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GLAAD’s Offend-O-Meter out of whack

A couple of years ago Ron Howard’s movie “The Dilemma” attracted the wrath of GLAAD for using the word “gay” in a joke, charging that it would lead to bullying.

In the otherwise forgettable flick, the character played by Vince Vaughn says “electric cars are gay” then explains that he doesn’t mean “homosexual, gay, but, you know, my parents are chaperoning the dance, gay.” Howard refused to cut the joke, stating, correctly, that “storytellers, comedians, actors and artists are strong armed into making creative changes, it will endanger comedy as both entertainment and a provoker of thought.”

You would think, then, that an offensive gay caricature featured in last week’s box office champ, “Think Like a Man,” would raise the ire of GLAAD but so far, not a peep. According to Gawker, “[t]he only explicitly homo dude we ever see is in a pink polo, swishing his shoulders as he attempts to fight women shoppers from grabbing the book he’s about to buy (“For me!” he says with several S’s).”

Gayness is otherwise relegated to the taboo: the group of six men the film follows routinely freak out when they are in the presence of a shirtless or under-dressed buddy (this mild gay panic ensues in kitchens and locker rooms). Sentiments like violin-playing proving that one’s son is gay and that one must qualify his Oprah-watching with, “No homo,” are expressed. A guy buying a book for his mother’s book club is deemed “kinda gay” by a female character, and after dazzling a pretty woman (played by Kelly Rowland) at a bar, Romany Malco’s character, Zeke, tells her confusingly, “I’m gonna walk away like a fairy now.”

The movie is based on a best-selling book by comedian Steve Harvey, who advises women to get a gay friend “you can go shopping with, who doesn’t want anything from you but gossip and details about what the old man bought you, which errands you sent the ugly guy to take care of, and exactly how Mandingo had you doing monkey flips for a week.”

To be fair, Harvey’s characterization of the gay man as accessory is commensurate with that seen on virtually every sitcom and reality show. And you never hear criticism from GLAAD about them, either.

We’re left to assume that the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation has no problem with offensive queer caricatures.

Pretty gay, if you ask me.


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