Saturday, March 3, 2012

(Not Captain) Kirk is an Ass

I grew up in the era of glorious sitcoms that not only included robust laugh-tracks but moral lessons as well. With about two or three minutes left in the show the music would swell into something schmaltzy and the characters would have an epiphany. These moments of clarity were always temporary, quickly forgotten, and shrugged off as easily as an extra-large moo moo. A life-changing lesson, no matter how profound, could be counted on to be utterly forgotten in only a week, when the “reformed” character would continue behaving exactly as he/she always had. No matter how many times Alex Keaton learned that money wasn’t the penultimate reason for existence, he could always be counted on to slide back to his pro-Nixon Republican roots in less than 168 hours.
Growing Pains, Family Ties, Different Strokes (“Whatchoo talkin’ ‘bout Willis?”), Who’s the Boss? (ah, little Alyssa, who knew you’d grow up to bare your breasts to the world?), The Facts of Life… these were the glory of my youth. If I were to go back and watch these shows again, I’d probably hate them, but as a kid I thought they were great. Most of the actors involved have vanished or died or even, in some cases, gone on to bigger and better things. Some of have gone on to much, much worse things.
Which brings us to Kirk Cameron. He played the beloved Mike Seaver, the jauntily-smiling envy of lads and heart-throb of lasses. I have no idea what he’s been up to between then and now, but somewhere along the way he picked up a nasty case of Religious Righteousness, presenting most obnoxiously with Rampant Homophobia.
Sigh. Really? Another one? I only wish this were a rare enough attitude for me to be incensed rather than just wearily contemptuous. For those who haven’t seen his appearance on CNN, here’s the link:

Marriage was defined in the Garden, he says (one presumes he means the “Eden” variety), as between one man and one woman, and no one should try to redefine it. (I wonder if any of his six children were birthed with the assistance of anesthetic. If so, bad move, Kirk ol’ boy, as child-birth was ALSO defined in the Garden (well, immediately post-Garden, technically) and I have bad news for your wife: it involves pain, and lots of it.) I don’t want to dwell on the stupidity involved in defining your life’s morality on stories assembled and edited by human hands thousands of years ago: that could (and probably will) take up several entire posts. No, instead I want to touch on the death of my own personal dream, and the way in which Kirk has helped to put in yet another (the final?) bullet.
I never understood homophobia. It made no sense to me. Be afraid of HIV or hepatitis, sure, but gay isn’t communicable. It doesn’t rub-off. You can’t get infected by it. So why are people afraid of homosexuals? Is it because they worry gay men are just waiting for straight dudes to let their guard down—just for second—thereby allowing gay sex to happen? Or are they worried that if the benefits of homosexuality are fully explained to them (no surprise pregnancies, for example, and you get to instantly double your wardrobe) they’ll immediately switch teams?
As a younger man, I believed it was just a matter of time until all the bigoted attitudes, such as homophobia, went away. More precisely, died off, because I thought they were possessed only by the older generations. I knew there were bigots in my school, but I felt they were fewer in number and less vitriolic in their animosity. Each generation would get a little better and eventually we’d get over these ridiculous prejudices.
Well, that hasn’t yet come to pass. Maybe there is a slow trend in the right direction, but it’s sometimes hard to see when you read all the bigotry and hatred out there. Then Kirk shows up with his prejudiced bile, and I realize: he’s about my age. He’s my generation. We haven’t gotten it right yet.
Oh, I hope we do better with our children. Please.


  1. Well said, Mr. Shen. I never liked that Mike Seaver fellow back in the day. Nice to know my instincts were solid.

    1. Thanks. This is a real heartbreaker for me, cause I wanted to BE that punk when I was a kid.