Ellen made me do it

We're all victims of media manipulation, aren't we?

Did you know that “Ellen” backwards is “Nelle”? As in nellie? As in, like, gay? It’s a fact. And that sneaky, subliminal message is just one of the ways that Ellen DeGeneres makes you have gay sex.

It’s true. Ellen has been found to be all-powerful. A recently released US survey reports that people in that country are having more homo sex. Lots more – twice as many men reported recent gay sex than they did in a similar survey ten years ago, and about 15 times as many women have been getting it on with other women.

And why are they having so much sex? According to gay commentators, the media is making us do it. Specifically, Ellen DeGeneres. Also, the TV show Will And Grace.

I’m not kidding. When it comes to the myriad reasons people might be having more gay sex, it seems we can’t be bothered to get up off the couch and look past the goddamm boob tube.

Please, let’s give ourselves some credit. Ten years ago, feminists still fought over how evil porn is. Today, homemade porn has eclipsed macrame as a top lesbian hobby. Lesbian erotica and sassy dyke sex parties are everywhere, by our own design – and Ellen, quirky though she may be, had little to do with it.

It’s true that representations of gay people have proliferated in recent years. But the media reflects and reinforces society’s growing acceptance of us; it does not create that acceptance out of nowhere, like magic. Why do so many of us believe the media orchestrates such changes, as though it is our all-controlling master?

It’s no different than arguments that rock music turns unwitting kids into Satanists. Or rap music turns them into rapists and murderers. When concerned Christian mothers say things like that, those of us who champion freedom of expression chortle derisively.

But when asked to explain our own behaviour, or that of our enemies, we become hypocrites. We may roll our eyes at the suggestion that the film Heathers is responsible for the Columbine high school massacre, but we do believe that Eminem possesses the souls of our youth.

Homos recently galvanized in hopes that the people behind the Grammy awards would decline to give Eminem any prizes or allow his scheduled appearance on the telecast.

Some of Eminem’s lyrics are homophobic, and gay activists blame him for violence against gay youth. Apparently, if you stop Eminem, homophobic bullies will stop beating up queer kids. It’s as though there was no gay sex or gaybashing before Ellen and Eminem.

Eminem say he writes in character, not necessarily expressing his own opinions. Gay activists say that’s hogwash. Hmmm. That’s not what we said when people wanted to ban American Psycho, in which the central character kills fags and women.


Do we think the sophisticated people who read Bret Easton Ellis or attend art movies can be trusted more than kids who like rap music? You bet we do. Freedom of expression, yes – for smartypants people we like.

The belief that media rules us is widespread and dangerous. Two recent Supreme Court decisions have created situations where media portraying lawful activity is itself illegal. In the Robin Sharpe kiddie porn ruling, judges decided that sharing representations of youth sexuality is illegal, even though the sexual activity itself is not. And in the wake of the Little Sister’s decision, Canada Customs now bans some SM representations from entering the country, even though these sex acts are lawful in Canada.

When we give the media credit or blame for our behaviour, we also relinquish responsibility for changing our fate in the real world.

Gay activists concerned with sexuality issues can do better than writing letters to Disney executives. US homos may be having more sex, but sodomy is still illegal in lots of US states. In Texas, the law – which criminalizes only homosexual sodomy – was recently upheld. In Toronto, we’re still enduring police harassment of our sexual spaces, such as the Pussy Palace and Bijou cinema.

Gay activists concerned about youth anti-gay violence could put their energy to better use than trying to silence a pop star. In the US, parents and educators alike prevent students from forming clubs where they can discuss gay issues. In Toronto and Vancouver, fundamentalist Christians and Muslims work to remove gay curricula from schools.

Ellen and Eminem are our puppetmasters? Please, let’s get real.

David Walberg is Editor-in-chief for Xtra.

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