Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A Propogayda Problem

DC has announced that they are going to change the sexual orientation of one of their characters in the ongoing re-launch of their story-lines. It is not so much a “cultural stand” or a civil rights statement so much as a blatant publicity stunt. They already have several gay characters in their books, even some of their more prominent second-tier characters. So, this announcement doesn’t signal any sort of change of direction at DC. Rather it is an effort to remind people that they are as politically correct as anybody.

The whole effort to significantly increase the amount of “gay” characters in pop-culture—a gay propaganda of sorts—has gotten rather silly. The worst cases are those where story-tellers go out of their way to “out” characters in stories where sex or even sexual orientation have no bearing on anything. This has even made its way into children’s stories where sex is never addressed.

Examples abound. “Doctor Who” was particularly guilty of this trend. In a show where sex was pretty much never an issue (the main character being an alien) it seemed they would go out of their way to make sure the audience knew the orientation of everyone on screen. Even though there were no homosexual characters in the Harry Potter books, (and even though the story did not require us to speculate on any of the characters orientations) J.K. Rowling felt obliged to make Dumbledore gay in a post publication proclamation.

Comic Books are a medium that has been used again and again to address societal and cultural issues, and sexual orientation is fair game in that regard. However, it does feel like DC here is joining a greater fad that asks us to go to the silly extremes of speculating and exploring every single character’s sexual orientation whether it has any bearing on the plots or not. Somehow this feels like more of a disservice to “the cause.” Do gay people really want a world where sexual preference is a label that defines people? Or wouldn’t they prefer to be known as individuals independently of that one area of their lives?

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