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Bottoms From Outer Space

Mark Simpson on those big scary rings at the movies

You might think me obsessed with men’s bottoms. And you’d be right. But if you want to know what a real bottom obsession looks like, one that makes my own heavy breathing look positively flirtatious, just visit the movies.

Take the Summer blockbuster Independence Day (written and directed by Roland Emmerich). Here’s a film so fixated on bumholes that it can’t see anything but bumholes. Bumholes so big and special-effected that they threaten to swallow up the whole world.

In this startlingly excremental (figuratively as well as literally) movie, American civilisation is dwarfed by vast, round alien arseholes which saucily position themselves over the biggest, proudest, pointiest buildings in New York, LA., Washington etc. After twenty-four hours of teasingly hovering above these phallic monuments, they open up their sphincters to dump a stream of shit-from-hell which first demolishes the skyscraper below and then engulfs, destroys and generally wreaks havoc on the nicely ordered American metropolis beneath it. That’s some bottom.


In case we’ve missed the point, the gung-ho US pilots who attempt a counter-attack talk a great deal about how they can’t wait ‘to give it to those aliens up the ass!’ However, they fail to penetrate the aliens’ defences with their hot, hi-tech rockets – even the nuclear-tipped babies – because the cheeky Pushy Controlling Bottom aliens have a force-field hymen protecting them from such unwanted attentions.

Fortunately, wily Jeff Goldblum saves the day and mankind’s reputation as fuckers not to be fucked with, by craftily working out that what is needed to lower the aliens’ defences is a virus. Jeff infects one of the smaller alien vessels and thence the mother vessel by ‘docking’ with it, and soon the virus is transmitted to all the alien ships, whose force-fields/immune systems collapse.

This allows Randy Quaid, playing a kamikaze love-missile, to fly up the sphincter of an alien vessel opening to crap destruction on a city below, while shouting ‘ALIEN ASS-HOLES!! UP YOURS!!’, before exploding and destroying the alien ship, helpfully showing the rest of the Earth forces ‘Where the aliens’ weak-spot is.’ That is to say: in the same place as men’s.

You can’t get more botty-fixated than this. Except, that is, in 1994’s Sci-Fi blockbuster Stargate. This film, made by the same team as Independence Day, featured basically the same explosive anal ending, in which an alien desert despot is destroyed by an American bomb, sent shooting up the arsehole of his space-craft by Kurt Russell (who is much the same thing as Randy Quaid), shortly after Kurt has uttered the only expletive in this 15 Certificate movie – ‘FUCK YOU, ASS-HOLE!!’.


Men’s bottoms are officially meant only to allow one-way traffic, any reminders that it can admit as well as expel tend to make men uneasy – unless they can be projected onto something hated. Stargate was a movie which begins with the discovery of a huge ‘ring’ in the Egyptian desert which turns out to be a ‘portal’ to other worlds – which is fine and dandy. But it is also a point of entry to our own – which isn’t. So commander Kurt and his men are dispatched to plug that hole good and proper and protect Earth Men’s virtue.

As film star Mel Gibson made clear in an infamous interview where he was asked about whether he worried that people might think he was a homosexual because he was an actor, the possibility of two-way traffic in the region of your own posterior must be denied. Pointing to his not uninviting arse he allegedly shouted: ‘This is for shitting; nothing else!’ All the same, it’s just a little odd that his hard, manly, hairy performance of Scottishness in Braveheart against the soft, smooth, nancy-boy English reached its climax in a scene where he was publicly disembowelled by the Sassenachs without so much as blinking.

Invasion, enslavement and defeat have long been seen as analogous to anal rape – a form of emasculation. Recent revelations about the sexual-humiliation practises of victorious troops in the Bosnian conflict on their male prisoners have only reinforced this idea. Perhaps this is why in Independence Day Randy Quaid, the man who finally ‘gives it to the aliens up the ass’ on behalf of all Earth men is an alcoholic ex-Vietnam vet who, we’re told, years ago was abducted by the aliens and subjected to ‘sexual experiments’.

The ending of Stargate also owed something to recent American history: A T-shirt popular with US forces during the Gulf War, depicted Saddam Hussein – that other scary despot the yanks liberated desert people from – bent over with an American missile up his butt and the legend beneath it reading: “WE’RE GONNA SADDAMIZE YA!’

The direct representation of male violation, like consenting male homosexuality itself, used to be a taboo; in the Seventies the play Romans in Britain was prosecuted for indecency because it featured a simulated male rape scene (defended, interestingly, as being ‘a metaphor for imperialism’). John Boorman’s film Deliverance (1972) was considered ‘controversial’ because it hinted rather heavily at male-male sexual assault. Nowadays, however, in the arsehole-anxious nineties, male rape scenes are practically de rigueur in mainstream movies, popping up (and being held down) in films such as Pulp Fiction (1994) and The Shawshank Redemption (1994), while, as we’ve seen, the theme of forced, vengeful posterior penetration has even become the stuff of science fiction movies ostensibly aimed at kids.

This might just have something to do with the rising visibility of homosexuality and the increasing fascination with male passivity – along with the inescapable fact that, no matter how many aliens the guys blow away at the movies (and in Stargate and Independence Day saving the world is strictly a guy thing) they still keep losing the sex war with the aliens they live with. Females.

So, without wanting to come over all Vito Russo, it’s probably no coincidence that the Stargate alien is played by Jaye Davidson who also played the ‘chick with a dick’ in The Crying Game (1992), is surrounded by muscular young men in leather, and flies about in a spaceship that likes to sit on pointy pyramids. Nor is it without significance that in Independence Day, Harvey Fierstein, playing as usual an extremely annoying gay constantly on the phone to his mother (“Oh, mother, it’s AWFUL, the aliens are getting MORE ATTENTION than ME!”) is the first character to be killed by the alien attack. Eliminating early on (but not early enough for my money) the only Earthling who willingly takes it up the ass.

Hollywood science fiction these days is not so much about man’s fear of invasion from outer space as that of the invasion of man’s inner space. As Kevin McCarthy shouts to the freeway traffic in the classic 50s sci-fi paranoia flick Invasion of the Body Snatchers – ‘THEY’RE HERE ALREADY!!’

Standing right behind you.

This essay  originally appeared in Attitude magazine, September, 1996 and is collected in ‘Sex Terror: Erotic Misadventures in Pop Culture

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13 thoughts on “Bottoms From Outer Space”

  1. Gosh, they even plant the Judeo Christian crusades in their porno now? Religion never wanders far from these peoples minds-or asses, as the case may be! If they’re not shutting down gay apocalyptic butt bandits it seems they’re opening new messianc vistas for God’s children . Up someones rear. Peging might indeed be fun: I’d like to se so straight guys find Jesus in their nether regions. On the other hand,since anatomy seems to have missed their comprehesion, they’ll unimaginatively have some poor wench moaning in pain as she gets sodomised, pretending she has a prostate.

  2. This film should have been titled “Anal Apocalypse”. Hollywood remains obediently and rather quaintly conservative in its regard for a vast population that it considers to be ‘morally traditional’. The irony is that they hire Jewish homosexuals to write their scripts and make money for them. Queens make great typists. The valiant way in which a Jewish and a black male effectively save the planet is touching in its abbreviated, cartoon-like, gung-ho treatment. Hollywood does serve certain demographics. Similarly, and more memorably, was “Aliens” (1986) where the hemisphere – or at least the Western portion – was spared a mollecular nightmare by an Hispanic bull-dyke who’d taken too many steroids. Curiously, what remains with me of “Independence Day” is the scene where the British are depicted in the desert, losing the battle. This actually happened in the Second World War. A call comes through from the Americans relaying the final solution to annihilating the enemy, and the British Colonel responds with all the haughtiness, yet powerlessness, of a Head Girl at a privileged school: “And ABOUT TIME TOO, AMERICA!”

  3. continuation: (excuse typos -above) While it might have been more clearly put Mr.jay, I think that Mark’s article dealt far more with prevalent streriotypes of intrusion and those intruded upon-with the destruction and degradation of bottoms, who are always presented as being resistant and nasty -the aggressors; that is not the case in real life, and it need not be in imagination.
    Sometime, read a book by Ms. C Paglia, “Sexual Persona, ” for an extended cultural elucidation of the matter. History has proven that ,in the mind of man there exists as much reverence for the receptor as the ‘active’ participant

  4. @artic_jay
    Watching films, not encountering reality, we are first and foremost indulging ourselves in prevalent myths of our age. Ethics are relative to what side we are on most often; in fact even in the media, ethics are imprue on occassion e.g. the U.S shoving a rocket up their man Sadam’s ass ethical by any stretch of the imagination ‘ethical” after all they betrayed him, who they had installed. Sadam is an exception of course; only to the fact that representations like movies are bogus, myths that point up the ethical nature of our invariably retaliatory responses, minus violins.
    The fact that the public, notably Americans, at this point are sold a shoddy bill of goods at movies and by the media about their governments and militaries aggressiveness could not be more evident that the whole raft of unilateral wars they have imperialistically launched against the world,particularly since WW2, (80 or so by Gore Vidal’s count.)– the last being Iraq.
    None of these resemble even the fictionalized versions, which alone have an ethical character. That leaves us in never-never land where the guys who win out are indeed ethical; hence the need for Science Fiction.
    Curiously in this land of fawns and fairies, the good guys always succeed by intruding on the innards of bad guys or the less than men. This is the heterosexual fantasy of the ethicality and the ecstasy of maleness; and as God saw at the creation of earth ” It was good .”
    Consequently these storytale intrusions are bilateral or, more appropriately, defensive. So, as you say, in our mythological construct we are morally flawless, the good guys, albeit aggressive.
    Are these showcasing a primitive masochism? Yes, decidedly! Is it ‘realities” as you say that they are dealing with? Hardly!

    In the real world machoism, in itself, contrary too your claims, is hampered only by being imposed upon by exterior constraints;e.g. ethical considerations,without which in a Freudian context (the superego) would yield the indiscriminatory aggression free to plunder and destroy at will. Omnisexuality does not apply in the way you suggest, being a force of labido, it belongs as much to receptivity as anything . It is too basic to apply to either the receptive or aggressive. Masculinity’s rules are as primitive or as labyrinthine as is demanded for it’s functioning. Unfortunately the” Silver Screen” allows for only clearcut heroes or bad guys.

    You assume incorrectly about my receptivity. I don’t see any reason why it is in any way be superior. God knows, I can count the number of times I’ve been permitted to do otherwise. Indeed the best was being desoiled (with my willingness). I do tell women to appreciate the catcalls they can get while they can. I do. God knows they get cranky when they can’t. I also recommended that their bottom works were renewable resources, so not to be so picky.
    I have long sung the praises of a sturdy, reprochless bottom, and wish that I could share that enviable and certainly as good as any if not better fate.
    Don’t watch too many movies!

  5. @Mark Walsh

    First of all, inherent in the definition of “intrusion” is a breach of boundaries. In all the examples in the essay, men (either as a race of beings, or as specifically gendered individuals) are victims of aggressive force. The responses to such intrusions, in the actions of the characters and in the underlying messages in the films themselves, are on firm ethical ground. Rape happens; wars happen. Are you really suggesting that movies that take such realities as their subject matter and resolve the emotions generated by them via their plots are merely showcasing a primitive “machoism”?

    Secondly, “machoism” is hardly less sophisticated than what your recommending. The formulation of ethics requires proscriptions being placed against certain behaviors. Omnisexuality is the hallmark of children and the mentally ill. The trouble with masculinity is that it’s rules are too labyrinthine, too sophisticated and contextual for many men who ultimately have to choose to give up the game.

    You enjoy receptivity. That’s your preference and mine as well. But it’s not a superior one. Why don’t you tell women to simply enjoy every catcall as an opportunity for a passionately indifferent fuck instead of an offence? It would be logically consistent with what you’re proposing straight men do.

  6. The prototype of becoming the receptor of internal intrusion becomes instead not something always abhorate but an act of nurturance and acceptance; the act between the intruder and receptor a reciprical act.

  7. I think the “point ” is to show the metaphorical way in which masculine heterohegimonious incursions into inner sanctums via rear entry are always portrayed as being horrific and heroic, in contrast to the more sophisticated joyful, indeed passionate disregard some others of us have for similar physical homoerotic intrusions into one another’s physical borders via bottom portals..
    This perspective is a gigantic step beyond basic human nature (1)machoism, on to human nature (2) happy receptivity.,the inverted joys of intrusion and being intruded upon. Metaphorically , this opens whole frontiers of seeing aggression and war as being significant of nothing horrendous always as heterosexual males would have us believe: e.g with aggressive preemptory wars and other forms of intrusion being something to cheer rather than fear.

  8. Umm, doesn’t this all just require a simple appeal to basic-maths human nature?

    I mean: why wouldn’t men (or anybody) fear an invasion of inner space, whether that occurs on the level of state, home, or body?

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