Yesterday, Queerty writer Daniel Villarreal brought up some interesting questions on the new music video for Taylor Swift’s “Mean.” He writes:
Standing up for homos is becoming the cool thing to do. Taylor Swift champions this move gay-ward with a scene from her new video Mean. In it, she shows a Chris Colfer lookalike getting harassed by an entire football team and sings, “You, pickin’ on the weaker man… / Someday, I’ll be big enough so you can’t hit me / And all you’re ever gonna be is mean.” It’s a catchy song and a great message, but is she emblematic of a larger trend where companies and artists voice support for queers, but stop short offering anything other than talk?
Villarreal goes on to outline several ways companies and other public figures have begun, perhaps, to capitalize on gay-friendliness, though he cautions, “Don’t misunderstand us: We’re using Ms. Swift simply as a jumping off point for this discussion. In all likelihood, Ms. Swift may have simply recognized her gay fans and the need for anti-bullying outreach and included the GLEE-esque scene in her video because it’s a worthwhile thing to do.”
For Swift, in particular, whatever the initial motives might be, the effect is a stunning and not-so-frequent breath of fresh air in Country Music.
LGBT people are for the most part invisible in the Country Music world. There is a gay history in Country Music. We are, after all, everywhere. But that history is short and largely unknown. Chely Wright’s coming out last year was the latest gay milestone in the genre, though The Week points out other important dates, people and issues.
Regardless, I have my doubts as to whether the Country Music family would be able to fully embrace an openly gay singer. kd lang never got much “street cred” at mainstream Country events. Wright, too, has felt the sting, effectively being snubbed from what had been regular appearances at the Grand Ole Opry.
The move toward more inclusive Country Music entertainment starts with symbolic acts like Swift’s (and Dolly Parton’s and Willie Nelson’s and Garth Brooks’). More friendly and forceful representations of our lives in song and video and more outspoken support from mainstream Country singers will eventually lead to more inclusion.
Perhaps, one day, gay boys and girls in cowboy hats and with guitars in hand will become regular staples at the CMAs, ACMs and on CMT. Unfortunately, the basic, grueling work of fair representation and inclusion must come first.
Both Queerty and Bilerico have commented on a WND story about a challenge next week to the new hate crimes legislation signed by Obama on Oct. 27. They say anti-gay activists are attempting to call for violence against LGBT people. I think the plan is much simpler and less sinister, but all the more susceptible to media spin.
North Carolina was included:
Pros: Offers both the mountains and the beach. Genteel southern living abounds and you haven’t lived until you’ve seen a Southern gay pride parade.
Cons: Is infested with Nancy Robertson of Arden, North Carolina.
But, totally, my favorite suggestion:
Pros: Little Rhodey has a lot going for it. It’s small and thus easily defensible. David N. Cicilline, the mayor of Providence, is openly gay and will probably run for Governor next year. Lots of opportunities for guys who like to dress like sailors.
Cons: Sure, getting used to coffee milk and Dell’s Frozen lemonade would take some getting used to, but imagine all the drag queens running around Newport’s Breakers Mansion doing their best imitation of Glenn Close as doomed insulin-loving heiress Sonny Von Bulow in the classic, Reversal of Fortune.