Friday, March 31, 2006

What in the huh?

So I must admit that I’m confused by the negative reaction to my post It’s Not Easy Being Mean. I mean the title is even a Muppets reference. How much happier can you get?

This post has resulted in my admission to the Y being questioned and been described as disturbing in multiple ways. I fail to see the connection to either. Yes, I acted flamboyant for a scene in a movie. How else do you do a gossip report? My normal monotone wasn’t going to cut it. Yes I made rats squeak and scream. I think I made it clear that this was not an enjoyable experience, but required for the study I’m working on. All I did was pet them and hold them. I left my corkscrew at home. My final mean item was playing Troy in my movie. This seems pretty harmless. Sure he's a racist, sexist, stalking, metro, dense jerk, but this presentation does require a bit of acting on my part.

When I say something horrible, it’s probably sarcasm. Alternatively when I say something incredibly nice it’s probably sarcasm. In general when I’m speaking, writing or signing, it’s sarcasm.

I’m actually not hypersensitive, just confused as to what the comments meant exactly. Blogging is not the best medium for establishing a meaningful dialogue. In any case I’ll endeavor to be a sterling example of all things positive from now on.

Song of the moment: “Running out of time” Hot Hot Heat


too_intensified said...

Well, I wasn't going to go into this, but since you seem to want some sort of explanation, I was offended that you chose to stereotype and make fun of gay people through your flamboyant and lisped deliverance of a gossip report. Not only did you imply that only gay people gossip, but you supported those stereotypes of flamboyancy and lisping, which do accurately portray some gay people, but Grossly exaggerate others. You pursued your objective of getting your audience to laugh at the expense of homosexuals. A far more striking social criticism, and a more realistic portrayal, would have been to deliver it with your 'usual monotone', implying that everyone gossips. And that probably would have been funny too.

Again, I realize it's not like you're going to put this movie into theaters or anything, but that was the primary reason for my previous negative comment.

Ranteumptom said...

Though you’re certainly free to have your opinion (if you weren’t I wouldn’t allow comments to be posted) I completely disagree.

I never said the character was gay. Yes he has a lisp, but there no indication of his sexual orientation. Any link between lisps, gays and gossip is in the mind of the viewer. If my character was part of a gang, it wouldn’t be saying he was a minority. If he had a large family it wouldn’t be saying he was Mormon or Catholic. I’m not claiming ignorance to these stereotypes, but I can’t be held responsible for connections the viewer makes. If these were the standards we lived by no one could say anything for fear of the connotations and associations of their words.

I have no moral qualms with using stereotypes for humor. If it’s funny to have a cowboy-hat wearing, gun-toting, Yeehaw-spouting Texan, I see no problem in doing so. It gives the audience an immediate reference point for the character. When the whole joke lasts 1.5 minutes I need to establish a character quickly. Most humor is going to require the viewer to be familiar with what you’re joking about. This is often facilitated by the use of stereotypes, which simply serve as types of characters. I do avoid stereotypes that are inherently negative (I would need a very good reason to have a stupid Polish person, but I don’t consider a lisp inherently negative.)

Who thinks that gays gossip more than other people? I’m not even familiar with that stereotype. Having a gossip reporter being homosexual is a bit more of a stereotype, but this is only damaging to gossip reporters, a group for which I have little to no sympathy. In any case the gossip from the bit is clearly fictional, so doesn’t relate back to anything real. The only stereotype I’d be perpetuating was that people with lisps tell inane, yet humorous, gossip on news shows. This is obviously not s stereotype we need to worry about.

Perhaps more important than any of these points is that I have no problem making fun of homosexuals. I have no problem making fun of heterosexuals. I am an equal-opportunity mocker. Actually this isn’t true. I almost always make fun of groups that I belong to more often than those I don’t. Some things are beyond joking about, but sexual orientation most certainly is not one of them. A joke does not necessarily indicate bigotry or intolerance, though I admit they can be related. I could be anti-Semitic and because of this spout tons of Jew jokes. But in my case really the only time I tell Jewish jokes is with my Jewish friends.

A final point is that I don’t think you can impose social commentary on everything. I hate how they do this in literature analysis. An author can just be telling a story without any subtext. A comic can tell a joke without an agenda. Some things are meant just to entertain, and I think it’s wrong to insist that they mean something or that the author should make them mean something.

And that is why my gossip reporter has a lisp, and would have one if I recorded it again.