Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Roseanne Barr Criticizes "Evangelical" Gays

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Recently, while guest-hosting on a radio show, Roseanne Barr said:

Never once in my 54 years have I ever once heard a gay or lesbian person who’s politically active say one thing about anything that was not about them. They don’t care about minimum wage, they don’t care about any other group other than their own self because you know, some people say being gay and lesbian is a totally narcissistic thing and sometimes I wonder.

I’ve never heard any of them say anything except for “accept me ‘cause I’m gay.”

It’s just, it’s screwed. It’s no different than the evangelicals, it’s the same mindset. They want you to accept Jesus and you guys want us to all believe it’s okay to be gay. And a lot of us, a lot of them, I do, I don’t give a damn who anybody has sex with, as long as they’re not underage and an animal. I don’t give a damn, it’s none of my damn business. I’m just sick of all the divisiveness, it’s not getting any of us anywhere.


Of course, there are times when the ability to see all sides of an issue is a hindrance. In fact, most times it's a hindrance, since the modern fetish is for a certain fascism of opinion, especially when it comes to identity politics. I'd love to be able to stand up and loudly declaim that it's "my way or the highway" for once, but I cannot. Damn my open mind.

Strictly speaking, what Roseanne says is true, albeit specious. I have no doubt that the gays she's met are like that; most of the ones I meet are. Gay men, I mean. Others, myself and my friends included, care deeply about the whole spectrum of social justice, including queer issues (mainly because if we don't include them no one else will). Ghetto gays, not so much - though I also accept that they have their reasons for being so one-note.

As for lesbians, there isn't a charity or worthy cause anywhere that doesn't owe at least some of its membership to them, whether it's rape relief, eradicating poverty, or animal rights. I believe that inside every lesbian is an angel. In fact, I think the world should be run by lesbians over the age of 50. But that's just my opinion - I could be wrong.

Most gays of course will have their thongs in a wad over Roseanne's comments for a variety of reasons, and the ones who shout the loudest will be the ones hit a little too close to home by them. It doesn't bother me because, for my own sake, she's wrong. There's no point at my getting mad at her because she's simply not describing me. She has a point, and what she said has the power to ignite a bit of a debate in the gay male community, provided they can do it and get it over with before the next circuit party hits town.

As for "accept me because I'm gay": fuck that. Accept me because you want to; if you don't want to I couldn't care less. Gays (for example) are pretty well hated in the black community - especially hip-hop. It doesn't weaken my support for their civil rights - or my enjoyment of hip-hop - only makes me sad that the discriminated-against feel the need to pay that bigotry forward.

I've always loved Roseanne, specifically because she runs her mouth, and these comments don't change a thing. I'm not going out and burning my "Roseanne" DVDs and boycotting her or anything. I only hope that, in the fallout from this, she gets a chance to meet the kind of people she says she's never met: passionate, concerned, well-rounded gays. Even in LA.

In the words of her great foe Judy Tenuta: "It could happen."
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4 comments:

Seumas Gagne said...

Couldn't have said it better myself.

michael sean morris said...

A) Holy Crap, I just posted that five minutes ago, and already with a comment.

B) Thanks.

Y | O | Y said...

Yep, she pissed me off. I guess cause she made the mistake of not using any qualifiers like "the gays I know" of "most." I have been, and still am, on the Board of Directors for one of the largest GLBT political action committees in California. I can say, from personal experience, that there is a very large community of activists that are selfless. As one of my best friends explained to me years ago, when the water rises for one of us, it rises for us all. I think that came from his union organizing roots but certainly applies!

michael sean morris said...

There are feminists, blacks, and Jews who are so single-minded they never shut up about it either. Which is their right. But for every one of hem there are many more not like that. The NAACP was founded by Jews, for instance, and when she died Dorothy Parker bequeathed them her entire estate.

Like I said, if Roseanne said what she did hoping to be enlightened (rather than yelled at) I hope she can be. Also, nothing gives a career boost these days like attacking gays, and her poor career is in a bit of a doldrums lately.

There's no such thing as bad publicity.