Gay Stereotype Ethics

I admit it: I no longer understand gay stereotypes, or even if they are gay stereotypes anymore. What are the rules, and the ethics, now?

Take Jamie, the newish character in the Progressive insurance commercials, as longtime spokes-character Flo (Stephanie Courtney) approaches late middle age  and viewer fatigue. Everything about Jamie is stereotypically gay, and on top of that, he’s a silly character. (The actor is excellent and funny. Boy, will I be impressed to learn that he is straight. …let’s see…HOLY COW! His name is Jim Cashman, and apparently he IS straight! Wait…then he is deliberately playing a transparently gay man? And making him both funny and goofy? Silly gay characters were standards fair in Hollywood for decades, but the message was that gay men were ridiculous and laughable.

I don’t see how Jamie is any different from the outrageous gay stereotypes that were ridiculing gay men right up until  recently. Like Martin Short, in “Father of the Bride”: Continue reading

A Golden Rule Tutorial By Martin Short

Boy, Kathy Lee, are you lucky!

Visiting the late version of the Today Show to plug a film, actor/comedian Martin Short was not expecting to have to answer awkward questions about his wife, Nancy Dolman, who, after all, has been dead since she succumbed to ovarian cancer two years ago. Then again, he might have, since his host, the flighty Kathy Lee Gifford, could not reasonably be expected to uphold the basic standards of professional journalism, which include knowing whom you are interviewing and avoiding mortifying one’s guests. Sure enough, Gifford left her index cards to wax enthusiastic about her “good friend’s” marriage, as if she and the Shorts regularly hung out together. Kathy Lee said, “He and Nancy have one of the greatest marriages of anybody in show business. How many years now for you guys?” Short, who is a pro, managed to conceal his discomfort and pleasantly responded, “We … for 36 years.

Gifford then went into full Kathy Lee mode, which resembles a boa constrictor squeezing a goat.  “But you’re still, like, in love?” she asked. Short responded, “Madly, madly in love.” Continue reading