Newsweek Shocker: Gays On TV Promoting Homosexual Intolerance

November 14th, 2009 3:21 PM

Here's a sub-headline you probably never imagined seeing in a liberal magazine:

Gays on TV once helped promote tolerance. Now they may be hurting it.

Shocking, yes?

Even more so was the point of Newsweek's "Kings of Queens" -- the overly-sexual, "flaming" characterization of gays on television is actually increasing a negative stereotype (h/t Big Hollywood):

Even if you've never seen glee [sic], the Fox dramedy with show tunes in its veins and opera in its nervous system, you probably know that it's TV's gayest product since Richard Simmons. [...]

In the past year, however, the public-acceptance pendulum seems to have shifted back, at least for what is arguably the biggest test of equality. Two weeks ago, the people of Maine followed the people of California in reversing existing laws that had legalized gay marriage. In fact, when gay marriage has been put before the voters of any state, it has failed every time. Is TV to blame for this? Of course not. The mission of popular culture is to entertain, not to lecture. But if we accept that [Will and Grace], [Dawson's Creek], and the rest once fostered acceptance, it's fair to ask if Gleemay [sic] be hurting it, especially because the Kurt model is everywhere. There's Marc (Michael Urie), the flaming fashion assistant on Ugly Betty; Lloyd (Rex Lee), Ari's sassy receptionist on Entourage; the gay couple on Modern Family (one guy still pines for his ice-skating career; the other wears purple in every episode). The fey way extends to nonfiction, too, from the dozens of squealing contestants on Project Runwayto [sic] the two gayest words in the English language: Perez Hilton. Next week American Idol runner-up Adam Lambert's new album, For Your Entertainment, arrives: that's Lambert on the cover, wearing heavy mascara, black nail polish, and perfect lip gloss. 

Interesting. Author Ramin Setoodeh made the point that gay characters on television who are flaunting their sexuality both in manner and attire might actually be increasing anti-gay sentiment:

The problem with the Glee club is that Kurt and the rest are loud and proud, but their generation has turned down the volume. All this at a time when standing apart seems particularly counterproductive. Marriage (and the military) are sacred institutions, so it's not surprising that some heterosexuals will defend them against what they see as a radical alteration. But if you want to be invited to someone else's party, sometimes you have to dress the part. Is that a form of appeasement? Maybe. It's not that gay men and women should pretend to be straight, or file down all their fabulously spiky edges. But even Rachel Maddow wears lipstick on TV.

Fascinating, and certainly NOT what you'd expect from Newsweek.