watching movies on logo
in the past two years or so i have really seen "mainstream" (i.e. white middle class) gay media and political organizations struggling to make compromises on important issues in order to ensure survival in a fundamentalist christian state. watching psuedo-queer jackasses like patrick guerrero and rosie o'donnell on larry king makes me, in a sort of mystifying way, lament the fact that i wasn't around to be a part of larry kramer's new york or harry hay's san francisco during the early years of the aids crisis. of course i realize that i am lucky that i didn't have to experience that first hand, but, on the other hand, i worry that i and others of my generation are too able to betray the queer nation legacy. that is, what gay people fight for today-- gay marriage, adoption, employment equality-- is in some ways a construction of the christian right to distract us from the really important and really basic issues-- legal equality, the right to be healthy, the ability to pursue the construction of alternative communities, etc. we have given up the struggle to be accepted as unique in favor of struggling to be accepted as the same.
don't get me wrong. i am really the last person to accuse someone or something of 'not being gay enough.' that is, unless it is someone or something that is trying to represent gay people in this country. face it. it is is 2006 and gay people still do not have the voice that we deserve. i am sure you could easily count the number of prominent gay politicians, actors, journalists, etc. in a couple seconds. and there are very few televisions shows and movies that feature gay characters. therefore, when one does emerge, i sort of place higher expectations on him/her/it.
still, it is impossible for any gay media outlet or representative to purport to represent gay men and women in this country as a whole. and the effort to do so is something that has emerged as a real problem in the past couple years ago.
enter logo. logo is the new gay-ish cable channel that some people get now. you might get it too, so you should check around channel 180 or so. (i didn't realize we had it until recently). the good news about logo is that they show all of these movies that i have always wanted to see, but never got around to-- lots of hard to find british movies and stuff made in the 70s and 80s. they also show a lot of documentaries that are really interesting and that you would never find on any other cable channel. logo also provides a venue for gay filmmakers to show their own short films.
however, i quickly found that logo has just been dangling a carrot in front of my face. that is, i can't watch any of the movies they show. why? because they are edited to death. maybe i am wrong, but it seems to me that logo, more than any other cable network, should make a statement against censorship and shows movies as their director intended. but this isn't the case. in movies that i have watched on logo and seen in their entirety, whole scenes have been removed, camera angles changed to obscure harmless nudity, and, when all else apparently failed the network, lines and words bleeped out.
a few years ago john and i were flipping through the channels and we came across stepmom
on tbs. it is one of those movies that is just good enough to watch when nothing else is on, but you wouldn't go out of your way to rent it or anything, you know? well we were watching it and i started to notice that something weird was going on. it seemed like there was something missing. and then the whole movie ended VERY abruptly, and i was shocked at what they had done: they took susan sarandon's cancer storyline out of the movie completely. the point of the movie is that she gets cancer and then has to admit julia roberts into her family so her children will have a stepmom when she dies. well they completely cut out cancer. they cut out sarandon's death. i couldn't believe that the filmmaker would have let them do that, but i guess he would do anything for a couple of dollars.
i just don't see the point in watching edited movies. it is sort of the equivalent of coming into a movie theater 15 minutes late and leaving 15 minutes early. you aren't seeing the real movie. it is just my suspicion, but i think that the execs at logo probably made a conscious decision to show pg versions of its movies instead of the real versions because they are trying to make their network accessible to everyone, not just queer adults. i understand that, but i think that the network has really made a misstep. the compromise they have made suits noone. i think they should make a choice: either make this a 'family' network and show children's programming and adult pg fare or make this a network for gay adults and stop censoring their films. as it is, i don't want to watch it, because it doesn't suit my interests.