Monday, July 20, 2009

So much for the gay version of Target Women

When I saw the premiere of new Infomania segment "That's Gay," I thought it was going to be the gay "Target Women." Awesome, right?

If you haven't seen the fantastic Sarah Haskins' "Target Women," I have some homework for you. It's due immediately.

A funny, insightful look at how these shows about women do no favors for women, cool. Way to go, Sarah. (Also see her segments on yogurt, pube-trimming and milk, among others.)

The first few "That's Gay" segments, hosted by "resident gay person Brian Safi," were pretty good, although very white-gay-dude focused and not nearly as funny as "Target Women."

But the most recent segment, where Safi makes a pretty dum-dum endorsement of Bruno as a figure gay people should rally behind, was a big ol' turnoff.

Safi briefly touches on the fact that GLAAD has panned the film, but never mentions why, and then just goes on a semi-ridiculous interviewing spree asking street people if they agree that Bruno is the new Malcom X. Color me scandalized. This is supposed to be one of those, "OMG he said Bruno is like Malcom X and that's radical, ZOMGLOL." It's hilarious because it makes no sense and because he has the balls to say it, I guess.

What Safi failed to mention is that GLAAD and many other gay rights advocates aren't embracing the film because a straight comedian is doing his best imitation of a ridiculous, can't-take-him-seriously gay dude. Safi wants all the gays to rally behind a mostly inaccurate caricature of his entire orientation. I notice that Safi dresses and speaks like a relatively normal person--I'm not sure why he'd be so enthusiastic about someone who is reducing his lifestyle to any and all stereotypes in the book. After seeing Bruno on a few episodes of Da Ali G show, Sacha Baron Cohen can get plenty of "the joke is on America" utterances without being that flamboyant.

The gay rights movement and its allies are trying to normalize the gay lifestyle so that major human rights goals like equal marriage rights, adoption, and protection from discrimination and hate crimes are within spitting distance. Portraying a gay dude as a sexually predatory pervball who has sex in a hot tub with his small child nearby isn't doing favors for anyone.

So when Safi urges us that "the rest of America needs to change, not us!" I'm not sure exactly what he's talking about. Ninety-nine percent of gay people would have to change to even be like Bruno, and since almost none of you fit this ridiculous portrait, maybe you should wake up and smell the homophobia.

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