Monday, July 14, 2008
Not that there's anything wrong with that...
I've never dug the whole borderline homophobic Seinfeld episode where they harp on gay people and clean it all up with "not that there's anything wrong with that." The simple act of implying that there could be something "wrong" with being gay, although Seinfeld and his posse were way too cool to think such things (obviated by the constant need to defend their words and/or actions), always seemed to me to be more than a little offensive and hypocritical. It's like having a discussion about gay public affairs, current events, hell, even clubs or people you know but making sure to state that you (or me or them or whomever) are not gay. It's the guy who talks about going to a gay club one weekend but stressing how awkward he felt having guys hit on him. Or the girl who talks about girl-on-girl sex but follows it up with an explanation about how sexuality is more fluid with women, so same sex exploits don't equate with lesbianism.
All of this is a long way of saying that the above picture sucks. I like satire. I appreciate satire. I even love a good French farce (and don't lecture me on the difference between satire and farce - I know). But this? is not cool. The thing is that it's mainly not cool because it came from the New Yorker. I know this expectation of liberal open-mindedness from a pseudo-intelligensia magazine exposes some of my baser assumptions about media, and I guess that's the talking point to take away from all of this. I think racism is a real issue. I think we all have to constantly question our assumptions and thoughts about what is and is not okay about the way we think and portray ourselves (i.e. our externalization of our internal mechanisms).
I guess the moral of the story is that just because you consider yourself liberal, open-minded, non-racist (or non homophobic in Seinfeld's case) doesn't mean that a) you actually are (at least not always) and b) you get to be above reproach because you no longer clutch your purse tighter when a black man walks beside you.
And sometimes the response to the initial negative thing (the New Yorker says it's satiring all the misinformation out there) only creates a second, independent negative thing. But, like the editor from the New Yorker said on Morning Joe this morning, they totally didn't mean it that way. So you dumbasses out there who are offended, you're obviously not intelligent enough to read our magazine anyway. With that reassurance I guess we can all go back to reading our fancy media publications, drinking our lattes, and watching our Seinfeld re-runs. Not that there's anything wrong with that.