Friday, May 14, 2010

aaron sorkin to the rescue

synopsis: theatre critic claims well-known actor is too gay to play straight (and in fact, all gay actors are too gay to play straight.) well-known actor's well-known co-star publicly comes to his defense. the entire internet comes crashing down on theatre critic. even the gayest show on television comes crashing down on theatre critic.
personally, i think there's some serious self-loathing going on by the theatre critic (newsweek's ramin setoodeh) but i'm happy to let aaron sorkin have the last word:
Gay actors are in absolutely no danger of losing parts in Broadway shows, so if it were me, I'd re-direct my anger to the real problem. The honest-to-God, no kidding around, small-minded, mean-spirited, hysterically frightened, pig-ignorant bigots who don't think homosexuals are fit to get married, adopt children or fight and die for their country. The ones who hold signs saying "God Hates Fags." Those people aren't in the backwoods of Idaho, they're in Congress. Fight THEM. I'll help.
the whole sorkin response is well worth the read.


  1. Have you seen his interview with Joy Behar? It's worth the youtubing. A very composed debate.

    Sorkin has his heart in the right place, but I can't completely argue with Setoodeh's point. A.) Sean Hayes and John Groff DO play too gay, in my opinion. But, as Sorkin says, Ian Mckellan doesn't. Nor does, depending the role, Nathan Lane who slayed audiences playing the philandering Max Bialystock.

    But theatre and film/tv ARE different animals, and whose fault is it that I buy Jonathan Groff belting his face off in an 800 seat theatre, but not in a close-up singing "Like a Virgin" in order to seduce Lea Michelle? Mine or his? After all, isn't he the actor?

    Looking at the Behar interview (and you should!) my beef comes in when Dan Savage suggests that having actors like Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhal, Matt Damon, Michael Douglas, etc. etc. etc. play gay actors is somehow progress. While I'll admit that I'll jump on any chance to see Heath and Jake jump on each other, I don't know if I can seriously sit back and call Straight Actors playing Gay Roles progress. Was it progress when White Actors did the same thing to Black Roles? I don't know. When good actors are allowed to play good roles, regardless of sexuality on either end, and in whatever media they're good at...maybe that'll be progress. But who's decision will that be?

  2. It occurs to me that a similar debate is going on over supreme court nominee Kagan. Check out this CNN article by Rabbi Lesser:

    The money quote:
    "Because of prejudice that questions the inherent worth of gay people, the need for pride has been crucial to allow people to live life on their own terms and define their own value rather than seek external approval. This has been nothing less than a lifeline.

    On the other hand, even in the 21st century there remain certain echelons -- particularly places of great power, visibility or prestige -- where the closet remains the safest or savviest choice."


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