G.L.Piggy [at] gmail.com
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Took a while into the blog day for someone of prominence to get to the heart of what I thought was most surprising about Jodie Foster’s speech at last night’s Golden Globe awards. Andrew Sullivan fumes:
Full transcript here. Her date last night, believe it or not, was wife-abusing, homophobic anti-Semite, Mel Gibson. Would you entrust your young sons to a man with Gibson’s violent and vile history? A highlight of her narcissistic, self-loving speech
Beside the point really, but I doubt that if I had a son that Gibson would blow up at him for no reason. I doubt and hope that they wouldn’t be that intimate. Gibson’s aggression has been aimed at wives/girlfriends, the police, and the media. And Sullivan is one to talk about narcissism and self love. He’s been banging on about his new venture as if everyone’s world is centered on it, and he continuously writes about himself and his life experiences. He’s the biggest attention whore in his industry.
He quotes Foster who said during her speech:
I already did my coming out about a thousand years ago, back in the Stone Age, in those very quaint days when a fragile young girl would open up to trusted friends and family, co-workers, and then gradually, proudly, to everyone who knew her, to everyone she actually met. But now, apparently, I’m told that every celebrity is expected to honor the details of their private life with a press conference, a fragrance, and a prime-time reality show.
Sullivan calls this “unadulterated bullshit” and claims that Foster came out in 2007, and only obliquely. Even though Sullivan has distinguished between the different “types” of coming out, he fails here to differentiate between coming out to friends and family versus coming out to the distant media and the unknown public. Who is anyone to say what is the proper level of coming out? This is a similar criticism to the one Sullivan made of astronaut Sally Ride.
Sullivan writes of Foster’s so-called cowardice:
But the only way we were ever going to get past that oppression was through it. I’m thrilled Foster can now live a fuller life with less fear. I’m saddened she waited until others far less powerful had made the sacrifice to make that possible. And that she waited for the safest moment of all – winning a well-deserved Lifetime Achievement Award – to do so.
The generalized goal for gays and lesbians has been acceptance. Correct me if I’m wrong. At some point this would involve society’s passive acceptance of the existence of gays and lesbians. Nobody would notice anything about it. Sullivan is speaking of transitions, and at some point someone would have to advocate for an invisible homosexuality that does not require an open statement about orientation. That is the truly idealistic frame of mind. But Sullivan and others like him think that direct confrontation and the thrusting of lifestyles and uneasy images of homosexual behavior are the only ways to foster acceptance.
At Thought Catalog, Gaby Dunn looks at it the same way:
“Oh my god,” I thought sitting at the bar where I was watching her speech. “She’s right.” As a young queer person, what better message is there but to treat your sexuality as a non-issue? To speak about it if you want to, or not if you don’t. To thank your partner in your speeches, to show up on the red carpet with a same-sex date, to get married and have children and never stop and explain something that shouldn’t need explaining by now anyway. Are we post-People Mag announcement? Maybe we should be.
At Gawker, Hamilton Nolan complains that the privileged Foster doesn’t know the plight of the workaday gay and that celebrities shouldn’t be able to expect privacy. There is truth to that, but Foster was once targeted by the man who tried to assassinate Ronald Reagan. She was in the business since the age of 3. And the media can go after her as much as they’d like to, but Foster is under no obligation to give them what they want. This resistance is not “privacy” per se, but it carries a similar meaning. Foster’s privacy is her right not to have to divulge every detail of her life.
And being friends with Mel Gibson just pisses everyone off on a visceral level, and I love it.