Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Time Ellen Came Out and Everyone Lost Their S--t (April 30, 1997)

It's 2013.  Gay and lesbian marriages are legal and recognized in 13 states (are we counting New Jersey and saying 14 yet?) as well as the District of Columbia, and apparently parts of New Mexico, too.  Both the Defense of Marriage Act and Don't Ask, Don't Tell have been repealed.  Polls indicate that a majority of Americans supports same-sex marriages, and even wider margins support prohibiting discrimination against gays and lesbians in employment and housing.

You can imagine how much Pat Robertson and the Religious Right are up in arms over this increasing (and overdue) acceptance of homosexuality in our society, or as they think of it, this "normalization," this encroachment on traditional family values.

Now watch how much they lost it in 1997 all because a TV character came out of the closet.  And not just some supporting character, but the lead!  Goodness gracious!
  • Note how CBN (Christian Broadcasting Network) News anchor Lee Webb actually says that having Ellen Morgan (Ellen DeGeneres's character on her Elleny show Ellen) come out on the TV show is a bigger deal than the same-sex marriage advancement taking place in Hawaii.
  • "Part of a prime-time television onslaught! Part of a coordinated effort to force America to accept the homosexual lifestyle!" It's a gay conspiracy!
  • Yes, Brent Bozell is that guy who tells us every week that the latest episode of Family Guy or American Dad! or whatever's on MTV is destroying the American family.  He's been doing this for over 25 years and if we believed him every time, the American family would have been obliterated long ago.
  • Also note how Pat makes the distinction between lesbians and homosexuals.  He does this a lot.  I know what you're thinking: "Lesbians aren't homosexuals?"  I can only conclude that Pat uses "homosexuals" as a synonym for "gay men" because he can't stand using the term "gay" in that context.  (I get the impression he never got over how a perfectly good word like "gay" got co-opted by those people and now it's all sullied by their man-on-man sex and he can't touch it. Notice how he says "so-called gay characters" later in his rant.)  So why not just leave it at "homosexuals" and lump lesbians and gays together?  Who knows.
And here's what ran the next day, the day after Ellen's coming-out episode aired.  It's pretty unremarkable, but look for the then somewhat obscure, now recognizable celebrity comedian who CBN News used for comment.

No comments:

Post a Comment