Friday, June 12, 2009

Gaysimilate this, jerks.

Via Borderstan, we heard that Real World DC is going to shoot B-roll footage at the Capital Pride Parade on Saturday. The rumor is none of the cast will actually be in DC yet. And if this is true, this is less than, well, reality. That means the MTV crew will be shooting the Pride parade as background. Having done some video production, I can appreciate having content "in the can". But what gets my pantyhose in a knot is this:

That's the number of rights still denied same sex couples across the US. Because they're teh gay (or teh lesbian, transgendered, bisexual or queer.) The LGBTQ community is still fighting for many rights that most people take for granted, so don't trivialize the struggle. As one of our commenters mentioned, the 1,049 number is out of date - the US Government Accountability Office published a more recent report that indicates LGBTQ couples are denied 1,138 federal rights. (Thanks for the correction, Michael!)

I'm really worried about gaysimilation, people. Let me introduce you to the concept of gaysimilation, as explained to me. It's a form of cultural assimilation. You know what I'm talking about. It's potentially good since it could signal broad cultural acceptance. But it can also mean that people either change themselves to conform, or worse, their struggle is used as a marketing device (and therefore co-opted and trivialized.) Think about how counterculture icons are used to sell cars and sodas. Or when names go from being Shailagh to Sheila, or Lopez becomes Smith, or people become culturally insensitive because it's easier to play along and conform than take the time to know or respect their history.

The fact is, the original Real World had significant impact on the politics of gender roles and sexuality. It's hard for us to remember a time when the world did exist without the voyeristic "reality" aspect. When people didn't discuss racism, prejudice or even sex. When it wasn't acceptable to be out and proud.

So the question is, what will this footage be used for? To talk about how cool the DC cast is with Pride and the LGBT community? Are they going to honor Norman Korpi's bravery of being out and proud? Are they going to teach us to honor the memory of Pedro Zamora?

Or are they going to use the Parade as a glittering backdrop, and fake the show's way into looking like it's down with the Gayborhood?

Call us jaded, but we know that reality TV is artificial as Joan River's face. We get that. It's hard to out-DC DC, where so much of our work and very livelihood is image manipulation. Yet all dedicated operatives and DC political hacks know that the most successful contrivances come from a fierce dedication to a set of values. And they express some kernel of truth and conviction, even if that kernel is sometimes small and hard to find.

So please, Real World. If you want to play the game, play the game. But don't use the LGBTQ community as just a backdrop, honey. The drag queens don't like to be upstaged, and you've got your own proud history to rediscover.

8 comments:

troseph said...

You guys are running out of material. Not that you ever had much of anything to start with. Are you really going to go through and itemize everything RWDC does before you have seen the final product and critize it? It's one thing to discuss the way the RWDC portrayed an event once the season has aired, but this is like listening to a demo tape and calling it trash before the release date.

Chris said...

I read it on teh interwebs, it must be true!

cbeec said...

Troseph - You really don't get it, do you? Nerdette raises a serious issue and you call it "material." Nice. Well if they are filming footage at the Pride Parade and the "cast" hasn't even moved into the house yet, there aren't many ways for the show to use it that aren't deceptive and manipulative. And given how "reality" show cut and edit footage to suit their agendas (i.e. to up their ratings), that shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. Well, except to you, apparently. NEWSFLASH: it's the umpteenth season of the RW. It's going to be trash!

Michael said...

In fact it's 1,138 rights (the 1,049 is outdated as a more recent GAO report says the number of instances marriage is a factor in federal law is higher than the original)

Chris said...

@cbeec, isn't it possible they could use it as part of a backgrounder on this neighborhood, and how being at "ground zero" of the national policy scene, we help bring attention to these issues? So quick to damn...

Hell, they may not even be there, just because you read it on a blog...

The proactive freak-out here is pretty amusing!

cbeec said...

Troseph - So do you by any chance work for MTV or BMP? That would explain a lot...

troseph said...

cbeec I do not work for mtv or bmp. and I did not mean to minimize the cause of gay rights in my previous post, shame on you for suggesting such a thing. my point is, and from the comments on this blog it looks like I am not alone, your blog is a publicity whore. your main cause if selfish in nature and baseless on any facts yet to be proven. you guys are relishing in the attention this is bringing to you and I know you would have envy if the real world house was in, suppose adams morgan. and for a group of people who pride themselves on professionalism and PR skill, one would think you would pick a particular point and stick with it. instead your post are all over the map from the tritness of which liquor store to avoid, to the more practical matter of parking. in all seriousness i check your blog to see what laughable item you are outraged about this hour. real world has always had their houses in nice neighborhoods in big cities throughout the country. i challeneg you to find outrage from neighbors in New York's West Village, or Le Vesinet in Paris, or Wocker Park in Chicago. Where is this sense of intitlement coming from. Just because we live in DC doesn't mean we have better jobs or better apartments from people living in New York, Paris, or Chicago. Where do you get off thinking that?!

cbeec said...

Troseph - You apparently don't understand the views or objections of most of the people who either contribute to or support this blog, or you would not suggest for a moment that we would be envious if the RW house were in another DC neighborhood such as AM. We don't like the show, remember?

And actually I would feel as bad for Adams Morgan as I do for Dupont; I used to live there, and it's already messed up enough without having to contend with something like the RW house.

That aside, how is either (1) having a problem with how the DC gov and MTV went about this or (2) not wanting the possible disruption of having this show located in our neighborhood indicative of a sense of entitlement? (I've been looking for some logic there but so far, no luck.)

I also don't think I have a better job or apt than anybody else in any other city, so that also has nothing to do with any of this.

Nor do I see the relevance of how people in other cities reacted (or didn't react) to having a RW house near to them. That's comparing (big) apples and oranges, which doesn't really get you anywhere.

In short, you seem to be missing the point and all spun-up by things that are flat-out wrong or have nothing to do with any of this. If you're going to point fingers at people, at least try to make sense and have your facts straight.