Wednesday, August 02, 2006

David: New Hope for the Nationals Or Just a Silly Fag?

UPDATE: You reckon I'm harsh, check out Dave's thoughts on the subject of...Dave. Man, that boy gives good bitch.

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My last SX column on Big Brother's David generated the greatest letter-writing response I've ever received since I started writing for them: a whopping two - TWO! - letters, both pretty stroppy with me. One described it as "a big hissy fit". I cried for months.

OK, I didn't really. I was just gratified to know people actually read me.

Anyway, I'm guessing this week's column may again do likewise. Maybe I'm picking too much on the guy, but damned if I just didn't want to give him a big-arse bitch slap across that whiney face of his every time I saw it. For his own good, of course.

And now - what the fuck? The next Nationals candidate? Because the Nats are so strongly pro-queer and big on diversity.

Quote Ron Boswell, the party's national Senate leader:

If we pass this motion (of Anthony Albanese's to remove federal discriminatory laws against same-sex couples, a few years ago) today, it will send a message to all Australians young and old that mainstream society sees no essential difference between a homosexual and a heterosexual lifestyle, that society not only condones it but is indifferent to the bonds which make the typical family the fundamental unit of our society. While we in the National Party do not persecute those who freely enter into a minority lifestyle, we do not want to promote it to our children as an equally valid or acceptable way of life.

Forgive me if I sound a wee bit cynical. But you can see why.


DAVID: SMASHING OR REINFORCING STEREOTYPES?

Following an earlier article I wrote on gay Big Brother housemate David Graham, I copped some flak for criticising what I identified as hypocrisy, that for a man making a lot of noise about discrimination against queer people and gay men especially, his membership with the National Party somewhat undermined his political position.

Maybe it is a little unfair to imply David cannot bring about change “from the inside”. After all, how else can we ever expect the homophobes in the Nationals to change their tune on fags unless they actually know a few personally and see we’re not all the hedonistic, promiscuous anti-family stereotypes they may have conjured in their minds?

In 2003 Russell Turner spoke lovingly and proudly of his gay son when he became the only National to vote in favour of equalising the homosexual age of consent in New South Wales. Leading by example can sometimes be the most effective political activism there is.

Did David, however, really smash stereotypes? Sure, he came across as an honest farm boy, unpretentious and far less bitchy than the more stereotypically faggy housemate Rob. But who else cannot recall David’s time in the house without seeing that pained face, close to tears, as he would begin yet another whinge about somebody in the house, or how hard it is to be gay, or how he seemed to consider himself to be so much smarter or more sensitive than the other housemates (which, admittedly, was probably true)? Didn’t this merely reinforce the stereotype of gay men being self-absorbed drama queens incapable of dealing maturely with difficult situations?

And then there was David’s appearance on stage after his eviction, in which he told a huge live national audience that he “loved” his boyfriend Sharif, despite the fact that he’d only met this man three weeks before going onto the show. Again, didn’t this reinforce the stereotype of gay men as hopelessly capricious, falling in love at the drop of a cowboy hat without actually taking the time to get to know one another or keep three weeks in perspective?

In David’s defence, Channel Ten’s panning away from his kiss with Sharif during the live event certainly vindicated his complaint throughout his time in the house that many Australians are still intolerant of homosexuality. But for a man who seemed determined to prove his sensitivity cred, it struck me as grossly insensitive to come out to his hitherto unaware father on national television. Did he do so because he sought his dad’s acceptance? Or was he seeking the biggest audience possible from which to garner sympathy and heighten the drama of his coming out speech?

I’m just not ready to accept David as the “pioneer” that so many others seem to want to herald him as.

19 Comments:

At 2/8/06 11:18 am, Anonymous swatschy said...

You might enjoy a new podcast on Tim Brunero's Oh Brother site: www.freedigitalcontent.com, in which he and some bloody bitch (that's an in-joke, Sam) talk about why David's not exactly a gay icon. And why the Star Observer didn't campaign for him to win.

 
At 2/8/06 6:19 pm, Blogger JahTeh said...

Sammy, so young to be so cynical.

How would you have gone locked in the house with Perry and Camilla? I'd have actually watched BB for that bunfight.

 
At 2/8/06 7:20 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A straight friend recently told me the harshest criticism he ever hears of poofters always comes from other poofters and where David is concerned I think hes probably right!

I agree his declarations of undying love for Sherif were a bit over the top but what about Jamie "marrying" Katie on the show after knowing her for about 3 weeks? Big Brother is all about overbaked emotion so why shouldnt the poofs get in on the act? I just thought it was nice to see 2 gay men able to show affection to each other on national television albeit with some editing.

As for David's family not knowing he was gay prior to the "coming out" my understanding is that is a misconception. They did know. When David stated he was worried about the reaction of his family he meant the way his family would be treated in their small farming community. CW

 
At 2/8/06 7:37 pm, Blogger Sam said...

I don't reckon those two were doing much for representations of straight women either, JT. Actually, all of them were offensive to their respctive gender/sexual identities, really.

CW: I saw David actually say his father didn't know he was gay until he went on the show. The rest of his family did as I understand, but I did specify his old man.

I admire your ability to put a positive spin on it (seriously, not being patronising). Maybe I am just too cynical. But if he chooses to appoint himself as a spokesman for all gay man - and essentially, he did - I think he should be allowed to be 'critiqued' (to be polite).

 
At 2/8/06 7:55 pm, Blogger Dawei said...

I think his father is quite estranged anyway, so why would he care? If he didn't care to tell him before he went on the show -- David has said that his sisters, mother, and cousins (!) all knew -- why should he be suddenly concerned now? He knew what he was doing.

Although I'm detecting a little (and by "little" I mean "enormous") case of Daddy-issues.

 
At 3/8/06 12:46 am, Blogger weasel said...

I thought Rob was actually way less bitchy than David. In fact David was a more cliched homo in a lot of ways - Rob at least had the guts to be a bit out there. And he wasn't thin and pretty either.

Sam, do you really think we should have to prove we're not promiscuous to gain equality? Do you want to be just like straight people?

 
At 3/8/06 12:52 am, Blogger weasel said...

I just have to add... David wasn't by any means smarter than the other housemates. He is my most hated of all morons - the sort who think they are smart and probably uses the expression 'University of life'.

And as for 'unpretentious'... are you on crack, hon? The fucking endless travel stories are not the sign of an unpretentious man! He behaved like the vacuous ex-model he is.

 
At 3/8/06 8:58 am, Blogger Sam said...

"Sam, do you really think we should have to prove we're not promiscuous to gain equality?"

Not at all. I was talking in the context of the stereotypes through which gay men are generally viewed.

"Do you want to be just like straight people?"

Nope - it's why I like cock :-)

But does it have to be a dichotomy of one or the other? If I choose to value certain, dare I say "traditional" (for want of better word) values for my relationships, such as monogomy, or some kind of commitment ceremony, etc, is that me trying to "be like straight people" or just choosing whichever values personally appeal to me the most, regardless of my sexuality?

Just as I know many gay men in relationships which are non-exclusive, and so long as they're honest with each other, if that works for them that's great.

I guess my point is that we don't have to all form in one single line or another.

 
At 3/8/06 9:01 am, Blogger Sam said...

Fair call about David not being smarter or unpretentious. Again, I should have made clearer that I think that's how he was trying to market himself, even if it didn't ever come across that way, if at all.

 
At 3/8/06 10:19 am, Blogger Gay Erasmus said...

Aah, I'm behind in my Aussie TV gossip! Who won BB?

I'm inclined to give David the benefit of the doubt here. BB is all about the manipulation of excess emotions. Trap a small group in a small house for a protracted period of time, and their emotions start to go all over the place. In that circumstance it's possible to see that David could actually think that a guy he slept with shortly before he joined the show really is a lifelong lover. (rolls eyes)

 
At 3/8/06 10:39 am, Blogger Sam said...

The labotomised Rocky Horror creature otherwise like, known as, like, Jamie won it, like, GE. Which was oddly appropriate given the tone of this particular season.

I agree with you that David was probably caught up in the moment but I think his statement of wanting to marry Sharif was indicative of what he was like in the house - overly-dramatic and always seeking to have the spotlight on him.

 
At 3/8/06 3:02 pm, Blogger mscynic said...

"we’re not all hedonistic, promiscuous anti-family stereotypes"

You're not?

That was the only reason I liked you. I thought you'd be like Oscar Wilde and a positive hoot to hang out with.

;)

 
At 3/8/06 3:37 pm, Blogger Sam said...

I meant "we" in terms of some members of a sub-community MsC, not the royal "we" :P

Me: hedonistic - only where junk food and DVD TV show marathon watching's involved; promiscuous - well, I've had my "phases" but haven't we all; anti-family - definitely not. Unless it's the Bush, Hewitt, Manson or Sunrise families.

Or THE Family. (*winks Adelaide in-jokingly*)

 
At 3/8/06 6:17 pm, Blogger JahTeh said...

I'm glad you said that about the females Sam, I thought it might have been my generation divide that made me think unkindly of them. (being polite, I really thought 'brainless morons')

 
At 4/8/06 3:56 pm, Blogger Gay Erasmus said...

The labotomised Rocky Horror creature otherwise like, known as, like, Jamie won it, like, GE.

LOL. Which makes BB...Dr. Frankenfurter??

 
At 4/8/06 4:29 pm, Anonymous stephen c said...

I found myself wondering out loud at the dinner table last night... I wonder what Camilla's doing now! for so long dinner had had to be before or after the daily show...that it seems curious to have got our leisure time back!
I think your problem with David and the Nats is that you assume the Nats demand party loyalty the same way the Liberals and Labor party do.
Barnaby shouldl at least remind us that they are not afraid of having different opinions. David's stated goal is to confromt homophobia in that conservative arena.Good luck to him if he can do it.

 
At 4/8/06 5:43 pm, Blogger weasel said...

"how else can we ever expect the homophobes in the Nationals to change their tune on fags unless they actually know a few personally and see we’re not all the hedonistic, promiscuous anti-family stereotypes they may have conjured in their minds?"

Sorry Sam, I think this statement pretty clearly suggests that if we were all hedonistic etc that it would be justifiable to keep hating homos. I am confident that you personally don't think that being promiscuous is a personal failing, but it does read that way.

 
At 4/8/06 6:22 pm, Blogger Sam said...

I don't think it does weasel - or I certainly didn't plan it to anyway.

But hey, if po-mo's taught us anything, it's that the author is dead and reader is god :-) I'll be more considerate next time.

If I had longer than a 450 word limit each week I guess I could detail my position(s) more thoroughly.

 
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