Adventures of a Forced Migrant Contact Me
“I certainly hope that it leaves them wanting more. I’m not intending to wrap everything up with a neat little bow!”
Fans remain disgruntled with the poor storylines and choppy scenes of the last season (and especially the last episode) of the L Word. Was Ilene Chaiken trying to go out on such a bad note just so to make it easier on us to say ‘goodbye?’ It didn’t help — a crime mystery centered around ‘Who Killed Jenny?’ who is an alter-ego for the writer is quite meta as in ‘Who killed the L Word?’ (Answer: Ilene Chaiken), but not particularly intriguing given that by the time it was close to be over, we all wanted to kill Jenny (And I have wanted to kill her since I was barely 18 and legal). The entire sixth season was about providing a launching pad for The Farm — the new series that serves as a spin-off for the L Word, which is based in prison and much darker. The legacy of the L word though, is in the 69 other episodes and the 6 glorious years, which comes as the end of an era for women around the world who were so hooked to this show.
Critics may not be able to comprehend that the ladies on the show are not supposed to be representative of the whole lesbian community — that is actually not possible, but rather, represented a small community of lesbians in West Hollywood who are glamorous, chic, sophisticated and more concerned about their hair and makeup than Prop 8 (the measure actually won in LA County). The show was surprisingly slammed for it’s lack of diversity but what other television program has a bi-racial, 40-something, straight and married woman as the ‘gay for pay’ lead? However, we aren’t trying to build diversity through tokenism. As the show continued, we dropped ‘identity-politics’ in favor of ‘identifying’ with the characters as we discovered that L stands for love no matter who we are. I identified with Bette Porter more than anyone else and we are miles apart in terms of ‘social categories.’
Not anywhere near perfect, the groundbreaking show helped thousands of women all over the world come out of the closet, live strongly and freely and feel like part of a community. It gave our straight friends a ‘reference point’ for what lesbian life and culture is all about. More than anything, it taught us to be utterly unapologetic of our gayness. Jennifer Lewis sums it well in the Examiner:
The L Word will be greatly missed by a lot of people. Never before in television history has a show spoke to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community like this one has. The show will certainly go down in history.
There are themes that could have been better explored and with much more sensitivity. Dropping the ball on Alice’s (Leisha Hailey) bisexuality was one of the more irresponsible things that the show did given that there is a serious need to not stereotype bisexuality as a transition phase. The FTM character played by Daniela Sea, turned out to be more of a ‘token’ inclusion than a real exploration of issues surrounding transgenderism especially with the pregnant man storyline. Shane’s (Kate Moenning) lothario ways should at least have come with a ‘public service announcement’ of safe-sex. In the last season, we get our first Asian-American character (Jamie played by Mei Melancon) with a substantial storyline, who is somehow stripped of her ‘Asian-American’ culture, save for her physical features. While Rose Rollin’s (Tasha) ‘angry black lesbian’ character gives us a lot to talk about in terms of racial issues and DADT in the military, the rich, complex and luminous character–Bette Porter (Jennifer Beals)–could have gifted us a great lee-way into a more political sphere, but we never really get there. Political messages, besides were instead delivered as soundbites and with a subtlety that is telling of our WeHO community: How much do we really care?
Jennifer Beals at the L5 Convention in UK this past weekend said as one of her parting messages that politics is a lot like sex:
“If you want something, you have to ask for it,
If they’re not doing it right you’ve got to speak up and show them and
If you still don’t get what you want, then there is nothing wrong with doing it yourself!”
I want the DREAM Act, an end to ICE raids and meaningful immigration reform. I want marriage equality for all — Actually I need the state to stop telling consenting adults what they can and cannot do with their bodies. I want an end to neo-liberalism and an overhauling of global financial institutions. I want an end to the war in Iraq and for the military to be used as a LAST resort when all else fails. Someday, I want a world without any borders. The list is quite long, but sitting with it is not going to translate those wants into realities. I need to take that list and go shopping for it myself.
Thank you to everyone for all the wonderful reports from L5. I am disappointed that there was little discussion about ‘politics’ [especially Prop. 8 ] given that it was the weekend of the Join the Impact International Action for Marriage Equality but we must remember that the core audience is not political. Hopefully, more people realize that the personal is indeed political and get more active in the fight for civil and human rights.
This weekend at the L5 Convention, Jennifer Beals and Laurel Holloman announced that they would really like to see an L Word movie and we could bring it to fruition by flooding Amy Baer at CBS films with emails. Well, trust the loyal fans to have taken it upon themselves to launch this.
I would have cared less before but I am hoping that this one would be called “The L Word – The Wedding” as a homage to defeating Prop 8 whether it takes a couple months or couple years. How does everyone else like this idea?
What will cable and premium television be like ‘life after L?’ We have LOGO — Our very own LGBT programming channel that is unfortunately available only on a more expensive subscription package. As for cable television, the producer of Desperate Housewives has finally had some freedom to rein in ‘gay couples’ and (straight) LGBT icon Gale Harold as a lead on his show. That seems to be going well. LGBT characters are getting more prevalent with shows like Degrassi, Brothers and Sisters, Battlestar Galactica, though the women are de-sexualized while the men are hyper-sexualized (that might be different for Will and Grace where the gay men were devoid of sexuality).
The future of unapologetic gay-programming still seems quite bright with premium networks like Showtime that orginally launced Queer As Folk and own the L word franchise. Next up, we have a gay super-hero series called Hero for Showtime. While it has been a secret desire of mine to see Jennifer Beals in tights as Batwoman (who is a lesbian) and that might get fulfilled in some fan-fic, this one should serve the ones missing Queer As Folk action on our television.
And Leisha Hailey — our own renaissance woman — is getting her own L word spin-off show post L-word.
Why do I care about LGBT representation on the idiot box? It’s absolutely important for young LGBT adolsecents and adults to have positive representations of themselves in the media while they grow up in a homophobic and heterosexual world. It truly makes a difference in terms of self-worth and actually has redeeming educational value at times — Take it from me.
People can vote away our civil rights and liberties but how would they stop the queering–the increased presence of LGBT characters and programming–on American television that serves as an avenue to legitimate the existence of LGBT life?
We are here to stay.
Tolerance is intolerant and demands assimilation.
—Herman Broch, cited in the Jewish Museum, Vienna, Austria
Conversely, what is proclaimed and practiced as tolerance today, is in many of its most effective manifestations serving the cause of oppression.
The mainstream, alternative press and bloggers are so inundated and knee-deep in the discourse of tolerance that hardly anyone has stopped to analyze the etymology and meaning of tolerance and its implications for society.
Tracy Hickman laments in The San Francisco Chronicle:
How ironic that the same people who call for tolerance of diverse lifestyles are perpetrating aggression against others for standing up for their beliefs and voting for the principles they hold dear?
Gary Bauer whines about “The Intolerance of the Same Sex Movement” (See also Lone Star Times, WorldNetDaily) while John Kass expresses disappointment at the lack of tolerance shown to T-shirts with political slogans.
Religious forces such as the LDS and Catholic Church take pleasure in pointing out the random and isolated attacks on churches, defacing of anti-gay yard signs, while right-wingers like Matt Barber are slamming the opponents of H8 for taking to the streets and not respecting the “rule of law” and democracy.
Even on the pro-migrant side, bloggers and organizations call for greater ‘tolerance’ as a response to the hate-crime against Latinos such as Marcello Lucero. The history of immigration discourse is ripe with tolerance discourse on all sides — tolerance for new immigrants, intolerance for ‘illegal immigrants’ and so on. Blacks, Latinos, Asians, religious minorities, gays and lesbians are all “tolerated” groups.
I have quietly sat on the side-lines for months, silently ‘tolerating’ the calls for tolerance. Enough.
I don’t want to be tolerated and neither should you. The discourse of tolerance–a noble and grandiose liberal experiment–must be stripped naked and exposed for what it really is: a colonizing discursive tool with the power to label and reproduce our identities, thereby designating minorities as permanent Others in civil society and globality, and justifying their ‘civilizing.’
See your Halloween No on 8 pumpkin here!
I am adamantly set against the idea of marriage. And the idea of my community co-opting the heteronormative institution of marriage and effectively saving it from ‘dying out,’ is a bit irritating. Let the straight people of the world have their desecrated, abused and patriarchal ‘union.’ I don’t want any part of it — I don’t need the heterosexual idea of ‘marriage’ to have a ‘perfect union.’ That’s where I stand on the issue.
THAT does not mean I don’t favor the right of my brothers and sisters to belong to the institution. And it deepens me sadly that people don’t understand the difference between having their opinions and beliefs, and voting to preserve the rights of someone else. This is what it is really about — no matter how you feel about marriage, VOTE AGAINST DISCRIMINATION and BIGOTRY. Vote NO on Proposition 8.
According to the San Jose Mercury News, the ban on marriage is winning.
But the same-sex marriage ban is winning among people who are voting early or by mail. That means it will likely pass unless there is a strong Election Day turnout of “No” voters — a fact that places the proposition’s fate in the hands of supporters of Barack Obama, who tend to oppose the measure, said Mark DiCamillo, director of the Field Poll.
Early field polls suggest we are in for a tough fight. Barack Obama needs to come out in opposition of the ban but has failed to do so — African American voters, his supporters by large numbers, are voting for the ban. That is another problem. WE spend our time getting previously disenfranchised voters to start voting again and the first thing they do is go out to vote and strip away our rights?
Someone care to pose this question to IC, JB, Rose Rollins and co.? If the ban passes, I wonder if any of them might even think that they could have done more here in California.