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JAYB 01-16-2004 11:17 AM

shock value vs. reality
 
I was listening to the radio the other day, and they were talking about this new television program that’s going to be on about lesbians. It’s going to be on HBO or Showtime and will be graphic. People will be watching it out of curiosity because it’s supposed to be pushing the boundaries of television. Whatever.

I’m wondering if people are tired of hearing about gays and lesbians? I’m not making a judgment call here, but it’s almost like overkill. People are free to watch whatever they want and live their lives however they want, but it’s like all you hear about now is the Britney & Madonna kiss, “Will & Grace”, “***** Eye”, gay marriage and what the presidential candidates think of it. It goes on and on. What if Sting and Enrique kissed on national television? Would it be shown 10 times a day on the news like Britney & Madonna?

I’ve never even seen “***** Eye” and I’ve seen “Will & Grace” probably less than 10 times. People talk about these shows and how much they love them, and those gay people or actors playing gay people are so funny. But those same people loving these shows are gay bashing the next day. It’s like they were provided with the entertainment, but when it’s real life it’s another story. It’s obvious hypocrisy.

surrealmeal 01-17-2004 08:43 PM

Re: shock value vs. reality
 
I have mixed emotions about this sudden surge in homosexual programming that's come about most strongly in the past year. Part of me says that it's helping to open people's minds to gays and lesbians, and that's great. But another part of me sees the people that you refer to; the ones that only watch for entertainment, and i can see that the shows can be hurting views of homosexuals more than helping.

I think it could mostly just be confusion in the eyes of the people of the U.S. Given the fact that the U.S. is mostly based on Christian ideals, it's no wonder people are so curious about homosexuality. It's been a near 'taboo' subject for far too long, and its time that changed. Hopefully the programming will encourage positive views of homosexuals, making the subject not so controversial and taboo anymore. Then finally people will shut up and not freak out when they see two people of the same sex sharing affection.

jamie17 01-19-2004 08:13 AM

Re: shock value vs. reality
 
Funny, it doesn't seem to me that there really is all "that" much gay programming, now or ever. When you consider that, still, probably 90% of everything we see is hetero --- it could be an ad for a sofabed company or a cigarrette ad or an ad for a cruise ship --- it could be a news story about the homeless during the holidays or about the Iowa caucus or about a local school district teacher's strike --- almost always the point of view being presented is the "straight" point of view. They show two straight parents' reactions to the strike, the cigarrette/sofabed/cruise ship ad shows a straight couple, they interview straight people about issue A or B. Meanwhile, there are gay people involved in living each part of these lives, too. How come sofabed ads don't show gay couples? How come nobody shows two lesbian moms on tv and asks them what they think about the teacher strike? How come the action hero never rides off into the sunset with his loyal male sidekick, instead of with some woman he's had to save about fifty times in two hours? How come a gay kiss on tv is a media event when hetero almost-soft-core-porn is shown regularly without so much as the batting of an eyelash?

The thing is, we all go through our lives, and most of the time, we don't even notice how incredibly hetero-centric everything (and I do mean everything) is in our lives. Then gay people are given --- what? 4? 5? shows, and maybe another 4 shows with recurring gay minor characters, a handful of movies --- and it's like everyone is talking about the gay media phenomenon, pro or con. What phenomenon, I say? After 2000 years of civilization, we get thrown a few tv shows? This is not exactly what I would term a landslide of gay imagery. Meanwhile, gay people all over are still, many more times and on a daily basis, having to "translate" straight imagery in their minds, if they want to have something to relate to. Which means gay people see a cigarrette ad with a straight couple looking all happy and carefree as they enjoy those cigs, and the gay person has to sort of switch the genders in his or her mind, if he or she wants to directly relate. As far as I'm concerned, we could go through 100 years or so of having gay couples in all of our ads and tv shows and movies and see how straight people like having to "translate" for awhile, and even then we'd still be several hundreds of years behind.

I can understand why people wonder why shows like "***** As Folk" are on tv and why they are being celebrated --- frankly, I think the show is complete crap and don't even watch it. But so many gay people are so desperate to see some image of themselves represented in the media --- any image, no matter how inane or insulting or marginalized --- that they'll take what they can get. At least it's something.

It feels good to be validated, and seeing yourself represented in the images of the media is, yes, a superficial validation, but it is validation nonetheless. And it's of real value --- unfortunately, the statistics for the number of gay teenagers who try to kill themselves are still too high. Many times, these people feel alone. Visibility helps to decrease the isolation and loneliness many gay people feel, and that is important. Even if it's just an image of a gay couple in a sofabed ad, that helps someone, somewhere go --- "wow, people like me." Even if it is the once-funny but increasingly-lame "Will & Grace", it helps some people to get "used" to gay people and think of them as normal, contributing members of society. Even if the images are not so great and the media's momentary celebration of them seems annoying, it's better than not having it at all.

It is unfortunate that with increased visibility comes a much larger target placed on Gay America's back. I hope that the good that results will be greater than the backlash.

JAYB 01-20-2004 08:37 AM

Re: shock value vs. reality
 
Surrealmeal, that’s what I was getting at about the mixed emotions. A lot of it has to do with me being a media hound, so it seems almost like a bombardment of it on a daily basis. One time on the “Roseanne” show a woman kissed her, and you heard about it two weeks before and two weeks after! That was maybe 10 years ago.

It’s just that these current characters are the “funny gay neighbor” much like the “funny black neighbor” which was common on television in the 70’s and is still very prevalent. And it’s like the gay person is the stereotype: the Ellen character not very feminine, or Jack on “Will and Grace” isn’t too manly acting. If it were real life sure that exists, but you could also have the feminine lesbian that’s say a hairdresser, or the masculine gay man that’s maybe a carpenter.

Jamie, those are really interesting questions, but being hetero, no I never even thought about ads and how the two people are 100% of the time opposite sex people. And the news will interview the straight couples and ask their opinions on various topics. It’s mainly a white/straight world, and that’s what advertisers play to, even though all kinds of people are obviously buying their products.

You rarely see two black people in the sofa bed ad, never mind two same sex people! I have to admit that if I see an interracial couple they’ll catch my eye and I’ll look for a second. It’s because it’s not something I see all the time. I remember seeing the interracial couple on “the Jeffersons”, but again, they were the “funny interracial neighbors” and not real life.

The same is true about same sex couples out it public; people are going to look because unless you live in say San Francisco or Provincetown, it’s just not something you see all the time.

jojo64 01-22-2004 12:30 PM

Re: shock value vs. reality
 
Yeah, it's just like minority shows and ads on TV. Even now, there are very few minority shows and hardly any on the major networks. Advertising is starting to include alot of minorities, FINALLY. And yet I still hear people (caucasions) complain about how there are so many "black" shows on TV these days. Huh? Maybe in Africa but not here in the States.

Fuzzy Logic 01-23-2004 03:53 AM

Re: shock value vs. reality
 
[QUOTE=jojo64]Yeah, it's just like minority shows and ads on TV. Even now, there are very few minority shows and hardly any on the major networks. Advertising is starting to include alot of minorities, FINALLY. And yet I still hear people (caucasions) complain about how there are so many "black" shows on TV these days. Huh? Maybe in Africa but not here in the States.[/QUOTE]


This is exactly what is wrong with our country. Everybody should worry less about what others have and how they got it and more on how they could better themself. Life is NOT fair. GET OVER IT.

jojo64 01-23-2004 10:19 AM

Re: shock value vs. reality
 
[QUOTE=Fuzzy Logic]This is exactly what is wrong with our country. Everybody should worry less about what others have and how they got it and more on how they could better themself. Life is NOT fair. GET OVER IT.[/QUOTE]

HUH???????

supertrooper 01-23-2004 10:56 AM

Re: shock value vs. reality
 
It comes down to there isn't a lot of truly creative thinking going on in the entertainment industry. They find something that works and then run it into the ground before they move on. Anything new that becomes a hit becomes the template for the next couple of seasons. TV. Music. Movies. The trends all run in cycles. Right now it's gay people. Writers think gay people are funny to straight people, so here they come. Writers also tends to use stereotypes so that they don't have to do too much thinking about character development. That's hard work and takes a lot of time, which you don't have when you pump out a show every week. This is the difference that makes the good shows last: talented hard-working writers.

The other thing that decides what we see is money. That's why reality shows are everywhere: they cost very little to produce and can rake in big advertising dollars. No big stars. No permanent sets. Small writing staff. A TV mogul's dream.

Going back to part of the original post. You know who buys 99% of lesbian porn? That's right: straight guys. Why? They dream about themselves in the middle. :bouncing:

JAYB 01-23-2004 11:39 AM

Re: shock value vs. reality
 
I guess that is all true, supertrooper.
It's weird but two of those shows, "***** as Folk" and "***** Eye", have ***** in the title. I've never seen either one, but "*****" used to be a derogatory term for gays, like calling an African American the "n" word.
I don't know, sometimes it's just hard to keep up with things! :rolleyes:

supertrooper 01-23-2004 01:07 PM

Re: shock value vs. reality
 
[QUOTE=JAYB]I guess that is all true, supertrooper.
It's weird but two of those shows, "***** as Folk" and "***** Eye", have ***** in the title. I've never seen either one, but "*****" used to be a derogatory term for gays, like calling an African American the "n" word.
I don't know, sometimes it's just hard to keep up with things! :rolleyes:[/QUOTE]


I guess it's like the "n" word - it's okay if THEY use it.


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