...or why American "culture" sucks ass!
by Pappy McFae
I don't know if anyone but myself has noticed that in the last five to ten years, there has been an oversupply of resurrected garbage on the movie screens. Old TV shows seem to be all getting a "modern" makeover. Shows like The Dukes Of Hazzard, Bewitched, and Miami Vice have found their way from the small screen to the silver screen. Then, after what can only be described as dismal showings at the theaters, they come back to the phosphor screen yet again in the form of DVD's.
Of course, when something "original" comes about, it generally lacks what I would call pizzaz, pinache, or pleasantness. For instance, the latest Mel Gibson bloodfest, Apocolypto can only offer gory death.
If that was the worst of what passes for "culture" in this society, that would be one thing. However, all areas of American culture are suffering under the sickening strain of incredible mediocrity. One need only look at the reality that in the last few years, the only new cultural wrinkle is charting cell phone ring tones. Let me say that again, here in America, the land that gave the world The Sound Of Music, Citizen Kane, Casa Blanca, and West Side Story, the best we can do in this day and age is to chart MIDI and MP3 tunes that tell us we have someone ringing us up on our cell phone. When one considers that many of those ring tones come to us courtesy of the largest cultural vacuum, (c)Rap "music", the picture becomes even more horrifying!
The culture situation has been puzzling me for some time. I was wondering why it was America seemed to be comfortable with the schlock that's being served up. A few years ago, Hollywood moguls were whining and prognosticating on the reasons why Americans were ignoring movie theaters in droves. Of course, the fact that nothing but sh*t was coming from Hollywood was more than enough reason as to why people would be ignoring the movies in droves. But there was something deeper. There was a question that was begging to be asked, but I didn't even how to put together the syllables to bring it from concept to spoken word.
The question was, and is, where did all the flash go? What happened to the minds that at one time gave a real sense of flair to American culture?
The answer came to me in a most unexpected way. I was talking with Geoff, my harp instructor. We were talking about the shoddy condition of music, art, and culture in America. He said something that at long last, put it all into perspective. The reason it seems that America is stuck in a cultural black hole is because we are. The reason we're in that black hole is because we have lost a generation of gay Americans to AIDS.
Let me say that again. America is now a cultural wasteland because a whole generation of gay Americans died as a result of the AIDS crisis. That's right, since the year 1980, America has lost millions of citizens to AIDS. The world has also lost millions as well.
AIDS ravaged the entertainment industry. The short list of the dead includes such luminary names as Rock Hudson, Bob Fosse, Freddie Mercury, Ricky Wilson of the B-52's, Liberace, Miss Kitty (Amanda Blake) from Gunsmoke, Mr. Brady (Robert Reed) , and so many more. On top of that, many others who were up and coming, but hadn't made a name for themselves were also destroyed by AIDS.
It is because of these latter up and comers dying that our culture has suffered so. Usually, the vacuums created by the deaths of the "old guard" are filled by the up and comers. Since both groups were being decimated by AIDS, the holes created were filled by non-gays. Therein lies the problem.
Like it or not, one of the "gifts" of being gay is a certain sensibility and sensitivity when it comes to matters of the fabulous. Few indeed are straight males who allow themselves the emotional vulnerability required to see the world through fabulous eyes. Fewer still are straight males who are willing to be seen in a fabulous light. In order to be completely and utterly fabulous, one needs to be completely and utterly GAY!
I am sure there will be many who will choose to debate this with me. So be it. The fact that most of the movies, music, and other culture clots that have been foisted upon society in the past two decades have been devoid of gay influence, or "fabulosity" stands as proof of this.
Gay culture is passed on from one generation to the next. When so many began dying, the number of people left to pass that culture on diminished. What's worse, many who were recipients of the knowledge died before they could pass it on. That has left it to fewer and fewer gays to keep our traditions alive. Without gay culture, mainstream culture tends to whither and wane.
Can anyone with eyes to see not realize this is exactly what has been happening? Can anyone look at a piece of sh*t like Apocolypto, or the equally brutal, and decidedly anti-semitic Passion Of The Christ, both directed by homophobe (and closet S&M freak) Mel Gibson and not see the truth of this? All one need to is look at Jesus Christ, Superstar, (movie, play, or Golgotha production) and see the marked difference in the reality of the fabulous (JCS) versus the shitty (POTC).
Of course, the good news is AIDS is being controlled. With new anti-viral drugs and combination drug cocktails, AIDS victims are living longer, better lives. Another bit of good news is that AIDS didn't get all of us. I am of a generation that was almost decimated by AIDS. Because I survived, I can pass on the gay culture, at least my version of it. I do so as often as possible. Maybe through me, the next generation of fabulous might stop the horror that has become the American culture clot.
Gays are incredibly important to the culture of this land. We can see that the past two decades have been bereft of anything even resembling positive cultural advances. The reason for this is the amount of gays that died as a result of AIDS. Their deaths have brought about the death of American culture.
It's time that our society accepted gays wholly and without reservation. Without our influence, this country's culture has suffered greatly. Just imagine how much better our culture could become if gays were afforded full civil status, up to and including the right to marry? We serve a special and unique place in this world. We should be respected and honored for that, instead of used as political pawns, whipping boys, or examples of "sinfulness".
Imagine a football movie without We Are The Champions. Imagine, if you can.