Thursday, January 13, 2005


On Television Last Night: Lesbians!

As I mentioned, I got suckered again into the Battlestar Galactica miniseries last night. Since I had already seen the miniseries before, however, I kept flipping around during slow parts & commercials.

I caught this exchange on Law & Order last night, but here's Jonah Goldberg's post from the Corner:

Last night the blonde DA (Elizabeth Röhm) on "Law & Order" was canned for being "too passionate." From what I could tell there had been little indication this had been in the cards. But what was completely out of left field was her response to Fred Thompson when he let her go. "Is it because I'm a lesbian?"

Now, this isn't mere bitterness that they didn't develop this story line years ago. But this was a complete non sequitur (unless I missed the famous lesbian date episode). She might as well have said, "Is this because I'm am the warrior queen of the planet Glaxnor?" Or, "Is this because I ate the last bread crust when we were in that Cambodian tiger cage?"

I like the lack of character development generally, but can we get a little foreshadowing next time?
Jonah's correct about the frustrating nature of Law & Order's character development. The show employs a modified Heisenberg Principle: the characters can never tell the audience who they are, their true natures must be inferred from what the audience can observe over time.

And yeah, I too was surprised by this. Although, given Elizabeth Röhm's general hotness factor, it's not necessarily a bad thing to think about.

BTW, excuse me while I sidetrack here: I know that the generally accepted reason that Hollywood portrays nearly all lesbians as really attractive women is to appeal to the prurient interests of men. I wonder, however, whether there is not a bit of a fraud going on here, and not for this reason.

Meaning, if Hollywood presented lesbians as many of them are, would all us bigoted heterosexuals no longer like them? Does Hollywood go out of its way to portray L-Word Lesbians instead of Rosie O'Donnell lesbians in order to increase their cultural acceptability?

Of course I'm stereotyping here, but in my personal experience, I haven't met many lesbians who even remotely look like they can show up on The L Word and start making out with Mia Kirshner. On the other hand, I've met plenty of gay men who look exactly like the metrosexual stereotype seen on Queer Eye For The Straight Guy. But where are those lesbians in the media?

Even in the programming celebrated by the lesbian community, like If These Walls Could Talk and Ellen, the lesbians portrayed are almost always attractive. . . to men. Chloe Sevigny in a short haircut still looks like Chloe Sevigny in a short haircut.

Please note: I don't *want* to see more pierced, tattooed, hairy-leg, butch-cut man-hand men-hating lesbians on television. But that has nothing at all to do with homophobia, it's just human nature. NOBODY wants to see unattractive people on television. If we wanted to do that, we'd watch ourselves in the mirror.

That instinct may be too strong to override with any desire to reflect reality. But I still wonder whehter there's an ulterior, more propagandistic motive at work.

Anyways, I hate Jonah Goldberg. Try as I might, I don't know if I can ever come up with a visual as inspired as "Is this because I ate the last bread crust when we were in that Cambodian tiger cage?"

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