Friday, June 05, 2009

Know your lgbt history - Foxy Brown and Cleopatra Jones

Everything still seems to be on deck for tomorrow regarding my column in The State newspaper.

But that's tomorrow. Let's get through today.

The blaxploitation period of American cinema was an interesting time. It was when filmmakers suddenly figured out that black folks liked movies, could write and direct films, and that black women could carry motion pictures.

The films from this period encompassed good(Blacula, the Cleopatra Jones series), bad (The Mack, Soul Vengeance), and so damned awful that you had to watch them for their campy quality (Dolemite, Truck Turner).

Still there were drawbacks. The films, for the most part, were violent and coarse. They took the stereotypes of the superstud black man and the extremely racist white man and blew them up to outrageous proportions.

And how these motion pictures portrayed lgbts were just awful. Gay men of all stripes were seen as weak.

And lesbians were portrayed as threatening. White lesbians in particular were seen as either subservient to black women or as criminals.

These two clips demonstrate my point.

The first is from Foxy Brown, a motion picture starring Pam Grier. Grier plays a woman seeking to free her neighborhood from a drug and prostitution cartel. In this scene, she is involved in a lesbian barroom brawl:

This second clip is from a more sophisticated movie, Cleopatra Jones. Tamara Dobson portrays Jones, an international super spy who is battling a lesbian drug lord named Mommy. That's right, her name is Mommy.

But it gets better. Mommy is portrayed by two-time Oscar winning actress Shelley Winters. And this performance didn't exactly hurt her career. She would later get another Oscar nomination for the Poseidon Adventure.

I'm ashamed to admit that despite how insulting it was, I enjoyed Winters's performance. It's obvious that she did not take this movie seriously. Winters doesn't just chew scenery, she grinds it into powder.

Her performance, in fact, softens the insult of the evil lesbian stereotype just a little.

In this clip, Winters explodes on the scene at 2:00 but watch the entire thing. It's entertaining as hell:

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Friday midday news briefs

Pride & Prejudice - Just one state away from me comes a hot mess.

Fla. Bar support in gay adoption case upheld - I love to see the religious right lose not matter how big or small the court case.

R.I. lawmakers debate gay benefits, drop bill - Well this sucks. They want to help us when we pass away but not when we are alive.

'Ten Commandments Judge' Makes 2nd Run for Governor - Roy Moore is running for governor again and apparently it's OUR fault. Okay I will take being blamed for Bjork's dead swan dress at the Oscars before I'm going to be blamed for this.

Knoxville restores GLBT web access to schools - We win in Tennessee!!

Obama more than tolerant of homosexual lifestyle - Can someone please tell me what the "homosexual lifestyle" is. I'm a homosexual and even I don't know!

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Truth Wins Out puts another nail in the coffin of the ex-gay farce

From Truth Wins Out:

For decades, anti-gay organizations have gleefully pointed to Masters & Johnson’s 1979 book, “Homosexuality in Perspective”, that claimed to cure homosexuality. Indeed, Dr. William H. Masters and Virgina E. Johnson, the husband and wife sex research team, went on Meet the Press on Sunday, April 22, 1979, to discuss their finding that homosexuals could be converted into heterosexuals. The book has since been used by the so-called “ex-gay” industry to “prove” gays could go straight, if they just tried hard enough.

In his groundbreaking new book, “Masters of Sex”, author Thomas Maier discovered through investigative reporting that the results of Masters & Johnson’s study were entirely fabricated. Virginia Johnson acknowledged that the results were fake. She had actually argued in 1978 that book should never have seen the light of day - but it was already to late in the publishing process to undo the damage.

One can not overstate the importance of Maier’s findings. They undo the very underpinnings of the so-called “ex-gay” therapy movement, further showing that there is no scientific evidence or data to support the outdated idea that gay people can become heterosexual through therapy. Indeed, many people who have undergone such “treatment” claim the experience was harmful and that they were psychologically damaged. The American Psychiatric Association says that attempts to change sexual orientation can lead to “anxiety, depression and self-destructive behavior.”

Yet another reason why Truth Wins Out is one of my favorite webpages!

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