Sunday, March 11, 2007

Ann Coulter joins the cast of South Park


Ann Coulter stood in the school yard that is the public discourse and called former Senator, current Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards a f**got. Making reference to the actor Isaiah Washington's real life deplorable behavior that landed him in rehab (or be fired from the show), Coulter noted she would talk about Edwards but using the word these days meant going into rehab so her hands were tied.

Coulter thought she was a-funnin'. Her comments were cleary meant to be a joke. She was waiting for the laughter, watch the clip. And a funny thing did happen, Coulter found out that she wasn't as immune as she thought she was.

Coulter had to repeatedly reassure last week that she didn't hate gays. She explained her comment as a school yard taunt: She has nothing against gays and feels they should all become Republicans.

It was a really funny thing. Not what she said, but when some commentators said. There was an effort to liken her to Maureen Dowd (an effort by the left) because Dowd's called some Democratic males "girlie men" or called Edwards "The Breck Girl" or whatever else.

It was really interesting to watch that nonsense play out because what you got wasn't astute, on the money analysis, what you got was raging homophobia.

Dowd calling a male "girly" or feminine is Dowd calling a male "girly" or feminine. Coulter using hate speech is a completely different thing.

But some lefties got confused and we'll assume that's due to their own homophobia (though we're sure they've used the tired Jerry Seinfeld joke from here to eternity). Gay and "girly" are not the same thing. Some on the right may promote that false notion but it's a damn shame when supposed lefties promote that lie.

What the commentators were telling you was that, for them, gay was the same as unmasculine. We'd urge them to take a trip through Castro Street very soon.

Ann Coulter, speaking to a right wing crowd, used the f-word and everyone in her audience knew what she was getting at. She went into damage control but her audience laughed and lapped it up. (Her damage control was actually offensive to many who lapped up her statement.)

It's interesting and it actually reminded us of some of the same lefty commentators weighing in on David Geffen. Why? Well Geffen's an openly gay male. You didn't read that in their comments, but didn't it feel like they were biting their tongues so hard to avoid screaming the f-word when he offered a critique of the Clintons?

Didn't all the rules (except flaunting homophobia) go out the window? For instance, the online latter day Dylan prides himself on not 'peering in souls' and dealing with what's known. So it was hilarious to watch him peer into Geffen's soul -- and get it so wrong. For online, latter day Dylan's critique about Geffen to be correct, Geffen was not just expressing his opinions, but also putting them into coded language to reach an audience. What are we talking about?

Geffen called Hillary Clinton "ambitious." Clinton, running for president, is obviously ambitious. Geffen, a billionaire who wasn't born to vast sums of money, admires ambition. Geffen dropped clients, lectured others in his early days as an agent, because he didn't feel they were ambitious enough and that included women. (Geffen always felt Laura Nyro talked a good show but that she really wasn't ambitious enough.) So it was hilarious to read online, latter day tell the world what he just knew that Geffen meant by "ambitious." (That may have been the only note of praise Geffen gave Hillary Clinton in is interview with Maureen Dowd.)

So last week, they rushed in to tell you that Maureen Dowd and Ann Coulter were exactly the same. One used hate speech in an attempt to get a laugh, the other suggested some men weren't as masculine as they might want to be.

In the commentator's minds it was all the same damn thing.

Now homophobia comes from ignorance and it's not surprising that so many (especially straight males of a certain age) are so ignorant. Their ignorance makes them to squeamish to discuss gay and lesbian issues with people who could put them wise (such as gays and lesbians). So they're left with what passes for entertainment provides. As Ava and C.I. noted in October of 2005:

As the father of one of the children Freddie took to The Rocky Horror Picture Show arrived to confront Freddie, and to reveal his own homophobia, Prinze Jr. and Green tried to girl it up (which is the only way TV likes to portray gay men) and it was funny. It was offensive but it was funny because the actors had to really notch it up several levels since they weren't starting from a base of perceived straight masculinity but instead from an asexual base. (Oh the curse of teen boy pin ups.)

That's exactly how TV likes to portray gay men. It was a supposed advance when the prissy, frequently asexual Will Truman showed up. (Not since Tony Randall's Felix had a man cooked so much and fussed so over cleaning the apartment.) Now at the very core, the entertainment industry historically portrays gays and lesbians that way in response to the Hayes Code and other early witch hunts. The point was provide the campiest portrayals and telegraph "That's gay!" so that none of your stars can be mistaken for gay. It was as much a response to that period as were the efforts to get stars to pair up (boy-girl pair ups) in order to hide their same-sex sexuality in the 30s. Play the game and all is fine. That was the message then and not a lot's changed.

Now men of the same period could be butch or fem, camp or stoic, but the "Pansy Scare" and other incidents made it necessary that cover be provided. (Or some argued it was necessary.) And you've seen nothing but flouncing ever since in the majority of portrayals. (Lesbians portrayals don't allow for too much more diversity though there are two roles -- the butch, a long line of portrayals, and, in more recent times, the lipstick lesbian.)

If you're not grasping the connection, it's right there in your face.

Ann Coulter thinking hate speech is humorous is just a hop and skip away from the crap that Trey Parker and Matt Stone (to use only one example) have smeared onto America and, let's be clear, some of the left couldn't wait to roll around in that crap. The long list includes George Clooney and Norman Lear.

Does the phrase "That's so gay!" ring a bell?

It should. It's a stock phrase from South Park. It's not a compliment. It became a catch phrase and we all know supposed lefties who use it. The worst example is a woman who is fifty-years-old and will defend it as "not really being about gay people." Would she feel the same way if the catch phrase had been a sneering "That's so Black!" We doubt it.

Couldn't get a real job Joyce Millman is the perfect Water Cooler Critic possessing the mind of a 12-year-old. Writing in Salon in 1997, she first got in her slams at Ellen, then she moved on to tell readers that in her soggy, undeveloped mind, South Park was pro-gay (no link, we don't link to trash):

In the series' best-written and most focused episode so far, the Emmy-nominated "Big Gay Al's Big Gay Boat Ride" (it's available on video as part of the "South Park" collection), Stan is dismayed when his new dog Sparky prefers to hump other male dogs and rejects his macho studded collar for a pink bandanna. "Your dog is a gay homosexual!" taunts loutish Cartman. Saddened by Stan's disappointment, Sparky spends a dark night of the soul in the woods, until he comes upon "Big Gay Al's Big Gay Animal Sanctuary" ("The one place where gay animals can really be themselves"). When Stan tracks down Sparky, the kindly, swishy Big Gay Al explains to him (under the revolving disco ball) that Sparky is who he is and it's perfectly super. Then Big Gay Al takes Stan on a fantastic Disneyland-style boat ride depicting gayness through time ("Look! It's the oppressors! Christians and Republicans and Nazis, oh my!"). Stan returns to South Park to spread the word that being gay is OK, and leads the townspeople into the woods to be tearfully reunited with their cast-out homosexual pets.
The episode is unequivocally pro-gay . . .

Blah, blah, blah. Could someone buy Joyce a lollypop and send her in search of other things that interest pre-adolescents because everything she's described above is gay stereotypes. Disco ball? Swishy? The episode is unequivocally trading in homophobic stereotypes. If you have money left after buying Joyce a lolly, consider buying her a clue.

South Park was 'pro-gay', it was 'funny', and a whole host of other lies were told. It was offensive. It was offensive and it wasn't left. Nor are the creators lefties so why Norman Lear felt the need to give libetarians (who share nothing in common with liberals) an award and practically accompany them on a bus & truck tour was beyond the comprehension of many. (George Clooney? He's not that politically smart. For instance, if you have political aspirations, you get married. That's something he continues to fail to realize.)

Now Joyce, Lear and Clooney weren't the only idiots pushing South Park as a lefty show. (The audience always knew better.) And before the next lefty commentator takes Ann Coulter to task they might try checking out their own closets.

Make no mistake, we think what Coulter did was despicable and hate speech. We also think, as usual, she took what was accepted and raised it up several notches. Shows like South Park lower the ball on what is acceptable and what is humor.

In real life, there are campy gays, there are campy straights. It's only in small minds that everyone campy or "queeny" is gay. And it's only in small minds that calling someone a f**got and calling someone girlie are the same thing.

Last week demonstrated a number of things. It demonstrated that supposedly from the hip-shooting Coulter could be forced to defend herself (she doesn't want to lose her media privileges). It also demonstrated that for a number of straight males who self-present as left, feminine and gay are one in the same. It's certainly the same for Water Cooler Joyce who, in 1997, couldn't stop praising South Park or other 'queenly' portrayals of gay men. She also felt Ace and Gary were affirming gay humor. That would be The Ambigously Gay Duo. Since neither Ace nor Gary state that they're gay, we're having a hard time following Joyce's ever-weak logic. She's assuming they're gay (she's supposed to, that is the intent of the cartoon to get a few cheap laughs at gay people) so she must also be assuming that they are closeted. How she could see that, "The Duo gives 'SNL' a shot of the true gay humor it has always lacked -- despite the show's many tittering sketches over the years in which men have kissed men on the lips for hetero laughs" is a question in need of an answer. 'Tittering sketches' is all Gary and Ace offer and it's the same cheap laugh as when they had men kissing "men on the lips for hetero laughs." She further flaunts her ignorance (and homophobia) by praising The Simpson's gay portrayals. Apparently, she was unaware of how difficult it was to cast gay parts on that show because of the stereotypes the show wanted to portray?

Gays are funny, the Joyces tell you, when they're all campy and just so darn girly, why, the Joyces say, they're "pro-gay" portrayals. We would hope that the same sort of stereotypes about African-Americans would give the Joyces pause; however, we are fully aware that a number of White people still lament the fact that Amos & Andy was shut down. Then and now, it was never about humor. It was always about presenting stereotypes.

On KPFA today (use archives if you miss the broadcast) at 9:00 am PST:

On the Air: Sunday Salon
Hour 1: You weigh in on the immigration debate. Hour 2: "That is so gay." "F**got." "Darkies." "Scrotum." What does it mean when someone uses these words or phrases? What does it mean to limit their use?
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