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The Groupthink Of Gay Media

Posted on September 19, 2016 at 6:05 PM

By Dennis Stone


Readers of this site probably have some difficulty figuring out the difference between the pieces that end up in the Commentary or Blog sections. That's because so far I haven't used the Blog section as I want to and should. In theory the Blog is for ramblings and stray thoughts, while Commentary is for more "big picture" pieces that deal - hopefully in a better written way! - with issues for which I've done thought and research. What I often find, though, is that I start a piece as a blog post, but then get caught up in it. Before long I've done research, tweaked the writing, and ended up with much more than I anticipated writing. I'm trying once again to start using the blog more appropriately. (Ha!, part of my brain is saying:  let's see how THAT goes!)


I"ve been reading more than my usual share of the gay media recently, and I noticed something distressing to me.  It's all alike. The belief systems are the same, the emphases are the same, the subjects are the same. You want nuance?  Sorry.  You want two sides of an issue discussed, allowing readers to think about both sides before making up their minds?  Too bad.  What's worse, at least to an independent thinker like myself, is that the opinions and viewpoints expressed are surrounded by an unmistakable aura of self righteousness and fait accompli. Well, of course, any self respecting gay person would see the world that way!  Only troglodytes and Republicans could see it differently!


I pride myself in exposing myself to all philosophies and thought systems, whether political, cultural, or whatever.  That's a pride that not everyone shares.  It's just human nature for people who have strong enough opinions that they want to express them publicly to assume they've got the angels on their side. It's unfortunate, but I see it everywhere. The people I respect are those who recognize that they only have opinions, that complexity and nuance are real, and that people with alternate opinions are worth respecting and listening to. You don't see many of those people online and in the media today, and especially in niche or advocacy media. The other side? Who wants to hear it? 


Gay media unfortunately fits into the one-dimensional category. "We are surrounded by hate."  That is taken as gospel, but is really a small-minded combination of Orlando and the proposals for religious freedom bills.  "Orlando is the fault of American religious conservatives."  To get there requires one of the most extreme logical contortions I've seen.  "Log Cabin Republicans are like Jews for Hitler."  Really?  Did I miss the gay roundups and mass exterminations when Reagan or the Bushes were in power?  "Microaggressions are a symptom of how tough our lives are."  Read the commentary piece I recently posted about that.


What the gay world desperately needs is for a national or international media company to create a gay site similar to mine. One that looks at alternate views of gay issues. One that tweaks and challenges the big boys. It's obviously not going to happen, and this site is doomed to a tiny audience. But the gay world would be so much improved if it did happen. One big reason it won't:  new millennial gay people generally don't want to read about gay issues ad nauseum. They just want to live their lives like straight people live theirs, unencumbered by a fixation on their identity. (Larry Kramer's head would explode if he ever read that last sentence!)  Their identities are secure, their relationships with the straight people around them are good, and their lives are full and multifaceted. 


Well, damn, I did it again.  I sat down to type a really short piece about the monochromatic gay media, and I wound up with something akin to one of my typical commentary pieces.  Oh well, tomorrow's another day!  Maybe I'll pledge to hold myself to three paragraphs tomorrow and talk about our local weather.

Categories: Commentary

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