Can We Get Rid of Fox News Already?

I think we can all agree that Fox News is not actually a news station. They do not tell fair or unbalanced facts they spew propaganda. They are agenda pushers. I know this, and so whenever I see that Fox News has done something stupid (like telling a man with multiple PhD’s in theology and 20 years experience in religious studies that he is not qualified to write a book about Jesus because he is Muslim) I just shake my head.

 

But this was pretty ridiculous. Bradley Manning has stated that he is transgender.  He would like to be referred to as Chelsea and receive treatment for gender reassignment. Now, I have no idea if this is true or if this is a ploy for appeal it very well could be either, but I am reserving judgment because I don’t know Fox News, however, is not.

 

Fox decided to use the Aerosmith song ‘Dude Looks Like A Lady’ as background music for Chelsea Manning’s story. They also continued to refer to her as “he”. This isn’t the first time that Fox has taken a swing at transgender issues—earlier they used a photo of Mrs. Doubtfire to illustrate a story on transgender health coverage.

 

And we call this news? We allow them to call themselves a “news network” with “journalists” at the helm? Shame on them, and shame on us. They deserve to be off the air and fined for this behavior. If you cannot have a balanced opinion you should not be allowed to go on a news program.



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I’m A Human Being

I’ve had a lot of debates recently about rights. Equal rights. Civil rights. Something happened to me during these debates. An epiphany if you will. The problem most people are having when they say things like, “gays shouldn’t get married” or “women should be happy they have jobs and stop complaining” or “slavery ended how many years ago”? Whenever they say really offensive things about a group they are forgetting one thing.

 

They are forgetting the two things can exist simultaneously. I am not only a woman—I’m also a human being and I can be both of those things at the same time. I should not be treated any differently than anyone else because at the very basis of everything we are all human.

 

While I was having a discussion I had this epiphany: ‘this person is saying this because he is not viewing a minority as a human being he’s viewing them as a minority” it’s not a human who happens to be gay…its’ a gay. That’s it.

 

I think I may have solved this problem. If we could all take our heads out of our butts and remember that before we are anything else—we are human. And in being human we have feelings, rights, thoughts, and are owed respect. Let’s try that—just for a little while—and see what happens.



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My Not-so-Internal Debate

I’m Catholic, and yet whenever a random stranger handing out mini-Bibles asks me “When were you saved?” or “Have you found the Lord Jesus?” I have to suppress feelings of disgust. They are spreading God’s word and trying to make the world a better place. Why is that so unappealing to me? I’m sorry, but at a street corner or in my doorway is not the place to bring me to Jesus. At emotional rock bottom, perhaps, but probably not on a Wednesday at 3 PM.

I digress. You can have your religion, whatever it may be, and that is great with me. Keep your religion- and your genitals- out of my face, and we don’t have a problem. Even if that religion happens to already be mine as well.

My real issue is with equal rights. I am a firm believer in equal rights for all, no matter their subset of humanity. The way I see it, what variable that a person is born with could possibly define them in entirety or makes them less of a person than others?

Suppose you feel differently than I do. Suppose you announce this opinion in front of me. Am I obliged to tell you my thoughts and feelings? I certainly want to. I probably am kind of disgusted that you are against a large group of people that you have judged on this one characteristic. That you feel they are condemned to hell and should rightfully have less rights than you. That they are lesser than you.

Still, unless you are being particularly inflammatory, I will say nothing. Everyone gets to have an opinion. If I am against others people pressing their religion on me without my inquiry, then others probably don’t want to hear me pour my heart out about my personal values. I’ll grant you two comments, but at three strikes I will calmly and logically explain why you are wrong. Fair deal. You started it.



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Gay TV (Part I): Queerbaiting

This is Part I of II. Part II will list the most genuinely LGBT-friendly TV shows that I know.

Have you guys heard the term “queerbaiting” before? I had not, until a few years ago, though I’ve seen it on television for most of my life.

Basically, at some point, people (writers and producers) behind various entertainment media, including television, realized that they could drive up sales and ratings in serial dramas (yeah, I’m basically talking about TV, here) by appealing to gay and bisexual viewers and other viewers who are straight but might like to see gay storylines.

Awesome, right? It’s always good when people whose job is to make money notice that your demographic exists.

Unfortunately, for a long time, gay storylines were extremely controversial. Willow and Tara, on Buffy The Vampire Slayer, did not have an on-screen kiss for a very long time after their relationship began. Will And Grace, a show in which two of the protagonists were gay men, did not have an on-screen gay kiss for a long time.

As in, I think that the Dan Schneider Nickelodeon comedy Drake And Josh had a male-on-male on-screen kiss with less of a kerfuffle than those shows.

I always thought that there was an L after the first F in “kerfuffle,” but apparently not. The more you know.

Now, Drake And Josh does not count as a cutting-edge LGBT show because, well, that was not an actual romantic or sexual kiss and was, like everything else on that show, a joke. And it was, well, on a kids show (though one that I watched pretty reliably in high school for reasons totally unrelated to Drake Bell’s appearance).

Anyway, as I mentioned, gay storylines have been pretty controversial on television for a long time. In the past, it could lead to a show being heavily censored and boycotted (in a meaningful way), and that’s if the network allowed it. Now, if you have a gay storyline for the sake of having a gay storyline, you come across as preachy (like on Glee, in which being preachy about every possible social ill seems to supersede plot). It can also cost ratings—on certain shows.

We’ve all probably heard that there will be same-sex parents on the Disney Channel show, Good Luck Charlie. Because it’s a kids show on Disney, this has ruffled more feathers than it would have in a different context.

I, for one, was really surprised to hear that Good Luck Charlie was still on the air. Good for them, I guess?

So, to get around the potential controversy or a simple lack of desire to tell a gay storyline, some television shows will play up sexual tension between two characters of the same sex, even if they both seem to be heterosexual. Sometimes, this is in response to fans of a show overwhelmingly shipping (supporting the relationSHIP between) certain character pairings. Fan enthusiasm can be increased by, well, making the show appealing to people who want to see ambiguous interpersonal escalation on screen.

And it works really well. People will analyze every look and word exchanged between two characters. They’ll do fanart and write endless fanfiction.

The added bonus being that you can have the fans hooked, in a “will-they-or-won’t-they” sort of way, without actually portraying the characters in question as being gay or bisexual.

A well-known example is Xena: Warrior Princess. And that was in the 1990s. The showrunners realized that the show was really popular among lesbians, and they catered to that without actually catering to that. An advantage of queerbaiting with female characters? Straight men love it, too.

More recently, an advantage of queerbaiting with male characters has clearly been that straight women love it, too.

Supernatural and Once Upon A Time are both shows that I watch that have a lot of queerbaiting. Supernatural is much more overt about it, but they both do it. The casts and writers are well-aware that the fans are more or less overwhelming in terms of shipping same-sex pairings (specifically, Dean and Castiel as Destiel on SPN and Emma Swan and Queen Regina as Swan Queen on OUAT).

Now, a lot of people watch these shows with a will-they-or-won’t-they perspective. Others are absolutely convinced that these characters will run off into the sunset.

Guys, they won’t. Supernatural will begin it’s ninth season this fall. Ninth. I watched the pilot when I was a freshman in college (I’m so ancient). Do people who seem to be completely gay or straight sometimes, in real life, suddenly hook up with a member of the same sex? Absolutely. That does not mean that this is going to happen on the show. Though Once Upon A Time is only about to enter its third season, the same is probably pretty true for Swan Queen. They’ll be friends, they’ll look at each other dramatically, and they’ll do magic together.

The thing is that fans who watch the show primarily for the queerbaiting will be satisfied by that. It’s why Supernatural has been on for nearly a decade.

I don’t think that queerbaiting hurts anyone, but I do think that it is a bit wasteful and outdated. Most of the time.

However, queerbaiting does have its place: television for younger viewers.

At the moment, some TV that targets (if not exclusively) younger audiences contains gay characters. But they are never stated as such, or shown to be gay—but they are also never shown to be not gay. This basically comes down to networks or studios saying: “No, you may not identify anyone as gay.”

Probably the best example of this is Blue Beetle and Impulse on Young Justice. While the show’s writer, Greg Weisman (a major writing idol of mine), has stated that he believes that there are LGBT characters on the show, he asked and was told that he would not be allowed to identify them on-screen.

Queerbaiting is totally appropriate for shows where the writers are all but required to show male protagonists have a female love interest. There was a lot of queerbaiting on Generator Rex (a lot; this set of images barely begins to cover it), which was a surprisingly good show (not the strongest first few episodes).

And then there’s Transformers Prime, a recent (still on the air) show on Hub that is infinitely better than the Michael Bay Transformers films (as in, this show actually has a plot and I understand what is happening at all times). Among other things, the show has a Decepticon named Knockout who is very clearly gay. He conforms to a few too many stereotypes to win a GLAAD award, and, since Cybertronians do not officially have sexes, labels like “gay” or “straight” are meaningless, he does whistle at Optimus Prime and compliment his appearance (along with that of several other transformers) on the show.

There’s also queerbaiting in the pilot of Sam And Cat, a spin-off of both iCarly and Victorious. I haven’t seen past the pilot but I hope that they keep that up.

Queerbaiting in these instances is fine. Good, even. It’s something that will go over the heads of younger viewers but be appreciated by older ones (honestly, if you’re an adult and you automatically dismiss all cartoons because they happen to be cartoons, you need to look at your life and look at your choices). And it’s something that viewers can see or ignore as they choose. I look forward to living in a world where an action cartoon that targets a ten-year-old audience can have official, canon gay characters. A gay protagonist, even.

Sadly, we are not yet there.

 

PS: I did not mention that the BBC series Merlin had a lot of queerbaiting. That show somehow managed to do it really tastefully.

I also did not mention the queerbaiting on Avatar: The Last Airbender. Totally acceptable, as that may have been the greatest show to ever air on television, but it was allegedly a kids show.

I was going to put in another screencap that I took, but it may have been too inappropriate.



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