Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Path of Media Acceptance

Is this a first step??
"The dying embers of the fire indicated to me that the hour was getting late.  My child, with eyes full of a combination of wonder and the hope of staying up late looked at me and said, "Father, how will it happen?  How will the media deal with homosexuality?"

Well, I don't have a kid, and I can tell when it's getting late by looking out of the danged window, but I CAN theorize on the Path of Media Acceptance.  Don't tell my fake kid it's just a theory.  I've got enough problems.

1. Denial - It shall be as those who make such decisions want it to be.  The world of media shall be awash in attractive people.  They shall all be thin and pretty and straight and those who are not shall be comic relief.  All of these people shall be straight.

2. Parody - The people shall still all be straight, but there shall be...a guest star.  They will swish if they are men and they will fix cars and have short hair if they are women.  The audience will laugh at them and they will be popular, but the LGBT community will be split.  Some will say, "Hey, we're being acknowledged!" others will say, "Jeez, do you know anyone like that?  We're offended!"

3. If you MUST Parody... - Another guest star or recurring character shall come.  They will be popular and may be just as much of a stereotype, however, a geschrei shall go up in the community and one of the creators/writers/folks who cleans up/ will say, "Stop!  I work on this show and I am gay!  Power to us all! More power to come!  Now, allow him to gossip to his hairdressing customers and you allow her to ride her motorcycle and talk like Paul Robeson!  We are making inroads!

4. ...and they're gay! - Soon there shall be dramas.  Dramas have villains.  To make them extry-nasty it will come out in the plot that they are evil personified...and they're gay!  They won't live until the end of the picture.

5. ...aww, they're gay! - The hero/heroine shall be gay. The difference is that they will be dead from a disease or killed wrongfully.  They will be just as dead, but everyone will feel awfully sorry.

6. Psst! Did You Hear? - ____ ____ is up and coming, they've got the goods, they have the looks and...a same sex partner/affair.  They no longer have a career, at least not in acting.

7. So What if you did hear!? - ____ ____ is established, they've got the goods, they have the looks and...a same sex partner/affair...and the world does not end.

8. It's SUPERQUEER! - A character will arrive.  They will be acknowledged as gay.  Might even be a plot point.  To be on the safe side, they will have no flaws.  None.  As a matter of fact, outside of the plot point, you'd never know they were gay.  NOW, the complaint shall arise in some quarters that SQ is not gay enough.

9. Gaymos and Andy - Amos 'n' Andy was a well-written show, but it was controversial in its portrayers (White men as Black men) and then in its TV version, its stereotypes, BUT...was it all stereotypes?  Amos and Andy are the old comedy tradeoff.  If I give you Amos, a boring politically correct character, can I have Andy and Kingfish, the broader choice?

Oh, but that could never happen to-day.  "Amos 'n' Andy" hasn't been shown since 1966. Well, let's take a look at "Will and Grace"

Amos  - the family guy...even though he's Black
Will - the lawyer, even though he's gay.

Andy - Broad, fun-loving devil-may-care, gets into scrapes, but friends with Amos.
Jack and/or Grace - Broad, fun-loving devil-may-care, gets into scrapes, but friends with Will.

Kingfish - Gets Andy into trouble. Wild and outlandish.
Karen - Enables Jack.  Wild and outlandish.  Is also bisexual.

How did either show survive?  Partially because both of them had a Black or gay person involved.


It's still a step forward.

10. It's not the lead, is it? - This means that there are good roles to be had.  Might even win an award.  It still won't mean that folks (the folks that make the decisions) will believe that there can be a gay lead.

11. It IS the lead. IT IS! - It's a good part.  LGBT organizations love it!  Critics applaud!  It's a flop.

Soon the day will come that it will be an eye-raise, not a fist-raise that someone is gay.  There shall be movies with gay leads, played by gay people and it will seep in like rainwater into soil. There will be gay people in front of and behind the camera.  "Will and Grace" may be deemed as offensive as "Amos 'n' Andy once was.  And acceptance will spread...

And gays shall still be harassed and beaten and killed and treated as less than human.

Now, reread this entry and you can drop in the word "Latino" or "Asian" or "Indian". It reads roughly the same.

The change in attitude must come from you, not from the media.  That is where acceptance really begins.

Now go to bed, my virtual child.