As I watched the rather mediocre movie The Mostly Unfabulous Social Life of Ethan Green last night, I was reminded of a post I wrote in December 2004 when I was visiting my sister & mother (who, by the way, is celebrating her birthday today) in San Francisco. I had seen a drag show where the performers repeatedly made anti-Bush jokes and observed:
. . . the drag show I saw Thursday night reminded me (yet again) why it’s so difficult for gay people to come out as Republicans. Our entertainers take it as a given that we will laugh at anti-Republican jokes, no matter how crude, no matter how mean. Humorists assume that gay (and gay-friendly) audiences all cast Republicans as the villain. That we all see the world the same way they do.
And in the flick I saw last night the gay Republican was the villain. He was a caricature of an overbearing man, unlike any gay Republican I have met. Perhaps I read too much into this as a friend told me the movie (which he refuses to see) is based on a San Francisco cartoon strip where all the characters are caricatures — as they are in this movie.
To be sure, the flick did have its humorous moments, though far fewer than did the movie I saw the previous night — Nacho Libre. And that latter flick suffered from being fifteen minutes too long.
Ethan Green also had a few good lines. “One way to win the [dating] game is to stop playing.” And the protagonist’s mother did say, “Gay Republicans deserve to be happy.”
Too bad the filmmakers made the gay Republican into a boorish lout who appeared incapable of affection and unworthy of happiness. It seems alas that most images of gay Republicans in gay culture are caricatures. In Angels in America, Tony Kushner drew his gay Republicans as shallow, self-hating individuals, more akin to the left’s favorite epithet (“Jewish Nazi”) to describe us than on any actual, breathing gay conservatives.
I wonder if these writers have ever met a gay Republican and taken the time to get to know him or her — or if they just draw these characters from their imaginations, basing their screen (or stage) gay Republicans not on the complicated people that we are, but on the narrow self-hating individuals of their imagination. Thus, it seems these characters say more about their own projections than they do about the reality of gay Republicans.
It’s time I finish The Last Campaign, my screenplay featuring a gay Republican, based loosely on one I know very well.
-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com