Fair warning, this post will involve profanity, wishful thinking, and a fair level of ranting. And maybe some self revelations.
This post is geared towards LGBT representations in literature. This encompasses all literature. From novels to television, movies, comics, and games. From literary mainstream to science fiction, fantasy, soaps, and so on. I’m going to touch them all, and discuss what I would like to see going forward.
Now, I’m not going to pretend that I’m as well versed in the representation of LGBT characters and issues in fiction as I would like to be. For some time, I did toy with the idea of studying LGBT literature as a focus. But I never got too deep with that flirtation. Largely because I’m a very picky reader (read I’m a fucking harsh critic).
So, I’m not claiming that what I’m going to say is the truth. Maybe there are LGBT characters that I want to see, but I just haven’t discovered them yet. And hey, if you readers can point me to great literature (of all kinds), you have my thanks in advance.
The question, I guess, is what do I really want? What do I want to see and read? Without talking out my ass or playing too much of a what if game, let the ranting begin!
I’ve gone on record that, for me, Glee is an unwatchable, poorly written mess (now let me qualify by saying, the show just is not for me). But, is Glee not the “gayest show on television” (unfortunately, in my opinion)? And is not Kurt Hummel one of the (current) paragons of LGBT representation? Argh!
You see, I don’t think Glee is nearly as progressive as it likes to think it is. The show does argue for tolerance from bullying and criticizes the most egregious forms of homophobia. But are Kurt and Blaine treated with a marked difference than the straight characters? And are Santana and Brittany treated more as titillation than anything else?
I don’t fundamentally dislike Kurt’s character. In fact, I rather like it. My problem is that most of his storylines, to my limited knowledge, piss me off. The infatuation with Finn is, to me, nothing less than homophobic (and given that the other major characters exhibit similar infatuations should be called out). I could go on complaining, but I won’t. Instead, I’ll give some ideas of narratives I’d like to see (either for Kurt or some other character).
I’d love to see Kurt confront institutionalized homophobia in a way that he never expected. What if his rejection by NYADA had more to do with his sexuality rather than the lame excuse he was given? Remember, while Broadway isn’t as homophobic as Hollywood (on an industry level), there is likely to be a notable institutional level, regardless. I mean, seriously, Kurt will struggle to achieve his dreams because of his sexuality. I’d like to see that struggle. Also, I’d like to have seen a much better pre college story line (one of my pet peeves is the one university trope). Does Kurt have other options? What are they? Finally, I’d like to have seen Kurt lose some of his sexual reticence. Could he not have several love interests (rather than what is almost certain to happen)?
It took me some time to figure out what my problem with Shameless was this season. I just don’t like Ian’s relationship with Mickey. I just don’t like them together. I’d rather see Ian with someone else. But there isn’t much that I’d necessarily change.
Let’s move on to science fiction and fantasy (in many forms). In recent years, the representation of LGBT has improved immensely (not to say that this is a new phenomenon).
The presence of LGBT characters in comics has exploded in the past ten years to an amazing level. Though more can (and should be done). The Big Two have made tremendous strides introducing new LGBT heroes and supporting characters. And creator owned comics? Very impressive strides.
The issue, though, is how those characters are handled. Some are handled very well (like Alan Scott and Batwoman) while others are handled very poorly (Bunker). I think that is the struggle that lies ahead.
When it comes to books, the culture is changing in a much more progressive way. Hopefully, this trend continues. I haven’t read as much as I would like. But I’m making a commitment to seek out and read more SF with LGBT characters.
Now when it comes to film and television, the level of representation is a mixed bag. Several prominent shows have LGBT characters (Game of Thrones, Spartacus, Teen Wolf, etc.) But, again, I’d like to see more. And I’d like to see these characters raised to a level of prominence rarely seen before.
What pisses me off, of course, is, despite the progress made, the increased level of representation is so fragile. Last year was perhaps one of the best when it came to LGBT characters. But next year bodes ill with so many shows with LGBT characters canceled. How is that to be combated?
The more I think about it, the more I am sure I’m going to put my money where my mouth is. The best way to get the types of representation one wants is to do it oneself. Either through creative endeavors or activism. One should never settle for the status quo.
Before we begin, let me set up what I’m going to be posting over the course of the next two days. On Thursday, I’ve got a Hammer Horror post lined up. And on Friday, I’m going to make up for missing National Coming Out Day by talking about being a gay geek.
But that’s for the end of the week. Now, on to what I’m wanting to tackle today. My favorite television shows.
I made the mistake of watching Monday Night Football instead of the season premier of The Walking Dead. I finally got around to it yesterday. And damn, that was an awesome episode.
I had some issues with The Walking Dead’s second season. But I have high hopes that this new season will correct the problems revealed last season.
Mythbusters also had its season premier a few weeks ago. I’ve always enjoyed this show. I’ve kind of dropped off routinely watching because Discovery has played havoc with the schedule over the past few months. I’m glad its back, though, and hope it has a few more good seasons in it.
Indeed, I need to remember to look for more Mythbusters appearances on Fora. There’s a video from a few years ago where Adam Savage discusses his attempts to create a dodo replica. It is awesome.
In sadder news, the next few weeks will see the end of No Reservations. I’ve always enjoyed this show, though I think some episodes are far better than others. And I’ve detected an increasing focus on food to the detriment of everything else. However, what is Globe Trekker for?
I will miss No Reservations though. I just have to wonder if Anthony Bourdain’s new show is going to basically be a retread of No Reservations.
I’m still into Market Warriors. Some elements of the show are just bizarre and wacky. But hey, it is great fun. Especially watching experts trying to make a profit and often failing miserably.
Looking to the future, I’m looking forward to the new season of Shameless.
In addition I’ve recently discovered the Youtube channel called Geek and Sundry. I just love Tabletop. Maybe I’ll do a dedicated write up to it in a few weeks?
Anyway, that’s it for today. I’ll be back tomorrow with a new post.
Last night, The Walking Dead returned for the second half of its second season. Strangely, I felt rather underwhelmed by “Nebraska.” So, I’ll give a brief review and then discuss a few other things.
I think my biggest concern is that the narrative has slowed to a crawl over the course of the second season. The first season, having only six episodes, progressed along a very quick and interesting story arc with the climax at the CDC. But the second half, having double the number of episodes, has more time to focus on the characters.
Now, focusing on the characters is not a bad thing, in fact it is a very good thing. But, the problem is that so much character development is retrograded then repeated. I understand that these characters are emotional wrecks with several of them approaching sociopathy. That said, do we really need more episodes of Rick et al. repeating the same emotional arcs and never quite getting anywhere?
And speaking of repetition, how many missing group member arcs is this?
Besides the general lack of progress in the episode, the killing of the two douche bags comes off as a little problematic. Yes, they were douche bags and they were more than likely going to bleed Hershel and Rick dry had they and their group been allowed in. But did he really have to kill them? Yes, it makes Rick more and more the man he becomes in the comics, but killing them just comes off as stupid. Such is drama, however, that Rick’s actions can be milked for the rest of the season, most likely (and result in the expulsion from the farm).
Maybe my view is colored by the fact that I watched Shameless immediately after The Walking Dead. I mean Grammy Gallagher was a complete hoot during that episode. And so much progression takes place in each episode among so many different characters. So maybe I’m enjoying one less because the other one is so good?
I mean, I still enjoy The Walking Dead immensely, but it is going through growing pains. This situation reminds me of Battlestar Galactica where the first and second seasons were phenomenal (baring the second season finale), the third season was okay, and the fourth season was a serious let down. I hope that The Walking Dead can maintain itself for however many seasons it finally has, but often the first few seasons are markedly stronger than later ones.
Postscript: It seems that Kirkman is being sued by Moore according to Comic Mix. What effect this has on the series (both television and comic) remains to be seen. However, it does raise questions for me about entering the comics industry.