In the special features to “Lincoln”, Spielberg says that the original screenplay by Tony Kushner was 500 pages. He picked the 100 page section about the battle for the 13th amendment in the House of Representatives for the movie. In looking for the cut sections, I ran across a number of articles including about how Kushner feels Lincoln is the greatest man that ever lived (so it was hagiography), and about how Kushner subtly gave room for the idea that Lincoln might have been gay. I didn’t get that feeling from the scenes described in the article, but I did notice that in the movie Mary seemed frustrated and Lincoln seemed disinterested. But the article does make a pretty interesting point about how being gay now is (/may have been?) different than it was then:

“Of course, reading modern concepts like “queeny” and even “gay” into the past is dangerous. If you’ve read your Foucault, you know that homosexuality—which is to say, a total identity predicated on same-sex attraction as opposed to discrete sex acts—was only invented as a possibility with the rise of psychoanalysis and the medical and legal establishments’ increasing interest in “perversion” in the late 19th century. For Lincoln and his milieu, being a homosexual was simply not possible. The term and all its connotations did not yet exist. And forget “gay”—that identity-cum-subculture only becomes thinkable later in the 20th century. So in a strictly academic sense, we can say with certainty that Lincoln was not gay.”

I have thought that there is a distinct difference between same sex attraction and gay identity, the latter being a false construct and an unnecessarily whole-hearted commitment to giving into temptation.

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