Tag Archives: comments section

“You Might as Well Have [insert character here] Be [insert 2-4 minority types here]!”

One of the most common adages on the internet is “don’t read the comments”. While this global network that we’re all currently using [unless you somehow managed to snag a printout of this post] has given us all the ability to share and discuss everything under the sun, the unfortunate truth is that a lot of that conversation amounts to hot garbage. You could scroll down past an article to see what people are saying about it, but chances are that it won’t be a particularly uplifting experience.

As someone who spends much of his time online reading about entertainment there’s a type of comment that I’ve seen crop up time and time again. It’s existence ties directly into a lot of the recent trends in comic books, television, and film, the push towards inclusivity and the people who are actively working to make that happen. A perfect example [of a handful I’ll be referencing throughout this article] is:

brandonallen

“disabled, multiracial trans women with disfiguring facial scars” – posted on “There are more (white) women starring in movies than ever before”

I’ve been compiling these for the past few months, originally with the intent of putting together another “For Your Consideration” and allowing readers to look them over and come to their own conclusions. A general [and accurate] takeaway would be to note them as being typical of inane online comments and move on, but I’d like to spend a little time breaking down the idiocy they represent.

They Perpetuate the Default

The default person, in case you needed to be informed of who generally holds the most power and screentime across the board, is a straight able-bodied cisgendered White man. I’m painfully aware that simply listing those words in successive order like that marks me as being one of the SJWs [my thoughts on that term here], but every one is important to take note of.

Take the following:

mikehuff

“black Asian gay lesbian transgender Spider-man” – posted on “Dear HOLLYWOOD REPORTER: May We Have a Word About ‘Cultural Appropriation’?”

To look at the list and mark it against the checklist of what makes a default human being, in the eyes of at least a few, we have:

  • straight  ≠ “gay lesbian”
  • cisgendered  ≠ “transgender”
  • White  ≠ “black Asian”

Other comments I’ll be including later on will add examples that include disabled people, but the general gist of every one capitalizes on the absurdity of a person who doesn’t match the standard cutout. A  straight able-bodied cisgendered White woman? Not a terrible strain of the imagination. Once you start to tick off more items that don’t coincide with the norm, however, things apparently get a lot shakier.

I don’t even think that many of these commenters are aware of the implicit message behind the words they type. By listing these adjectives and identifiers they end up with a person who most of them share absolutely nothing in common with, which exposes the very reason we need diversity at all. Everyone should be able to relate to entertainment, and for too long the industry has catered to an audience that gets smaller every day. Continue reading

More Writing On Sexual Standards

The dearth of creativity that went into titling this post aside, I thought I’d tackle yet another double standard that appears to exist in our culture. To begin with, let me refer you all to my primary example, Season 4 Episode 5 of Top Chef: Masters, “Holly Madison’s Pool Party.”

In this case, the background behind the show itself is pretty inconsequential: 12 award-winnings chefs compete against each other to raise money for charity, et cetera. On this season the chefs spent the vast majority of their time in Sin City [Las Vegas, aka where Gordon resides] and rubbed shoulders with quite a few celebrities. The superstar for this episode was Holly Madison, of Playboy’s “The Girls Next Door” fame, and their task was to cater her pool party.

Enter James Oseland, editor of Saveur and one of the show’s judges. At the party musclebound hunks abound, and after one is encouraged to sit next to the critic he somehow manages to ask “how are you guys gonna like, keep the, this thing [abs], going with, wha- all this food.” As he refers to the man’s midsection he gives it a few pats, prompting responses like the following [which I found on The A.V. Club, of course]:


And Larrybaby’s points are all incredibly valid. Thankfully the guys and girls who peruse the TV Club reviews weren’t the only ones to notice this, and celebrity chef website [yes, it is a real thing] The Braiser did a short bit on the episode. Oseland’s antics are described there as follows:

So, naturally, the daytime cocktails start flowing, the croque madames sizzle on the griddle, and James Oseland starts giddily stripping pool boys. Wait, what?! Yes, Saveur editor-slash-very esteemed and shmancy Top Chef: Masters judge James Oseland gets a little on the trashed side of tipsy at brunch and takes matters into his own hands when a cluster of bikini-clad women fail to get a pool boy to take his shirt off.

James marches right on over to the ripped hunk of manflesh (née “Warren”) and strips his shirt right off. And then he grabs another equally buff guy and steals his shirt, too! James Oseland is shameless, you guys.

Of course, the article then goes on to describe how they’d love Oseland to be their celebrity BFF, but we won’t go into that. The point I’m trying to make is that this man, who, yes, is a homosexual, acted in a way that was inappropriate. More than that, he wasn’t stopped but was actually encouraged by those around him with cheers.

I’m not saying that I dislike watching homosexual characters on television, or that they make me uncomfortable; far from it. Max is easily my favourite part of the sitcom Happy Endings, and his adventures in romance  are both engaging and hilarious. I’m still waiting [and I know I’m not the only one] for Raj on The Big Bang Theory to come out of the closet, and more and more I’m realizing that it really is just art imitating life. Living in Toronto I’m very aware that there’s a gay population  out there, and it just so happens that TV has finally gotten around to representing them.

What I don’t want to see is gay people, men or women, being handsy when they shouldn’t be. I don’t really appreciate it in heterosexuals, and the same extends to all other orientations. If James Oseland thinks a pool boy is cute that is fine. If he wants to touch him, that is also fine. If he touches him in front of others and without the permission of said pool boy, to flirt openly in a physical way, that is not fine. It’s kind of gross.

There’s not much more I can add to what larrybaby said, because he [or she, I don’t know] sums it all up really well. I’m not a homophobe by any means, but I’d like the world as a whole to keep people to the same standards. Let’s not cheer someone on when they paw at another person they’re attracted to. If we’re going to acknowledge homosexual urges and relationships as on par with heterosexual ones let’s treat them the same way.

I end with another comment highlighting the actions of both Oseland and his fellow critics [context: the hunks were asked about sit-ups, and one actually did push-ups for the critics’ benefit a little later]:

jmann