Archive for November 12th, 2009

Gay or not?: Chris Colfer does the hokey pokey in and out of the closet

Chris ColferYesterday, Glee co-star Chris Colfer gave an interview to USA Today wherein he half-heartedly took a step back into the closet. All at once, Colfer’s comments were confusing, inconsistent and, to me, maddening.

Let me backtrack.

For those unfamiliar, on Glee Colfer plays the designer label-wearing, “Single Ladies”-choreographing, gayer-than-Christmas character Kurt. Kurt is one of the funniest characters on the show — lovingly and sensitively written — and Colfer does a great job playing him. He’s totally flamboyant, but the character doesn’t come across as minstrel-y. All in all, Kurt is a great role model for flamboyant young kids.

So, being that Kurt is the gayest character on the gayest show on network television, one would be tempted to make assumptions about whether the actor playing the role is gay himself. Colfer has been asked about it before and publications like After Elton and The Advocate have matter-of-factly discussed him as being out. He’s said a couple times that he wasn’t out in high school because people are “killed” for it in his hometown.

So, it seemed bizarre and inconsistent that in the USA Today interview he decided to play coy. From the article:

Playing an openly gay kid means fielding questions about his own sexuality, which Colfer doesn’t address.

“I try to keep up a mystery. As much as I give away of my personal life, the less people will believe me as other characters. I try to be private about it. It is what it is,” Colfer says with a shrug.

This drives me nuts.

I don’t want to be too hard on Colfer. Even today, coming out is always hard and you have to remember that he’s basically just a kid (born in 1990, for the love of God). And I certainly can’t imagine coming out to the entire country when I was 19.

Still, this is the latest in a troubling pattern of behavior by gay celebrities. Whether you’re Michelle Rodriguez or Ricky Martin or Sean Hayes or Anderson Cooper, dodging the gay question has been a time-honored tradition. However, the idea of not only dodging the gay question, but actively aspiring to achieve a sort of glass closet mystique strikes me as willfully and actively dishonest.

The most recent high-profile case of this phenomenon was American Idol’s Adam Lambert, who danced around the gay question for ages despite the fact that he was pretty much openly gay before the show. There were photos of him, essentially, shitting glitter and neon glowsticks. No one was fooled, but it kept people talking. And then he had his big Rolling Stone article and the beaten dead horse of Lambert’s sexuality was finally buried.

Now, Colfer’s decision to intentionally obfuscate (and self-contradict) his sexual orientation is both disappointing and aggravating. It’s aggravating because it reinforces the idea that being gay is something that should be hidden. “It’s none of your business” is something you say when you’re caught cheating on your wife or if you’re trying to cover up a blemish with the law. “Yeah, I’m gay. What’s so interesting about that?” is the attitude that Lambert and Colfer should be expressing. No one would ever play coy about their national origin or religion (unless, maybe, you’re a creepy Scientologist).

As for his concern about getting roles — I can understand why actors in particular would be hesitant to discuss their homosexuality. Getting roles is a cut-throat business and casting directors are fickle. But, let’s face it, actors like Chris Colfer and Sean Hayes are never going to be the leads in heterosexual romantic comedies (Other actors like, say, T.R. Knight might be able to get away with it. It’s just a fact). No one is ever going to say “Well, we can’t get Gyllenhaal, somebody get Chris Colfer’s people on the phone.”

It may not feel good to be limited to certain roles and put in a specific box, but that’s all Hollywood is — boxes.  Actors are typecast all the time based on their race, their age or their level of attractiveness. Steve Buscemi might want to get the same roles as George Clooney, but it’s never going to happen. (It’s not the end of the world, though. The rules are definitely bendable. Neil Patrick Harris’ role as Barney on How I Met Your Mother works so well because he isn’t traditionally masculine.) Colfer happens to be baby-faced, wirey and fey. Confirming or denying his sexual orientation isn’t going to change a thing.

I’m not advocating a witch hunt to “out” anyone in Hollywood (politicians, however, are a different story). Beating down an actor’s door to force them out of the closet doesn’t do anything but imply that they’ve been “exposed” as being gay. But as long as there people in Maine voting to strip away the rights of committed couples and a complete ban on gay people in the military, it’s important to for everyone to be out and unashamed.

This coy business isn’t cute. It’s counterproductive.

16 comments November 12th, 2009

Music: The XX

As you begin to circle the drain of 30 (a true “what have you done with yourself” sort of age), a lot of things begin to make you feel old. Rock concerts where you keep anxiously shifting because of your lower back pain. Not recognizing most of the people on the MTV Video Music Awards. Feeling the urge to buy property.

One more thing that will make you feel old is The XX. This British co-ed quartet is all baby fat and smooth skin, but they’ve made one of the most sophisticated albums of the year. Whenever I listen to their self-titled debut I’m in shock that this record was made by kids who have barely entered their twenties. Kids, I tell you.

The XX makes remarkably restrained, darkly sensual songs. Singers Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sims trade verses like morbid pillow talk against the backdrop of mellow beats and clean electric guitars. It’s subdued music, but it’s not suitable for the background — it’s music for a variety of nighttime activities.

This is the video for their song Crystalized.

1 comment November 12th, 2009

Friday Night Lights: In the Skin of a Lion

Last week on Friday Night Lights, Coach was mocked for forfeiting the first game of the season. Matt met his new “mentor,” the pantless metalworking artist. Tami encountered friction with the Panther boosters and the Dillon students when she turned in fancy running back Luke Cafferty for lying about the district his parents’ home is in. Landry and Vince took a leadership role in uniting the East Dillon Lions, and Tim joined the Lions as kind of an assistant coach. He also moved in with Alicia Witt and her teenage daughter, whose name we think is Becky. Now, this week!

Click to continue reading “Friday Night Lights: In the Skin of a Lion”

4 comments November 12th, 2009


Calendar

November 2009
S M T W T F S
« Oct   Dec »
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
2930  

Posts by Month

Posts by Category