Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Men Behaving Badly

My Dearest Darlings, since my post below I have been pondering the complex nature of masculinity and its various problematic incarnations. As your campaigner and hero I will endeavour to comment on the problems associated with your many social woes in this particular area, though to start with I have chosen to focus on your peak time entertainment world which seems bereft of intelligent wholesome heterosexual male role models, from aged news anchors to bloated football obsessed pundits the majority of men appearing on your screens are grotesque physical and mental incarnations of greed and sloth.

This crisis in the depiction of heterosexual men has evolved since the alleged loss of men’s cultural security since the ‘social dominance’ of women achieved through the wonders of feminism, though as you can see from my posts below I am yet to be convinced that the battle for sexual equality has been won as the objectification and abuse of women continues around the world. My sympathy for a social group that has abused its position of power for millennia is somewhat limited especially as a mysterious campaign for ‘cultural amnesia’ has been so successful. Feminism has again become a dirty word, even women who believe in equality are loathed to describe themselves as ‘Feminists’ in fear of being depicted as bra-burning militant lesbians. Though I your humble servant Ms Coco LaVerne proudly scream from the rooftops that I am a proud feminist, I enjoy well fitting bras, perfectly applied make-up and movie star glamour though do not believe this should preclude me from standing for justice and equality!

So to your popular weekend entertainment, I have noted various examples of masculinity that I feel obliged to comment on, I will begin by focusing on Jonathan Ross! Jonathan Ross is the perfect incarnation of man that I loathe and detest, an apparent working class man made good a cheeky chappy with a ‘heart of gold’. However whilst reluctantly watching his Friday night BBC show it is difficult to ignore the thinly veiled homophobia and misogyny that he titillates his audience with.

Firstly there is the so-called ‘Four Poofs and a Piano’ this may in the right circumstance be a humorous and harmless title though in this mainstream context these gay men are objectified and ridiculed, humiliated and laughed at - not with. I’m sure they are handsomely rewarded for their contributions though they are predominantly silenced allowed only to be heard when singing their ‘humorous’ ditties that introduce the next Hollywood A-lister.

I suspect that many of you consider the presence of gay men in popular entertainment to be a development of sorts, an incarnation of Britain’s tolerance and understanding of a group once demonised and vilified. I wonder if this is the case. My poor Deluded Darlings gay men only appear in popular entertainment shows when a very select area of expertise is displayed, Graham Norton is embraced when he is presenting shows on musical theatre; Gok Wan is celebrated when talking on fashion. Paul O’Grady rocks no boats whilst manning the helm of a facile entertainment chat show. Suffice it to say that whilst accepted gay stereotypes are perpetuated, you are content to open your homes to a friendly homosexual. But moments later you are only too happy to laugh out loud at Mr Jonathan Ross taking the proverbial out of the ‘Poofs’ singing their latest musical limerick.

Alongside this dastardly display Mr Ross perpetually displays blatant disparity between his male and female guests. The male guests are treated as equals, jocularities exchanged on an equal footing both parties complicit in mutual jibing and joking, the interview often seems like a conversation easy and without tension. The men engage in mutual appreciation bordering on sycophancy displayed to an almost pornographic extent when Mr Ross introduces his male show-biz mates and 'friends of the show' Ricky Gervais and Jimmy Carr.

When a female guest appears the atmosphere takes a sickening turn. The majority of the interview is taken up with prurient and offensive comments on the appearance of the female guest. He jeers at which ever female is in front of him, their achievements are a side issue the most prominent commentaries are on the their appearance and most offensive of all their sexual habits and relationship status. Whilst cynically adopting the dress code of a nineteenth century dandy Mr Ross seeps putrid words of lechery from his slackened mouth. His pig eyes drift to the breast of his guest and sexual innuendo flops on to the Technicolor TV land set whilst fabulous incarnations of glamour fight off his advances. From Michelle Pfeiffer to Helen Mirren the beautiful have battled with his sexual inappropriateness and to their credit remained marvellously disdainful, appearing to be in on the joke whilst simultaneously masking their own repulsion.

Some may defend such behaviour; Jonathan Ross is a post modern comedian utilising irony and satire to reflect back the prejudices the majority of you display. Though in reality this ‘all powerful’ white heterosexual man sits behind his interviewer’s desk objectifying and humiliating his many guests all under the guise of popular entertainment.

This may be uncomfortable reading as the majority of you simply want to forget your troubles and sit blankly gazing at the television with the ability to laugh out loud guilt free. I’m not even sorry about that, as discomfort is the distant relation of revolution and whilst you sit, blind to all injustice you are passively trampled by your oppressors. I will endeavour to rattle your cage and ruffle your feathers as I am your last best help to a better, fairer world!

More comments on your men-folk will follow, my vast cogs are already contemplating my next subject though I will endeavour to be fair and just in my judgement of them, as I see all of you as lost flaccid souls at heart, desperate for escape from your perpetual deadness.

Love as Always the intimidating yet endearing Ms Coco LaVerne x