No secret here, I love social media. It’s a great source of entertainment and usually makes me think more and allows me to engage more than just watching TV.
It’s also no secret that I loathe certain aspects of social media. Particularly the dating apps – which I call asocial media – that I believe are undermining our humanity as an American culture. Pretty much I blame the gays for turning dating apps into hook up apps and the straights for falling for the notion that it was a good thing.
Then there’s the Trolls.
And the social media sites that are just testimonies to ignorance or racism or bigotry.
So much ugh.
But there’s also snarky and amusing private groups on social media that I love being a part of. Places where the goal is just good fun, from who can be grossest to inappropriate-but-equally-not-serious racism and sexism to meme commentary on our political backslide.
I saw this the other day on one such page that’s called Seriously, Don’t Be So Serious. I can tell you the name cuz you can’t get in without a sponsor, so neener-neener-neener.
There’s a lot of layers going on here. That’s a key component to good humor in my mind…not that there’s anything wrong with a good Dad Joke!
First, this is a still from Mommie Dearest. The film version of Christina Crawford’s story of growing up as the adopted child of Joan Crawford, a notorious Hollywood monster from the days of the Silver Screen. She’s played to camp perfection by Faye Dunaway, who earned a couple of Best Actress nominations for her work. But the real validations were the Razzie and Stinker awards and nominations this film garnered. As a matter of fact, I don’t think it lost any Razzie or Stinker award that it was nominated for, including Worst Actress, Worst Supporting Actress, Worst Film And Worst Film of the DECADE!
It was destined to be a camp classic. Completely embraced by the gay community for Dunaway’s scenery chewing acting, but on a deeper level for the story it represents. Not Crawford’s fame and narcissism, but for the fact that her adopted children were able to survive it and find a life beyond it.
That last bit is something that anyone who struggles with adversity in their young lives – like accepting their sexuality and coming out – can relate to. At least those generations when coming out was an ordeal.
Not today. Gladly!
But on the other hand, it was funny because it exploited Trump being forced to walk back his support of Putin over his own Intelligence Community by saying he misspoke and meant to say he couldn’t see why it “wouldn’t” have been Russia meddling in our 2016 election when he had actually stated that he didn’t see why it would have been Russia. Even in his apology to America that wasn’t, he still managed to say that it could also have been so many other people besides Russia.
The internet lost its tenuous grasp on civility.
Twitter was aflutter with memes and commentary depicting the ironic opposite of things that have happened. Christina Crawford’s quote from Mommie Dearest was “I’m not one of your fans, Mother!”
And it was sublimely hilarious since – by her account – all mama Joan ever wanted from her adopted children was an extension of the same blind love and adulation her fans provided. She was represented as a true Covert Narcissist.
The comment thread was an amusing and harmless bit of cattiness and snark.
It was all good natured and in good fun, until this one.
What bugged me about this was not just that people had already posted a link to the movie for those folks who weren’t familiar – so he was commenting on this without reading the whole story – but that he seemed to go out of his way to age shame those of us who did understand it.
Maybe my frustration at the flippant and dismissive “I’ll ask my 70 yr old mother” is too serious for this thread…especially since the answer is in the thread.
Worse yet would be someone who truly might not know about why Christina Crawford’s story is important to the gay community as more than just a throwaway campy quote not having a peer group outside his mother that could help illuminate him.
That’s on all of us in the LGBTQ community.
What a tragedy it would be if gay culture had a shelf life of only a decade or so. We need to understand and embrace icons that do more than *read* each other for ratings.
Why people that had to overcome things like abuse – even losing their lives in some cases – provided us the visibility, representation and freedom we have today and not take it for granted.
If we allow our community to blithely joke about their own lack of generational continuity, we’re gonna lose sight of what our community is outside our own cliques.
So, kudos to everyone on this thread who said it’s not ok to not know stuff and bothered to share the knowledge.
Bigger kudos to anyone who was curious enough to want to understand and educate themselves.
Sorry…like I said, maybe too serious a thought for this group.
I’ll sashay away for now.
PS: totally giving a hall pass on the issue to straight people on this thread…😬
…I deleted my comment.
At that point, I felt frustrated and guilty. Also that I hadn’t stepped on a social media landmine by posting a too serious comment on a humor page. But that punk kid was under my skin.
Was he really participating in the dialogue without bothering to read the actual dialogue?!?
I know! I was being too serious. Still, I was bristling at my own pet peeve that if you’re going to bother talking, you have to be aware that listening is the price of entry. This kid not reading the comments before joining the conversation would have just made him look ignorant if he hadn’t gone one step further and intimated that no one under age 70 would understand this.
But I edited my comment down to just a basic, “you shouldn’t have to be old to know about this, but maybe gay…and if you’re young and gay then it’s frustrating you don’t know because maybe that’s a sign of how our culture is broke down”.
Shocker, my actual comment was shorter than my paraphrasing of the comment…don’t bother acting surprised.
I also suggested that our culture might have more cohesiveness across generations if we didn’t spend Pride month partying our asses off instead of enriching our young people.
But then again, you can probably infer from my young heckler that there’s not a lot of respect for older gays from the newer versions.
I blame Reagan.
Then, of course, this happened.
It is ok to not like the same things. That’s not what I was taking issue with. I don’t for a moment think that living a life where you “don’t get it” is better than perhaps reading too much context into a situation.
See also: clueless
Also, see also: ignorance is not bliss
His response to my comment left me assuming this guy was at least straight-ish and very sheltered – possibly Quaker – growing up. Of course, this was also happening:
And I’m totally ok with that, from a straight person viewing a gay culture – albeit campy – moment.
Still, the bitchiness of the original comment led me to believe the guy with the 70 year old mother was totally gay. Furthermore, unless his mother was 45+ when he popped and locked his way into the world, he should have at least a glimmer of recognition when confronted with a screen portrayal of Christina Crawford. So, of course I felt I had no choice but to actually fully explain my frustration…thusly:
The comment was basically me bemoaning the fact that gay generations are typically pretty isolated from one another. There’s no passing of the cultural torch from one generation to another to create a tapestry of gay culture and history . The one time we can count on an open commingling of the generations is Pride. I wouldn’t say I’ve observed us fully interacting during Pride, but at least we all came together to celebrate a moment and party in the sun.
So, my point was that if we removed the Pride party atmosphere, we’d have a venue to interact, exchange stories and ideas, etc.
Think about how February works with Black History Month. Much more educational in my experience. But think about moving it to August…would you be surprised if BHM became a huge soul jam BBQ event? I wouldn’t – and I’d want to crash it! – but I don’t think it would maintain the same influence over black culture that I recall it having when I was coming up.
Plus, Pride takes place during the school year summer break, so we miss out on an actual classroom component of formally educating young people either on what will become their culture or on the acceptance of one that exists outside their own.
I know…too serious.
And, while I was beating myself up over getting too serious in what was supposed to be a fun venue, this happened.
…so at least I could feel like I not only salvaged a moment of over serious Xtopherness but that I’d also managed to reach someone and share a moment of alignment.
The original commenter never replied. I’m sure he’s very busy being completely and obliviously frivolous.
What a punk.
Ok…grumpy old man moment: over
I’ve got to decide whether or not to keep writing – about fun stuff now or go for a bike ride in 90+ degree sun. Either way, I’m for sure finishing this cold brew…