So my friend YayCoffee
has this whole discussion thing going on her Live Journal about slash fiction. Now, I'm still a little muddy in the whole fanfic vernacular, but my understanding is that slash fiction is fanfic which creates homosexual pairings of well known characters who are not expressly portrayed as gay in the "canon" literature. It could refer to all romantic pairings, gay and straight, of this nature, but for my purposes I'll use it to refer to the former. Basically, she was saying something along the lines of she didn't understand why everyone needed to take profound platonic
relatioships, and turn them into romantic ones. The idea is that people seem to lack understanding that just because something is stronger than a standard platonic friendship, that doesn't necessarily equate to a romantic connection. This is a sentiment with which I strongly agree, and have thought about a lot in reference to pop culture.
Nate and Dinah and I were talking about something similar the other night. Specifically, the movement of revisionist history going on toward older TV programs. By that I mean the trend of taking characters that were generally considered sexually neutral, or not IMPLICITLY straight (i.e. a big deal was never made of them making out, or whatever, with members of the opposite sex), and proclaiming them gay because of some societal stereotype.
I use as a particular example the whole Bert/Ernie debate of the 90s
. Two men, living together, neither of them with female companionship. Of course, they DID share one bedroom, but in separate beds, with space between them. "They did the same thing in the early days of TV! Lucy and Ricky never shared a bed on screen, and they were MARRIED!" you say? Well, that was because of Standards and Practices
for the time (the people who make the decisions as to what can and can't be allowed on TV), and it doesn't even begin to relate to these two puppets. My feeling, in this particular case, was that Bert and Ernie were meant to be seen by children as brothers. They didn't live with their parents, but they had a very brotherly relationship, (something to which the children watching could relate), and brothers sometimes share a room. I feel that's all that was meant to imply.
The reason it came up in our conversation was this: We were discussing what old TV shows we would like to see on DVD. Mention was made of Diff'rent Strokes
, Growing Pains
, Family Ties
, and The Facts of Life
. When this last one came up, I mentioned having a crush on Jo
when I was growing up. Dinah said something along the lines of "Even though she was a lesbian?" Of course, she was joking, but this got us off on the whole train of hating it that no character was safe from being considered gay, even if there was nothing to support it.
Don't get me wrong. This is not a condemnation of being gay or gay people. It's a condemnation of using stereotypes to revise history (besides, wasn't Jo the one who dated George Clooney on the show?) and make it fit better with our current ideals and norms. Plus? THEY'RE TV SHOWS PEOPLE! They don't HAVE to match the melting pot society in which we live. That's why they're FICTIONAL.
Anyway, that's my rant. Long-winded and boring as usual. So to make up for it, here's something funny
to watch. It kind of makes fun of the smelly French, which would make ANYBODY feel better.