December 24, 2013
Reality Bites Gays
By Rosslyn Smith
At the heart of the Duck Dynasty controversy is a modern paradox: those who most loudly celebrate the gay lifestyle seem to go into a Victorian swoon whenever anyone even obliquely mentions actual gay sex practices such as anal sex. As we watch the corporate clusterduck swirl around the alleged wrongs of reality TV star Phil Robertson concerning homosexuality, it may be instructive to take a step back.
Image control has been crucial to gay activists. In 1980 Hollywood produced, Cruising, a big budget film that showed the seamier side of gay life. It got pretty good reviews because it was edgy and well-acted. Gay activists denounced it as homophobic because it touched on two taboo subjects that interfered with promoting their agenda to the general public: sadomasochism and recruitment. Since then, any filmmaker who does not conform his gay characters to a positive and largely asexual template is likely to be criticized. (The Silence of the Lambs emphasized in the script that its serial killer only thought he was a transsexual and was still slammed by the gay activists.) The arrival of the AIDS pandemic helped reinforce this pressure by offering up a new version of a time honored movie stereotype -- the terminally ill secular saint. Today it is allowable to use a gay drama queen as a comedic foil, but only if he is also shown to have a heart of gold. Otherwise gay characters have to be positive.
In recent years such gay characters have been everywhere on TV and in movies. There are also shows that actively promote the fallacy that straight people need gays to teach them how to be sexually attractive. This barrage has driven the gay political agenda. Thanks to the proliferation of gay characters on TV in recent years many Americans vastly overestimate the percentage of the population that is gay.
How fast we've gone from one extreme to another. Back at the end of the 90s, my late mother rather shyly asked me what it was that gay men did to each other. She thought she knew but she wasn't sure. I was surprised because Mom had not led a sheltered life. She'd been one of those independent single women featured in many depression era movies and then served four years in the Army Air Corps in WWII. In turn, I asked her how many gay people she had encountered in her life. She couldn't be sure because people weren't open about it. Of course there were a couple of men whose discharge papers she had processed while in the military. She had suspected a pair of aunts on her father's side of the family, a college physical education instructor and the man who had been the American Legion Commander the year she was state convention co-chair. And of course everyone except our neighbor Mrs. O knew that her brother and her son -- both hairstylists in LA -- were as queer as they came. All these gays she was seeing on TV puzzled her because she had known or suspected so few in her 90 years. As for what they did, when I explained she was stunned anyone would find some of the practices pleasurable.
Voting with one's feet is an old American tradition. I worked for an organization that started to be dominated by political correct types pushing a gay agenda. There was little spoken protest. Instead a steady trickle of straight members began to find they had better things to do with their time. Much of the audience for television comedy has been like that in recent years. Yes part of the decline in audience size for hit shows has been because of the proliferation of channels and on demand Internet/satellite competition. But the other part is that viewers have fled as TV comedy degenerated into mean spirited and often agenda-driven insults, husband/father bashing and puerile, decidedly unfunny sex jokes. Into this picture came a loving, intact extended family who asked the audience to laugh with them, not at them. Of course viewers flocked to them.
The feeling among many of Duck Dynasty's fans seems to be that Phil probably wouldn't have brought up the topic, but once raised, he spoke honestly in a language that contained no agenda and which even a handful of years in the past would not have been controversial. Many find it odd that the gay image makers complain that the very people who have the most children (The same children who will be called on to fund the retirements of the GLAAD activists) lack an appropriate discernment about sexual practices. Could it be that these frumpy, rural, God fearing "breeders" know far more about the meaning of sex than they do? Maybe it is time to celebrate some Heterosexual Pride.
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