|The Pink Mafia discuss who should |
occupy the pedestal next...
If there is something then which can get my goat in a lather in a hurry it is the smug attempts of the Pink Mafia to dictate to the rest of us who is in and who is out, who we should be placing upon a pedestal, and who we should be placing in the Dumpster. These self-appointed ( and appropriately self-important ) mavens of lesbian taste use the media to create icons for us, or if you like “dyke-cons”, and then they ram those chosen ones down our throats via the same media created them. Once, becoming a lesbian icon meant at least that you had Done Something Important, usually for the women’s movement or the gay movement, or both, or stood up for equality in some way. People like Billie Jean King. In today’s world of much shallower waters where the obsession is with only that which is reflected upon the shiny surface, all you need to do to become a “dyke-con” is come outta the closet. Yeah, getting hitched to a woman will certainly help, especially if you succeed in cutting a lucrative deal with Hello magazine for the wedding pix, but just coming out is usually enough to get the mavens chirping. Sometimes you don’t even need to be gay. The Pink Mafia took what was a mediocre TV soap-drama and turned it into a global phenomenon with The L Word and in the process single-handedly revived the career of a straight actress who never stopped reminding everyone how straight she is and how wonderfully male her hubby is…still, all she needed was that one character in her otherwise uninspiring repertoire to make her a dyke icon for all time.
What grates on me is how history gets rewritten around these emergent icons of dykedom in such a way that often affords them more bravery and integrity than they have ever truly displayed. Most have remained securely in the closet until their careers have been in a place they deem suitable to taking the risk of cracking open those doors. Does no one else recall Martina Navratilova’s first ‘autobiography’ Being Myself in which she made a carefully-worded downplay of the whole bisexual rumor and indeed made sure to do some swooning over hockey player Wayne Gretsky? It’s a tough book to even find a copy of now and goes for some ridiculous sums on Amazon but I read it back in the day ( because I was into biographies and tennis - I read Chris Evert’s too ) and I do recall it. Nowadays, with her status as icon in dykedom firmly established, Martina feels free to accuse her own idols of internalized homophobia and being closeted themselves, and all because those idols disappointed her with their big old feet of clay. Well, boo hoo.
By far the most visible examples of today’s media-made icons are the comediennes. It’s “All hail, thee shalt love and pay obeisance to The Ellen and The Wanda!” Ever since Ellen Degeneres finally admitted what we all knew, she has made a steady climb to iconic status, helped along the way by a veritable army of chirping mavens, Oprah Winfrey being not least of her personal champion mavens. All and any flaws are glossed over, looked away from, thoroughly denied, and woe betide any who remark that if the empress isn’t exactly naked, then her clothes certainly aren’t as fine as they are being made out…We are to see the pretty wife, the fairytale wedding and wonderfully twee domestic life together…would that be the one which includes eleven house moves in ten years of marriage, that one? It’s not as though we’re talking about a working-class joe moving home to follow the jobs either - we’re talking about incredibly rich people buying incredibly expensive homes. Pretty wife might a joke out of this peripatetic lifestyle but that many moves in a single decade suggests there is a deeper issue at work here. But we don’t talk about any of that. No, no, no. Just as we must never point out how Ellen often rudely interrupts her guests, especially if they are getting more laughs from the audience than she is, worse if it happens to be a female guest doing so…But don’t talk about it. Just keep showing appropriate blind faith and devotion as you bow low before the idol, watched over by the priestly mavens, ready to peck out the eyes of any dissenter. As for Wanda Sykes, well, she hits the trifecta for being just the person that the Pink Mafia love to punt…she’s a woman, she’s black, and she’s a lesbian. All the more power to your politically-correct elbow if you can champion a lesbian minority, eh? Whether Wanda Sykes is truly a funny comedienne or not is a matter of surely personal taste? Not all lesbians like all lesbian comics, no more than all straight people like all straight comics. Just don’t tell the Mafioso mavens you think that. Personally I don’t find it funny in the least to mention your wife’s vagina on national TV. I find it disrespectful and crude, the kind of humor that 15 yr-old boys resort to on the school yard ( some might say that many lesbians possess the emotional maturity of 15 yr-old boys when it comes to matters of sex but I won’t even go there ), and don’t even try to tell me that if a male comic had said the same thing that there wouldn’t have been an outcry of “Sexist pig!” from the same people who giggle and pronounce adoration for Wanda Sykes?
Oh, and whilst I’m on the subject of the school yard…I can hear the accusation being thrown at me, “Oh you’re just jealous!” This response to anyone who does not share in your own glowing opinion of someone has its roots in the school yard and I think its sheer lack of logic reflects this. To be jealous of someone requires that you want something they have. Since there is nothing that either Ellen or Wanda or any of these others have that I want, jealousy does not come into it. Jealousy of what another has also implies a dissatisfaction with what you have, and I can’t say I’ve ever been that unhappy with my lot that I have had the slightest inclination to waste what time I have upon this earth wrestling with the green-eyed monster over someone else’s lot. Sure, I wouldn’t mind having more money but show me someone who wouldn’t like to have more money ( do so and I’ll show you someone who is either already very wealthy, or an idiot ), and since there are an awful lot of people in this world who do have more money than me, being jealous of all of them would be pretty fucking exhausting. Frankly, I don’t have that kind of energy to spare. So, take your “Oh you’re just jealous!” argument back to the school yard where it belongs and try instead to wrap your head around the fact that not everyone shares in your chosen form of idolatry.
In the end, the trouble with idolizing mere mortals is that they will always disappoint. Just ask Melissa Ethridge. Once, she all but led the pack of Anointed Ones, until she had the temerity to be human and get a messy, bitter divorce from the wife she once proclaimed undying love for…how fast the crown was snatched from head by the outraged denizens of dykedom. But really, what did they expect? In the words of Marc Almond…all gods fall in the end.