Daily Archives: August 3, 2010

You don’t have to be Keith Olberman to find Pravda‘s TV critic a steaming pile. And it’s no suprise that rather than even go so far as to fake an apology he’s elected to attack yet again.

None of this is in the least suprising. Consider the recent past.

We were of course discussing THIS.

“It took only a few hours after news circulated that entertainer and entrepreneur Merv Griffin had died (at 82, Sunday, in Los Angeles) for a drumbeat of wrath—yes, wrath—to begin on some of the Internet’s fringe Web sites, where Griffin was assailed by various contributors for allegedly having been a “closeted” homosexual who should have announced he was gay to the world—though at which stage of his career he should have made the declaration was not specified.
Perhaps when he was a big-band singer in the ’40s? Or a talk-show host from the ’60s through the ’80s? Perhaps when he emcee’d “Play Your Hunch” in the ’50s. It would have been career suicide at any rate, but some of the angry voices implied Griffin should have gone public with his sexuality anyway—whatever it may have been.
Griffin—just “Merv” to the world—was married early in his career and had one son. In later decades rumors did indeed circulate about Griffin allegedly throwing gay parties and being escorted by handsome young men. Two lawsuits from men claiming Griffin essentially jilted them were dismissed.
Whatever, the vehemence and fury in the attacks was disheartening. “A bloated pig like that should burn in hell,” wrote one anonymous assailant. Michelangelo Signorile, who runs a Web site called The Gist, wrote that Griffin could have helped prevent the AIDS epidemic if only he had spoken to his friends Ronald and Nancy Reagan about it, but that “it is highly unlikely” he ever did, preferring to remain “shockingly silent” even as “his own people were dying.”
No benefit of a doubt for poor old Merv.
There were lots of allegations, virtually no documentation, and a discomfortingly virulent tone to many of the entries (one writer referred to the late star as “Perv Griffin”), but others wrote to defend Griffin and to say that his sexuality was his own business. A few noted that for Griffin to have declared himself gay during the period of his greatest success would likely have ended it, times and attitudes being what they were.
The Internet is rife with rantings from what sometimes sound like members of a lynch mob. In this case, one might think that victims of persecution would feel a tad more reluctant to persecute someone else, especially a recently deceased man.
It would, of course, be just as wrong ever to think that a vocal malicious minority is representative of any race, political party or sexual persuasion.
Or so let us hope.”

The Lady was Protesting Too much about THIS.

“Aug 17, 2007
Merv Griffin was gay.

Why should that be so uncomfortable to read? Why is it so difficult to write? Why are we still so jittery even about raising the issue in purportedly liberal-minded Hollywood in 2007? We can refer to it casually in conversation, but the mainstream media somehow remains trapped in the Dark Ages when it comes to labeling a person as gay.

Maybe that helps explain why Griffin, who died of prostate cancer Sunday at 82, stayed in the closet throughout his life. Perhaps he figured it was preferable to remain the object of gossip rather than live openly as “one of them.” But how tremendously sad it is that a man of Merv’s renown, of his gregarious nature and social dexterity, would feel compelled to endure such a stealthy double life even as the gay community’s clout, and its levels of acceptance and equality, rose steadily from the ashes of ignorance.
I’m not at all insinuating that Griffin had a responsibility to come out. That was up to him.
But what a powerful message Griffin might have sent had he squired his male companions around town rather than Eva Gabor, his longtime good friend and platonic public pal. Imagine the amount of good Merv could have done as a well-respected, hugely successful, beloved and uncloseted gay man in embodying a positive image.
As it was, I loved the guy, finding him charismatic and charming. And I had more than a passing acquaintance with him, having worked on “The Merv Griffin Show” as a talent coordinator/segment producer in 1985-86 as the show was winding down. Around the office, Merv’s being gay was understood but rarely discussed. We knew nothing of his relationships because he guarded his privacy fiercely, and we didn’t pry.”

Pretty mild I’d say. As it was I didn’t love the guy. He creeped me out in fact. Back in 198o when Tess won Best Director from the Los Angeles Film Cirtics Association, our awards ceremonies were taped for Merv’s show. It was a decidedly odd experience having dinner on a TV sound stage with Nastassja Kinski, Dustin Hoffman and Peter O’Toole — without the M.C. present. Merv didn’t appear until the moment the taping started and he vanished the nanosecond it was over. Throughout, however, we were waited upon by Merv’s Boys — an Izod-clad ahren of Muscle-twinks frssh off the steets of WeHo.

Does Tom Shales think anyone was fooled by this?

Or to put it another way does Tom Shales think no one has guessed he’s a self-loathing closet queen too?

Lip-Synch us out kids!