Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Social Club

When you read about the terror campaigns launched against people like Leslie Jones and Ruby Rose, it's easy to think of social media as a scourge. And it can be. But then I remember that a quality social network really does have value: Like when a "friend" really makes you think about something, or takes the words right out of your mouth.

David  Representation saves lives and it saved mine. I would hope it would be important to people.


Rebecca Oh but there is a controversy. Of course. A straight actor will be playing a gay character, and the identity police are freaking out about that. 
Soon right-handed people won't be able to play lefthanded people. I understand the original sentiment and concern - as in, caucasian playing asians etc, but i think we are taking it too far. I am fine with a straight actor playing a gay actor.



This first example is more of the "thought provoking" genre, in the best possible way. On the one hand, Peter is right. There are more important things right now than a Disney character. But never underestimate our ability to walk and chew gum at the same time. When you hear from someone like commenter David it really drives home how important it is for us to be seen. But Rebecca is on to something, too.

Fred was having none of it, and his reasoning was sound -- on paper. The problem is, for so long ANYONE wasn't allowed to play ANY role, no matter how good he, she or they were at it.

So where do we go from here? Yes, it is wrong that for so long LGBT actors have either had to remain closeted to work or not be considered for roles. And now that things are improving, it's important that we remain focused on the goal at hand. When I hear people freak out and say that if LGBT people want to play all of the LGBT roles, then only straight people should be cast in straight roles, it smacks of people whining about Black History Month by saying, "Why isn't there a White History Month?" (We're making up for a lot of lost time here, folks!)

What next: Should people with dyed red hair not be able to play redheads because they haven't actually lived the "ginger experience"? 

But this topic isn't, pardon the pun, quite so black and white. Things don't change overnight. Sean Hayes played Jack McFarland (kind of a hybrid of the scenarios since he WAS a gay man playing a gay man, he just didn't feel comfortable admitting it forever). Neil Patrick Harris played a womanizer on "How I Met Your Mother." Matt Bomer played a charming (straight) thief on "White Collar." And Jonathan Groff played a gay videogame designer on "Looking" and a straight FBI agent on "Mindhunter." This is what progress looks like. But these are the exceptions to the rule. Still, it seems counterproductive to insist that ONLY people who fit the exact criteria of a character be allowed to play him/her/them -- as Fred said, there's a reason it's called ACTING. And Generation Woke excoriating filmmaker Kimberly Peirce 20 years later for using Hilary Swank to tell Brandon Teena's story in 1999's "Boys Don't Cry" is utterly ridiculous. (And for what it's worth, I thought Felicity Huffman was outstanding in "Transamerica.") How about we continue to pressure Hollywood to do better while also keeping in mind that major motion pictures about Dante Gill, aka Tex, probably won't get made at all with, say, Trace Lysette's name attached to the project instead of Scarlett Johansson. But that with continued vigilance, someday that will no longer be true.

This one I could have written myself -- especially when a D.C. cabbie repeatedly couldn't find my friend Ken's new house when I was already beside myself visiting my brother Bill when he was diagnosed with cancer. I don't want cab drivers to lose their jobs, but for f**k's sake -- it's 2018! I love going online and immediately feeling I'm not alone ...

Yesterday, coming back from JFK after a brief and exhilarating trip to Mexico City, I had a very grumpy oldtime NYC cabbie who had no idea where my address was but nonetheless had no GPS. I ended up insisting he follow my orders as I ran my own GPS from the backseat, nostalgic for the days when you could pour yourself into a cab, give your address and then stare blankly out the window instead of having to participate in a job you are also paying for. My cranky cabbie glared and said nothing as I tipped him $10 and bid him adieu, resisting the urge to tell him one more time that he should use a GPS app. And yet despite this I still support the news that NYC is capping Uber and other app services. All I could think about yesterday with my grumpy cabbie was the five old-school NYC cabbies who have killed themselves recently, their livelihoods put under by ride-hailing apps that I know provide income and flexibility for ordinary people but that also primarily make billionaires out of douche-y tech bros who think they are masters of the universe. I don't want to live in a word where endless, unregulated innovation and app-based "disruption" puts working people out of work and drives them to suicide, meanwhile creating new gig-based jobs that slowly eat away at our long 20th-century tradition of jobs that come with protections and benefits.

What's your take -- do you think the pros outweigh the cons of social media?


Ung said...

You pretty much covered my feelings on this... Hear hear!

Henry Holland said...

I live in Los Angeles and I got rid of my car 2 years ago (it would have cost more to repair it than it was worth). I've since relied on the spotty subway/bus system and Lfyt (won't use Uber as they're a horrible company).

Lfyt drivers here often don't live anywhere near where I need to go, they utterly depend on their GPS. That would be the GPS that constantly tells them while sitting at a light to turn right > go a block > turn left > go a block > turn left to reach the next block. Woo hoo! We saved 5 seconds that way, that's great. I tell the driver "I don't trust your GPS, I'll tell you where to go". Yeah, I miss having a car, hahaha.

jaragon said...

The people who get upset about straight actors playing gay character seem to miss the point of acting.

DJDeeJay said...

Your examples are a little different, though. Harris wasn't out when he was cast on his show and I don't think Bomer was either.

And often the logic is "well, we needed a name and there's no gay actor as famous as [whoever they cast]," which just perpetuates the cycle as then no gay actor gets roles that help make them famous which would give them access to better roles. I also hate that argument because, you know, Chris Hemsworth wasn't famous AT ALL when he was cast as Thor, they just thought he was the right guy for the right role.

And look, this Disney project's profits are not resting on Whitehall, so they didn't need a "name" and Whitehall isn't one anyway (not really). And yes, since out gay actors rarely get access to roles that straight actors do, this just feels like rubbing salt in the wound.

And I have no time for the slippery slope argument of "what's next? Only left-handed people can play left-handed people?" The slippery slope argument is also what Repubs used against marriage equality ("what's next? Marrying your dog?").