This is something that has been happening gradually – but it does my heart good to see it.
Earlier than 1979, there were ‘hot topics’ that were considered unsuitable for the average viewer. Things like racism, interracial marriage, abortion homosexuality, these were verboten. That is, until Norman Lear actually produced a show called All In The Family, that dared to touch on these polarizing subjects. True enough, there were shows prior to that, but AITF was really the ground-breaker for many people, due to the harsh contrast of Archie Bunker and his ‘lovable’ xenophobic tendencies, as well as its prime-time slot.
And, 31 years later, I’m happy to say, there’s an ample supply of television shows that treat it as if it is an actual part of the culture, instead of some back-alley filthy unnatural occurrence.
Now we are for the most part readers. But (and it’s sad to say), the Glass Teat (as Harlan Ellison likes to phrase it) is a somewhat accurate barometer of how folks think these days.
And while my esteemed colleague Mr. Garton has stated (accurately, I might add) that Gay Is The New Witch, there is hope. Yes, even the gag-inducing items like ‘Reality Shows’ (which violate the Observer-expectancy effect most outrageously), there are numerous LGBT shows even among the dregs. What does this mean, exactly? It likely means less gay bashers, less gay suicides, and yes, less credence in that quirky religious crap that was programmed into us from early on.
Anecdotally: in my twenties, I was always and steadily uncomfortable with the gay lifestyle. This is not to say I was violently revolted by it – I fended off those advances quite politely, never driven to the extremes of other people who were obviously xenophobically enraged (or terribly insecure about their sexuality). But I can say (shamefacedly) that I walked out on the film Cruising (or was it Making Love? I keep getting flashed of Harry Hamlin from that memory) because of my discomfort with it. Before the film even got to the sweaty parts.
Now, some decades later (and a LOT more education and insight under my belt), I don’t even blink an eye. Strangely though, among that list I linked to, one of my all time favorites, Torchwood, isn’t listed among them. What I enjoyed most, was the fact that the characters would sleep with people they were attracted to. There wasn’t any angst, and the only time there were moral struggles was when Gwen had a boyfriend AND was fooling around with Owen…but I digress.
And it is this gradual acceptance in our culture that is going to render stone-age groups like the AFA (who threaten to boycott harmless institutions like Home Depot), suggest stupidities like ‘have less gay students’, and even holler about ‘outlawing homosexual behavior’) thoroughly impotent.
There are better days a-comin’ – but it’s a long road, and it’ll take time.
So keep fighting the good fight. Because, let’s face it, there are no secular arguments against gay marriage, or even against homosexuality. It’s all a Christian legacy, and we’re better off rid of these foolish, dangerous anachronisms.
Till the next post, then.