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January 25, 2007

More thoughts on sexuality in the media

1. Rehab covers a multitude of sins. I was bemused to see this morning that Grey's Anatomy actor Isaiah Washington had to go to rehab -- not for drinking or drugs, but for using a derogatory word for homosexuals (first during a fight on the set, then in discussing the fight at the Golden Globe Awards, for those who have lives above fluff pieces from Hollywood). Now, I can see checking into rehab if, as in Mel Gibson's case, your words reveal a serious drinking problem, but rehab simply and solely for naughty words? Not to be alarmist, but are we perhaps looking at the beginnings of a push for mandatory counseling for hate speech -- and if so, what happens when the definition of "hate speech" broadens, as it very likely will?

And another thought: Could it be that going to rehab -- especially because it looks good to the world and, again, has been made almost mandatory -- is starting to take the place of genuine remorse and repentance?

(Incidentally, for those of you who read Diane's report on the new Dakota Fanning film, scroll down a little on the page I just linked to for more on that.)

2. Archie lives? I was intrigued last night during Friday Night Lights by a disagreement between the town football coach and his wife when she wanted to go to work for a local politician who happened to be a lesbian. Although the husband registered mild discomfort, the wife went ahead and signed up anyway because she liked the woman's education plan. But it's the first part of that sentence that really surprised me. Coach Taylor has thus far been portrayed as a decent, likeable man and has become a great favorite with the show's audience. In this media climate (see item #1), I'm stunned to think that such a character would be allowed to dissent from the Hollywood party line on this issue. Is he being forced into one what might call the Archie Bunker role, or is he actually going to show that civil people can disagree about homosexuality? It should be fascinating to see where the show goes with this -- particularly as faith often plays at least some sort of a role in the storylines -- and what audience and critical reaction will be (so far, better than I expected).

Fascinating, that is, for those of us with no lives. :-)

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Dennis Babish

Some things come to mind on these two areas.
1, Let's see if you believe that people are basically good then when something like this happens it must be something outside of you has caused this. So go to rehab and get "cured". Going to rehab has become like going to the doctor when you are sick. This way you can say I am a good person and I don't have to really accept that the problem lies within myself.
2. So the token gay person that is appearing in almost every TV show today has shown up here. I didn't see the program but the mild discomfort is probably tokenism, I wouldn't be surprised that in later episodes he doesn't come around to see how "normal" gay people are and their lifestyle. TV continues to try to convince the culture that being gay is "normal".

Gina Dalfonzo

Excellent points, Dennis. You may very well be right about the direction "FNL" will take; we'll have to wait and see. (Although the fact that Coach Taylor was allowed to show even token discomfort startled me, which tells you something about how the issue is generally handled.)

Actually, the sad and bizarre fact is that every time I publicly praise a TV show, it then promptly heads (pardon the expression) down the toilet. Which means I should probably just shut up altogether about "FNL" as well as "House," "Monk," and "Psych" before I jinx them all!

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