but my understanding is the big cue was that Korra and her girlfriend walk off into the sunset holding hands. It was vague enough that the creators had to blog about it so people would understand exactly what the author’s intent was. As an aside, explaining what the art means in a little note is how you do painting. Literature has plenty of opportunity in the text to communicate meaning. Doing your own interpretation is basically a failure to communicate. I think that may be all to the good. If they had made explicit exactly what the characters were going to engage in behind closed doors, I could safely scratch the show completely off my list. Yik.

Honestly, my problem isn’t the homosexuality, per se. Same sex attraction happens. Addressing it in a realistic way is probably beyond the scope of our paper maché culture, but not impossible. We’ve got some other issues to deal with first. My problem is the complete identification of love with sexual identity. This is why people can’t hold hands any more. Once you start, our whole civilization lunges in to make sure you see it all the way to the explicit end.

So I’m asking: what’s sex got to do with it? What’s wrong with Korra just loving Asami, and not committing adroit bedroom scenes after the fall of the final curtain?

I read Huxley’s Brave New World at a too tender age. One of the scenes that terrorized me as a middle-schooler was the love scene, where John confesses his undying love to Lenina, who responds with something to the tune of, “Well, why didn’t you say so!” and begins to strip. The famous phrase is, “off came the zippicamiknicks.” It turns out that John was living in a Shakespearean sonnet, and Lenina was living in something cheaper than a paperback romance.

The Vanity Fair article about the anouncement concludes, “[the] cannon is firing in celebration of a brave new world.” Brave New World, indeed, that has such people in it.

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