June 30, 2010

Battle of the bands:  Gays vs. Indians

As usual, gay critic Michael Cooke doesn't see the harm of Native stereotypes. In this case, the stereotypes promoted by the Irish showband called the Indians. Here's his response to Most Racist Musical Group Ever?Well it had me burst out laughing 'cause it was so over the top corny.I offered the following example to make the point clear:

If a band called the Gays had been performing semi-naked in bondage gear for 40 years on TV and radio, representing most people's only exposure to homosexuals, what would you say? Just another case of harmless stereotyping? Musicians can't influence the public?

Uh-huh, sure. Just look at Elvis, the Beatles, Dylan, metal, punk, disco, rap, hip hop, etc. No influence there, right? Show us your degenerate sex routines, band called Gays. You can't influence us!There was the Village people, they are almost exactly the Gay band you're inventing. I guess because the members are gay....

There is a Japanese TV show with a comedian that is not Gay pretending to be gay and making an ass out himself. For many Japanese that may be the only Gay they know. Certainly there's decades of movies where the only gay characters are criminals. Disney's bad guys are always kind of queer.
No, the Village People aren't anything like what I'm talking about. I'm talking about band members not wearing police or cowboy outfits, which don't contribute to gay stereotyping, but bondage gear. I.e., flaunting their "gay" behavior in the most stereotypical way to mainstream audiences. Doing so not for a year or two but for 40 years on TV shows and radio stations.

People do get negative impressions from gays who dress outrageously in gay pride parades. Now transplant that behavior to the Ed Sullivan Show and Top 40 radio. The drastically increased audiences would drastically increase the stereotypes' influence.

In short, try again.

"Japanese TV show"...huh?

As for your other examples:

Gay characters who are only criminals are stereotypical, so they contribute to the prejudice against gays.

I doubt the Japanese are more tolerant of homosexuals than we are. The TV show you described undoubtedly contributes to their ignorance and intolerance.

Whatever point you were trying to make, you failed to make it.Because you don't have the New York gay bar experience you don't understand that every costume in village people is in in-house gay stereotype of either how Gay men dress or the way Gay men are marketed to.

I swear the point I made is clear enough. But it's like talking to a real racist--there's nothing you can say that will make them understand?
What applies in the gay-bar scene doesn't apply to America as a whole. Try again.

"But it's like talking to a real racist--there's nothing you can say that will make them understand." Yes, I find that to be true when talking to you. You seem convinced that racism against Indians doesn't exist or something.

You've failed to address my point about a Gays band with 40 years of exposing people to the worst stereotypes. Your references to the Village People, some Japanese TV show, and gays as criminals are irrelevant or support my argument. Try, try again.

The Village People contributed in a minor way to gay stereotyping. My hypothetical Gays band would contribute much more. It would influence a whole generation of fans just like the Indians band has done in Europe.

For more of Cooke's opinions, see Stereotypes Disappear "Organically"? and Stereotypes Okay in "Cultural Commons"?

Below:  The Village People.

1 comment:

John Lees said...

I believe the Japanese TV character Michael Cooke is referring to Hard Gay:


And while it's just a single and not an all-out band, the Electric Six single "Gay Bar" did employ the all-out extreme gay stereotyping you hypothesised about, and actually proved very popular with gay people from what I heard (but less popular with Abraham Lincoln fans, I'd imagine):