Monday, 23 September 2013

Be Supportive or Just Be Quiet, It's Not That Hard.

I'm not quite sure what sparked this blogger rant, but I'm certain that Bret Easton-Ellis had something to do with it. If you're not sure who that is, he's a gay writer who had 15 minutes of fame back in the 80's for his books that were turned into mediocre big screen films, like "Less Than Zero" and "Bright Lights, Big City" and then went on to do nothing notable, except snort coke and trash everything that everyone else ever did (or does), via Twitter.

It downright irks me when someone has to feed their insane and constant need for media attention by spouting off negativity to get back in the headlines, and it bothers me even more that media outlets give idiots like him the time of day. But the worst part is that he's a catty, bitter, dark, gay man- so anytime his name is mentioned, it brings attention to the gay community and it's never good attention. It's the stuff that makes the good gays wince.

Of all the jobs out there, all the tireless, sometimes thankless efforts of volunteers at every and any LGBT community center, every worker at every organisations that's been created and continued for our awareness and protection, like GLAAD and GLISEN and so on and so forth- these are the every day jobs that basically earn your average person, gay or straight, a living and help build, connect and support our LGBT community.  Not to mention the jobs of your doctors, dentists, teachers, coaches, post office men & women, hospitality industry, grocery store clerks, florists, etc. that build and serve our general, local communities without fanfare, without notoriety, no headlines or magazine covers, without the public hanging on their every word, they go about doing their jobs, earning a living, living a life without spotlights, paparazzi or a PR rep. Millions of people, who live their lives, do their jobs, earn a living without trying to shock, evoke, gain attention, or cause a stir for their own personal gain. Imagine that?

Then you have your idiots, like Easton-Ellis, like Perez Hilton, who thrive on the spotlight in which they do their jobs and thrive on the negative attention they get, because, after all, it's attention. The problem is, they are showing the world how small and attention-starved they are by spewing their snark and poking fun, trashing other artists, engaging in Twitter wars, slamming projects or work from others who just may be trying to do something positive. These are the people who have a platform to create change and instead, they use it to feed their fat fucking egos. And the media outlets that give them space on their shows, websites, and papers are no better! Grown men, this vicious "Joan Crawford-wanna-be persona with the nasty chip" used to be clever & witty but it's old news now and it goes too far. You know what? Give me a sweet, happy homo like Ross Matthews any day. Someone who makes me smile, not tighten my intestines in knots.

I'll be honest. I'm guilty of taking a twit-shits on Bret Easton-Ellis and Perez Hilton any chance I get, and probably a few more celebrities (Kim Kardashian, Amanda Bynes, Tara Reid).  I've stopped doing it now because when I look back at my own tweets and I see myself down in the gutter with them, it's clearly made me realise I'm no better when I resort to their kind of behaviour. It's instinctive retaliation, I guess. I'm not forcing my opinion down anyone's throat, I did it to take a poke at them because it made me feel better and to stick up for the person they hurt. I don't get why angry, frustrated gay men feel the need to trash Neil Patrick Harris for his hosting of the Emmys. He's an out, proud gay man, who not only hosted the show, he also produced it while starring in a top rated network sitcom. Are you telling me all you could see was a few jokes that fell flat? Really? When I look back and see my awful tweets, it didn't make me feel good and I can't imagine that anything these guys do actually make them feel good about themselves. So, why do it? Everyone knows there are ways of getting your thought or opinions across without being a nasty twat, right? It's all in how it's said or presented.

They seem to think it's okay to unleash their wrath, directing it at anyone they choose, (usually those more successful than they are, or who's having a moment in the spotlight, blocking that ray of light they need so bad), probably letting a evil chuckle escape as they type, knowing a bunch of insecure, small minded Twitter followers will retweet their harsh words, some stupid magazine or website will pick up their mean quote and they'll sit back and relish in the media shit storm they created, their name in the headlines again. They never look ahead (or look back, for that matter) at the damage they do... when a struggling film maker is finally ready to premiere the film it her took 6 years and every penny to make, when an author finds a publisher willing to put out a novel they took the time to write, no matter how painful it was, when a musician takes the stage for the very first time in front of a live audience, or puts out their very first EP- when any of these up-and-coming LGBT artists see or hear some notable fellow artist-type person tear down another person's work,  it has to feel like a hundred pound bag of dread was just heaped on their back on top of everything else.

Like it's not enough vulnerability to be putting your work out there, knowing its going to be subjected to the usual critics, and public opinion- but worrying that your own LGBT peers could very well publicly shit on your head has got to be daunting and scary. And...the thing shouldn't be. Those are the people we want the approval from, and if we can't get that, we can only hope that they will just shut their big mouths and leave it alone.

I get the fact that critics make a living off "criticising", that it's their job and everyone has a right to their opinion. But since when is some washed up, second-rate angsty gay writer a critic? When did some catty, shameful gay blogger who's done more harm than good for nearly a decade get to make headline news for teasing Lady Gaga about sagging record sales? Why is this okay?

I also get the fact that some jokes are just that- jokes... hoping for a laugh, some work, some don't but there is a level of sadastic sarcasm and a complete lack of empathy in what they do- and that's not productive (or funny)- it's just harmful.

Look, I may not think that every lesbian film, CD or web series that comes out is "the best", and I may not even like it, but the last thing I'm going to do is tear it down to get my name in headlines. The way I see it is, maybe it's not my cup of tea, but it doesn't mean that I'm not proud of that person for creating and making something they believe in. I will do what I can with the little platform I have to promote it, and celebrate it because it's a goddamn major accomplishment to get something you believe in out there into the world. If it's not my thing... then I can certainly just NOT say anything about it all. It's easy enough.

Even celebrities that aren't gay make headlines for their ignorant, thoughtless, negative words, like Alec Baldwin, Bret Ratner, Azelia Banks, Blake Shelton, Isiah Washington, Paris Hilton and Carson Daly. They get a headline for being a jerk, then after being schooled by GLAAD, which is like being sent to summer school for a course in political correctness & sensitivity training, they make more headlines for now "having a sense of awareness". Then they make a sizeable donation to an AIDS Foundation, or Human Rights campaign in an effort to not lose any gay fans who contribute to ticket sales and their bankability once they're reminded of that very fact.

So I guess the thing I don't understand is why ANY media outlet needs to promote some dickhead in their headline who doesn't have the decency to just shut up and not say anything negative -rather than give them the front page story, regardless of whether it shows what an asshole they are, because either way, it still puts the insults or the negativity on the artist, person or project that should be celebrated for their efforts. If it's all about page hits, clicks and impressions- then shame on you and the lack of morals you rode in with.

It makes me crazy that lesbians, especially, can't wholeheartedly support other lesbians in  pretty much any realm. Promoters, producers, DJ's, performers, producers, writers, authors- have the hardest time seeing someone other than themselves have any form of success, because apparently it means they are failing or something. Very rarely will you ever hear a gay woman say something nice about another gay woman's success unless, of course, you're talking about Jane Lynch or Ellen Degeneres.

But, if you take a situation like ...say....the legendary The Dinah Shore Weekend, and put the two promoters from that event in a room together, do you think they'll tell each other how wonderful it is that there are so many options for lesbians in Palm Springs every April? It's all about who's event is better, who has more attendance,  bigger venue, and who has better headliners. Which, by the way, the headliners get the ridiculous task of choosing who to side with- forcing them to take a hit in the pocket when they could easily perform at each event, but no- they have to choose one or the other. I've seen music festivals go bust because a lack of support, I've seen bands fall apart, I've heard stories about women-owned and operated production companies sabotaging film projects by other women over every petty thing you can imagine from break-ups, to bed hopping, to back stabbing, to rumours, and just sheer bitchiness -and it's just plain sad. It's sad when any fellow artist takes a shot from a critic, let alone a LGBT peer.

I know I can't change this on my own and maybe you can't either, but rather than perpetuate it, perhaps we should just simply try rising above it. What if you didn't repeat the headline? What if you didn't tell someone some negative gossip you heard about someone else's project? What if you didn't click on the link to the crappy article? What about not giving that kind of unsupportive, ugly negativity our attention. I mean, really. Would it kill you not to? I'm willing to give it a try. I've said my piece, vented, pointed out the who's and the why's and I'm ready to move forward.

I've interviewed, hung out with, and been around so many LGBT musicians, film makers, actors, authors, play writers, producers and directors and I know how difficult it is to get a project off the ground- from funding, to getting a crew together, casting, finding a producer, a publisher, and support, in general, that ANYTHING that actually gets done is an accomplishment that should be celebrated. It shouldn't be about the shaky camera, or the fact that you can see a boom mic in the frame, or that there was a typo in chapter 9, or that you didn't understand what the artist was painting, or why they used that color, or how come they picked this actress for the lead- Oh, for Godsakes, it's a piece of LGBT work and someone who has the drive and determination fought (hard, I imagine) for the chance to get it completed...and has achieved their goal. Someone who didn't have the backing from a major studio, who isn't represented by a major recording label, who's not blogging for a website that's backed by major sponsors, who didn't pay for Twitter followers, or have a cousin in the business, or a powerhouse publishing company behind them- they DID something on their own, finding their own support and means to do it- and that deserves positive press from anyone and more importantly- any kind of media outlet. It's not that hard to be supportive. If you can't, then just be quiet. Stop ruining things for everyone else.