Setoodeh and Teh Ghey

Something tells me that Newsweek’s Ramin Setoodeh was frightened by Paul Lynde as a child. Do I have any “proof”? Not at the moment. But it’s as good an explanation as any for THIS.

“Even if you’ve never seen Glee, the Fox dramedy with show tunes in its veins and opera in its nervous system, you probably know that it’s TV’s gayest product since Richard Simmons.”

I’d say it was it’s gayest product since —

“Last week’s episode centered on a singing contest of “Defying Gravity,” the anticonformity anthem from Wicked, every tween girl’s favorite musical. The contestants: Rachel the glee-club diva vs. Kurt the, um—what’s the male version of diva? Kurt (Chris Colfer) wears fluffy Alexander McQueen sweaters and sings notes high enough to make your fillings hurt. He can belt Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies” and thrust his hips better than Ms. Knowles herself. Yet he can also melt your heart with his fortitude and frankness, especially during his fraught talks with his dad, a mechanic who still remembers when his son wore high heels—as a toddler. That’s the thing about Kurt: he can be endearing, but he’s also confusing. In one episode, the glee club split into a boys’ team and a girls’ team. Guess which side Kurt went for? If Kurt were transgendered, all that would make perfect sense, but he’s not. Instead, he’s that oldest of clichés: the sensitive gay boy who really wants to be a girl.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Really.”

Translation: “There’s somthing wrong with that. REALLY! But i’ve got to pretend that there isn’t while signalling through the flames of faggotry. I sure you uh. . .understand.”

“If the gay community has stood for anything in the 40 years since Stonewall, it’s the freedom not just to love who you want but to be who you are: we’re here, we’re queer, get used to it. “

What do you know about the gay community and what it has “stood for,” Miss Thing?


“For a while, TV got with the program. In 1997, when Ellen DeGeneres came out on her sitcom, she paved the way for gay characters of every stripe. The next year, Dawson’s Creek introduced a studly jock named Jack (Kerr Smith), who became perhaps the first teen to come out in prime time. TV’s other Jack (Sean Hayes), from Will & Grace, swung the more flamboyant way, while lawyerly Will (Eric McCormack) could have been just another “Friend.” Over time, the image of gay people on TV became less lavender and more gray—as multifaceted as the five men on Queer Eye for the Straight Guy or the ladies of The L Word. By bringing all these diverse folks into America’s living rooms, TV helped bring gays into the mainstream. A survey by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation found that of the people who say their feelings toward gays and lesbians had become more favorable in the past five years, about one third credited that in part to characters they saw on TV.”

What people? What survey? What bullshit!

“In the past year, however, the public-acceptance pendulum seems to have shifted back, at least for what is arguably the biggest test of equality. Two weeks ago, the people of Maine followed the people of California in reversing existing laws that had legalized gay marriage. In fact, when gay marriage has been put before the voters of any state, it has failed every time. Is TV to blame for this? Of course not. “


“The mission of popular culture is to entertain, not to lecture.”

Translation: “Lecturing gays and lesbians is MY job!”

“But if we accept that Will, Dawson’s,” and the rest once fostered acceptance, “


“it’s fair to ask if Glee may be hurting it, especially because the Kurt model is everywhere. There’s Marc (Michael Urie), the flaming fashion assistant on Ugly Betty; Lloyd (Rex Lee), Ari’s sassy receptionist on Entourage; the gay couple on Modern Family (one guy still pines for his ice-skating career; the other wears purple in every episode). The fey way extends to nonfiction, too, from the dozens of squealing contestants on Project Runway to the two gayest words in the English language: Perez Hilton.”

Uh. . .no. The two gayest words in the english language are “Conservative Republican.”

“Next week American Idol runner-up Adam Lambert’s new album, For Your Entertainment, arrives: that’s Lambert on the cover, wearing heavy mascara, black nail polish, and perfect lip gloss”

Nothing new about that, as Todd Haynes reminded us several years back —

“Lesbians face a different problem. They are invariably played by gorgeous, curvy women straight out of a straight man’s fantasy—Olivia Wilde on House, Sara Ramirez on Grey’s Anatomy, Evan Rachel Wood on True Blood—and they’re usually bisexual. How convenient.”

Here’s a Lesbianism 101 Class for ya, Ramin —

“Minority groups have long struggled to balance assimilation and extinction, self-expression and alienation. Some African-Americans are complaining that the poor, uneducated girl in Precious perpetuates stereotypes; others say she represents a part of the community and deserves to be celebrated. For gays, that schism falls along generational lines. Older gays who spent their lives fighting for civil rights continue to want to stand out, to argue that acceptance means nothing if it doesn’t apply to the most outré members. Younger men and women, for whom society has been more tolerant, think of themselves as “post-gay,” meaning their sexual orientation is only a part of who they are. “

What “younger men and women” have you been hanging with? Certainly not the ones I’ve been seeing lately — particularly the joyously queer hordes at the Anti-Prop 8 demos here in L.A. Noting “post” about them.

“Last month, gay groups held a march on Washington for marriage. The older folks gave speeches. The younger ones seemed more interested in snapping a Facebook picture of Lady Gaga”

You’ve got that precisely backwards. It’s the “older folks” of HRC (desperate to appear “hip” and “with it”) who are gaga over Lady Gaga. The kids have other interests.

“The problem with the Glee club is that Kurt and the rest are loud and proud, but their generation has turned down the volume. All this at a time when standing apart seems particularly counterproductive. Marriage (and the military) are sacred institutions, so it’s not surprising that some heterosexuals will defend them against what they see as a radical alteration. But if you want to be invited to someone else’s party, sometimes you have to dress the part. Is that a form of appeasement? Maybe. It’s not that gay men and women should pretend to be straight, or file down all their fabulously spiky edges.”

The way you’ve tried to Ramin?

“But even Rachel Maddow wears lipstick on TV. The key is balance. There’s so much more to the gay community than the people on TV (or at a gay-pride parade). We just want a chance to live and love like everybody else. Unfortunately, at the rate we’re going, we won’t get there until the post-post-gay generation.”

Love the “we” dear.

You know when you get to be “post-gay” Ramin?


But as we know from that disgusting Newsweek cover story you did on Lawrence King you’re not one to let the “effeminate” rest in peace.

“At 15, Lawrence King was small—5 feet 1 inch—but very hard to miss. In January, he started to show up for class at Oxnard, Calif.’s E. O. Green Junior High School decked out in women’s accessories. On some days, he would slick up his curly hair in a Prince-like bouffant. Sometimes he’d paint his fingernails hot pink and dab glitter or white foundation on his cheeks. “He wore makeup better than I did,” says Marissa Moreno, 13, one of his classmates. He bought a pair of stilettos at Target, and he couldn’t have been prouder if he had on a varsity football jersey. He thought nothing of chasing the boys around the school in them, teetering as he ran.”

Hell on Heels – right?

And it gets “better”!

“The Larry King shooting became the most prominent gay-bias crime since the murder of Matthew Shepard 10 years ago. But despite all the attention and outrage, the reason Larry died isn’t as clear-cut as many people think.”

Oh really? Why?

“How do you protect legitimate, personal expression while preventing inappropriate, sometimes harmful, behavior? Larry King was, admittedly, a problematical test case: he was a troubled child who flaunted his sexuality and wielded it like a weapon”

Translation: “Them sissies is DANGEROUS!”

Well it’s true that the fiercest fighters at Stonewall were the drag queens. But that was “before your time” — right Ramin? You’re not into street fighting. Spreading disinformation is more your thing. That is when you’re not freaking out over trivia like Bruno.

Internalized homophobia is scarcely a rare phenomenon. And the estimable Bret Haringer discusses your particular brand HERE.

Looks like you’ve won the journalistic spot no one coveted, dear. You’re the gay Lou Dobbs!

But I’m a generous guy. There’ still time for you to correct this uh. . . .mistake.

Take it away Mel!


  1. Rosa November 15, 2009 4:39 pm 

    I haven’t forgotten that horrifying Lawrence King article. Didn’t realize he was the author.

    “Larry King was, admittedly, a problematical test case: he was a troubled child who flaunted his sexuality and wielded it like a weapon.”

    That sentence has haunted me since I read it. Yes, folks, he HURT PEOPLE by being noticeably gay!

    So how does one stifle any hint of effeminacy without “filing down all (one’s) fabulously spiky edges?”

    Sounds awfully strenuous.

  2. algernonandarthur November 15, 2009 11:46 pm 

    Setoodeh is definitely overreaching in his claims, but unfortunately, he represents a substantial crowd that would love to de-gay the gay movement. For every out and proud queer there’s someone who wants to be ‘straight-acting’ and for everyone else to be the same. It’s a sad state of affairs that desperately needs to be adressed.

    I was there at the march on Columbus day, and yes, there were a lot of people there who were absolutely committed to the political issues at hand, but after Lady GaGa spoke, the crowd did shed quite a number of people; it was infuriating, but a sign of the times.

    As far as Kurt goes, I’m surprised that how with all of the media attention Glee’s received (this blog excepted), few people have pointed out that his character was the only one fully-fleshed from day one.

  3. David E November 16, 2009 8:24 am 

    True. That’s because we ARE a story. And speaking of same, I trust you’ve been follwing Chris Colfer’s revolving-closet-door games.

  4. galefan2004 November 17, 2009 4:34 pm 

    “What “younger men and women” have you been hanging with? Certainly not the ones I’ve been seeing lately — particularly the joyously queer hordes at the Anti-Prop 8 demos here in L.A. Noting “post” about them.”

    Yes, because we all know that LA represents the rest of the country. Did you forget about 49 other states? The truth is, that both of you are right to an extent. There are younger people that wear their homosexuality on their sleeve. There are also younger people that refuse to let it define who they are.

    I am a younger person that refuses to let it define who I am. It drives me nuts when people have to apologize to me for using “fag” in my presence (because its what is behind the word that matters). It drives me nuts when people assume I know every gay guy that lives in the same town I do. It drives me nuts when people assume I should be an activist, ignore my religious side and foster intolerance for anyone that doesn’t agree with me 100% just because I’m gay.

    I’m not ashamed to be gay. I’m actually quite proud of it. I just don’t feel the need to shout it out or advertise it. Oh, and by the way, there are plenty of gay men that completely over the whole fem thing. Femininity is a LEARNED behavior for both men and women. It is a product of our environment. We can either chose to follow our environment or control our environment, but we can’t do both.

  5. galefan2004 November 17, 2009 4:39 pm 

    “Larry King was, admittedly, a problematical test case: he was a troubled child who flaunted his sexuality and wielded it like a weapon.”

    That sentence has haunted me since I read it. Yes, folks, he HURT PEOPLE by being noticeably gay!”

    That ABSOLUTELY is not what that statement says. What it says is that this young boy just believed everyone should accept him exactly the way he is and decided that if they didn’t then he should just force them to. While that is all nice and noble in a perfect world, the truth is that it will never be realistic. Much like the fact that blacks don’t go to clan meetings, its pretty obvious you shouldn’t try to force people to accept you for who you are if they don’t show a desire to do so. Learn to stay away from people that just can’t tolerate you for being yourself and you might deal with less strife in life.

  6. David E November 17, 2009 11:46 pm 

    You “refuses to let it define who I am”?

    I pity you.

    “That ABSOLUTELY is not what that statement says.”

    No that absolutely IS what the statment says.

    “Learn to stay away from people that just can’t tolerate you for being yourself and you might deal with less strife in life.”

    I’m sure your closet has been decorated by Diane Von Furstenberg. Have fun in it. The rest of us prefer living.

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