by R.J. Beaumia
My local cable company recently added to its lineup the gay network Logo. All gay, 24 hours a day.
When I was notified that I’d be getting the channel I was as happy about it as I would be if I were stuck on a three-month tour in a submarine with Russian sailors and ten crates of vodka. I feel that a TV network openly dedicated to gay culture and issues is most appropriate, logical, and needed at this time.
Notice the word “openly” in that last sentence.
As everyone knows, all culture is gay. We’ve been making the world a beautiful place since gay men created the first fall line (“Is mastodon the new wooly mammoth?”). Fashion, art, literature, music, and theater, to name a few, are all interesting and wonderful perks of life because homosexuals have roamed the planet.
Even redneck culture is influenced by us. If it weren’t for circuit parties and a booming crystal meth market, repossessions of doublewide trailers and Camaros would triple.
However, we’ve had to work our magic underground. We’ve had to be duplicitous and coy to survive in this world. Straights love what we do for culture as long as we wipe our fingerprints off of it before we head back to wherever sodomites go when we’re not doing their hair.
We invest all our valuable talents in a system that pays few dividends, with those of us who actually profit doing so only because we keep quiet and play by their rules. We arrange the flowers at their party, are handed a check, and then leave before the guests arrive.
A good example of this is the one gay conservatives and Log Jammin’ Republicans like to conjure up when they drag Ronald Reagan’s leathery old corpse out the ground to justify their adoration of that deceased shill for Pat Robertson.
They like to say that Reagan was the first president to have an openly gay couple sleep over at the White House. True. The couple was Nancy’s interior decorator friend and his partner.
So, one must draw the ineluctable conclusion that the sound of the slurp, slurp, slurp of one man fellating another across the hall at night was tolerable as long as Nancy’s living room looked great.
See, like the best little girls and boys that we can be, we lesbians and gay men pour every bit of ourselves into our work for them so that we are not rejected. We like sleeping at the White House. We want to be loved and we’ll do anything to make the patriarchy (and the matriarchy) as happy as we can even if it means that we are only contributors to society while not claiming our rightful role as participants in it as well.
This is why Logo sucks.
The first day I watched was as exhilarating as a hot guy you take home for the night and as mind-numbingly boring and sad as that same guy the next day when you find out the only thing he reads is People magazine and Tom Clancy.
I get the feeling that the network was launched way too early. There are few advertisers on board and not much original programming. There are “cute” little cartoon fillers and promotions for upcoming shows and movies ad nauseum that are nothing more than a signal for lack.
And since Logo is available on standard digital cable, it’s neutered when it comes to language. In frustration I watched Margaret Cho’s “Notorious C.H.O.” with so many bleeps I thought the Emergency Broadcast System had finally gotten a programming department.
With all the ridiculously wealthy fags out there and all the talent in our community it’s a shame that Logo can’t be so much better, as we know it can. Ultimately though, we have only ourselves to blame, and Logo isn’t the only example of why this is so.
The brain-and-talent drain from the gay community, our refusal to support each other and recognize how powerful we are as a whole, is the reason why most books, movies, magazines, or anything else weighted with the albatross of the designation “gay” sucks as well.
How many times, against my better judgment, have I picked up and purchased a book or rented a DVD because there was a cute, half-naked man on the cover?
I understand that no one is forcing me to spend my money in this way. As La Reagan would have told her sleepover booty bandit buds, “Just say no.”
Yet, behind the prurient longings of my purchases is a true hope that the next one will be a pleasant surprise, will be inventive and daring and inspiring. Unfortunately what I usually get is my comeuppance, and deservedly so, for being so shallow in the first place.
I love a naked man just as much as the next guy, but what I’d really like to get from a film protagonist or a character in a novel is so much more than the sum of his parts.
I think Logo will get better if we give it a chance and get behind it, and the same holds true for all aspects of gay culture. Recognizing the talent we have, respecting it, and having the courage to lift ourselves up with it in the face of organized religion, the Republican Party, and all other hostile institutions can only improve the larger culture.