He was many things, as a new biopic illustrates, but one of the least appreciated was his role as a gender pioneer.
Everybody has a personal Elvis. He is there for us all, lodged in the collective unconscious, one of few humans who can legitimately be termed an icon, although it is not always certain of what.
There is musical Elvis and race-reckoning Elvis and sex symbol Elvis and Las Vegas Elvis and Mississippi Elvis and rockabilly Elvis and Hollywood Elvis and Warhol Elvis and imperial Elvis and impersonator Elvis. There is, too, cautionary Elvis: the bloated, pill-addicted burnout dead at 42.
There is foremost Elvis, the legend, a man whose humble
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