The ‘Devil’s tentacle’ and Hollywood
Reading articles’ comments section about TV shows featuring LGBT content can either be an affirming experience or, especially when a ‘conservative’ slant is involved—incredibly demoralizing and/or enraging. I can’t even look at an article about Duck Dynasty without wanting to gouge out my own eyeballs or spit fireballs.
A&E’s Duck Dynasty is a constructed reality TV series about a redneck clan of people, which bears as much resemblance to reality as any TV sitcom, scripted or not. Lauded for portraying ‘family values’ that many religious and conservative people lament are missing from TV representation, Duck Dynasty has been the burning talisman for Christian/conservatives who have yet to catch up with the 21st century and basic human decency.
While the limited knowledge demonstrated by many on what “Freedom of Speech” means surrounding the recent scandal about homophobic and racist comments head Duck Dynasty bigot, Phil Robertson, made, these Christians/conservatives brought up one point that made me think for a second–representation of Christian/conservative ‘values’ don’t get a lot of air time. If the LGBT community and other marginalized groups want more representation, then it is fair that various religious/conservative folk should have space too.
In general, conservatives/Christians have a shrinking stage to air their once dominant views, but they still make up a fairly large and passionate audience. With little outlet, especially in the media, these conservatives/Christians latch on passionately to the shows that represent them, such as Duck Dynasty. As the majority opinion shifts away from religion and ‘traditional’ (read: conservative, narrowly defined) family values, essentially, conservatives/Christians are being pushed into a place of oppression. That type of erasure and invisibility is not right.
However, I have little sympathy for these conservatives/Christians, one who called Hollywood the “devil’s tentacle,” because the representation they seek ultimately includes denying basic human rights to the LGBT community, and sometimes people of color or women. There is absolutely no place in the media for sentiments—paraded as freedom of speech or “tolerance extended both ways”—that any type of human being deserves to be stripped of their human rights, silenced, hurt or killed for who they are. Never.
I happened across a conservatively slanted review of ABC Family’s The Fosters, a drama about a complex family headed by a bi-racial lesbian couple, that authentically represents several marginalized communities. The review itself didn’t raise too many of my hackles, but the comments demonstrated the asinine, indecent and inhuman reactions that makes me unsympathetic to Christians/conservatives crying into their breakfast cereal that nobody has room for their views on TV.
In regards to The Fosters promo airing before a kids’ movie at a theater one article commenter remarks, “You should complain to the movie theatre about inappropriate airing to kids. We’ve had enough of the left forcing its liberal agenda down our throats… this is NOT suitable material for kids.” But here’s the thing, that preview of The Fosters—that’s my life, my friends’ lives and quite possibly, the lives of those very kids sitting in the theater. That’s not an ‘inappropriate agenda,’ but a representation of the lived reality for many Americans who have every right to take up space on movie theater screens and in our neighborhoods.
Based on the comments made on these articles, like this review of The Fosters or anything about Duck Dynasty, the loudest conservative/Christian views that permeate would have LGBT people jailed, killed, burned in hell and stripped or denied human rights. To ask for representation of those views is despicable, does nothing to create a better world, and, if I am not mistaken, goes against one of Jesus’ most prominent teachings; LOVE.
Until conservatives/Christians can agree to stop propagating hate and violence against fellow human beings with their media presence, they simply do not deserve any representation.
For the record: I acknowledge the use of conservatives/Christians interchangeably is incredibly generalizing. No, not all Christians or conservatives are bigoted, nor do they all share the same views. Many are great people who support equality for all. In addition, shows like TLC’s Honey Boo Boo serve as an excellent example of representing conservative families while still sending a positive message to the LGBT community.