'Ff'lo (fflo) wrote,

Queer Night on 20/20; Kitty Genovese

Last night ABC's 20/20 had three stories: interview with Kelli Carpenter O'Donnell, who recently married Rosie; interview with Elton John; commentary by John Stossel. Overall I suppose the folks at ABC might think they were pretty good to us queers, but I'm not so sure.

For one thing, the implication that Rosie is a strong dyke who's been out there courageously fighting for us irritates me almost as much as does the making of closety Ellen DeGeneres into some sort of political hero. BOTH benefitted from being closeted early in their careers, and neither is what I'd call a life-long dedicated activist. Lately, at least, Rosie has been moving in that direction; Ellen, it seems to me, has been knocking politely on the closet door for years now, asking if there isn't some way she could be let back in.

Something else that bothers me about the Rosie-Kelli thing is a handful of signs that Kelli is taking a submissive, wifely role. I'm hesitant to make an assertion that falls in line with the thinking of butch-phobes, or even fat-bashers, as Rosie takes a lot of shit that is just that: shit. But, fer instance, Kelli took Rosie's last name (years ago, as a gift to her) and Rosie's still got the same name. And there's a feeling I get that theirs may not be a relationship in which a balance of power is particularly a goal. I could go read the transcript & give more detail if anybody wants to get into it.

It's all complicated for me by Rosie's wealth, too. I've often thought I wouldn't want to be terribly well-off, as that factor---that independence and potential for sharing it, selectively---gives a person a kind of power that, to me, makes the possibility of partnering with any ordinary person, not in that class situation, problematic. (Not to mention that I really do believe it's immoral for some to have so much, when so many have so little.)

Kelli had to answer questions about their use as role models for us queers, and the resultant "we are just normal unthreatening white people trying to raise children just like you" annoys the hell out of me. I hate that argument. I hate that attempt at "we're all about the kids, too" bonding. And I hate that, of course, they aren't at ALL like the bulk of us queers, or us dykes, because they're (duh!) rich.

The Elton John interview bothered me much less. I think I'd seen much, if not all, of the interview in 1990 they'd done, of which Baba Wawa showed clips; he'd just gotten sober. Maybe part of the Elton appeal is that he seems much more self-conscious about his wealth and what that means. In any case, I half want to stop and see him in Las Vegas on the way to Death Valley. (I wonder if he still has my cowboy hat.)

John Stossel's "Give Me A Break" segment had teased us, before a commercial, with the suggestion of an exchange in which some woman from Concerned Idiots of America asserted that gay marriage is a threat and Stossel came back with "Who does it hurt?" ---but then that exchange was not included in the piece that followed. In fact his commentary didn't get nitty-gritty at all. It was a dud.

I think it may still be a long road until we move beyond this "Will & Grace" stage---which somebody said is about the equivalent of the "Good Times" era in the depiction of African-Americans on TV in this country (article cited WAY back in my lj somewhere). I've been thinking this gay marriage right assertion might give us a good push forward (if it doesn't knock us back), but I have my doubts about how it'll play on network-tuned televisions in Peoria.

The Kitty Genovese news, via NPR this morning, is that she was a lesbian. She was the woman stabbed to death, slowly, within sight and earshot of over 35 neighbors in Queens in the mid-60's; that none of them called the police became an archetypical story of the times, shorthand for our self-centered isolation from our fellows and self-protective fear of getting involved. That she turns out to have been a lesbian, to me, begs for at least some musing about whether that fact influenced her neighbors' silence. NPR presented us with the first broadcast interview her lover at the time as ever granted. It was interesting, and somewhat moving, but less so (on both counts) because of the "touching poetic" sparse piano soundtrack playing in the background. Why do we need mood music to feel the pathos in a story like that? And how could they not at least consider the link between her lesbianism and her neighbors' neglect?

I must go write them a letter.

THEN I'll start my taxes.
Tags: the queers

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