June 1998

"I am Grateful, Grapefruit"

- Bjork's acceptance speech for receiving Best Female Artist at the Brit Awards 1998.

Oasis. It must mean something to you if you are reading this. It means a lot to thousands around the world. And many of them are grateful because of it. This is my chance to say 'I am grateful grapefruit!'. Because I am grateful for Oasis.

I'd also like to talk about some other columnists. I think that Ocean deserves a pat on the back for that brilliant column last month, best satire I've seen in a while.

But there was a very serious column last month. It was Trevor's. Trev is a 12 year old boy who was raped. I was shocked to hear (from Trev) that people have said (to him) that boys don't get raped. Bullshit. Not true. Other Oasis columnists have been raped, like Trev, and they will tell you that it is nothing to joke about. Boys do get raped, it's a fact. It's also a fact that most of those rapes are done by heterosexuals and either is done by a family member, or are unprovoked.

I know only person who has been raped, and it was a hard time for her, and those around her. Rape is serious, it goes without saying. [nobody ask me why I said it if it goes without saying] Those people who said that boys don't get raped, to a boy who got raped, obviously didn't think through their statement. A twelve year old who has been through that doesn't need that sort of harassment. That's all I'm going to say on the issue.

You Are Now Watching 'GAY TV'

All right, we all know about Ellen and her coming out episode. We all know her show got canned, and we all know why. People aren't ready to embrace a show with its main character being gay. Nor does the mainstream public want a show with gay themes, and gay 'in jokes'. Simple. It's nothing against Ellen, but a backhanded slap to the gay community.

And that's how the TV world operates. The majority don't want to see it, so they don't have to. All gays now have on TV as role models are minor parts, and of those, some are funny, like Smithers on The Simpsons; some are in the closet, like the guy in Veronica's Closet; some are dickheads, like Warren on This Life (excellent Brit. series); some are stereotyped, like the gay air steward off The Crew; and some are just like people in real life. Some promote gays as being normal or okay, I suppose South Park did this in it's own quirky way, but Ellen was a better example of how gay people live.

The thing that bugs me is that TV networks put a gay person in a program to grab the gay dollar, but as soon as a pioneer like Ellen comes along, shows some guts and puts her series on a limb, it gets canned. But mainstream America doesn't like it. They want solid, clean family entertainment, like South Park; with educational value, like Clueless; with a high caliber of acting, like Sabrina the Teenage Witch; or a plot, like Teen Angel. What I'm trying to say is that there are far worse programs on TV [especially American-made TV]. Why don't they get canned. All of the above programs are either really bad, or are very violent [like South Park, which I confess to watching].

The majority of the American public, who control the programming don't want change. This is also true of other nations, but on the whole, the UK, Australia, NZ, and Europe (combined with the States make up the content of NZ television) have a more relaxed attitude to gays on mainstream TV, yet, America has a more liberal approach to violence on TV. In NZ we have a gay 'magazine' show. This is a great idea, but is flawed by two things, 1. It screens late at night (allowing more risque parts of gay culture to be reported on) and it only runs for a short while a year (I think it's fourteen episodes a season per year). And lots of negative reaction to this program being broadcast with the help of public funding has been voiced. The conservative groups like to sit in their plain lives and don't want change. If you disagree, ask yourself this: Why does America still insist on using Fahrenheit? or the Imperial system?

Today we have people saying that gay's on TV is demoralizing our society, and contaminating our children and other crap like that. But the coming of age for gays on TV will be upon us soon, and I hope that the conservative groups accept it. It is unlikely that the will, and if they can't get us off the air, I'm sure they will insist on something stupid, like a warning before the show "YOU ARE NOW WATCHING GAY TV, VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED"

A final point on 'Gay TV', ads. We are bombarded by ads of all sorts, but only there are, to my knowledge, two with gay themes. One is a Lynx ad (I think its made in the US) which has a woman, who has applied her boyfriend's product, finding that people of the same sex are attracted to her. The message: That Lynx drives women crazy. The other is a British ad, which featured in a recent news item down here, selling Impulse, a deodorant for woman. In this light hearted ad, backed by Space's Female of the Species (brit band), boy bumps into girl, girl flirts with boy, while boy [doing the right thing] picks up the girl's shopping, and we see an obvious sexual tension. Boy then gets called away by his boyfriend, who walk arm-in-arm down the street, and girl chuckes to herself, realizing her mistake. This latter ad has upset some people, who are calling for the ad to be pulled off the air! Hmmmmmm, where have we heard that before.

As usual, I'd love to hear from you, just give me a bell at s.maguire@mailexcite.com .



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