I had a great chat with Alise Wright and we talked about her upcoming book project Not Afraid. Plus, we talk a bit about a few other things like marriage equality and Mark Driscoll’s new polemic book “Real Marriage” (and I may need to offer some bonus video material on that insightful stuff); can men and women be friends (best of friends, even when they are married to other people); and Alise’s upcoming personal work in keeping with her calling.
Sure, now it is, more or less, but it is a recent development (the last 10-15 years) to be primarily sexually focused, homosexually, or otherwise. Comedy Duos go well back to the 19TH CENTURY! Bert and Ernie harken back to another time, of silliness. Playfulness. Non sexually-laden silliness. It is not understood or appreicated.
“Known historically as a “Comedy Duo” or Double Act Comedy” this art form is when one of the duo members, the straight man, feed, dead wood, or stooge is portrayed as reasonable and serious, and the other one, the funny man or comic is portrayed as funny, less educated or less intelligent, silly, or unorthodox.” (This paragraph was a wiki-source, read the rest here. It’ll be enlightening.)
This comedic tradition, of 1o0 years or more, seems utterly lost on our culture, the recent puppet debacle indicates this. Yes, 2011 PuppetGate. I’ve seen nothing this childish (in a bad way) since the Purple, purse-toting Teletubbie was outed. Remember “Tinky Winky” any one?
Sadly, Megan’s Law sidelined his/her career. Responding to almost 1,000 petitions to wed Bert and Ernie, Sesame Street Workshop issued this statement:
“Bert and Ernie are best friends. They were created to teach preschoolers that people can be good friends with those who are very different from themselves. Even though they are identified as male characters and possess many human traits and characteristics (as most Sesame Street Muppets™ do), they remain puppets, and do not have a sexual orientation.”
Bert and Ernie actually sound patterned after The Odd Couple, which was on Broadway, a film, and later a TV series that ran during the time Sesame Street was created. Two roommates who are different. A situation comedy.
The whole thing was probably just a prank gone wild, oh… no, wait, it probably wasn’t. It was probably stupidity and cultural amnesia.
The fixation on sexuality (generally) and homosexuality (particularly) is really getting pointless, culturally speaking. Ya know? Do people really think pre-school television shows are, or should be sexualized? What is this odd cultural projection to force it into every scenario? How bizarre. With this tact…why just pick on Bert and Ernie, shouldn’t Winnie the Pooh and Piglet be probed too? …ya know… so to speak.
On just a quick examination of America’s (and Britain’s) comedic traditions, we find that sexual acts were not the main point or agenda of comedy duos.
The cultural tone started to shift in the 1970s. Or perhaps it was when ego-centric, cultural amnesia started to be the norm.
Cindy Williams (who played the character Shirley) mentioned in an interview that the producers of Laverne and Shirley, had the characters date, and marry male characters, because the idea of two women rooming together for years, was causing speculation about the characters.
Now, I suppose it is the expectation, or the foregone conclusion that same sex friends who are roommates are also homosexual. Am I the only who finds this pitiful?
I TRIED to clip down this gagavision 41 video to focus on a perfect example of how not to create encounters with pop stars. But I couldn’t. (I’m not the techie I hoped I could be.)
There are parts that could offend some of you, my readers. If Lady Gaga offends you, you are certainly not alone and I respect your perspective. In that case, I urge you to not watch this video–at all. The parts I refer to happen at minute 2:20 – 4:00, and are suitable for audiences over age 10. My advice is to skip the other parts, primarily because they do not refer to this post.
The scoop: It appears a Christian Fundementalist gave Lady Gaga a card/tract that said, “Get Out of Hell Free.”
In a far friendlier tone than I can image approaching hostile protesters, she said, “Hi, I’m Lady Gaga.” and they said, “What do I care?”
What I find so interesting is that she bothered to talk to them, and tell them she did believed in God, and that she had Christian influences in her formative years. It was like she was trying to find common ground. A novel concept for approaching those you disagree with, huh?
They were more concerned with showing their opposition, and contempt for her. From her comments, it seems to me, that their actions, got to her, at least for a little bit. They bothered her. She said that she didn’t want her fans to have to see that, but it seemed to bother her on a personal level, as well. (But, sadly, NOT in a way that would likely bring her to a closer fellowship with followers of Jesus.) I would really like to hope that Gaga would not lump these loonies with authentic followers of Jesus. I hope it wouldn’t sour her on the whole bit.
Maybe these people just couldn’t find a Koran to burn that night, or something.
At best, the whole encounter would be confusing, or hurtful to her, or anyone. Hurtful? To a super star, really? Yeah, that’s my guess. Because, I think she’s mostly a regular 25 year old young woman. Like almost all of us, she wants to be liked and not be disparaged and maligned.
It’s easy to hear the condescending tone from the protester speaking, and his smug uses of the word “darling”. In snide fashion he tells her that the book “with the black cover, and the gold pages, and the ribbon down the middle” will show her she has “pervert ways”. It seems he’s piecing it all together for her, in case she’s not aware of the visual image of a Bible. Really, a sweetheart…um. NOT!
Ya know, these are not endearing traits of Christians. They are shameful ways to act. (I should put that word Christians in quotes, because I think they had their own agenda, and their “Good News” …sucked.)
Perhaps Get out of Hell Free signs, tracts, and cards, helped these protesters turn from sin and come to God. But, in most cases, relationships (read: legit friendships) are far more helpful. Their demonstration and literature was probably are more of a confusing message.
So, now we know how to not show God’s love and redeeming grace, right?
IT BEGS THE QUESTION:
What if there had been loving dialogue? What if the people who think they are doing God’s work, acted like Jesus, and started interacting with Stefani Germanotta on common ground, instead of peacocking self-righteousness on what they deem to be enemy lines.
Maybe you’re a Gaga monster, paws up, and everything. Or maybe you don’t care for Lady Gaga’s music or showmanship techniques, but will you share your take on Christianity / evangelism, and music stars?
This topic makes for easy jokes. Of course, the disgust of the general public has made some fake headlines appear quite authentic.
(Two have emerged as most popular. First is the one about the Denver TSA worker and the girl’s basketball team; and the other is about “Perry Cummings,” from San Francisco.)
SNOPES reveals the truth about these two most commonly-mistaken-for-true, TSA related headlines here.
Come up with one of your own related-headlines in the comment section, and see if you can last through reading these 7.
Let’s just say, it seems we have crisis on our hands.
1. Phrase heard most often by TSA workers, “Sir, that’s not a gun.”
3. Vegas Sex Worker sues TSA worker for not paying her standard fee-for-service
4. TSA worker offers boys candy before pat down, because “he’s a new friend”
5. TSA workers agree to mutual fondling with travelers
6. Advocate magazine names TSA work “Best New Job of 2010″
7. Texas Prison Work Release Program trains convicts to work as TSA agents. “Oh, yeah, man. This is my dream job!” says inmate.
8. [this one is for your to write]
It would be easy to say the case of Tyler Clementi–the talented violinist, who recently killed himself after an intimate encounter, and streamed online by his roommate–was about Tyler’s homosexuality, or just technology run amuck. It would be easy to focus on a bullying issue, or a sexually based hate crime.
Even though those factors surround the incident, a root problem is overlooked if these aspects get the most attention.
Why did it happen? Because people didn’t act according to proper ethics. They had no understanding or appreciation to act ethically. It was an easy laugh to embarrass a roommate, and technology made it so simple. The choice to record and stream this video was possible, and that–to the perpetrators–made it acceptable to do. But there is more:
The obvious question is “why”? The simple answer is “a blatant lack of respect for another.” Selfishness.
Ethics teach to do right by another, not because we like it, or because we benefit from it, but instead because every human being has this unalienable right. Because we are human, we are endowed these quality, and must act accordingly.
Some people think sensitivity training will stop bullying. It’s just not enough. It calls attention to those who are different, but it does not provide a satisfying reason to treat them well. Treating a special education student, an immigrant, or a homosexual young adult in a “tolerant” way, or with unique deference, alone, misses the most important point:
We don’t respect others, be kind, because this makes us nice people. We don’t do it, simply because we wish to be treated that way. We don’t do it because people will like us more. We engage as we ought because it is right in itself. And that’s enough.
Ought is the word one cannot skip. The fact that we all comprehend an ought, points to a source outside ourselves as the barometer of ethical standards.
Who determines this? Who are the rule makers?
Sometimes it’s special interest groups; sometimes religious groups, sometimes it’s educated experts; sometimes it’s the presidence of laws. All arbitrary starting points, in and of themselves, that can be expected to fold, like a house of cards.
The bullies continue. The “good citizen” character building taught often in schools falls flat, or is soon overshadowed by self-interest.
Rather, it is a birthright to be treated properly, even before one is born. It’s a non negotiable imperative to which we must all abide. As a basic feature of our makeup and purpose, it is a meta-edict for humankind. A dialectic of grace.
Nathan is a child who attracts peer ridicule. My son speaks and moves in odd ways. He’s sensitive, and obsessed with trains. Recently, he was punched repeatedly in the crotch and taunted by 3 boys who were screaming a train song in his ear.
I could envision a similar fate for Nathan which happened to Tyler. Both were exploited for sport.
Share you comments about this case, or bullying.
Have you ever been bullied
Rachel Evans is calling for a response to Marck Driscoll’s recent bullying of effeminate men, here: But I have to mention….doesn’t this sound a lot like an episode of GLEE?
Mark Driscoll is gay? Don’t kill the messenger…I didn’t come up with this.
You can find a pretty solid case HERE, compiled from his friend Don Miller, who–years ago–coined him, “the cussing pastor” in his best-selling book Blue Like Jazz. (When I say “case”…I mean Donald seems to refer to Driscoll, in with some detail, right along with [other] male leaders associated with…well, gay scandals. Maybe it’s a connect-the-dots thing.)
- “There is a strong drift toward the hard theological left. Some emergent types [want] to recast Jesus as a limp-wrist hippie in a dress with a lot of product in His hair, who drank decaf and made pithy Zen statements about life while shopping for the perfect pair of shoes. In Revelation, Jesus is a prize fighter with a tattoo down His leg, a sword in His hand and the commitment to make someone bleed. That is a guy I can worship. I cannot worship the hippie, diaper, halo Christ because I cannot worship a guy I can beat up.” -Mark Driscoll 
(There’s a common theme of guy-on-guy fights/violence with Driscoll. You may remember he showed, the hot and sweaty brawl movie “Fight Club” as an official church event. Hum.)
Mark, if you’re reading this, you can stop over-doing it to throw us off track. Don and I both realize you’ve painted yourself into a corner, Mark. The gig is up, dude.
Nevertheless. IF Driscoll was gay, we would love him anyway. Right, everyone? Right?
There’s a punchline in here somewhere. Can you spot it?
Is Mark Driscoll too overtly macho, and (like recent pastors caught in self-created sexual hypocrisy -Eddie Long and Ted Haggard), too anti-gay to be straight? (This is where you start to realize how silly the whole topic is.)
Am I joking about Driscoll? Sure. Of course. I’m a humorist. (I’m upfront about that here at the blog.) And despite loads of circumstantial evidence, and the writing stylings of Don Miller, Mark’s certain proclivity could remain a mystery, much like Theodicy, or atonement theories. This is all probably just a loooong series of coincidences. No biggie. If Mark is gay, or tempted with homosexual thoughts or feelings, I’m sure we could trust that he’d just open up and tell us–straight out. Or, maybe, like his marriage book, he’ll hold out on telling us that he’s had some trouble until he writes a book on the topic.
Cue the “It’s Raining Men” ditty.