By Mark Costello
Special to the Clyde Fitch Report
It’s all right, America, I understand: things have been pretty crazy lately. What with salmonella in our eggs, some of our people profiting from an alleged attempted rape, Californians getting ready to make every day 4/20, and our terminal idiocy, the whole “letting people get married” thing has understandably been side-barred. We’re still a nation at war, after all — a war fought by straights and queers alike, but I won’t tell if you don’t.
That allowance made, however, it’s time to start waking the sleeping giant. The nation is slowly coming around to what I’ve known since seventh grade: gay is good. No, that doesn’t mean the Velvet Mafia is holding Harvey Milk-esque recruitment seminars. But we’re moving into an era in which homosexuals aren’t confined to loveless marriages and bathhouses where bathing isn’t the top priority.
That’s the dream, anyway. David Yost, the first Blue Power Ranger on American TV, recently admitted that he left the show because he was tired of being called a faggot. More recently, ABC felt the need to “come out,” as it were, and promise that Cam and Mitchell, the resident queer couple on the newly Emmy-winning Modern Family, would indeed share a kiss in an upcoming episode. What’s troubling about the former is obvious. What’s troubling about the latter is ABC’s implicit burning desire to soften the blow for the average prime-time viewer — or, worse, to pander to the Queer is Cool/Fag Hag crowd by promising some “Look How Tolerant I Am!” points.
The entertainment biz, then, isn’t so far from “American values” hate-mongering as we think. As a prime example, let’s turn to talentless shill Elisabeth Hasselbeck. Hasselbeck is no stranger to controversy, having succeeded at failing to prove her worth on Survivor: The Australian Outback nearly 10 years ago. Instead of becoming Elisabeth Hasnojob, however, the American Dream worked its magic by turning mold into gold, allowing her to linger past her expiration date and serve as one of the resident cackling hens on The View. There’s ABC again, orchestrating the genocide of American brain cells.
Hasselbeck is no stranger to stupidity, either. She has said that abortion advocates who are concerned with rape and incest actually aren’t, that Dancing With the Stars’ Erin Andrews deserved her two stalking incidents for dressing inappropriately while dancing, and, most recently, that lesbians are just ladies who can’t get a man.
That’s right: Hasselbeck is a know-nothing hack whose dual claims to fame are having failed at reality TV and having married into the NFL; her ultra-conservative views would make Glenn Beck weep with joy — much in the way Hasselbeck herself often weeps through apologizing for having stated her hateful views. She’s made something of a career out of this: days after she flies off the handle, once she assesses the damage her idiocy has wrought, she turns on the waterworks and takes it back.
That’s why the following isn’t so surprising: Hasselbeck is supposedly pro-gay marriage. News flash: she’s not. She is a homophobe, a purveyor of ignorance and a supporter of untruths. One cannot be a homophobe and be for gay marriage unless, like the Bible, you think marriage is evil. Hasselbeck does not think, so she cannot think this. Even her fellow demons and vampires on the right are calling her out.
But nothing is ever quite as simple as we’d like it to be. A former Bush head of state — I mean, campaign chief — came out as gay, while genital piercings — once a privilege of being queer — are now the stuff of 30-something straight men with salaries and mainstream status. Quite frankly, I’m afraid of these threats to queer identity — please won’t someone think of the [adopted] children? They deserve to live in a Hasselblech-free world, a world devoid of turncoat liars, a world in which the media has not made a commodity of my sexuality, a world in which, perhaps, rights for all trump the ignorance of many.
Tune in again in a few days when I make a tearful apology for everything I’ve ever said.
A militant queer, Mark Costello is a playwright by trade who additionally writes for various outlets, including Phillyist and Patch.com. He holds an MA in Theatre from Villanova University. Follow him at twitter.com/markjcostello.