EDGAR DEGAS (né Hilaire Germain Edgar de Gas) born (d: 1917); In Gay Geniuses, a strange book published a few years ago now, the author W.H. Kayy comes to the conclusion that the great Impressionist painter and sculptor Degas was gay because he was obsessed with callipygous buttocks, both of ballet dancers and of horses. Moreover, Kayy repeats the old canard (are there young canards?) about Degas as a woman-hater because he painted his ballet dancers in tortured poses.

Apparently any woman-hater who also likes tushies is, according to Kayy, ipso facto, homosexual. There are of course, several things wrong with this theory. In the first place, more than a few straight studs have been known to refer to a woman as a “piece of ass,” and, what’s more, seem pretty obsessed by buttocks themselves.

Second, most dance positions are pretty tortuous in and for themselves and are hardly dictated by the artist who paints or sculpts merely what the choreographer creates. And if you don’t believe that most dance poses are painful, try a couple if your body is not in perfect shape.

Third, why are homosexuals automatically deemed woman-haters? Are the victims of battered-wife syndrome all married to gay men? Yes, Degas painted many ballerinas bending down to tie a slipper, massage a leg, but these are common scenes in the backstage world of dance. Why does this make the artist buttock-crazed? It seems to us as if Degas has been given a bum rap.