I Need Hair to Be Pretty: Time for the race's third Fast Forward, but there might as well have been two.
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I try to avoid Fox News, and I'm not a fan of Bill O'Reilly. Anyone who has read anything I've written on The Huffington Post is probably not surprised by either of those facts. But as the mother of a self-identified gay 7-year-old son who has a crush on Glee's Blaine, the most recent media controversy involving Mr. O'Reilly caught my attention.
In his show on Thursday, April 19, Mr. O'Reilly and his guests discussed a recent episode of Glee portraying a transgender teen, and how the show as a whole was encouraging teenagers to experiment with "alternative lifestyles." Oh, where to begin?
Being gay is not an "alternative lifestyle." Are the majority of people gay? No, of course not. The majority of people don't have green eyes. The majority of people aren't left-handed. The majority of people aren't double-jointed. But I don't know of any organizations devoted to forcibly implanting permanent brown-colored contacts or disabling left hands to make people properly right-handed, or special therapy developed to make a double joint perform in a singular manner. Being gay is not something a person does but a part of who he or she is, just as much as eye color or anything else.
Mr. O'Reilly and his colleagues made the claim that Glee "glamorizes" being LGBT to the point that kids might start trying it out. If this is occurring, so what? Teenagers experiment, especially when it comes to romance. Very few people marry the first person they ever kiss, their first boyfriend or girlfriend, or even the first person they get down and dirty with. Being a teenager is all about trying to figure out who you are. Sometimes, a person's journey isn't on the beaten path. There can be twists and turns, many unexpected, that lead young people to discover themselves. Hopefully, our next generation of adults will know that love isn't bound by the majority or social norms. As long as teenagers are respectful of themselves and their partners (including practicing safer sex) as they "experiment" with their own identities, then more power to them. When they figure it out, they will probably be much more comfortable and confident than the generation before them.
And then there was the portrayal of a transgender teen on the show in question. One guest on the show, Gretchen Carlson, complained, "Now I get to explain this to my 8-year-old, if i want her to see a nice family show with some nice music." I found this particularly funny, because when I write about my son and his crush on Blaine, one of the most common criticisms I receive is that Glee is inappropriate for my 7-year-old child. Well, I agree, it can be. That's why my kid never watches the show without my husband and me screening it first. We decide what he is and is not allowed to watch. It is part of our job as parents. In this episode we decided our son could watch an edited version. (The storyline concerning the filming and release of a sex tape involving two students wasn't in his version. But for parents of teenagers, this would be a good opportunity to talk about this issue. A lot of kids were doing this before Glee mentioned it.) Our son was allowed to watch the parts of the episode concerning the trans character. Why? Because there is nothing inappropriate about the existence of transgender people, and no reason that they should be hidden from him.
We even had to have a conversation about it:
Son: Why is that boy dressed like a girl?
Me: Well, some boys like to wears girls' clothes because they think it's fun. And some boys, like this one, feel like they are girls on the inside, so they are more happy and comfortable in girls' clothes.
Son, after thinks for a minute: I'm a boy on the outside and the inside.
Me: That's great, baby, but some people are different, and that's great, too.
Son: OK. [After a minute] Mom?
Me: Yeah, baby?
Son: Do we have any cookies?
If that is a horrific conversation, then I am going to sail through his teenage years.
I understand that some people may see my own son as an example of how young people are being influenced by Glee. After all, his crush is on Blaine. Well, a few months ago I had the pleasure of speaking to Michelangelo Signorile (the editor-at-large of HuffPost Gay Voices) on his Sirius OutQ 108 radio show. He spoke of his crush as a young boy on Davy Jones of The Monkees. Last time I checked, The Monkees didn't have any gay characters or glamorize anything other than boy bands in the '60s. But that didn't stop Michelangelo from thinking Davy was pretty darn cute.
It seems like the goal of those like Mr. O'Reilly is to make sure as few people are gay as possible. They seem to think that the less people know about being a gay person, the fewer people will be gay. But that doesn't make any sense. The same number of people will be gay, no matter what they see on television. Hopefully, the more common and three-dimensional LGBT characters are in the media, the more secure and comfortable all people will become with who they are. I don't think that's a bad thing.
"You think that's hard? Try having a baby at 51, that's hard!"
That may be something Sue Sylvester, Jane Lynch's acid-tongued cheerleading coach on Fox's Glee, will yell at her Cheerios next season. Sylvester announced she was pregnant on the show in March, a slight baby bump seen through her tracksuit uniform.
In a recent interview with Access Hollywood, Lynch talked about how the possibility that the older mom may have a child with Down's Syndrome (Sylvester's sister has Down's).
"Sue Sylvester is 51 years old -- assuming she's my age -- and she's having a child, so there's always risks," Lynch said. "So we did hint that there may be some abnormalities.
Watch Lynch dish more on baby bumps and how having a baby may change her character in the video above.
AfterEllen.com is Logo's site for lesbians and bisexual women in entertainment and media, which means we pride ourselves on knowing all kinds of Sapphic pop-culture facts. Each week we'll share some of the best tidbits on The Huffington Post in our new series, "Best Lesbian Week Ever."
Here's who and what was on our raging gay radar this week.
Megan Rapinoe confirms she plays for our team: The U.S. women's soccer player acknowledged she was an out gay athlete during a video interview when asked about homophobia in sports. "We're out there," she said, to which a lesbian chorus replied, "We know!"
Samantha Ronson's single: Not only was the DJ/musician supposedly spotted with ex Lindsay Lohan while in New York, but she performed on Live with Kelly. The rendezvous overshadowed the awkward appearance, which may have been her (smart) plan. Lindsay is always great for deflection. Just ask Michael Lohan.
Felicia Day secures her place in our geeky hearts: The actress played a gay hacker on last Friday's episode of Supernatural. Both lesbians that watch that show were thrilled.
The Real L Word is real white:A look at the new cast members confirms our suspicions: The only lesbians worth watching on TV are white 20-somethings willing to have sex on camera. Or that's what Showtime would have you believe.
Alison Bechdel passes her own test: In case you were wondering, the graphic novelist's new book, Are You My Mother? A Comic Drama, has many scenes in which women talk to one another about something other than men, and for a long, long period of time. She's perfected the art of the Bechdel test, as she should. She created the damn thing.
Amber Heard it through the grapevine: The out actress was reportedly seen canoodling with her Rum Diary co-star Johnny Depp in Las Vegas this week, which should make her publicist very happy. What makes us happy, though: Amber has taken the role of an assassin in Machete Kills. And if she truly is in the business of hooking up with co-stars, Michelle Rodriguez isn't a bad option.
Anna Paquin is bisexual, not a hoarder: The actress had to explain (once again) how bisexuality is a real thing that doesn't A) mean you want to do it with everyone, and B) disappear when you are married and pregnant. You hear that, Tila Tequila?
Mariska Hargitay can't commit: While we're still waiting for the day Detective Olivia Benson realizes she's gay, we'll settle for the times she pretends to be one for a case. This week Olivia and Detective Amanda Rollins (Kelli Giddish) acted like a lesbian couple to get some sperm donor information. It was either that or Olivia was going in as a single mother. What's more desirable these days? Let's ask the Boy Scouts.
JCPenney likes moms, just not One Million:This advertisement featuring mombians outraged the same group that was already outraged over Ellen DeGeneres being the new spokeswoman for the department store. JCPenney still doesn't care and probably enjoys the free publicity, so thanks, One Million Moms!
Is Alex Trebek retiring from "Jeopardy!"? The longtime game show host told Fox News's Chris Wallace that the thought has crossed his mind.
?Yes, I have been thinking of retiring," Trebek told Wallace in an interviewing airing on Sun., May 6 as part of "Fox News Sunday With Chris Wallace." "But I'm torn because I enjoy doing the show so much. A lot of people have been telling me -- 'Alex, you've got to go for at least 30. You've just done 28. Now at least do two more.' So that has a nice ring to it. Put in your 30. And go help people.?
In February 2011, Trebek hinted to Newsweek that his time with the series may be coming to a close. "I don't want to do this forever," he said.
"Jeopardy!" started in 1964 on NBC with host Art Fleming, who was with the series from 1964-1975 and 1978-1979. But when the show returned to TV in syndication in 1984, Trebek stepped in as host.
It was April 5, 1994. I had just gotten home from high school, and was playing a video game while listening to late great New York alt-rock and new wave station WDRE when the deejay broke in to say a body had been found in Kurt Cobain's home. As the story unfolded, I quickly shut off the video game and turned MTV on. Within minutes, Kurt Loder came on with a special report to break the news of the Nirvana frontman's suicide. Loder -- the voice of my generation in many ways -- remained on the air with industry pros discussing Cobain's legacy and the importance of his music. It eased some of the pain of the artist's death by simply listening and watching the coverage. We need that today, and we're not getting it. MTV used to make music news, cover it, and sometimes break it. It hasn't done that for decades, and it doesn't seem like they will ever again.
When Whitney Houston died a few months back, the network went silent, choosing to show its rebroadcast of the ever-important Teen Mom 2 series in its entirety. I suppose cutting into programming to cover the biggest death in music since the King of Pop was too much for the one-time giant. An hour or so ago, Twitter blew up with news that Adam Yauch, one-third of pioneering rappers the Beastie Boys, had passed away. I found myself looking for someone like Loder to not just tell me the news, but to cover it like the music news story it is. Instead, I had to rely on TMZ to confirm the story, and for Rolling Stone to confirm the news.
When you have to rely on TMZ for news -- that really says something. There has been a huge void in music since the days of Loder and Tabitha Soren, and we need it back. Reality TV killed the music video star. It's time for MTV to return to its roots. The music has been gone long enough. So has the credibility... the revolution? It's dead. I want my MTV back. I want Gilbert Gottfried cutting promos. I want to watch music videos of my favorite artists and new ones I never heard of. I want to mourn the death of an icon by watching tributes on a so-called music station. Yauch and the Beasties were pioneers in the hip hop and pop culture world. This news hurts. I have been a long-time fan of the triple trouble boys ever since I purchased "License to Ill" and saw their "Fight For Your Right" video for the first 2,000 times. I've always admired the group's music, advocacy (free Tibet), and other passion projects. Over the years, I've seen them in concert about eight times -- the last of which was at Madison Square Garden with one of my best buds and longtime Beastie devotee Rich Tarantino in 2004.
Reality TV killed the music video star. It's time for MTV to return to its roots. Cut the crap, cut into your programming now, and discuss Yauch's legacy (SiriusXM's Alt-Nation is as we speak), and how damn influential the Beastie Boys were and are. Return to a time long before Snooki and deadbeat teen moms infested the station like roaches to a city studio and... to MCA, thank you, and rest in peace.
In celebration of the recent announcement that Fox has awarded FRINGE with a fifth and final[...]
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Want to own a little bit of Mad Men? The Mad Men online shop can help. Reading material? Grab a copy of Sterling's Gold or The Fashion File. Music? Buy Jessica Pare's rendition of "Zou Bisou Bisou" or a CD of the series soundtrack. Video? Get Seasons 1-4 on DVD or Blu-Ray. Plus, there's always those Mad Men Barbie dolls. Click here to visit the Mad Men online shop.
This week, People reports on the multiple Mad Men references in NBC's 30 Rock live episode while Entertainment Weekly loves Season 5 and Roger Sterling. Read on for more Mad Men news.
? People reports the 30 Rock live episode featured a rendition of "Zou Bisou Bisou" in addition to multiple Jon Hamm roles, while HitFix's review proclaims the sketch of "Hamm in an afro and blackface was the clear winner." TVLine asks if there's "a greater dichotomy in TV than Jon Hamm alternating between tall, dark and brooding Don Draper and, say, playing Tracy Morgan's entirely offensive brother on 30 Rock?"
? Entertainment Weekly -- which thinks "this is shaping up to be the best Mad Men season yet -- credits Roger as "one current live wire sparking the series."
? Time posits that Sally Draper may be "the secret protagonist of Mad Men."