The Triple Taboo

Gary L. Atkins

in Imagining Gay Paradise

Published by Hong Kong University Press

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9789888083237
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9789882209305 | DOI:
The Triple Taboo

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By the late 1930s, the aesthetic Bali Walter Spies had helped to construct was under assault from Christian missionaries, conflicts in Dutch government policy, tourists, and a growing Nazi-inspired movement in Java. This chapter examines Spies' later paintings, his collaboration with the writer Miguel Covarrubias, and the outbreak of what came to be known as the “Zedenscandaal,” a sensationalized sex scandal that would eventually overtake Walter. He was arrested because he allegedly broke the imperial “triple taboo” against homosexuality, inter-racial desire, and inter-generational relationships—the counter to the “triple supremacy” of monogamous heterosexual romances that colonial powers promote as the mark of the “civilized” or “modernized” man.

Keywords: Miguel Covarrubias; inter-racial desire; Walter Spies; painting; Zedenscandaal

Chapter.  5031 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Society and Culture

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