Desperately Important News Regarding Rosie, RuPaul, Adam Lambert, Rachel Berry and NPH

ROSIE:

Anyone else watching The Rosie Show nightly as I am? The show continues to find its legs (she randomly changed the entire set this week) but it’s always entertaining and definitely brings me back to my high school days when I used to come home to the original syndicated Rosie show after school.

One of my favorite bits on the show featured a young boy named Ben, a budding fashion designer at the ripe age of…11 years old! He talks about his admiration for RuPaul, his love of design and how it feels to get bullied at school for being different.

Rosie also appeared on Piers Morgan last night and spoke eloquently about the three great loves in her life: Kelli, her current girlfriend Michelle and a woman she dated early on: “You have one relationship in your life that’s kind of crazy and out of control a little bit and that usually doesn’t last very long but takes you into the deep water.”

She also went into more detail than I can ever remember hearing about her experience dating (and living with) a man named Mike in her twenties: “There was something really glorious about being in a relationship at the supermarket with your partner, getting stuff for the football game on Sunday and having the cashier say, ‘How long have you guys been dating?’ When you’re there with a woman, with your same sex partner, no one asks.”

ADAM LAMBERT:

Adam performed the TV debut of Trespassing‘s (out March 20) first single “Better Than I Know Myself” on The Tonight Show last night sans the usual eye make-up.  Heads up: set your DVR for Ellen on Thursday!

RUPAUL:

In a new interview with the Huffington Post, RuPaul pretty much tells politically correct America to get over itself:

On Lance Bass’s apology for using the word “tranny”:

“…His intent would never be to be derogatory. Never. So, you know, that’s really ridiculous. And I hate the fact that he’s apologized. I wish he would have said, “F-you, you tranny jerk!”

And he unsurprisingly had no problem with Work It:

You know, I gotta tell you, my 10th grade teacher, Mr. Penell, told me, he said, “Ru” — my real name — “Don’t take life so seriously.” I didn’t get it then at 15 years old, but trust me, as the years went on I got it. We live in a culture where everyone is offended by everything. Everybody’s like, “Oh my god, I’m offended!” It’s an ego-based culture we live in. The ego has everything to do with identity. So, you know, drag actually mocks identity. So it doesn’t really make any sense. I think, in my world, in my circle of friends, we mock everything! [laughter]. Everything is up to be mocked. Don’t take anything seriously.

And listen, if you’re offended by a name that somebody calls you, or something, whatever, you gotta take that up with your therapist, kiddo, cause you know what, you’re not going to be able — now you got me riled up! You know, I live in the West Village, and everybody wants to make the world baby-safe, soften the corners, so that nobody gets hurt. It’s like, kiddo, this world, there will be blood — there will be blood — so you better toughen up now or you’re going to suffer the consequences later.

GLEE:

Rachel Berry’s two gay dads have finally been cast and will make their debut on the Valentine’s Day episode (airing February 14). Jeff Goldblum and Broadway vet Brian Stokes Mitchell will share the honors of being Papa Berry.

NEIL PATRICK HARRIS:

NPH and partner David Burtka are featured in a lengthy article and romantic photo spread in Out Magazine’s “Love” issue.

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Jess is a pop culture junkie living in New York City. She enjoys endless debates about The L Word, Howard Stern, new techy gadgets, DVR, exploring the labyrinth of the Lesbian Internet, memoirs, working out, sushi, making lists, artsy things, anything Lady Gaga touches, traveling, puppies, and nyc in the fall. Find her on Twitter @jessxnyc or via email.

Jess has written 267 articles for us.

53 Comments

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    Because words don’t have meaning and that meaning doesn’t affect the way we conceptualise the world. And also that show wasn’t about making women look stupid rather than lovingly teasing them and also complaining that we stole all the jobs. Art reflects society Ru Paul, so if that reflection is hugely and negatively distorted then the people it distorts have a right to kick up a godamn fuss before it infects the way other people see us.

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    Is Ru Paul saying that if you react negatively to someone calling you something offensive, that means you have problems?

    Excuse me, what the fuck?

    Negative reactions to someone spouting offensive things are completely normal. EVERY SINGLE PERSON WITH COMMON SENSE KNOWS THIS. Being put-down by other people is unacceptable, and everyone has the right to be offended when someone tries to hurt you!

    Wow, Ru Paul. Just… wow. I can’t express my exasperation in words. You’d think that a PoC who makes a living dressing up in a typically female fashion would be more sensitive about this issue.

    On a lighter note, NPH and Burtka are ADORABLE.

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      “You’d think that a PoC who makes a living dressing up in a typically female fashion would be more sensitive about this issue.”

      This is a genuine question — isn’t it also his right to not care and to keep it real when he’s asked about it in interviews? You can’t tell him he has to be sensitive to certain types of language — if that’s how he feels, then that’s how he feels. I disagree with most of his opinions in that interview, especially his wise idea for what Lance should’ve said, but I don’t think he’s being an offensive person for sharing those opinions.

      The real world is hard, he is right about that, and outside of these academic liberal circles, nobody really gives a fuck about trigger warnings or using “gay” to mean “stupid” and maybe by freaking out about EVERYTHING – like an openly gay man using the word “tranny” because he didn’t know that it wasn’t PC anymore — we become like the bois who cried wolf and then nobody’s listening when that slur comes as part of violence or aggression. Like maybe if there hadn’t been an uproar about Lance Bass, then RuPaul would’ve listened a little harder about ‘Work It’ (which would’ve been a totally different situation if it had been a genuinely funny show, instead of a show that apparently found men dressing as women inherently hilarious and based the entire thing around that. i mean i found that very offensive, of course. but i can’t make RuPaul agree with me.) (I think Brittani explains it really well in her article about racism on 2 broke girls.)

      i guess i feel like — on the internet we all ascribe to The Rules of Being PC but most people in their private lives (including me and most everyone i know) isn’t like that, everything is fair game, we have to laugh at ourselves. maybe it’s like… sometimes “being PC” feels like a game we’ve all agreed to play because nobody has patience for nuance anymore.

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        Actually, Riese, I disagree with most of what you have to say about this. Calling someone out for saying something that offends people is ALWAYS a good idea. Sometimes it’s hard to do, but if you know it’s hurtful, such as using “gay” as a slur or saying “tranny”, how can you say that making a fuss and calling someone out is “crying wolf”. I have friends who don’t know (because they aren’t thinking critically) that tranny is offensive and that real people get hurt when they say it. Should I just sit back and say, oh well, at least it’s not as bad as “Work It”? And no, of course you can’t tell someone (like RuPaul) they have to be sensitive to that language. But you can tell them that, to be respected by you, they have to be respectful. It’s RuPaul’s “right” to say whatever the fuck he wants– and it’s my right to say, his words hurt people and I wish he cared.

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        It is his right to not care. It’s totally fine to not be offended or take things seriously. But the way he expresses it, the way he tells other people that “…if you’re offended by a name that somebody calls you, or something, whatever, you gotta take that up with your therapist…” I just can’t support that. If he was personally talking about how he reacted to disparaging comments, I’d be fine with that. But when he implies that if you react negatively to bad comments, you must have ‘issues’ and be overly sensitive? That’s a problem.

        It’s impossible to expect everyone to be all PC all the time. If someone obviously means no harm, it really doesn’t do us any good to raise a huge outcry about it. Every little social faux pas is not on the same level as full-out hate speech. Correcting and educating is a good idea, nonetheless, but screaming at the person who made the mistake doesn’t accomplish anything.

        However, if someone is offended by, say, the use of the word “tranny”, it’s within their rights for them to be offended/triggered/set off. You can’t hold accidentally triggering someone against a person, but you can find someone saying “you shouldn’t feel this way, take life less seriously!” to be a bit insensitive.

        Everyone has different reactions to different events, and the real issue I have with what Ru Paul said is that he’s trying to discount when people actually get their feelings hurt.
        In today’s day and age, if you’re aware that what you’re saying isn’t PC, you have to expect an outcry (When you aren’t aware that it’s offensive, it’s definitely excusable and possibly a teaching moment). That doesn’t take away your right to say it, however, and it doesn’t make it any less authentic. But just like someone can react positively to what you say, there are people who may react negatively, and discounting/disregarding the negative reactions isn’t right. Discounting or disregarding the positive reactions isn’t right, either.

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          well. i actually don’t have anything else to say in response to your comment, rae, because everything you wrote here makes perfect sense and i get it/agree. thank you for answering my questions (they were real questions!) and expanding on the points raised in your comment!

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          i’m having an “oh my god i love autostraddle so much” moment. rational discussions like this make me go weak in the knees.

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          I was just about to say that we should send discussions like these to our politicians as examples of how to listen to each other and learn from each other. Autostraddlers rock.

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          “The first principle of non-violent action is that of non-cooperation with everything humiliating.” Caesar Chavez

          This goes way beyond having “feelings hurt.” Tranny is used to ridicule, humiliate and objectify trans women, remove our womanhood and to paint us with a “men in dresses” meme (which is where our objections to “Work It” overlap) in an attempt to marginalize us. Language is part and parcel of oppression. It’s also become common usage to use “tranny” as an insult to cis women by comparing them to ‘ugly-fake’ trans women… an insult on both sides. I have no problem with any trans woman or drag queen calling themselves “tranny” but if anyone tries to tell me “you have no reason to object to its use… stop being PC, get a thicker skin” using it to refer to persons who have traumatized by its use or using it community-wide or “we’re reclaiming it” then I have zero respect for you and, yes, I will call you out on your ignorance and lack of empathy.

          RuPaul is a mega jerk in my opinion. He has a long history with “tranny” arguments and trying to piss off trans people (this is far from being the first time) and trying to use it for publicity. He knows every once in a while, some cis media person is going to ask him about it (because he’s many gay man’s idea of what transgender is) and he never qualifies it that he doesn’t ID as trans, live as a woman and should only speak for himself. When he said in the interview that “tranny is never used as an insult” he crosses over into being a hater, and transmisogyny/misogyny.

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        The debate about language usage isn’t about being PC or even being offended by certain words. The words that we use and the words that society deems acceptable to use don’t exist within a vacuum; they’re indicative of what society as a whole values and accepts. When someone uses a pejorative word like ‘tranny’, they’re using a word that has centuries of historical meaning and context behind it where trans women have been systematically oppressed and marginalized. This isn’t about whether or not someone finds something offensive, it’s about the historical context of words and the way that language shapes our lives and our values. Slurs affect the way that marginalized communities are perceived and that, in turn, has an effect on how they are treated.

        This person explains it far better than I ever will be able to:
        http://genderbitch.wordpress.com/2011/04/02/words-offense/

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          Also, the fact that these slurs are pervasive in the ‘real world’ outside of liberal circles is the problem and the argument that there are more important things to worry about comes from a really privileged place. This is from something different, but it is still incredibly true: “To ask that we not speak about them, or that we focus on “something more important,” is to erase our lived experiences and to ignore the ways the accumulation of little things can add to the weight of racism.” People shouldn’t just lie down and take the use of oppressive slurs just because some people just don’t get it. That’s just contributing to the problem.

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          Thank you for this link. I’ve been thinking about “political correct”ness a lot recently. A lot of what she says sums up some of what I’ve been thinking.

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      What’s wrong with “someone having the opinion of growing a thicker skin” is that it says that you can say whatever you want, and if people get hurt, it’s their problem. It’s part of the idea that if only those minorities didn’t make so much fuss, these problems would go away. It says, “A racist joke? I’m not actually racist even though I laughed. I laughed ironically.” Or that using a word that has been used over and over again to reduce trans* or gender non-conforming individuals as a joke or a slur is fine because, hey, the world is hard out there–why should I have to respect people?

      Do I think it’s important for people to have thicker skins to deal with the tough world out there? yes. But if you think that’s an adequate excuse to be a part of what is making that world so tough, maybe you should look at yourself.

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        “is that it says that you can say whatever you want, and if people get hurt, it’s their problem”

        Unless you are objecting to what other people say. Then you should shut the fuck up. I think this relates conceptually to the tone argument. Its another way to shame minorities into being quiet and to disregard what they say when they won’t.

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      Well, I think taking offense to the content of “Work It” was less about being sensitive and more about how terribly cheap the humor was, along with the very real concern that a lot of people would laugh at those jokes not because they poke fun at stereotypes but because they believe those stereotypes to be truly descriptive of real people. Also the idea that bros who work in totally different industries could honor a pact to get each other jobs.

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      Like trans women don’t already have thick skins? Get serious! Tell you what, you trade places with a trans women and live in their body 24/7 in this society for a few weeks, then you’ll see what the problem is with any non-trans person telling them to get a thicker skin.

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    Aww Ben is a cutie patootie. I wish I was that talented when I was little! It seems his parents support him all the way which is awesome.

    Great vid of Adam. Not digging this song, but hopefully the rest of the album is good!

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    While I disagree with a lot of what RuPaul says, but I do agree that people need to lighten up a bit. Everyone takes everything so seriously and is so paranoid about being politically incorrect and ahh, just eat a Girl Scout cookie and calm down.

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    Iiiiii can not even being to discuss how much I hate the sentiment of “you just need thicker skin” and “stop being so upset and offended”. There’s this horrible expectation of pacification that goes with it and it’s just ughkj;lkdudfangrykeyboardsmashingasiu.

    No one is allowed to be upset. No one is allowed to get mad. No one is allowed to get offended. No one is allowed to feel anything other than a-ok and you know what? Fuck that.

    *rageragerage*

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    Rosie’s interview you guys. I know Rupaul’s commentary is a way more hot button topic, but oh my god. That interview. I give it 10 Maddows.

    What she said about the presidential candidates resonated deeply, finally giving words to what I’ve been feeling about this race.
    “That hurts in a way that I don’t think the politicians really realize.”
    That is my deepest feeling about this republican primary. Thank you Rosie.

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    Hmmm well on one hand I think having thick skin is good yes, on the other, stupid people have told me to “Lighten up” after a guy kept grabbing my ass and trying to do shit to me at a party so yeah no. Lets all try and not sweat the small stuff unless its actually big? (Which is often). Also..Rupaul isn’t the best when it comes to actual transpeople sometimes…he isn’t trans which people seem to forget, and I think that has something to do with him not being as offended is all. Its like my 90% Straight Bi friend who often makes “That is so gay.” comments, she has the privilege to not be gay when she feels like it, maybe its a similar deal? Not the same, just, he’s a rich guy surrounded by liberal people, he isn’t a trans kid living on the streets.

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    I literally gasped when I saw that Brian Stokes Mitchell is playing one of Rachel’s dads. I hadn’t thought of him (I was hoping for Jesse L. Martin or Taye Diggs) but I’m thrilled with the casting. That man’s voice makes me melt. If you haven’t heard him sing, look up “Make Them Hear You” from Ragtime. Chills.

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    RuPaul isn’t trans. So hearing that “tranny” isn’t offensive from him is pretty meaningless. And there’s nothing wrong with having a thick skin, but telling other people to ‘just grow one’ when people are killing themselves is useless and cruel. Fuck you, RuPaul.

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    So I just blogged about this on my fledgling tumblr (http://lifesplosion.tumblr.com/)

    For the first time I think I’ve fully articulated why Rupaul’s use of the word “tranny” makes me so mad.
    First off, context:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/13/rupaul-on-rupauls-drag-race-obama-tranny_n_1205203.html?ref=mostpopular

    The man refuses to acknowledge the complex contextual nature of the word. The word has cultural context for gay men too, completely apart from the word used to harass and ridicule trans* people. The gay male and drag community have a legitimate voice in the issue- they’ve been harassed with the word too. Lance Bass articulately acknowledges the cultural context of the word here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lance-bass/why-we-shouldnt-use-the-word-tranny_b_1168078.html
    My beef comes from the refusal of some members of the gay male and drag communities to acknowledge that the word is considered a slur for a lot of people in the trans* community. Ru Paul could effectively use his celebrity to highlight the contextual nature of the word, and justify his use of the word to reclaim the gay male context of the word for gay men and drag queens. He could use that same opportunity to acknowledge the extremely negative and hurtful connotations that the word has for huge portions of the trans* community.

    But, he doesn’t. Instead, he’s a total fuckwad about it and unilaterally and unapologetically dismisses the complex history and contextual nature of the word altogether, and tells the entire trans community that our concerns have zero legitimacy.

    Lame shit, brah.

    And last but not lease, Simon Pegg fucking nails it:

    “People will often cry gross over-intel­lectualisa­tion when popular culture is critically addressed, as if it is somehow exempt from serious considerat­ion because it is itself ‘non-serio­us’, just a bit of fun that doesn’t require or deserve dissection­. I disagree; every expression of art is a product of its environmen­t and as such will reflect the concerns, preoccupat­ions and neuroses of the time. Mainstream entertainm­ent particular­ly, by its very nature, has to reflect the dominant modes of thinking in order to qualify as mainstream­, and in that respect, mass entertainm­ent is even more fun to pick apart.”

    — Simon Pegg, ‘Nerd do well’

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        Agreed.

        I mean, I think Ru Paul knows that he can make money from being inflammatory. Unfortunately he’s chosen to be inflammatory not to the status quo, but to a wildly discriminated against portion of the population.

        I think it speaks to the quality of his morality as well as his intelligence.

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    Does no one remember when they showed an actual picture of her dads already? Like we’ve seen them. And now they’re bringing people in just for the hell of it. I don’t understand why they can’t just use the dudes from the picture that was in her locker or some actors that could truly benefit from the screentime. Hire some no name gay guys or something. Jeez.

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      It bothers me more that the guys they’re bringing in aren’t gay actors – we all know there are plenty of gay actor/singer/waiters in Hollywood waiting for a break than there are gay actors who actually have screen credits – than it bothers me that they’re different than the picture. I figure if they could switch Darrens in the middle of Bewitched and act like there was nothing going on, then this is small potatoes.

      I think it’s really funny that practically every single Glee fan fiction story prominently features Rachel’s dads to the point where they have well-established character traits, styles of dress, hobbies, etc. that are consistent from one story to the next no matter who wrote it, but they’ve never been seen on the show until the 3rd season. I’m anticipating howls of outrage if the characters are different than what’s been established as “canon” in fan fiction. Hell, I anticipate me being indignant if they get it wrong.

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