He created the ‘It Gets Better’ video campaign. She stars in ‘Glee,’ the gayest show in the history of network TV. So we thought: who better to ask about the gay lay of the land?
The most recent issue of Newsweek (December 23rd, 2010, “The Interview Issue”) had a few covers. I don’t necessarily know if I would have read it had Jane Lynch not been on the front of the magazine that was in my parent’s kitchen when I arrived home for the holidays. I have long been a fan of Newsweek– my father has had a subscription for as long as I can remember, and while most issues eventually find their way to the recycling bin, it is not uncommon to suddenly uproot a 1998 issue on the stack of light reading on the corner of my parents infrequently used bathtub.
I like Jane Lynch. Even more than her cunning bully character, Sue Sylvester (FOX’s ‘Glee’), I love her interview in Newsweek with Dan Savage. Savage and Lynch were interviewed by Newsweek to talk about gay rights, specifically the state of gay rights over the past year and the current state of queer issues now.
The tone is light – nestled between interviews with Bill Gates about the U.S.’s much needed changes in the education system and with Feisal Abdul Rauf’s discussing the Islamic education center a few blocks from ground zero, Dan Savage and Jane Lynch’s conversation is uncharacteristically tongue-in-cheek for a publication like Newsweek, which usually doesn’t include the bits of conversation with interviewees referring to Antonin Scalia as a “cocksucker.”
And yet somehow in discussing why the material is fit to print, in a very painterly way the reason for the moments of absurdity (“there’s no gay way to change diapers” says Savage, on parenting) is delivered to the reader within its text. While not necessarily true, Savage points toward the idea that “between Glee and Ellen, the culture wars are over.” The bottom line, according to Jane Lynch and Dan Savage, is that we now live in a country where straight people post “it gets better” videos and take an active part in trying to stop queer oppression, especially when that oppression is in the form of bullying or denying basic human rights. To be gay is no longer a disease.
The interview was only partially concerning pressing issues like Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and gay marriage, and performed as a much needed relief from the battle cry of most queer activism. The issues facing the government regarding queers are as absurd as some of Savage’s comments and Lynch’s agreements. Of course the need for a somber queer politic and respectful, educated discourse needs to continue, but what is more marvelous than a well-penned letter to the editor is that Newsweek, the same publication that gives the politician of the hour an arrow rating (up, down, or sideways) is willing to publish an article that demonstrates with a sharp intelligence that the lack of equal rights for queers in this country is abhorrent, bordering on ridiculous.
It amazes me that a television show that has only two out gay characters is the gayest show on TV. I am more amazed that think this is progress; we no longer exist in a vacuum. We are no longer a niche that needs to be hidden. Even after The L Word, Will & Grace, and Queer as Folk, perhaps Glee is the gayest show on TV because it sheds light on some of the most culturally common, daily experiences of openly gay people who are not glamorously sipping cosmos in Los Angeles with their super cool pixie-cut donning lesbian friends, or living a shallow stereotype in New York City as an affluent, ditzy white man whose primary concerns include fashion and a fag hag. Glee, in all of its saccharine, smoothie-in-the-face, Wednesday night on FOX glory can be deemed the gayest show on television because it demonstrates a politic that is concerned with the painfully mundane and seemingly trivial aspects of a queer existence that are too often overlooked.
It is, perhaps, a good time to be queer.
The interview following it was with Nicole “Snookie” Polizzi, discussing her surprising friendship with John McCain.
The interview can be found at: