Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Career Gays

A selection of recent headlines:




Entertainment Weekly recently ran article about being gay in Hollywood. It discussed the fact that several stars, including Neil Patrick Harris, T. R. Knight, and Lance Bass have decided to publicize their homosexuality. The general argument was that homosexuality is no longer career suicide, and, in fact, could even help a young actor. As the author, Mark Harris, wrote, "Suddenly, all those platitudes about how coming out of the closet can destroy a celebrity's livelihood seem like threadbare justifications. And those gay celebrities who keep fighting to pass as straight look like embarrassing antiques."

I'd like to agree with Harris, but I'm not sure he's right. Frankly, I think that homosexuality still carries a stigma. I would, however, argue that the stigma now lies, at least partly, in the increasing use of sexuality as a career tool, rather than as an expression of one's personality. This becomes particularly clear when one reviews recent celebrity admissions of homosexuality:

Neil Patrick Harris: You have to give Doogie credit. Like Lance, he could have come out of the closet when his career was on the skids. Instead, he waited until he was a cast member on a mid-level ensemble comedy. However, he loses a grade for coming out in People magazine, and for pimping his sexuality for a couple of measly pop-culture recognition points.
Coming Out Grade: B

Lance Bass: Let's face it: Lance Bass is a washed-up, no talent boy toy who has massively outlived his cultural usefulness, not to mention his fifteen minutes of fame. However, when he came out in People magazine, it provided a considerable boost to his career, allowing him to cling, white-knuckled, to the public consciousness for a few more embarrassingly self-serving seconds. Of course, nobody was surprised by Lance's admission, but everybody had to be nice to him because he was no longer a talentless scrawny white guy. He was now a talentless, scrawny white guy who liked dick.
Coming Out Grade: C

T. R. Knight: This guy has handled his coming out with grace and style. Part of this is because coming out wasn't really his idea; he was, apparently, the focus of an argument between Isaiah Washington, who called him a "faggot," and Patrick Dempsey, who defended him. Of course, you can imagine the conspiracy theories--people imagining that Knight was the wishbone in a Dr. McDreamy/Isaiah Washington lovers' quarrel. Still, Knight handled the very public explosion of his personal life with class.
Coming Out Grade: A

Ellen DeGeneres: I can't say anything bad about Ellen. In fact, I think that doing so is, officially, against the law in three states. In all honesty, though, she's funny, open, talented, and had the guts to come out of the closet when it was controversial enough to cost her a sweet job. My only criticism is that, between Anne Heche and Portia DiRossi, Ellen's bed has become a stepping-stone to fame. Seriously, she's like a lesbian Robert Evans; screwing Ellen is now, officially, a solid career move for fading blond actresses of a certain age. Still, that's not her fault, and I can't blame her for taking advantage of her position as an official lesbian martyr-cum-spokeswoman.
Coming Out Grade: A+

Cynthia Nixon: Cynthia started off strong; when she left her husband and two kids for a woman, she responded to reporters' questions with grace and aplomb. She simply stated the truth of her relationship and noted that she did not want to discuss it further. My problem with Cynthia is that now, two years later, she seems inclined to discuss the fact that she doesn't want to discuss the fact of her sexuality. Make up your mind, Miranda: either you want to whore out your personal life for a career boost, or you don't, but you can't pretend you're above the fray when you keep re-entering it.
Coming Out Grade: Initially A+, Lowered to a B+

Rosie O'Donnell: Good God, where to begin? I love Rosie. I love her big, scary, cartoonishly Irish-American personality. I love her frightening mood swings. I even love the fact that she seems to be making a career out of playing Lenny to Barbara Walters' George in the all-female production of Of Mice and Men.What I don't love is her deliberately misleading and somewhat creepy Tom Cruise fetish, and her determination that all of the rest of us have to be in on her private life. You're here, you're queer, Rosie, and I think it's time you got over it.
Coming Out Grade: B

I look forward to a day when gay men and women are a fully-integrated part of American culture. I hope that the time will come when society doesn't feel threatened by them, and also doesn't feel obliged to treat them like Faberge Eggs. I dream that the time will come when homosexuality will be viewed like brown eyes, blond hair, or attached earlobes; in short, I want homosexuality to be seen for what it is: a very small, probably hereditary, part of individuality. However, our culture won't get there on its own. Gay public figures need to learn that, while homosexuality shouldn't be a stigma, it also shouldn't be a fad. We all are what we are; let's get over it.

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  • Face it...everything in America can be a fad.

    P.S. Portia DiRossi is hot And funny. I got a crush from Arrested Development. Lance Bass...not so much.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At November 15, 2006 at 7:11 PM  

  • I had to goggle T.R. Knight to see who he was...

    I agree with you on Lance though...He came out...who cares...He kept it a secret when he was "Known"...OOohh...what guts he has! BLAH!

    Ellen is the Awesome!!

    And why wasn't I on People when I came out damn it??!! Where is the justice in that!!!

    By Blogger Nihilistic, At November 15, 2006 at 8:00 PM  

  • Oh, that's T. R. Knight. I thought he was a football player. But that's RL or OJ or something like that.

    By Blogger mist1, At November 15, 2006 at 8:51 PM  

  • You calling Bobby Knight a queer? Be careful; he just smacked one of his own players! Oh. T.R. Knight.

    By Anonymous the Laughorist, At November 15, 2006 at 9:20 PM  

  • Lee-
    I agree that Portia diRossi is godawfully cool. I just think she's pimping herself for a little more fame. Which depresses me.

    Maybe you're right; maybe everybody should get the People magazine treatment when they come out! What an awesome idea--it could be a combination tabloid/dating service.

    I like where you're going with this, but I'm worried about aggravating Bobby Knight. He makes Chuck Norris look like a wimp.

    Okay, fine. I call down the wrath of Bobby Knight. He's a wuss!

    By Blogger Crankster, At November 15, 2006 at 9:43 PM  

  • Heyyy.. you have a GAY Useless Celebrity post.

    Except I like Ellen.

    By Anonymous, At November 15, 2006 at 9:45 PM  

  • I agree completely. I remember a discussion in this law class I took about how things aren't that way yet b/c a heterexual man can still sue for defamation should for (false) accusations of homosexuality.

    It was sad that my little sister "came out" as a bisexual the way she did. My elderly father asked me what was the deal w/ all of the bumper stickers on her car. Who the hell are the Indigo Girls?

    That's just sad. And riding shotgun in her car and some jerk coming up behind blaring his horn. Wanted to kill him.

    I still think Canada is "gay," however. They should come out already.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At November 15, 2006 at 10:03 PM  

  • I have an announcement to make, please. I am a bi-sexual switch something or other and whatever else my wife tells me to be. Thankyouverymuch.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At November 15, 2006 at 11:00 PM  

  • did you see that South Africa just passed a law allowing same-sex marriage!!! America, that is supposedly so forward, has a long way to go. I could rant but I won't.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At November 15, 2006 at 11:27 PM  

  • Liesbians are HOTTT!!!! The guy stuff, that turns me off. To be honest I've always put Rosie in the guy category. She really scares me.

    By Blogger The Naked Nerd, At November 16, 2006 at 5:13 AM  

  • Ignorant me, I've only heard of the last three - all the women. Hmmm, let me think about the implications of that...

    (BTW - did I get your porn logic problem right?)

    By Blogger Glamourpuss, At November 16, 2006 at 7:33 AM  

  • The worst part about Lance Bass is that he's now "dating" Amazing Race 4 winner Riechen Lehmkuhl(what? I like Amazing Race, dammit!). Riechen is sooooo much hotter than Lance, but you can just tell they're using each other. Because they're both D-List celebrities and nothing says magazine sales like a picture of two D-List celebrities, together at last! Sorry, I'll shut up now.

    By Blogger Mrs Pinchloaf, At November 16, 2006 at 8:32 AM  

  • Yes, Let's get over it...and move on to something more bloggable...


    By Anonymous Anonymous, At November 16, 2006 at 9:23 AM  

  • D-
    I like her too, but I'm not a fan of Anne Heche.

    You think Canada's gay? I thought they were just fussy.

    Thanks for being so open. I'll see if I can get you a spot in People magazine.

    Did you think the day would come when you'd say "I wish I lived in a liberal South Africa?"

    I dunno; I just like the Indigo Girls. And Disappear Fear. And Seven Year Bitch, sometimes.

    You never heard of Doogie? Regarding the other, I never got your answers. Please e-mail them again, or just post them in the comments to the logic problem post. Thanks!

    I wondered who Riechen Lehmkuhlaalskdjf was. What happens when two D-list celebrities combine. Do they become one C-lister, or four E-listers, or what?

    I'm already on it.

    By Blogger Crankster, At November 16, 2006 at 12:28 PM  

  • I'm just not so sure being gay is really a cause celebre anymore. The gay people I know don't really seem very oppressed these days.

    I admired Tom Hanks back in the Philadelphia days. But by the time Brokeback Mountain came along, it all seemed a bit dull.

    I can't really see that gayness is all that tough a gig. Now heterosexual relationships, there's drama for you...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At November 16, 2006 at 5:08 PM  

  • Wing-
    I'm with you. However, gayness is still exotic enough. Maybe it's like having an aunt who lives in Burundi.

    By Blogger Crankster, At November 17, 2006 at 12:31 AM  

  • I don't want People Magazine, just more chances for a date Saturday nights.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At November 17, 2006 at 3:07 AM  

  • CEO-
    You sound like Woody Allen.

    By Blogger Crankster, At November 17, 2006 at 11:23 PM  

  • Love, love, love the post! I think the best thing said was by T.R. Kinghtly, who stated "I hope being gay isn't the most interesting thing about me." Amen! Just like being straight isn't the most interesting thing about anyone else. Great job, Crankster.

    By Blogger WanderingGirl, At November 18, 2006 at 10:04 AM  

  • Wandering Girl-
    Thanks! Yeah, TR Knight really impresses me.

    By Blogger Crankster, At November 18, 2006 at 1:47 PM  

  • Very fine post. Kind of like a gay reunion, having them all together like that.

    I was also impressed with TR Knight, although I didn't know the name of the actor who played George until he was outed. He's great on the show, and yes, his comment applies to all of us, gay or straight. It shouldn't be of any interest to anyone except our partners.

    I've always loved that quote from Woody Allen.

    By Blogger heartinsanfrancisco, At November 20, 2006 at 9:14 PM  

  • Hearts-
    That sounds like an interesting idea--having reunions for gays who came out in a particular year. Sort of like a high school reunion, just a little more fabulous, and with better food.

    By Blogger Crankster, At November 22, 2006 at 4:20 PM  

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