Time spent away from blogging and photography has moved me back to consuming content. But like other viewers this has inflated my personal self-worth as an entertainment connoisseur (read untalented critic). Hence today’s quick rant.
Throughout my life – whether by choice or happenstance – I followed a different drummer. In my teens and 20s I adopted politics from half-century earlier, voraciously collected even older blues music, and sacrificed my personal life to work or school. In short a rebel without a clue how to communicate with her peers.
When I pulled away from this identity – outside of the Blues; God’s true gift – I honed my observation skills so I could create a new one. Much like reading a book or watching a play I not only saw but predicted. It wasn’t a smooth transition but in time I fell back into society.
At the time I felt clever but I only returned to my earliest conditioning. Like most of my family I read before kindergarten and kept books as a constant companion. They became my talismans and friends. Slotting people into books or shows helped me figure out what would Sherlock or Hawkeye do in this situation. [Sorry Jesus has never ridden on my Dashboard.]
Imagine my outrage with modern media’s whiplash approach to current productions. Characters randomly die as a ratings splash or seeming de riguer obligation ( yes Good Wife this means you). Every character advancement or interaction gets sacrificed week to week or even within an episode (see Glee ). Other times they self-immolate with no apparent other than who re-signed for the new season (see The Killing; actually the excuse behind its suicide eludes me).
No, it’s not post modernism or uber originality. It’s contempt for your audience. Nor is it confined to entertainment (see most politicians but this another rant). Never has greater opportunity existed to reach audiences but it seems as if most content producers forget numerous outlets does not guarantee a “sticky” audience.
I found myself watching a Christian Brodcast Movie Woodcarver starring Cliff from Cheers. No, I don’t drink so I have no damn good reason. Other than the characters — despite religious platitudes — spoke and looked like real people. Plus they were carving wood and I have been known to watch this Old House Marathons. Regardless I bet CBN at least made its money back if not more.
This is my plea to liberal, secular, feminist and queer content producers. Give me likeable characters who have the capacity to love and hate (and not just when you are building audience via subtext teases Rizzoli and Isles — see great rant at Autostraddle Takes on Queerbaiting. Remember to respect my intelligence by not 360ing the characters because someone in production is bored (see above). Understand a really great love story crosses the gender and orientation war boundaries (see Fried Green Tomatoes and Brokeback Mountain — though wiser minds than me have written near treatises on why queers in love always seem to die — see Lady Geek Girl on queer love tragedies
Remember content is king only if connects to an audience.
I could hardly allow a glorious day to pass in total silence. DOMA rocked and Same-Gender Marriage rendered legal (again) California. It’s a state of affairs only dreamed of just a decade or two ago. I will let others speak to the intricate legal issues or pour their hearts’ happiness gleefully across the blogosphere. Tonight clearly belongs to LGBT families and those who labored so long for them. I only wish my friends lost to AIDS, substance abuse, and assorted illnesses who also labored and created families were still here.
Still I cannot help but feel oddly proud it occurred during my 50th year. My favorite college professor, Stanley Balis, always taught societies cannot appreciate a major epoch until 50 years passed. It was why books on WWII exploded in the 1990s as survivors finally opened up. Its a phenomena repeated throughout historiography. Being part of a generation who moved from ” a love that dared not speak its name” to one “that will simply not shut up” was both glorious and painful. In other words an epoch (whether I view my politically active stages or my downtime on the proverbial sidelines).
Just the week I came home choking back tears and smiles after a bus ride home on Sunset neighborhood bus. As I told my brother, “we (meaning my LGBT community) already won.” Why? I watched four high school age boys giggle and flame all over the bus about their planned dates and summer jobs. Yet no one moved to censure or mock them. Having grown up in the Sunset my brother and I knew this would have been a near death sentence in the 1970s and 1980s. Yes, our neighbors included Sunset punks who carried their hatred on baseball bats they wielded in the Castro.
Nor was it confined to Irish Catholic communities in San Francisco. I can recall my very first day of (yes) Catholic High School in Southern California. In not so whispered tones folks talked of a boy stomped in the showers that morning for allegedly having an erection. I still can see the principal (actually a decent priest and very straight) running around handling it. Few expressed sympathy and all stated the obvious “he will have to leave now” [and he did]. It’s a memory which lingered in my consciousness and helped bury my nascent sexual orientation further into my soul’s recesses. I can’t help but wonder if other 14-year-old Catholic boys and girls suffered similar reactions when our Archbishop pompously characterized today as a great tragedy. Nah; this is now, not 1977 – the Church has zero credibility.
But time to banish those bad memories for tonight. It’s a joyous celebration belonging to all of us gay or straight.
Let me extend my love and heartfelt thanks to my brothers, parents, ex-in-laws, aunts, uncles, and cousins who cast aside generations of institutionalized bigotry to embrace me. Not only did it allow me to live my life like any other boring, middle class product of parochial institutions, it comforted many of my friends and acquaintances. Kudos to my countless LGBT fellow travelers who also reached out to their families (regardless of the results; y’all tried). Thanks to my supportive coworkers and political colleagues who endured the “strident years.” A deeper thanks to everyone for not falling victim to the AIDS hysteria and locking us all up.
Those boys wouldn’t have traveled safely and the Court would not have made its ruling without each and everyone of you. Hug yourself and everyone near you in gratitude. It’s a blossoming of all the love held fast through the losses.