While I fully support the SOPA/PIPA opposition campaigns that various groups are staging, stand in solidarity with those efforts (without which this blog would be severely hampered and far less interesting, quite likely!), and have sent my opinions on this matter to my Senators via various means, I really don’t think the best way to handle this is to observe “internet silence” for the day. Not only do I have daily practices to do (including educating the public, being that I am the Doctor and that’s my job!), whether or not the rest of the world knows of or acknowledges such things, but I think that–not unlike the Day of Silence that is observed in relation to violence against LGBTQI people by students at many schools and colleges around the U.S. in April–the best way to demonstrate against these things is to continue as before and SPEAK OUT as much as possible. I know exactly what the internet would be like without these freedoms, and I am fully opposed to it, so I really don’t need a preview to demonstrate it; I’d rather exercise these rights while I still have them. So…
Today in 1913 was the dies natalis of Sanctus Danny Kaye, born David Daniel Kaminsky. He was a famed American actor, comedian, singer, and dancer–an all-around entertainer, certainly. I have not seen very many of his films, unfortunately (“the vessel with the pestle has the brew that is true…”), but one thing that I did see him in while he was still alive was an episode of The Cosby Show when he played a rather odd dentist named Dr. Burns.
Not long after the above performance, Danny Kaye died; but after not having seen that episode for several decades, I still remember it almost perfectly. (Watching it repeatedly with my younger siblings on VHS helped with that, of course–and, as I do come from a “dental family,” it was rather pertinent topically to our wider lives!)
So, was Danny Kaye gay? Not straight-forwardly (if you’ll excuse the phrase), as he was married and had girlfriends; however, that he had a “relationship beyond friendship” with Laurence Olivier is rather widely accepted, though denied by various people close to the actor himself. A book on bisexuality that I quite enjoyed and which was very influential on my earlier developing queer consciousness, Vice-Versa: Bisexuality and the Eroticism of Everyday Life by Marjorie B. Garber, discussed Kaye and Olivier’s relationship as fairly factual.
Bisexuality, historically, has been a phenomenon that even many “practicing bisexuals” over the last century have not fully understood, so perhaps Kaye fell into the spectrum of what we would consider bisexual in some sense–given his marriages and girlfriends, that would be a bit of a necessity, in any case, for taxonomic purposes.
[Side-note: isn't it interesting how men's swimsuit styles have changed since the "conservative" 1940s through '60s? The length has increased below the waistline generally, but decreased heavily above it!]
However, I think Danny Kaye deserves to be honored over and above what his sexuality may have been. There are not too many comedians among the Sancti, with a few obvious exceptions–
There’s a wonderful Danny Kaye Appreciation Blog that has tons of great further images of him, which I’d highly suggest checking out–who knows, things like that may no longer be possible in the future, so enjoy them NOW while you can!
So, sing Ignis Corporis Infirmat, Ignis sed Animae Perstat for Sanctus Danny Kaye, “The Court Jester” of our Sancti!