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Preview: Newsnight Review to examine gay stereotyping in television

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  1. Is this show live?
    Contact Mark Ravenhill’s AgentMEL KENYONE-mail agent

  2. Please someone record it and put on YouTube, because I can’t watch it from Hungary but I want to see! :S

  3. This program is on BBC2 and all of the guests have worked for the BBC!
    Of course they are going to want to keep discrimination! This is a sick and twisted conspiracy to try and convince the gay community that it’s OK to discriminate towards us. Why is Peter Tachell or Ben Sommerskill not on the show, because they would tell the public the truth.

  4. It always baffles me when people say it’s derogatory to portray gay men as camp. The fact is most gay men ARE camp. OK not all of us, and I agree that gay characters on TV could present a more balanced portrayal, but why do some people make out that it’s all down to homophobia? What’s wrong with being camp anyway?

  5. It’s by no means perfect on the BBC – Jonathan Ross, Jeremy Clarkson and Chris Moyles, for example, are still inexplicably high-profile exponents of casual bullying and homophobia across the network – but for just one week at least, it seems, we can be proud that a prime-time, Radio Times-fronting, event drama – Torchwood – is going from strength to strength each day, gaining in popularity and critical acclaim, and its two leading men are in a relationship. No soap-boxing, no issues. It just … is! There’s lovely!

  6. Dave North 10 Jul 2009, 8:21pm

    Growing up in the 70’s I thoroughly depised the only gay role models available to me. Namely, John Inmans camp Mr. Humphries and Dick Emery’s over the top camp portrayals.

    Once I sussed out that I was indeed gay, I thought “Oh, Sh!t”, is that what I am.

    I think gay teenagers today are lucky in that they have the likes of the Captain Jack character and at least they can compare that with the likes of Sasha Baron Cohens hideous Bruno character.

    In 70’s TV you had zero choice. Gays were objects of humour and derision only.

    I eventually sussed out Dirk Bogardes gay characters in his movies of the sixties and seventies who mostly appeared run of the mill, and for want of a better word “NORMAL” and preferred that to the “cartoonish” elements provided on mainstream TV.

    I have known a few overtly camp individuals however I always got the impression that they were only emulating what they thought being gay was meant to be and not being themselves. Maybe I’m wrong. But I always had that impression.

  7. I agree with you, Richard. I am a bit camp but I can also laugh at gay jokes as much as I laugh at straight jokes. I can even laugh at myself when some people say that I am too gay. One can never be too gay, ever. However, I draw line at hateful jokes and jokes in bad taste that ridicule, and demean gays and the LGBT Community. That is out completely
    Oh and one point Dave North, Dirk Bogard was gay so he played gay characters very well.

  8. Dave North 10 Jul 2009, 8:57pm

    “Oh and one point Dave North, Dirk Bogard was gay so he played gay characters very well.”

    Point is. He had to be dead first before his biographers could even mention it.

  9. Simon Murphy 10 Jul 2009, 9:00pm

    Lots of gay guys are camp for sure. But being camp is not the defining characteristic of a gay man. Is he friendly. Is he generous? Is he loyal? Is he intelligent? Is he racist? Is he impatient? On a lot of the TV depictions of gay guys you would never know. His portrayal starts and ends with his campness. I have no problem with camp gay men on TV. Just so long as his campness is not his only feature.

  10. I agree with the thrust of what you say above, Simon, but I do think that the constant depiction of gay men on TV as poofs and camp is a massive problem. Richard, above, makes the extraordinary claim that “most gay men are camp”. This is simply not true. I am afraid that Richard is probably speaking only of the narrow band of gay men with which he is familiar. I have been involved in so many gay circles, gay societies, gay networks, and gay activities where the camp “poof” is the odd one out. This reality is however seldom portrayed on television and radio. Why? Because the camp stereotype is so easy. I also agree with Craig that tonight’s debate is hardly likely to be ground-shaking if all those concerned are fearful of not getting further work from the BBC!

  11. I am also concerned with Richards statement

    “The fact is most gay men ARE camp”

    . . . this is not my experience either. Similar to Eddy’s expereince, I have found that in the circles, groups and organisations I have been involved; camp gay men have largely been in a minority.

  12. Brian Burton 10 Jul 2009, 9:40pm

    What a wasted exercise. Every one is different so how can they review natural behaviour? I know, they want to find out how many gays are ‘Limp wristed!’

  13. Christ, If we cant even get our own acts together what hope is their.

  14. There’s lots of hope if we look at the right places.

    For example, do a web search for JOHN CORVINO, and them say hello to him on today’s thread about the Texan gay couple who were thrown out of a reatauruant for kissing in public.

    John Corvino is here with us today! And there’s nothing campy about him, trust me.

    He’s also a doll, but that’s just me.

  15. Craig writes: “Why is Peter Tachell or Ben Sommerskill not on the show, because they would tell the public the truth.”

    The truth abut what exactly? That gay men do in fact tend to be camp? Why all the denial? Is it to do with your own internalized homophobia and the fact that you cannot accept how many gay men are – yourself included possibly? You could always rebel against your nature of course, stuff yourself full of steroids and join the cult of masculinity that has rendered so many scene Marys into aggressive, “straight-acting”, uptight drones. I know which I prefer to be, dear. Clue: just be yourself and live and let live.

  16. Newsnight Review was on BBC 2 at 11:00 pm (Fri, 10 Jul) and on BBC iplayer soon after.

    It’s now 1 AM and “any” normal Newsnight program “would” have been on “very” soon after!!! This program is on BBC2 and all of the guests have worked for the BBC!

    Of course they are going to want to keep the BBC discriminating! This is a sick and twisted conspiracy to try and convince the gay community that it’s OK to discriminate towards themselves!

    Why is Peter Tatchell or Ben Summerskill not on the show, because they would tell the public the truth?

  17. I think I’m in agreement with Simon on this one. I don’t deny that many gay men are camp and I don’t hold it against them, but until relatively recently you wouldn’t have known there was any alternative gay identity. I was a big fan of “6 Feet Under” when it first came out, as it was the first gay relationship I’d seen on the box which didn’t play to all the stereotypes.
    I was brought up in the era of Larry Grayson and John Inman, and I simply didn’t relate to that. For me it shouldn’t be a culture war between camp and straight-acting gay personality types, I just want a gay role model I can relate to.

  18. Brian Burton 11 Jul 2009, 9:04am

    Friday night late, june 10th.
    I watched the prog. The did not say anything I had’nt heard many times before. There was one Lesbian writer and three gay men. A bit uneven but the BeeB is like that. They still think a womans place is at the kitchen sink!

  19. It would have been nice to see some discussion of Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, and the BBC’s anti-political-correctness policy, which is supported by the Director-general.

  20. Bentham, #14, many thanks for introducing me to John Corvino! Everyone, his website is worth a visit
    johncorvino.com/default.htm

    But do enjoy the trailer for his DVD at:
    Click here for John Corvino giving an entertaining lecture

  21. @Brian Burton Thread 17

    I had similar feelings too about the lack of gender parity . . . I would also have liked another women on the discussion panel.

    As you mentioned with regards the discussion . . . nothing we had not heard many times before. . . and so a little disapointing

  22. As ever the BBC just did a box ticking exercise with the off the shelf guests that would never go against the BBC as pay checks depend on it.

    I would love to see a program about the Stonewall riots and the disturbances in the tenderloin in San Francisco that preceded it.

    But the BBC do not really want to tell our story. As far as they are concerned we appeared in the 80’s and have no history.

  23. Princess Dot 11 Jul 2009, 8:36pm

    And wot’s wrong with being a screamer? We are gay men! Camp is what we do better than anyone else and I, for one, am what I damn well am! I put it to those of you in denial that most gay men do in fact veer towards the camp end of the spectrum that you have internalized your homophobia by building a plate of masculinized armour around your pink hearts and are in deep denial about your true nature. Just be yourselves, I say, mince don’t swagger, and stop straining your vocal chords with your “straight-acting” charade. Just live and let live. Now, where did I leave my pink feather boa…

  24. Eddy (19):

    Thank you so much for looking up John Corvino. I couldn’t believe it when I saw his post on PinkNews (Texas-gay kiss-restauraunt-police).

    Stonewall UK has taken such a strange turn compared to what is happening in America. Who could attempt to explain it?

  25. Princess Dot #22: “Camp is what we do better than anyone else”.

    You are limiting yourself, Princess. There are many many other things you can do with your energy and creativity and you can do them as well as any heterosexual – except screwing people of the opposite sex, of course! You’ll never do that as authentically as a heterosexual, even if you’re a brilliant actor. :-)

    I think you should also meditate upon the fact that extraordinary and superlative camp performances have been recorded on film and tape by heterosexual actors. Do some research! Think about it. Such camp performances, performed by heterosexuals, way outshine those of your camp friends down the pub on a Saturday night.

    Everyday camp is extremely easy to do. It’s a negative self-diminishing behaviour that does not involve real imagination or creativity. Yes, I know that those costumes take a lot of thinking about, as well as endless hours slaving over a sewing machine, and lip-synching to Shirley Bassey can be done very convincingly provided you practise enough, but this is not first-class use of one’s imagination and creativity!

    HOWEVER, if YOU wish to behave like an exaggeration of femininity then FINE! If that’s how you wish to spend your precious life, then do so, and do it well! Drag Queens provide a lot of colour when they are performing. And some gay men very much enjoy listening to another gay men holding forth in full camposity. It’s all part of life’s rich diversity. It is not to be ruled out.

    But don’t continue believing that every gay man is at heart a screaming queen! The truth is far from it!

  26. Ooh, get her!

  27. To suggest the BBC is discriminatory is frankly absurd. It is the most PC indoctrinated institution in the UK today, with its quota of gays – itself a diverse mix of masculine and feminine – spread evenly throughout its output. I am sure the Clipboard Charlies at BBC Centre are appalled at the lack of gratitude we are showing at their efforts to make us visible within all their popular output!

  28. Will the Scouser 12 Jul 2009, 7:29pm

    I know plenty of gay men who are camp and plenty who aren’t. But the camp ones are nothing like the caricatures portrayed by John Inman, Larry Grayson and Dick Emery. Those caricatures were deliberately designed to make gay men look ridiculous, and that’s why I objected to them and still do. I think it’s noteworthy that that bitch Mary Whitehouse had no objection to those caricatures, but was absolutely enraged by Colin and Barry on “Eastenders”.

  29. I think Boy George might have had the last word on the camp/straight-acting debate when he said of those who describe themselves as straight-acting that there was nothing straight-acting about having a cock in your mouth.

    Rude, but amusing.

    @Will the Scouser

    You make a good point. Some years a go a VW Golf advert was canned on account of it portraying a nice-looking middle-class twenty-something gay couple going through their morning getting up, having brekky and going off-to-work routine.

    It was the sheer ordinaryness that people found so frightening.

  30. Ivan – I see what you mean… straight acting is a clunky phrase and carries with it the insinuation that we’re trying to be something we’re not.
    As far as I’m concerned what marks me out as a gay man is simply that I’m a guy who likes guys. That’s the only part that should count. I think for those who don’t go the camp route there’s this unspoken rule that we ought to buy into all the camp trimmings, and that if we don’t we’ve sold out to the straight community somehow.
    That’s the only bit I object to. Why do I have to be labeled a ‘self-loathing queen’ just because I don’t have a flamboyant wardrobe or own every musical Judy Garland ever made on DVD? Gay men come in every stripe from butch to cross-dressing, and I resent being forced into a pidgeonhole of someone else’s making. I’m out and proud, end of discussion.
    I’d prefer an alternative description other than the loaded term “straight acting” but there aren’t that many terms to choose from which don’t sound pejorative.

  31. Ivan, #29, re. “I think Boy George might have had the last word on the camp/straight-acting debate when he said of those who describe themselves as straight-acting that there was nothing straight-acting about having a cock in your mouth”, this is nothing more than a superficial statement based on a confusion of logic and register. Whether it’s amusing or yet another example of unthinking camp bitchiness is debatable. And I don’t think you should give “Boy George” the last word on any discussion worthy of serious debate. Boy George has no credentials entitling him to enter into serious intellectual discussion of anything.

  32. “Friday night late, june 10th.
    I watched the prog. The did not say anything I had’nt heard many times before. There was one Lesbian writer and three gay men. A bit uneven but the BeeB is like that. They still think a womans place is at the kitchen sink!”

    Well said Brian my angel! :)

    There aren’t enough lesbians on the telly for us to even BE stereotyped!

    We’re invisible, and ‘gay’ means just that- ‘gay’, not ‘gay woman/lesbian’ apparently.

  33. Well, judging by the above reports, this Newsnight “special” clearly did not shake the ground! I’ve downloaded it but am wondering if it is even worth spending time watching it.

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