Saturday, November 7, 2009

Raining On The Gay Parade (Gay stuff can be shit)

It’s well known in the lesbian community that when you first apply to the Union, there are certain requirements you have to fill:

1: You must have recognised that, in hindsight, your fascination with Linda Carter and / or your 3rd grade art teacher was not merely admiration of her talent, but rather Talents, with a capital T - for Tits.

2: You must own at least one pair of Doc Martin boots and / or Birkenstock sandals.

3: You must be able to recognise the music of the Indigo Girls or Melissa Etheridge within a few beats. (Extra points if you can name the song, album and brand of leather pants / flannelette shirt worn at first stage performance.)

It sounds fiddly, but it’s totally worth it for the Hello Kitty toaster oven.

To be honest,
the first time I heard Melissa Etheridge, I wanted to gouge out my ears with a spoon. I gritted my teeth and bore it because that’s what I had to do. Ms Etheridge is a Dyke-on, and therefore, she got a pass.

This week, while culling my iTunes (stolen iPod = you bastards took my soul!), I realised I have enough Melissa Etheridge in my collection to ensure my Union membership and that of several baby dykes. And I like her now, so she stays, but I found myself keeping many other artists whose music I don’t particularly like, but I listen to because they are gay. And I am gay. And we are gay together. Tra la la.

I got to thinking, about that and wunderkind Doug Pollard’s ShameShame column, because as much as you can ask, “should we expect more from gays just because they’re gay?”, I think you can also ask, “Do we expect less from gays and cheer for them regardless?”

Let me start by agreeing that yes, queers are under-represented everywhere – media, politics, music, film and life in general. Yes, tall poppy syndrome is hideous because we are all beautiful flowers and should support each other and stroke petals and pollinate and… is this getting dirty? I’ll stop. Yay for gay.

On with the cabaret.

Do homos get a free pass with you? Do you sometimes look at what is being offered by way of gay TV shows, movies, personalities and politicians and think, “Bejeezus that’s a lot of crap. And it’s getting on my shoes!”

How many times have you spent money seeing / buying a movie, knowing that beyond the bad production, poor scripting and non-existent acting, your only reward will be the lead love interest killing themselves, killing their lover or dying tragically?

How often have you spent $40 on a book in the Gay and Lesbian section at Borders and then wondered where the other $34.95 worth of plot went? And how much extra would you have to pay for an editor? Have you looked at Penny Wong recently and thought that, when you voted for her pants suit, you should perhaps have checked the “Property of Labor’s party line” label stitched on her left buttock?

Do you trudge to The Peel every weekend, not because the smell of old sweat and carpet sperm is a turn-on, but because you’re terrified it will close down? Did you buy all forty bajillion seasons of the UK and US Queer As Folk, despite one being a rip-off of the other?

And The L Word. THE L WORD. Shame on you, Ilene Chaiken, and shame on every lesbian who encouraged her. We endured manatees and dead Dana and goddamn Shenny and plot holes large enough to march Mardis Gras through and yet we begged for more. Absolute sadists.

Why do we do these things? Why? Is it really just because they’re gay? Is it because the people involved are gay? Is it because we are all gay together - tra la freakin’ la? Do I really need five copies of The Divine Miss M’s “I’m Beautiful” (yes) and the entire Bright Eyes catalogue (probably not) in my iTunes?

Is “gay stuff” getting a pass from our community just because it’s gay? Should we continue to fork out attention and pink dollars for shows, music and personalities that don’t represent us or give us value for money, in the hopes the force of our combined faggotry will one day breed glittery magic?

While I agree Bob Brown cannot be yoked with every rainbow hope, I also believe it’s not too much to ask that a gay person of influence speak (frequently) on gay issues. I just as strongly believe that, just because it’s gay, doesn’t mean we have to be happy about it.

We need to push for something better, and show our disdain for crap by not shovelling it up with wide grins. If it sucks, say it sucks – don’t support it just because the creator of said suckiness happens to suck dick. Those of us who can create something better need to do that. Now, please.

And the next time Ilene Chaiken makes a TV show, I’m handing in my toaster. Union be damned.


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