Thursday, January 28, 2010

On Glee and

I've been meaning to post about Glee for a while now. I initially saw posters advertising the show in subways stations throughout the fall and didn't think much of it. Generally speaking, TTC ads and bad television seem to be attached at the hip. With Glee, however, I caught wind a good buzz through the /Filmcast. I figured it was worth a look and ended up stunned by how amazing the show is. Glee is fun, heartwarming, snarky, politically incorrect, and has an incredible soundtrack. I had forgotten how great musicals can be when they're done right. The show quickly became my favourite show of 2009, and I'm eagerly awaiting the April 2010 premiere of the second season.

Now Stephenson Billings from has written a guide for parents, warning them against the evils of this show about a high school glee club. The post makes it seem like the author has absolutely no sense of irony, but I think it's actually a case of them having an incredibly astute one. It is one of the most hilariously conservative, homophobic, racist, and idiotic things I have read in recent memory. It's worth a read if only for an incredulous laugh, which is exactly why it was written.

There's really no point in critiquing the text, it's a well played satire that clearly speaks for itself. I'm including some choice quotes here, and FYI I am not adding any emphasis whatsoever:

On the music - "Additionally, the show has far too many musical numbers. ... It convinces impressionable teens to avoid serious career training in favor of having “fun” in the “arts.” Also, the music numbers just drag down the plot of the show. "

On the gay character - "Another major fault with the show is its fawning celebration of teenage homosexuality and consumer indulgence. Again the show makes the case that accepting the gay lifestyle and making yourself as outrageous as possible will help you achieve something despite whatever social limitations you may have. Disregarding any sense of fair play, the show does not offer any alternative to the gay lifestyle argument. There are no teens cured of their relentless and wild male sex desires, there are no moral figures on hand to give a comforting hand, there are no popular boys who say, “I don’t want to hurt my family anymore and I love Jesus, so I am going to stop doing gay things with guys in the bathroom.”"

On the villain - "Her acting comes across as pretentious and egomaniacal and possibly too masculine (is this intentional?)." [yes, it is intentional]

On the character in a wheelchair - "... he needs a sidekick or a funny catchphrase."

On the slightly larger black girl - "Her sassy attitude does not set the right example for today’s young girls. She does sing well, and I appreciate that but I really don’t think this show is the right fit for her career ... I could see her in a church choir, however. " [WOW]

The conclusive call-to-arms - "If we let this show continue, our children will find a way to watch it. It is a drug that is that addictive. If our children continue to watch, they will undoubtedly be influenced by its radical same-sex messages. A generation from now, when these children become adults, what kind of country will the United States be? ... Will they be violating what’s left of our traditional cultural landscape with unimaginable high-tech perversions, drenching, nay drowing the bright young men of tomorrow in their relentless sauces of net porn and showtunes, maximized liberties and stem-cell party drugs? Will male sports just become an excuse for gay locker room orgies? How long until these types also legislate to destroy the beauty of marriage, the safety of religion, the rights of the righteous? Look into the eyes of a young Kurt Hummel. Is that not the face our of future’s polymorphously perverse intellectual terrorist? Change the channel my friends. Change the channel and change the world!"

At first I wasn't sure this was satirical. It's on, the author has already written an article decrying The Golden Girls as having "ruined" a generation of American men (read: it made them gay), and the points are often so misguided or flimsy that it seemed like it just had to be real. However, the more I read these quotes, in particular the conclusion, the more I become convinced that it's a satire of conservative rhetoric. The totally absurd and uncalled for reference to "stem-cell party drugs" was the first tip off, but then the reader comments sealed the deal.

The general attitude among commenters is that the author is completely insane, though he does have one supporter who revealingly goes by the name of " TrueChristian." Billings himself has responded to many of the commenters, albeit more offensively than argumentatively. He quotes the bible and makes sexually harassing and derogatory remarks, and is generally just unduly mean. That's what reveals that this is a satire, and an effective one at that.

The point is clearly to completely vilify Billings, and with him conservative Christians. Anyone thorough and fervent enough to actually outline their thoughts in an organized article would at least argue with readers instead of just insult them. Instead the author is made to sound like a crazy asshole because that's what the author thinks of the religious right. Personally I would have stopped at the article, it does the job and leaves the question amusingly open to debate as to the true nature of the author. Responding to the comments just makes the whole charade fall apart, and is frankly a little too harsh on Christians. Not all religious types are crazy, far from it in fact, and this kind of atheistic propaganda is as bad as the fervor it's satirizing. Great article, bad comments.

Then again, Stephenson Billings does appear to be a somewhat established writer... And it is What if it is real?

Well played internet, you win this round...

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