14 October 2011

Crass Cuddle-Buggery

The Dumb Dora Award for
Crass Cuddle-Buggery Goes to
John Stamos and Bob Saget


John Stamos teaches the nuances of manly tenderness and intimate cuddling with former “Full House” co-star Bob Saget in a new College Humor video that raises awareness for an abandoned baby charity. Stamos lures viewers with the seductive proclamation: "Hi, I’m John Stamos, one of the most handsome men you could think of off the top of your head!" He then goes on to demonstrate such "proven methods" as the "Stamos Soother," the "Stamos Spoonful," and the "Stamos Swaddler," while nuzzling noses, nibbling ears, and indulging in butterfly kisses . . . the illusion is shattered as the demonstration ends with Stamos recognizing that his cuddling buddy is Saget, recoiling in horror, and shouting "Bob? What the f*ck?" The video raises awareness for Project Cuddle, a nonprofit that offers safe and legal alternatives to baby abandonment, and for which Stamos is the national spokesperson.

Did April Fool’s Day come late this year?

Founded in 1999, collegehumor.com is a crude comedy website aimed at beer-guzzling, skirt-chasing frat boys. As you’d expect, its video content is of the “Beavis and Butthead” variety, and “Gay panic” skits are a regular feature. In early August, John Stamos’s addition to its Celebrity Video series was posted. That clip subsequently got uploaded to numerous Gay websites and blogs. One of them was Advocate Online, where I found both the clip and the description you just read. The viewer reactions generated by Stamos’s cuddle-bugging buffoonery were predictably clueless. Here’s a small sampling:

Great fantasy material! Yes, John is one of the most handsome men ever . . . let me be the first to say ”good job, guys!” I love it . . . I had to watch it twice! I'm a big fan of John's.  Lots of love, man. Thanks!

I’ve long been convinced that celebrity worship is a form of blindness. This comment is pretty strong evidence of that!  Now, a blind man can be taught to function despite his handicap; sometimes, he can even be made to see again. But what can you do for a raving idiot?

When I first read this article I thought, WTF, John Stamos (is) appealing to the audience with a cheap shot! In retrospect, however, I realized that sometimes I take being Gay too seriously, and forget that I can still laugh at myself (even if it’s) a cheap laugh. I've read enough about John to know he's faced his own demons, so I'm not going to hold this “amusing” clip against him. I'd probably rather hold myself against him! LOL!

Ain’t it sad when sexual frustration turns into desperation? Pride is the first thing to go. There are different kinds of idiots; here’s an example of the kind who’s so caught up in kissing celebrity ass, he refuses to call bad behavior what it is:

If you knew anything about these two, you would know they are not homophobes. They do, however, have a long-standing (habit) of accusing each other of homosexual activity at every public comedy event they are invited to. Their humor can be "high vulgar" when talking (about) sex . . . Bob Saget is filthy with his humor, and no sex act is sacred in his routines, including references to having molested the Olsen twins when they were on his television show as children. John has (joked) about weekly high colonics as one of his fave things for losing extra pounds. These guys are not anti-anything, accept (sic) maybe ignorance.

Obsessive f*g-baiting? Child molestation and frequent enemas, played for laughs? That doesn’t sound “anti-ignorance” to me. It sounds plenty ignorant, and kind of frightening, too! Is Project Cuddle always so careless about recruiting spokesmen?

Wow, this is amazing! How cool that two Straight guys can make a video like this.

Wow, this is amazing!  How embarrassing that one Gay guy can make a comment so dumb! But if you really want to witness dumbassery, click on this link and judge John Stamos’s College Humor skit for yourself:

Anyone who reacted negatively to the video (like, for instance, me) was angrily told to “lighten up”. That’s the kind of advice I always ignore! I prefer to stay focused on serious things, like the fact that Stamos and Saget’s ludicrous play-acting had zilch to do with raising awareness about abandoned babies! The charity angle was just John Stamos’s cynical ploy to deflect criticism away from a homophobic comedy routine. Just look how well the ploy worked, though! Actress/comedienne Lily Tomlin said it best, in a quote I’ve used often: “No matter how cynical you get, it’s impossible to keep up!”

It’s still true that you can fool some of the people all of the time. Unfortunately, a large percentage of those people are homosexual males!  Hardly any Gay websites registered objection to the lamebrain premise that men cuddling (only to shrink from each other’s touch after suddenly coming to their senses) is inherently funny. Thank God for the handful of people who did object; they prove to me that some small pockets of human intelligence still exist among LGBT Webfolk:

Mr. Stamos should keep his "inside jokes with his friends" (to himself). I have a great sense of humor, (but) this just isn't funny! This is the message (Stamos and Saget’s) cuddling is sending: Guys cuddling is gross! It's time (for them to) stop making fun of two men showing affection for each other. It's not hot, it's not cool, it's derogatory to (Gay and Bisexual) men. (This video is) just a retread of today's most pervasive Liberal homophobia: Straight boys can act Gay, as long as the punch line is that they're disgusted at the idea of doing it!

The Reverend Jerry Maneker, not Gay but a deeply committed Straight ally, felt much the same way. On his Christian LGBT Rights blog, he wrote:

Words fail me! (What) a back-handed slap against Gay people! And, unfortunately, too many Gay people . . . are too apolitical and/or clueless to even recognize that fact. I'll bet (they) think that this scenario is very funny.

Jerry is the kind of gambler who always likes to bet on sure things!

This ad . . . shows the dumbing-down of our culture, and the coarseness of views that deny the inherent dignity of Gay people and the normality of being Gay . . . there will undoubtedly be Gay apologists for this homophobic ad, who will (say it’s) designed to raise money for a worthy cause. As if that (were) a justifiable reason to trash Gay people and same-sex love!

Save your breath, Jerry!  The apologists can’t hear you. They’re too busy rolling on the floor, clutching their sides and laughing themselves sick at every crude f*ggot joke they hear! But maybe they were sick to begin with . . . ya think?

Given recent advances in marriage equality, adoption rights, religious tolerance and open military service, society seems to be zooming down the road to Gay liberation. Watch out, though! There’s a huge roadblock to get around before homosexual stigma can be completely erased: Snide jokes told at the expense of Lesbians and Gay men. Straight folks adamantly refuse to give them up, especially Straight folks in the entertainment world.

Self-identified “Gay-friendly” media icons like Jay Leno, Bill Maher, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Keith Olbermann and Lawrence O’Donnell love the Hell out of some crass humor with a same-gender-loving punch line! (If you doubt me, look at how the effeminacy of Rep. Michele Bachmann’s husband has thrown them all into a f*g-baiting frenzy.) Ditto for the knuckleheads behind movies like The Birdcage, Brüno, I Now Pronounce You Chuck And Larry, and the latest entries in the “bromance” flick sweepstakes, 30 Minutes Or Less and The Change-Up. 

reports that Madison Avenue has begun using "Sassy Gay Friend" imagery to sell products, and electronic media is now mining stereotypes for profit, too: There's a new smartphone app called “Is Your Son Gay?”  It digs up male effeminacy myths so damn old, nobody's heard them in years!  (The manufacturer has now pulled it off the market, hopefully for good.)

If I had to guess, though, I’d bet TV was the most reliable vehicle for delivering homophobic hee-haws to the masses. What was Bravo’s “Queer Eye For The Straight Guy” but a Gay joke expanded into a TV series? At times, “Saturday Night Live” comedy writers have seemed to subsist on a diet of f*gsploitation humor; and remember the wildly popular Wayans Brothers show “In Living Color”, with its limp-wristed Men On Film segments? Remember how those skits got increasingly mean-spirited?  One of the fey film critics turned into a Straight macho man after getting smacked upside the head.

Demeaning comedic portrayals of Gay men go back much farther than the 1990s. They stretch all the way back to the silent film era, to the 1910s and ‘20s and early travesties like A Florida Enchantment and Irene. Many more examples (some even found in animated features) are documented in Vito Russo’s indispensable film history book The Celluloid Closet (Harper and Row, 1981; this book spawned an award-winning documentary in 1996).

Celluloid Closet

American popular culture has a long and shameful tradition of equating Gay male identity with the ridiculous. Far too many Gay men have seen fit to encourage the ridicule!  Historians document a 1930s “Pansy Craze”, when fey young men from Greenwich Village presented themselves as exotic novelties for rich nightclub patrons to gawk and titter at. Seventy years later, a cast of openly Gay makeover stylists played to stereotype on the aforementioned “Queer Eye” reality show (which, I assure you, wasn’t very real at all). Why must the oppressed always assist in their own oppression?

At the risk of being a spoil-sport (although this is the kind of sport I truly love to spoil), let me make some blunt observations: An obsessive need to make Gay men the butt of snarky jokes points to deep-seated insecurity about one’s masculinity. Encouraging such insecurity in your fellow man is an unkind act!  The responsible thing to do when his humor turns ugly is discourage it, not giggle insanely like a friggin’ hyena!  But then, I’m not allowing for the likelihood that f*ggot-joke-loving Gay people harbor deep insecurities of their own. I should definitely allow for that, shouldn’t I?

On a recent telecast of "The Rachel Maddow Show", the openly Lesbian host snickered when her guest, Bill Maher, cracked wise about "tea party" being slang for Gay sex.  Congrats, Rachel!  Once you feel as comfortable with f*g-baiting as smarmy Straight comedians feel, it means you've really hit the big time!  Do you crack up at sexist jokes, too? 

Sometimes, I think there’s just too much heterosexism for heterosexual bigots to handle all by themselves. Why else would there be so many homosexual handkerchief heads on tap, ready, willing and able to help them shoulder the burden?

Any Gay person who thinks it’s possible to embrace liberation and subjugation at the same time is certifiably crazy. If homophobic humor isn’t a form of subjugation, sugar, then grits ain’t groceries! By the same token, Straight people, be they celebrities or not, can’t support Gay Rights goals on one hand and use Gay identity for locker room joke fodder on the other. It’s an untenable situation, just like one Country diva Loretta Lynn famously sang about. For a wayward husband who couldn’t decide between his wife and booze, she had this advice:

Liquor and love, they just don’t mix!
Leave the bottle or me behind
And don’t come home a-drinkin’
With lovin’ on your mind!*

What’s true about liquor and love is also true about dignity and disrespect. Heterosexual stars who can’t bring themselves to honor the dignity of Gay people don’t deserve our support, regardless of what they may feel forced to say later to an Advocate interviewer or a GLAAD representative. Some Gay men will brush f*ggot jokes aside if the jokers are hunky-looking, but not all of us are so shallow; no male TV or movie star is so sexy he can make me ignore an insult.

John Stamos surely isn’t up to the task! Dude hardly has any sex appeal to brag about, although he apparently thinks otherwise. Mr. Ego can take his “Stamos Spoonful” and gag on it! I wouldn’t dig him if he came with a complimentary shovel! Since he thinks man-loving-men are something to sneer at, he should go find himself a hetero-bigot woman to cuddle up with. Yeah, somebody like Ann Coulter, Sally Kern, Maggie Gallagher or Phyllis Schlafly . . . now, that would be funny!

Let’s not lighten up. Let’s try keeping it real instead! Just like there’s nothing inherently funny about being Black, Latino, Asian, female, left-handed, red-headed, etcetera, there’s nothing laughable about being Lesbian or Gay. Same-gender love is part of nature, and it always has been. So is transgender expression.

The entertainment industry needs to grow the f*ck up! Masculine women and feminine men going about their daily lives aren’t entertainers putting on a show for the public; and the ostracism, vilification and hate-motivated violence they suffer sure isn’t anything to snicker at. God did not put gender-neutral human beings on this Earth to serve as anybody’s cheap source of amusement . . . not even their own!

When will a majority of LesBiGay folk realize that, without dignity, confronting an entrenched heterosexist power structure is futile? Until that day comes, the progressive voices of truly Gay-friendly Straight people like Rev. Jerry Maneker will be buried under a cacophony of derisive laughter . . . and so will any chance of conquering heterosexual supremacy.

*Excerpt from ”Don’t Come Home A-Drinkin’”, words and music by Loretta Lynn and Peggy Sue Wells, © copyright 1966 Surefire Music Company (BMI).

The teenage blogger who writes the Live Journal page “In Praesenti” reminds us how juvenile in character homophobic ridicule is. In so doing, she makes a strong case against it:

Crass Gay jokes are . . . one thing that my friends need to learn to stop making. I know that most of my classmates are prohibited by their religion to have sex with their respective girl or boyfriends. If some of them do have sex (before marriage), then it's usually with a partner they've been with for a while. So, why do they joke that a Gay friend of mine surely came late to class because he was up all night “servicing” his boyfriend (that he doesn't even have)? I know it's all said in jest, but why is my friend depicted as (a whore) just because he's Gay? It's rude. It's hurtful. And they're just so insensitive about LGBT matters that they don't get (it) . . . much needs to change in this country to make (an) LGBT-friendly society come true. My doubts that this “ideal” society will ever be formed are endless. That doesn't mean that I don't hope for a LGBT-friendlier world.

I’m hoping for that world, too. God willing, the “In Praesenti” blogger will live to see it. I’m pretty sure I won’t!

Next: The Dumb Dora Award for Re-Inventing Lady Marmalade!