Becker, "Gay-Themed Television and the Slumpy Class: The Affordable, Multicultural Politics of the Gay Nineties"

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Please post your discussion questions on Becker, "Gay-Themed Television and the Slumpy Class: The Affordable, Multicultural Politics of the Gay Nineties" below, using the following questions to guide your reading:
1. What does Becker mean by "an affordable politics of liberalism"? "Affordable" in what way and to whom? What kind of "liberalism" is he talking about?
2. How did 1990s gay-themed television fit into this "affordable politics"?
3. Why is this a problem, for Becker?
4. What are some examples of 90s television that offered this form of politics?
5. Do you think today's gay-themed television operates in the same way as that of the 90s? If so, how so? If not, what are some differences?

9 Comments

Becker states in his article how the homosexual population gained the reputation of being "chic" in the early 1990's, with episodes on shows, such as "Seinfeld" and "Will and Grace." It became more of a surface topic, not just one seen in the clubs and gay bars. Do you think the groups image has progressed even more in mainstream television? Have they moved away from the stereotypical "slumpy class" and open up media to homosexuals in different class and races?

I maybe should have posted on Monday, because I am leading discussion for this article, but I will leave you with a question to think about for tomorrow. According to Becker, why are Americans wanting more multi-culture in their television? Many also wanted to keep their conservative ideals, so what did Becker have to say about the relationship between this new social difference allure and conservativeness?

I'm wondering about the ideas of "affordable politics" and the ideas of "gay chic". Is what Becker's trying to say that because the ideas of homosexuality was becoming more mainstream that it was found to be politically smart for politicians to support gay rights or is Becker only referring to the way s the "slumpy class" lived their lives?

Becker's mentions how gay theme television has changed from the 1980's to the 1990's (Page 205). I am curious to why this has changed drastically. Did the mainstream media in the 90's and even today resolve homophobic anxieties? Accept homosexuality in media? Or did it only create stereotypes of the gay community?

I wasn't aware of when television began incorporating different sexual orientations or gay-themed episodes into various sitcoms... apparently this took place in the 90's. Including gay characters in television has become a large part of engaging an even larger demographic for certain television shows. For example, Glee is a newer show that has a fairly large variety of demographics: lesbians, gays, blacks, Hispanics, Jews, and characters stemming from different socioeconomic statuses. I think today's television operates in a similar fashion in comparison to 90's television where other characters are tolerant and accepting of these differences. I wonder though if this "movement" is noticeable and appreciated by the people of these different orientations? Do they feel there is enough diversity on tv today or does there need to be more/less? I think tv is still pretty stereotypical when it comes to defining characters, but are these stereotypes even accurate?

Becker's statement about TV in 1990's portraying the gay community as being "chic" was pretty interesting. He used the show Seinfeld as an example of a show that incorporated an aspect of this "chic" phenomenon. Obviously now there has been drastic changes to how gays are portrayed on television, especially in the sense that there are more shows portraying them altogether. However, I wonder if the way they are being portrayed is accurate, or is it too much of a stereotype?

I see that gay-themed television fits into an affordable form of liberalism, and the gay-inclusive television is largely assumes whiteness and wealth. But relative to the Berube piece we read at the beginning of the semester, are we yet to see these images in television mobilized as activism to better reflect GLBT communities in reality, or are they simply perpetuating stereotypes?

What I am wondering is when Becker mentions "being gay-friendly" was being hip, or down with what everyone else is doing, how did this come to be. Becker also points out that not everyone was down with being hip or chic, in "1993" %50 of Americans did not favor same sex behavior? Why was it all of a sudden cool to point out your views for equality, and same sex rights? What changes? On pages (34) 189 of Becker's article he mentions that "we are not hypocrites, we're seeking balance..." When it comes to spending a lot of money on certain things but not others?

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This page contains a single entry by zimme313 published on April 1, 2013 4:09 PM.

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