Friday, May 28, 2010

Watching "Glee" will make you a bigot

I should qualify that title by admitting that I am a satirical racist, or at least comically insensitive. I once referred to Schindler’s List as “a delightful family romp,” and plan to spend next Halloween as a Bolivian peasant. But it’s my feeling that anyone who has a command of the possessive plural and appositives, such as I’ve shown in this paragraph, also understands the nuance necessary for racism-as-commentary.

That being said, I have never felt such unbridled, venomous hostility for any group as I do the creators of Glee. If you’re not someone’s mom, you might not know that the show is centered on a high school glee club, composed of two Asians, one black girl, one homosexual, an adopted girl with gay parents, and a handicapped kid. Literally. This show has the balls to feature a wheelchair-bound character. And where might such a microcosm of diversity exist? A performing arts school in the Bronx? Any ‘90s sitcom? Nope! It’s Ohio.

In an effort to turn this experience into a teaching tool, I’ve provided a list of ways to tell when Glee is turning you not into a Gleek, but a Gleenophobe:
• You notice that out of all the minority groups depicted, the Indian principal has a thick, evil-sounding accent, like Mickey Rourke in Iron Man 2. Maybe this is some kind of self-aware joke about the hipness of cultural sensitivity. Which would make it almost more terrible.
• When the Meany Madpants Football Players pick on the boy dressed as Gaga-Mozart, you’re kind of on their side. Five or six blows to his smugly flamboyant face would be crackerjack about now!
• During the “Don’t Get an Abortion” serenade, you find yourself actually rooting for the abortion. Just cheering and cheering, hoping that maybe, just maybe, she’ll get a hysterectomy as penance for sleeping with a man who would sing “Beth” by KISS to dissuade her.
• When the hetero lead eventually flips out, calling his newly decorated room “f*ggy” over and over, for the first time you understand the functionality of the word. Holy shit, that lamp does look like a cock! This decorating job blows! Almost as much as the terrible, horrible goblin of a queen who decorated it!

Listen, I went to NYU, too. I grew up in a town full of alternative families and ethnically disparate citizens and very confusing potlucks, and photos from my birthday parties look like a damn inner city mural. So listen to me when I warn: Once Glee has you in its clutches, no pep talk from Mike O’Malley is going to bring you back.

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