This was my first real paper that I wrote for a Leftist audience. It was originally written a few years back and published on the Kasama Project’s website. It is long, protracted, and offers up something that I felt passionately about. Though when I look back on it now I feel it was poorly written, I feel that there is redeemable side-effects to it. Additionally, I ultimately stand by its analysis; after all, the liberal bourgeoisie is likely the greatest obstacle to revolution, and their propaganda needs to be addressed. This piece at least makes a limited attempt to do just that– engage and critique, raise awareness and consciousness. (I post it here for posterity)
“Liberalism stems from petty-bourgeois selfishness, it places personal interests first and the interests of the revolution second, and this gives rise to ideological, political and organizational liberalism.” –Mao Tse-Tung
The liberal establishment is, in regards to Queers, a contradiction. On one hand they promote social awareness of Queer causes while at the same time ‘jabbing’ Queer culture for laughs. Such actions are commonplace in liberal circles; they profess support while they jeer. The other hand stresses that even though the attention is bought at the price of debasement, it is nonetheless attention. Attention which never would have been garnered if not for the likes of Seth Macfarlane, Matt Stone and Tray Parker, Matt Groening, and Keith Olbermann. In light of these titans the big questions remain: are liberal “frenemies” proactive segments to the queer revolution or are they detriments? And what about the even bigger question- what effect does the propagation of such hypocrisy have on impressionable youth?
Part One: Ideological
American youth spend hours each day in front of a television. Programs such as reality TV, game shows, and news programs saturate the coverage of daily events. Yet, for youth in particular a single dynamic draws immense ratings: comedy.
Western media shows such as South Park, Family Guy, American Dad, The Simpsons, and others draw hundreds of thousands of viewers each weekend. Their popularity with youth is gained from “potty humor,” strong language, and hyperbolic situations unthinkable in real life. Yet for all their fame each show is not simply entertainment for it also pack an ideological angle carefully inserted by their creators.
In a fiercely conservative society such as the United States this would not be a problem if the shows were genuinely progressive. In this light we see a problem: liberalism, an ideology born from worship of Capital, baptized in stolen rhetoric, the unmitigated perseverance of money leads to false progress. Lacking the radical edge inherent in Leftist revolutionaries such programs inevitably lead viewers to hypocrisy: support of minorities while teasing.
Those of us who reside outside of the propaganda machine understand this contradiction as a destructive mechanism. One cannot actually support you Queer friends whilst also informing them of their “faggy dress style.” Genuine revolutionaries reject such actions as reactionary. The only persons who accept such actions are those who dedicate their lives to the patience of an unequal distribution of power and wealth- liberals.
Chief among the liberal hypocrites is Seth Macfarlane, the creator of the ultra-popular American show Family Guy. In a 2008 interview with The Advocate Magazine, a gay publication, Seth sat down and answered questions for the legendary news outlet. His replies in this interview are indicative of liberal ideology in that they reveal the overreaching cultural and political belief; that discrimination, a serious subject which leads to murder and suicide, can be abolished with the help of insulting comedy sketches.
Taking apart the discussion one finds vast amounts of absurd gems. An example of such a gem can be found when Seth replies to a question in which the interviewer asks if gays are the new blacks. He answers in the context of anti-gay African-Americans. His response is typical of a false progressive, “You got your [rights] and you’re denying them theirs? You of all people should understand what they’re going through (3).” This is an inane answer for many reasons bur primarily it is unacceptable due to several glaring assumptions.
The first assumption is that all people of color are equal because they have the bourgeois concept of “rights,” and that, as an extension; there exists equality between White and Black. This presumption ignores all the great amounts of discrimination which is still a daily occurrence for African-American citizens. Black men and women still fight for employment, discrimination is rampant, are fired for minor misconduct, when a white worker would have merely been reprimanded, and are paid lower wages than whites. This is not even mentioning the gross amount of Colored individuals who are incarcerated. Progress, if one is generous, has been accurately measured by historian Howard Zinn when he said that the Civil Rights movement challenged the visibility of race hate and not its actual entrenchment.
The second assumption is that homosexuals, because of the words of a single Black conservative, has never shared an alliance with people of color or organized together. This is false for once, decades ago, blacks and gays created a coalition of such strength that the bigoted Right-wing began making deceptive documentaries in an effort to divide the two oppressed groups. Though this alliance gradually fell apart as the age of AIDS arrived and as society became more conservative in reaction to the unprecedented hate campaign conducted by the religious Right in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union, fragments of this mighty partnership can still be seen in groups such as The National Association of Black and White Men Together (NABWMT), a pan-sexuality advocacy organization aimed at bringing together black and white men in order to educate them on Queer issues.
These two generalizations are brought about because in the liberal mindset history is supposed to progress, and only progress. There are not to be great movements which lack great results; only great movements which bring about great change. Acknowledging the fact that great movements can occur without any great change would mean being “unpatriotic.” It would mean criticizing the myth of American exceptionalism. Both actions are unthinkable to those who have a stake to maintain the monetary establishment. Its propagation means the propagation of myths and of the “middle class” racism and petite homophobia present in many affluent White men of power.
Powerful men, in the most powerful patriarchal society, need not worry about what others think of them. When one has wealth, fame, prestige and more one can do nearly anything and say anything so as long as it enhances your own aura and fools the rest. Another great snippet from the same interview brings this bit to life as never before. Now talking about how language is employed in the wider culture Seth says, “I’ve used that term [gay], but it’s like a homonym…” continuing he says, “Like the word ‘fag’ is a derogatory term but also a British cigarette. There’s that whole George Carlin routine where he talks about the word ‘nigger.’” A revealing piece one which only is more intriguing when Seth finishes his unintended insult. “He says that there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with that word—it’s the racist asshole using it that you gotta be worried about.”
In this part not only does Seth openly admit to his hypocrisy in that he has used homophobic words but that he believes that language can be freely used so as long as the person using it is “progressive.” Apparently Seth does not believe that speaking such words, even while not implying malicious internet, wouldn’t cause the bigots to use those same words under a false flag. Many a true progressive will find it a mystery how Seth can call himself a social progressive when he advocates for the continued use of language that has contributed to the deaths of Queer teenagers. Would it not be more progressive to simply cease using such words instead of giving credence to the hatemongers outlook?
Unfortunately, however, Seth Macfarlane would not dare to ever promote this level of political correctness. To do so would weaken his position and cause him to loose viewers; can you imagine a teen show which lacks the words, “gay, midget, princess, butt pirate, sissy, ass master, homo, lezzie, retard, and fag?” Without such language present in television the conditioned minds of youth loose interest. If there is not someone being called derogatory names and maimed or killed in a most spectacular fashion there is simply little value in watching. So, of course, Seth must continue using such words while tossing out hammed excuses like, “We’re all very progressive… so no matter what we do it [offensive jokes] can’t possibly come from a negative place.” If only, Seth, if only.
Such language ignores the reality and presumes that all will be well when gay men and lesbian women are allowed to marry (the stated goal of many self-proclaimed liberal progressives) or have equal rights. Like the earlier example of the Civil Rights movement challenging the visibility of racism, yet not the actual superstructure, obtaining gay marriage along with rights will also only challenge the presence of anti-Queer elements, not their stranglehold on power.
Part Two: Political
Now that we have established the hypocrisy of liberal views I am rushed to expose the effects such “comedy” has on living, breathing human beings. For most people who live in sensationalized nations where the Spectacle of Society has overwhelmed all, they are only able to express themselves so as far as they are able to regurgitate repeatable memes. Fads come and go, as a direct result of this spectacle, yet immaterial propaganda stays.
The liberal media has done a marvelous job at creating fads and memes. Locally speaking I can say with certainty that the shows Seth Macfarlane has created reach a wide audience. From students, to firefighters, and bottle redemption workers the comedic signature of Peter, Brian and Stewie Griffin have all connected with varying segments of even my rural community.
Phrases such as “What the Duce?!” and “The bird is the word” all make their way into amateur hour. Yet, these shows have a more reaching effect than simply individuals repeating odd, non-political phrases in order to impress their friends with a quick laugh. Occasionally such lines become political.
Speaking from personal experience I can recall a vivid instance in which I was with my fellow firefighters. We were standing in a circle, having a brief discussion about the division of labor, when after all the topics of interest were covered the exchange delved into politics and eventually gay marriage.
One man, an older conservative fellow, said that he thought that “if gays want to get married and be miserable like the rest of us than I say let ‘em!” Any who are not schooled in the potty humor of the present generation would have assumed such a statement was made of the speaker’s own imagination. This isn’t true, however. The phrase this man spoke was in fact copied wholesale from an episode of Family Guy.
The episode in question was one which tackled the hot button issue of homosexual marriage. As with many famous lines from such popular shows the line which my co-worker spoke was said ‘out of the blue’ in response to another character’s concerns. The rapid spreading of this line is an example of how nuggets of ideology can be spread. Much like the great leftist slogan “people over profits” tackle the issue of corporate control, the line “if gays want to get married and be miserable like the rest of us than I say let ‘em!” touches on marriage equality support by appealing to the feelings present within married heterosexual males.
This is a stereotype to be sure. Yet it is one which resonates with many men who have been married for decades. Part of the reason for this memes popularity is because of its sticking power and simplicity yet also because it is by nature a stereotype. In any society dominated by the specter of capital stereotypes exist to divide the working and youth classes. Bourgeois society (i.e. society controlled by a ruling capitalist class) depends on this fulcrum to keep the masses in line yet also occasionally uses it to combat revolutionary thought.
Typically Society’s Spectacle acts as a reactionary force hammering down genuinely progressive thinkers. However, sometimes when the working masses become too educated, agitated, and organized they rise up and demand change. During such cycles the ruling class will use any weapon in order to quench such thirst for change while also at the same time maintaining their own interests. One such weapon is false progressives such as establishment based liberal; liberals such Seth Macfarlane.
Controlling the media, establishment based liberals serve the ruling class by denigrating real progressive revolutionaries. While false progressives and real progressives fight for the same immediate cause they differ on their ultimate end goal. Real progressives wish for a worker controlled society while false ones fight to maintain the status quo. In this sense, false progressives battle for the immediate goal, in this case gay marriage, in a belligerent way. Crushing their opposition via propagating caricatures of real people (stereotypes) they combat the revolutionary upswing while marshaling towards their goal.
Seth openly encourages the promotion of such tactics when he responds with “There are obviously many different types of gay personalities… [But] Certainly [my favorite is] the singsong stereotype.” This is in response to a question about what makes homosexuality such a ‘ripe source for humor.’ Clearly he has no qualms about any of his reactionary practices or their effects on society.
This is an insidious tactic, to be sure, yet one which liberals will continue to use so as long as they are in power. From here one might be able to see the brother strand of this tying into their hypocrisy about support and jeer. We now understand that not only do liberals show their blatant disregard for politically correct principals by skewering the disenfranchised but also by promoting hurtful stereotypes.
The cited example is, admittedly, but a single occurrence. Yet if this line could even make its way into the fire department of a small conservative town than it is safe to say that within the online and city sphere it has become an epidemic. With this kind of contagion ability it is important to remember the overall goals of liberalism: profit, at any costs through the use of stereotypes. In the same Advocate interview Seth says the following in regards to people comprehending his humor, “But there are some bits that we do… that are just pure comedy which I hope are not influencing people.” Bits which inadvertently germinate misinformation.
Advertising disinformation and misinformation is a side effect of Establishment Liberalism. Due to the preferred methods of combatting the genuinely progressive the false progressives tend to inadvertently create an atmosphere of confusion. This confusion stems in part from ordinary profit driven storyline creation; in a politicized age many popular shows no longer create original stories but instead tend to siphon off from world events. Doing this leads to drastically prolonged lifespan yet sows uncertainty among the viewership.
While many shows have used this tactic to stay relevant, for the sake of narrowing in we shall focus on Family Guy. First premiering in May of 1998 Family Guy has been around for over 14 years. Television shows which lack creative talent usually do not stay around for so long. Though in this case Family Guy was once canceled it was promptly brought back in a number of years due to high merchandise sales and syndicated ratings. Once back the popularity skyrocketed by 239% resulting in over 2.2 million box set sales for the years of 2003 alone.
While high ratings are great for the team behind the show it often isn’t so great for the fans. While yes, they continue to see more of the show they like because the show has been fused with current events in order to make it eternal the situations and characters become so twisted and deformed they’re but parodies of their former selves.
In its fourteen year life Family Guy has felt this transformation like no other. The characters have each undergone dramatic growth that if it weren’t for the inherent reactionary nature present within such changes, it could be called a remarkable feat of creative writing.
Peter, the loving father, has gone from a well- meaning buffoon to a full-scale idiot. He transitioned from someone who was considered “cognitively healthy” to an individual with “cognitive impairments (or as the creators so gracefully say, ‘retard.’)” as well as a discovered the fact that he had black ancestors (thus making him a black character). Lois, the doting housewife, went from being an annoyed mother, to a cynical anti-feminist chastising all things her children express an interest in. Meg, the caring daughter, turned from a responsible young woman to being the scapegoat for the entire Griffin family woes; yet, she still maintains an aura of adulthood that makes her, by far, the most mature of the cast. Next to last is Brian, the anthropomorphic talking dog. Gradually this loyal house pet became a staunch liberal- atheist, wannabe writer; a stark development for what had been an apolitical supporting role.
Finally, there is Stewie, the megalomaniacal baby that held plans of world- domination. It is here which we find our most glaring mistake. Little Stewie’s transformation from a diabolical villain into a transsexual is marred with more landmines than a warzone. This isn’t due to the decision to make him a transgendered person but rather in the convoluted manner that Seth and company take in explaining such a controversial issue.
Stewie’s sexuality and sexual orientation are never clearly explained until episode thirteen of Season Eight when “Go Stewie Go” premiered. The plot is vapid but melodramatic nonetheless; when the makers of Jolly Farm Revue come to Stewie’s home town to cast potential actors for the American version of the popular show Stewie tries out but is rejected on count of his gender (the producers are looking for female talent). In desperation Stewie dons women’s clothes and creates the persona of Karina. Quickly accepted as part of the cast Stewie affectionately falls for another young actress on the show and becomes torn over his secret identity. Concluding in a climatic announcement of Stewie’s sexual identity he proclaims himself to be a proud Transsexual in front of a live taping of the show. He denounces his once former idol thus ending the episode in an awkward cinematic conclusion which leaves more questions than answers.
Prior to this finale Stewie’s identity was a murky mystery. Constantly shifting between a macho heterosexual and a flamboyant homosexual Stewie threw more curve balls than a world winning baseball team. I could go into great detail describing the nuances of the development (from the solicitations for sexual intercourse with women, to the rejection of heteronormality, to the “ex-gay conversion camps,” and back to the closeted attraction to men) but instead I will focus on merely the destructive back and forth in order to save time.
As in real life Stewie has had an emotional rollecoster within him: ignorance, denial, efforts at change, secrecy, and self-hate all mark his psyche. This is not all too different from real world Transsexual men and women; people who endure the hate of a heterosexist civilization built on greed. As any such person knows their journey is seldom peaceful as they are rejected by their family and murdered on a larger scale than even homosexuals. The Transsexual experience can be traumatic if acceptance, love and tolerance are nowhere to be seen; the actual transition process made even rougher by exuberant surgical costs.
Rarely is there a Transsexual who reports little discrimination and confusion, especially when coming to terms. Like others in the Queer community Stewie expressed all the stages of self-acceptance and eventually settled on who he actually was on the inside. This didn’t come instantly but instead through a rigorous evaluation. He second guessed himself and briefly identified as orientations which he was not of. Such a journey mirrors the real world well, though lacking the actual discrimination faced by real world Transsexuals. So, one might ask what the problem is; why is this a mistake if such a passage reflects reality true enough?
Reasons for this creative path being a mistake lies not necessarily in the chosen explanation but rather in the lack of details. Over the course of the show’s development, over the myriad of obstacles and challenges which Stewie overcomes, the writers rarely expound upon crucial concepts to understanding Stewie’s transformation.
Cartoon audiences such as those who watch Family Guy usually are composed of teenagers and working class adults (many of whom hold conservative values, as I saw from my own hands on observance at the Fire station). People like these are receptive to controversial ideas they are able to understand, digest, and make personal opinions so as long as they are provided with a non-bias account of the scientific details regarding Transgenderism.
Yet, in writing Seth fails to do this. Time after time he allows the creative team to end episodes without elaboration on what transpired. When this is combined with twists and turns involving issues such as sexual orientation and identity it is vital that accurate information is displayed in full. Otherwise the airing of such a segment is detrimental towards Queers because of the misinformation that incomplete data contains.
With a viewership spanning millions in a dozen different countries Family Guy has the potential to mar public support. Often time’s issues involving gay marriage and Transgender rights only gain public support if details are final; case in point, when asked if voters support gay marriage many responded that they would vote “yes” if they knew for a certainty that homosexuality is an inborn trait. This kind of finicky approval is tricky enough without comedians such as Seth Macfarlane having Stewie, one of the most popular characters he has ever designed; flip flopping on who he is several times per season. Lacking virtual any examination of Stewie’s mode of thought and possessing little external cues on why such a character is behaving the way he is, Seth sown the seeds of doubt in untold numbers of people simply by omitting easily inserted bit of facts.
To the politically sensitive viewer who understand little of Queer personhood a dizzying barrage of “I am straight,” “No, I am gay,” “No, I am actually a Transsexual” only renders them, at best apathetic, and at worst, Queerphobic. In order for Stewie’s brave choice to transition to have a strong cultural effect all the craters of doubt and confusion must be removed. Only when people understand what Stewie is going through without any doubt in their minds as to his Sexual Identity can progress be made. Seth failed to ensure this. As a result too many people now believe Stewie to be a gay character when the truth is far from the myth.
Liberal “support” for controversial issues has always been this though. It doesn’t matter what the topic is: Feminism, anti-war, gay marriage, Transgender rights, or anti-capitalism, the Establishment Liberals tackle the topics conservatives only touch with a hiss of fascism in order to score points with the disenfranchised; to garner a few votes while still appealing to the heteronormative majority. Deception on this scale clearly shows what they are and why their socially bankrupt organizations ultimately are doomed to failure.
Part Three: Organizational
Liberal groups inevitably lead to disaster because they sell out the people who they were supposedly fighting for. Money, politics, and ideology dictate their existence; as it turns out turning a profit is far better than serving the people. This kind of two-faced façade reveals itself spectacularly when the liberal pundits invite reactionaries onto their television and radio shows; reactionaries which go so far as to bellow lies on biblical scales.
Anti-gay, and so called “Ex-Gay,” extremists are routinely invited onto popular progressive programs for the sole reason of shock value. Shock value which equals ratings which in turn make a shiny sum for the hosts. Many outlets have done this, from CNN to Times Magazine as well as mainstream MSNBC (the self-declared heroes of gay rights). Here liberal limitations meet corporate domination.
Some notable instances include when Don Imus and Chris Matthews use the movie Brokeback Mountain to defame homosexuals during a juvenile back and forth session, when Time magazine published, back in 2006, an article written by James Dobson, a big shot in the anti-gay Focus on the Family, which unsurprisingly contained misrepresentation. CNN, during one of the Catholic churches many scandals with pedophilic priests, invited a score of fundamentalist Christians on who, in short order, refused to acknowledge the church’s inaction and hastily proceeded to claim that the church had been “infiltrated” by homosexuals; thereby equating gay men with pedophilia (a common tactic among the bigoted right).
There are, of course, many, many more instances every year. Organizations need nutcases to come on and spew nonsense because it attracts ratings; even the vaunted political show Democracy Now!, an entity which prides itself on progressive issues is not immune as they have a track record of inviting on those on the Radical Right. Then there is the more recent example of supposed gay rights champion Bill Mayor defending Anti-Gay evangelicalist Kirk Cameron when he said “…Kirk didn’t deserve the ire he got.” Mayor would go onto say this about the media and public awareness: “If you see or hear something you don’t like in the media, just go on with your life.” Such a statement blasts Queers for it, by its nature, is heterosexist: unlike heterosexuals, Queers cannot simply “get on with their lives” when the most powerful media organs constantly lambast their lives.
Few groups reject this attention garnering as most are not interested in changing the world. Most, as said before, are interested only in building their own corporate sponsored grassroots fame. Revolutionary organizations reject such tactics on the premise that exposing the wider world to people whose viewpoints are the antithesis of your own is negative.
By this we can measure which groups are real progressives (Socialist, Anarchist, and Communist) and which are false progressives (liberals, constitutionalists, moderate conservatives). The former are the ones who never invite their opposition on to speak.
Actual progress for oppressed minorities cannot be made while the groups which claim to fight for the oppressed give exposure to the enemies of the oppressed. This is because the more reactionary views are propagated the more oppression is leveled on the minority population. In liberation there is no “carrot and stick” approach; one cannot whip the enslaved with hatred and then expect progress to magically manifest. These views are not host to revolutionaries but to reformists who underestimate the power of ultra-reactionaries.
This is not to say that we as genuine progressives should ever force censorship upon liberals who are still in the process of sorting through all the intricacies of oppressed minorities, where we ever in the position to do so, but that we should, when in such a position, make suggestions and “inject”, so to speak, revolutionary tidbits into the liberal’s labors. A slight prod in the right direction to hasten their learning, in other words is what I am saying.
Only when a pure solution is used, only when real progressives are allowed to speak for real progressive issues, will progress be seen for the Queer population. Until that day the liberal demagogues will reign down misinformation from their podiums and continue to wonder why no progress has been made and why all the positives and all the negatives of society and the media are negated in an instant.
Moments in which any and all progress is lost due to liberal hypocrisy are not hard to find. To be fair, however, progress, before being eradicated, was indeed made. Most of the time liberals create progress through their chosen medium by appealing to the lowest common denominator: people’s perception, otherwise known as, stereotypes. Likewise it is lost because they, like Seth Macfarlane, fail to expound upon the central themes.
The key to examining these flashes of progress is to dissect the positive and negative attributes of each instance. To illustrate I will use two examples: the first comes from a Family Guy episode where a character undergoes a sex change operation, while the second comes from South Park and follows the use of “fag.”
Episode eighteen of season eight is home to the Family Guy episode “Quagmire’s Dad.” In this watershed installment renowned playboy Glen Quagmire excitedly introduces his friends to his war hero father. While Glenn is oblivious to his father’s “feminine” mannerisms his pals are not and quickly label him “gay.” (During a skit which stretches the tolerable amount of what is acceptable ‘gay humor’) When being honored at a military ceremony Glenn, who is not unable to cope with wondering about his father, finally gathers up the courage to ask him if he is gay. His father, Dan, replies that he is not gay but is “A women trapped in a man’s body” and that he intends to have a sex change operation.
What follows is a plot which quickly wears thin. Between the transphobic gags and homophobic jabs there is some degree of lecture on acceptance but such progress came too little, too late. Among the gems in this steaming pile of Queerphobia are scenes in which Peter texts his friends saying Glenn’s dad is [fucking] gay, a scene where Lois throws away a desert dish which Glenn’s dad, now named Ida after his sex change operation, prepared as a home greeting gift, a moment in which Brian vomited for an unnaturally long time after discovering that he had slept with Ida, and a violent confrontation to wrap things up.
It is not hard to see the negative here: sexuality induced vomiting, homophobic double entendres, romantically inspired domestic violence, and transphobic stereotypes and behaviors all mark the landscape of this flawed episode. Even more insipid than the miserable gags were Seth’s insistence that the humor was on the up and up; he defended the use of “humor” by saying that it was a part of the characters personalities.
Responding to criticism of Brian’s 45 second vomiting scene Seth remarked, “If I found out that I had slept with a transsexual, I might throw up in the same way that a gay guy looks at a vagina and goes, ‘Oh, my God, that’s disgusting.’” Unsurprisingly Seth is conflating mild sexual repulsion, the homosexual response to female anatomy, to something much more serious-mainly- the unfounded assentation that an individual would vomit after discovering that they had sexual intercourse with a transsexual. On top of this he openly admits his Queerphobia (once again).
I am hard pressed to find anything constructive in this episode yet for the sake of playing the devil’s advocate I will write on the effects of issue propagation as seen by worldly people; meaning, how the characters responses is vividly reminiscent of real world actions.
For all the degenerate depictions of Queer people there still remains a certain spark. A spark which retains a down to earth feel in a sea of hyperbolic statements. These situations are few and far between, of course, but nonetheless they are passionate enough to warrant notice.
Throughout the episode while the responses Glenn’s father receives are horrid such responses are unfortunately the norm in Western society. This is no justification for the intertwinement of humor which makes light of the situation but it is an impressive creative feat; to re-create the ills of modern society so perfectly within a situation which is intended to raise awareness makes the viewer’s less liable to feel they are being preached at. Such an approach translates to a more acceptable mood when said person encounters such people in real life.
The second positive aspect of the episode again lies in the believable response Glenn has towards his father. As any Transgender person knows family acceptance is a rarity and when Ida makes the transition she is no exception. When she and her son come home from the aforementioned dinner at the Griffin’s house an altercation ensues. The topic which is at contention is Dan’s decision to transition to Ida. After a lengthy argument on identity politics Ida decides to spend the night at the Marriott hotel.
Later in the episode, when Ida returns to Glenn’s house and the two talk, a touching scene unfolds as Ida explains to Glenn how she had been unhappy for a long time prior to having the sex-change. As she opens her heart to her son Glenn slowly starts to accept his father’s decision. In a striking moment, while he is intoxicated by liquor and emotional turmoil, yet feels that he must make a decision on how he will treat his father, he says, in an exhausted tone , “I dunno dad, it’s just… an awful lot to accept.” To this Ida responds, “I know it is son, but you have to understand that before doing this I was miserable for a very long time, but now I am happy.” Glenn hangs his head, clearly ashamed of how he had acted and finally goes to embrace his dad; accepting him for who he is: a woman.
The emotion created here in this sub-plot is striking for the same reason that the first positive attribute was a plus to the episode: the events were believable to those who are unaccustomed to Queer identities. Often times in television interpersonal relationships between father and son are boiled down to vague archetypes. When one throws in Transgender complications the relationship would become something most networks wouldn’t even air out of petty bourgeois morality. In this regard it is a positive aspect that Seth dared to take such a route in his show. While he still could have taken a much softer approach to the entire episode this doesn’t negate his talent for creating living, breathing characters.
~ ~ ~
Another show which has been known for their popular characters is Matt Stone and Tray Parker’s South Park. Though rife with many instances of homophobic and Transphobic language there comes a time when this creative duo takes a leap of faith and attempts to redefine abusive language.
Episode twelve of season thirteen, The F Word, follows a Harley motorcycle gang. As the gang is passing through the town of South Park they are mystified to discover that all of the town’s people are calling them “fags!” Eager to dispel the appearance of her town being homophobic the mayor of South Park delegates the Boys (Stan, Cartman, Kyle, and Kenny) to create a national movement to officially change the meaning of “fag” so it is an abusive insult to motorcycle bikers (and not homosexuals).
This episode deserve recognition for the audacious undertaking of attempting to redefine what meaning a word has in contemporary society yet also deserves scorn for the foolhardy belief that Matt and Tray’s show could imitate such a change without constant repetition in future episodes and with the audience that they attract.
This episode was an attempt on the part of the show’s creators to try and redefine what “fag” meant. It is common knowledge to many intellectuals that “fag” has had many different meanings as time as progressed; in Britain it is a idiom for a cigarette, it was once used to denote older people, slandering them as luggage, as well as several other meanings before it came to represent homosexuality. As epochs go “The F Word” was the latest attempt to redefine it yet again.
This is a noble undertaking to be sure, an effort to redirect hate from an innocent group to one which hasn’t known discrimination. Yet it is ultimately doomed to fail because Matt and Tray do not have the numbers and popularity to make a significant difference. Certainly they are pop culture icons and their show is adored by many “middle class” youth. Still, in order to set off a redefinition movement they would need far more than the almost two million initial views to create a suitable atmosphere in which to launch such a campaign.
On top of this not only would they need more viewers but Matt and Tray would be required to maintain the new definition during future episodes. This would mean constantly policing themselves as well as them giving up one of the false progressives most treasured weapons: hate words. While the duo does have an impressive track record in maintaining the show’s mythos such a project would nearly be impossible while the show’s audience still consisted of teenagers who, in all likelihood, would fail to understand the new definition unless bombarded with the newly minted term on a weekly basis; as well as within other entertainment mediums.
The constructive aspects here are relatively easy to see. Though using the “F word” so much within a show can give less enlightened people a wrong impression the fundamental intention was pure of heart. Changing a word that has as much hate and bigotry associated with it as “fag” does would have a positive effect on the gay community. While there would always be the chance that a new hate word springs up the slow eradication of one of the most dreaded would grant the gay community some breathing room after decades of running battles.
Conclusion-Pt2: Character Cross-Examination and the Possibility of Change
As explained in this essay Liberals in the vein of Seth Macfarlane and Tray Parker and Matt Stone essentially are “useful fools” who have potential only as far as one can redirect their damaging inaccuracies. However, this brings to mind the question of who exactly can be classified as an “Establishment Based Liberal;” are there differing levels, can people from conflicting traditions and social standings be grouped together in such a category? In this manner it is also of great importance to examine the effect society as a whole has had on such artists since it would be foolhardy to dismiss the fact that everyone, regardless of class, has been affected by their environment; similarly, one may ask what the possibility of change is in these people: are people such as Seth and company able to change into genuine progressives?
These False Progressives, the Establishment Based liberals, have been so far aptly demonized and yet, for all the damning evidence of their policies and class collaborationist policies little detail has yet been shed on who these people actually are and what sort of rhetoric classifies one as a defender of Establishment Based Liberalism.
To answer this we must clarify who is who and make clear that there is a difference between the Establishment Based Liberals and the Militant Bourgeois Based Liberals. To an extent this divide certainly seems redundant; after all, aren’t all shades of liberals by their nature torch bearers of the bourgeoisie? It is absolutely true yet for reasons of defining “who is who” we must deal with a little redundancy and assume one kind of liberal is the “lesser of two evils.”
The liberal which can be described as the “lesser of two evils” is the one most examined in this article: the Establishment based liberal. The one which is the greater evil are the Militant Bourgeois Liberals. These two are so categorized because the former have the possibility of changing while the latter do not.
Militant Bourgeois Liberals can be found in government. They are the politicians, lawmakers, bureaucrats, militarists, and corporatist swine. These are the people who give their lives towards the preservation of the capitalist state all in order to further their own position. These people pay lip service to the working class only as far as they are needed to maintain their position of gross privilege. Examples of prominent Militant Bourgeois Liberals: Barack Obama, Condoleezza Rice, General Peterus, Nancy Polsi, and many others.
Establishment Based Liberals, on the other hand, are those bourgeois oriented individuals who uphold the capitalist state by means of ignorance. These people have the possibility to change into social revolutionaries if they were educated on history and taught how the flow of capital oppresses the working class. Establishment Based Liberals are artists (musical, as well as classical), comedians and satirists, talk show hosts and news commentators, high profile journalists, reformist labor leaders, as well as creative minds which bring to life popular movies and television shows. Establishment Based Liberals usually desire genuine good for the working masses, yet are stuck in the quagmire of capitalist misinformation to see the significant error of their political orientation.
Now that we understand how the liberalist world is divided we can move onto our next wrap up topic: in what way these liberals are ingrained with their misguided views. In other words, how society influences them.
In our modern age it is paramount to realize the entire world is Capitalist. There are no socialist or socialistic hold-outs anymore; China, the former soviet bloc, Venezuela, and the Western European social-democracies being the most “progressive” the revolutionary world can muster. Because of this it is necessary to realize that the bourgeois mindset has gone unchallenged for many decades and has infected bullions of individuals.
In America particularly this is paramount as the United States is the current world leader in international terrorism as well as imperialism. This means the propaganda and bourgeois system has been entrenched with a startling effectiveness. The working class in the United States do not see themselves as Proletarian but instead as future members of the bourgeoisie who are merely “working their way up” towards the penultimate goal of lucrative business. American workers have been so bombarded with lies that they now even believe that there are no classes; a presumption which, even in the radical atmosphere of Occupy, has been challenged only marginally.
When one takes into account these lurid examples of class warfare one can only imagine what effect this has on the artistic proletarian (though as we have examined so far we know that the effect is detrimental). The Ruling Class is able to successfully push the aforementioned examples of their rule because in part of their vast resources, Capital which permeates creative proletarians by hounding them at every opportunity: ads are everywhere- on the sides of busses, the backs of cereal boxes, in magazines, online, billboards, television, supermarkets and radio. No matter where one travels you are likely to see dozens of irreverent ads.
In short: there is no escape from such an agenda; one has to confront what the Ruling Class is pushing for eventually, in one form or another. Many people though are not well enough informed on the alternatives to make an informed decision, however. They spend their time dwelling on who they see as a lesser evil while attempting to make said evil “do the right thing.” As a result many people become swayed to reformist organizations such as The Democratic Party and do their bidding while contributing towards its prolongation.
To highlight this occurrence we should quickly look at Seth MacFarlane’s history as a creative force. Throughout his entire career Seth has worked for corporate animation studios. Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, Fox and others all reside on his resume. I do not believe I must tell anyone reading this piece that when employed for such entities they will be pushing an agenda. That agenda is pro-free market ideology mixed with the nuanced childish slogans pertaining to oddly hypocritical positions. Spending years under such entities undoubtedly shapes one’s opinion of politics; censors, after all, are used by every studio to ensure that nothing questionable (by the studio’s standards) is aired.
Under this atmosphere one’s political development is not encouraged. The most radical one gets is perhaps endorsement of a third-party reformist organization (such as The Green Party). Yet, though under this wave of bourgeois pressure one is hampered it does raise the valuable query of whether change under such conditions is possible and if so then what direction these individuals are likely to take.
Understanding how one might develop means understanding their actions within their existing social position. With the case of Seth it would be heart-warming to think he has the potential to become a legitimate radical; his professed support for queer rights, his constant jeers at American Exceptionalism, his anti-war stance, his pro-union endorsement (as proved by his participation in the 2007-08 Writer’s Guild of America strike), his belief in that cannabis should be legalized, as well as his belittlement of the conservative obsession with anti-communism should by all mean qualify him as a suitable “radical-in-training”.
There are, however, draw backs. For instance, Seth donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, endorsed Mr. Obama in several episodes of both Family Guy as well as American Dad, and likewise given credence to the myth that Democrats are the only way to make America “strong.” This is on top of his statement in which he described himself as a “hardcore democrat. “
Yet, because of his position within the Liberal world (he is an Establishment Based Liberal due, in part, to his social career) and his past actions, he is available to change. After all, if individuals from extreme right-wing backgrounds can change into genuine progressives than change for a long time democrat should be easier.
Being true I would predict with a reasonable doubt that Mr. Seth could very likely slowly ebb towards a social-democratic position if he began, or was pointed towards, left-wing literature within a great economic crisis. Obviously social-democracy is not revolutionary yet it is a step. From here in order for Seth to finish the transition he would likely need to be either removed from his corporate position, earnestly delve into Marxist texts, or, with a possible combination of either of the past described measures, continue his political education while the world underwent a unprecedented social change (a major progressive revolution happening, entire military blocs thrown into disarray, nuclear attacks, economic collapse, etc). This is due to that often only in times of great crisis are such liberals drawn into revolutionary directions.
While the possibility of Seth being brought over to the genuine progressive side is theoretically possible from events other than the brief examples, with him being in the social position he is, executive producer, the odds are extremely unlikely. However, this doesn’t mean that other liberals, within alternative social standings, wouldn’t be able to shift from “minor events.” In this regards one’s career of choice has a profound impact on the course of development.
I must stress, however, that in the great course of history much stranger things have happened than a liberal making a sudden transition to revolutionary politics. My thoughts on this matter are only my own so I do not claim any absolute burden of certainty.
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Liberals are wolfs in sheep’s clothing. Though they may seem friendly on the surface, and may originally intend to do well, but they are no friend to the true revolutionary Queer who seeks liberation for their people. Their practice of politically incorrect language, propagation of Right-Wing views, and general disdain for Queer culture beyond the common stereotypes mark them as foes of the movement. Their deficient ideology, politics, and organizations do more harm than any good which comes from the slight furthering of Queer lives. In most cases these false progressives openly shout their hypocrisies and phobias.
This position of there is not acceptable for a movement that aims for the complete liberation of Queer identity. For Queers to be free a revolutionary approach must be adopted. One which rejects all forms of liberal media tactics and embraces a non-compromising radical lens. The founders of the gay liberation movement understood this yet it is something many oppressed lack today. In rejecting the failed liberalist experiment a new doctrine must be practiced in full; such a road map would not only eliminate those who are ideologically impaired but usher in a new age of Queer activism while simultaneously affirming the dignity of Queer lives; presentation of non-stereotypes, in other words, would be the immediate pay off.
The penultimate reward being full integration into society without compromise on identity is only possible through alternative ideology as represented by Queer Liberationist ideology; other mediums have failed and with no other options suitable to Queer life, we, as a community, have no choice but to enter a new phase of association: reject reactionary False Progressives and begin organizing with youth and working class persons in order to build the new media movement.