Soon after moving into Liberace's gaudy Las Vegas mansion in 1977, Scott Thorson, then a teenage hunk in the foster care system, learned that the jewel-smitten showman could love just as extravagantly as he decorated. Touring the premises before their relationship began, Liberace pointed out some decorative highlights, which included 17 pianos, a casino, a quarry's worth of marble and a canopied bed with an ermine spread. On the ceiling was a reproduction of the Sistine Chapel with Liberace's face painted among the cherubs.
When the pair became a couple, Liberace, who was 40 years older, was just as excessive. He couldn't bear to let Thorson out of his sight.
"We were at a hotel in Florida, and Liberace had the manager give us another suite, with windows that faced the beach," said Thorson, now 54. "He knew I'd be near the water and he wanted to be able to look at me."
i guess liberace is being treated as a profoundly liberatory figure. now, was the admirable part the abuse of foster children? or maybe it was the music? it's as though we were lionizing the lifestyle of roman polanski, and also it's as though roman polanski's movies just sucked all day every day. if you make such people your heroes or aesthetic exemplars, you better face up to the fact that you could have chosen something else instead, and the fact that you didn't really says more than i need to know about your taste or decency or intelligence.
look i understand that you can get into a mode where the worse something sucks the better it is. maybe you get sick of stuff that keeps trying to mean something; maybe good taste gets oppressive. but there are many kinds of cool schlock, mindless yet amusing cant, kitsch that arises from the depths of human depravity or consumer capitalism. the liberace variety of grotesque conspicuous consumption, excruciating mediocrity, and total, fatal corruption is only one of your myriad liberatory possibilities. for god's sake try something else.
i suppose one possibility is that all the aesthetic and ethical problems are redeemed by the homosexuality. really, you might want to think about that again. or: maybe my critique is driven by homophobia. so, really, you're going to put liberace above criticism on the grounds that he had sex with men (while denying it in public)? there's nothing wrong with men having sex with men (though i do hold that there might possibly be smething wrong with men having sex with boys), but on the other hand there isn't anything heroic about it either. also it doesn't per se improve your art, if any. also, if you will excuse my saying so, it's common as dirt and just not that outstanding or interesting.