Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Still disgraceful after all these years

There's nothing quite as curious as a homophobic DARK SHADOWS fan.

In the past, it's probably been easy for these people to avoid the reality that their favorite television show has a huge homosexual following. It was even easy for them to ignore that a great many of the show's cast members were homosexual, thanks to the kind of compartmentalization required to be a functioning bigot. It doesn't really matter to them if Louis Edmonds was gay, because Roger Collins was straight; these people have more empathy for a fictional character than for the actor who played him.

This isn't a screed about who was or wasn't gay on DARK SHADOWS, because it's none of our business. I mention Edmonds only because he was fairly vocal about it in his later years. From a distance, Edmonds' revelation might seem inevitable. I used to think there was no closet big enough to hide Edmonds "secret," but that's not really true. Even if Helen Keller could spot Edmonds' sexual orientation from across the room, he was socially obliged to keep his most basic personal relationships to himself for most of his life. He could be fired, asked to leave places of business or even arrested for displaying the kinds of affection taken for granted in heterosexual relationships. (Actually, some of those responses are still legal in America.)

In January, 1971, Time Magazine published an article titled "The Homosexual in America." Here's a highlight:
"It is a pathetic little second-rate substitute for reality, a pitiable flight from life. As such it deserves fairness, compassion, understanding and, when possible, treatment. But it deserves no encouragement, no glamorization, no rationalization, no fake status as minority martyrdom, no sophistry about simple differences in taste — and, above all, no pretense that it is anything but a pernicious sickness."
When DARK SHADOWS was on the air, this is how people spoke about LGBT people when they were being nice. If someone was feeling especially nasty, violence was also an acceptable tool.

Yesterday, I updated the cover of the CHS Facebook page with the image you see above. It was a busy weekend and my biggest concern was that I was a little late in celebrating the moment. Nobody seemed to mind that I was the last person on Facebook to add a bit of color to my Facebook layout ...  but there was a scattering of  "curious" comments about the decision. The most direct comment came from Mr. John Johnson, which you can see at the top of the page. It kickstarted a discussion about the phenomenon of the homophobic DARK SHADOWS fans, but was deleted sometime during the night. Consequently, the remaining elements of the discussion are pretty confusing.

Unfortunately for Mr. Johnson, I took a screenshot of his post. Welcome to the 21st Century, jerk. You don't get to walk into my house, throw brickbats and scurry away.

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