Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Gay-ification

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.

4 Comments:

Anonymous YayCoffee said...

Oooo! Good post!

"Slash" is only the homosexual pairings. Example: Remus/Sirius, Harry/Draco, Harry/Ron, Seamus/Dean, etc.

"Het" is for the heterosexuals. Example: Ron/Hermione, Harry/Ginny, Draco/Hermione, Ron/Luna, etc.

Now--I really don't mind slash fic as a rule--I actually like it if it's done right and well written. I get irritated when people read way too much into a relationship as it is presented *in canon*, thus making a friendship (liek-omg-SO-obviously-Gay!!11!) romantic. No.

Fanfic is a funny little world where the writer of the fic gets to mess with the universe in which they're writing and tell his or her story how he or she wants. If you want to put Harry with Draco, or Neville with the Fat Lady, then fine. But don't pretend it's canon. Tell your story, and if you're a good writer, I'll believe it (for the sake of that fic).

The HP Fandom has a hard time grasping the concept of familial/unconditional love outside the confines of a family--which is interesting, as it is an IMPORTANT THEME OF THE ENTIRE HARRY POTTER SERIES. Honestly!

And Bert and Ernie--so NOT gay. I agree with you--brothers. Or, one could argue--the odd couple.

6:01 PM  
Anonymous jamie said...

I used to know a lot of ppl that wrote Mulder/Krycek slash fanfic. I personally never understood the draw. But hey, if you're a good writer, and you need the outlet, knock yourself out.

I also believe in relationships, both fictional and real-life, that are as strong or stronger than romantic ones. BACK to The X-Files, I always thought Mulder & Scully had a more interesting relationship before they were "together." Not to discount the romance- hey, I love it, but there are so many powerful and important non-romantic relationships in life - I hate that Hollywood feels the need to turn every intense relationship into a romantic one.

That was kind of a convoluded sentence. So, sorry. :-)

6:44 PM  
Blogger Mimi said...

I thought it was Blair that dated George Clooney.

10:44 PM  
Blogger Keymaster said...

Jo dated George aka Booker on the show.

Speaking of Gay, I saw Gods and Monsters last night on Encore. Amazing movie.

3:37 PM  

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