Posted by OaktownPinecone at machine243.415.com on August 07, 2001 at 15:19:58:
In Reply to: Re: here is my long and late letter to GLAAD posted by pinecone on August 06, 2001 at 19:51:09:
i read the ew thing this morning. poorly written (or perhaps poorly edited), but despite the "horrified" quote, i thought the piece avoided embarrassing either side.
what the view askew side still hasn't grappled with has to do with two aspects of the potential audience. the first is that this film is by k's admission pitched at the lowest common denominator. if k has faith that the lcd is capable of his subtlety of thought, i think he's deluded. but he's thinking averages, whereas glaad is worried about the lowest individual members of the lcd, the ones who will use k's jokes as ammo targetted at gays.
there are assholes in every demographic, but i'm pretty sure some of the stupidest and most inclined to violence are teenaged boys. (i think about the liner notes to incesticide, in which kurt cobain railed against the two "fans" who had sung one of his songs as they sexually assaulted a girl.) k may be sensitive because he has a gay brother and grew up fat, but isn't the intended audience of the movie the very type of boys who used to make fun of him?
the other thing is, also by k's admission, he's going after an audience that will not have seen amy or dogma, and so don't have the background about jay and bob that the fans have. plus, with what's been cut from the end of the flick at the behest of those prudes at the mpaa, it seems some gay humor has been lost, which weakens the underlying satirical context of k's message about homophobia. but i am fascinated by his message, which seems to be that close heterosexual male relationships have a (homo)sexual element to them. or perhaps that many straight men fear that their love for their close male friends makes them a little bit gay. so they overcompensate, unconsciously.
while i don't believe homophobes are necessarily repressed homosexuals, it certainly amuses me to see them portrayed that way. then again, to see characters whose repressed homosexuality leads them to become murderers, say, that's a double-edged sword. the difference between "swoon" and "the silence of the lambs" is way too subtle to discuss here. i haven't seen "a different place" yet, but i'm curious.
anyhow, when an idiot hears rufus say that jay fantasizes about men when he masturbates in the shower, maybe the idiot simply doesn't believe rufus. jay gay? that's just so far outside the realm of possibility, any evidence supporting it must be flawed (especially in the face of contrary evidence - and heck, even plenty of ignorant gays don't believe in bisexuals). when jay starts miming fellatio, you and i see a freudian slip. an idiot just laughs and ignores the implications. denial ain't just a river in egypt...
ultimately, i think glaad is just trying to spell out as plainly as possible for the archetypal idiot that taunting faggots on the schoolyard isn't the same as making light of one's own fears/thoughts about one's own feelings. and glaad is trying to explain to k that morons may not ever understand such distinctions, and that failure to understand may have severe repercussions for actual gay kids.
of course there's the whole larger context question as well. rush limbaugh thinks we have political power disproportionate to our numbers (hmm. can you say "moral majority?") and would probably point to this whole fiasco as a perfect example. "the gays are so powerful they made kevin smith and possibly miramax shell out big bucks to further the gay agenda." but the question for glaad is simple: are gays and lesbians safe in the streets and playgrounds of america? are they safe to walk down a street holding hands like a straight couple can, without being shouted at or spat at by carloads of dumbshits? not even in san francisco, in my experience.
banning anti-gay epithets will not stop prejudice or violence against gays, and i'm pretty sure glaad's analysis is sophisticated enough nowadays to recognize that. but i think what they're saying is that it's not OK to taunt people for being gay; if you do, somebody will be there to force you to examine what you're doing and why you're doing it. and if your taunts are spread via the mass media, you'll be called to account publicly for what you're doing; in glaad's eyes, you are helping to create a climate of fear and hatred that can lead to violence. if the taunts are actually meant to rebound satirically on the characters speaking them, great, make a public statement to that effect, maybe you can help dissipate that climate of fear and hatred. because the idiots need to be spoon-fed (they can't tell the difference between lethal weapon 4 and jsbsb).
i'm sure k's movies will do more good than harm in the long run, and i'm glad he picks at the infected scabs of our puritan body politic. as for glaad, they're activists. they have to make decisions and act. if art can be about exploring subtle shades of morality, activism is about establishing and enforcing codes of morality. this is obviously grossly overgeneralized, but basically i think art and activism are bound to conflict on occasion, and it's great to have each pointing out the flaws in the other.
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