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Fantasy, Reality and Sexual Stereotypes

August 11, 2003

Norah Vincent's lament, "TV Shows Could Set Back Gay Cause" (Commentary, Aug. 7), is emblematic of the plaint voiced by minority-group activists of all stripes -- the glass being always half empty. Gay-themed programs are dotting the networks and, rather than cheering the advent of new shows, she attacks the characters portrayed as "little more than animated stereotypes," fearing these "over-the top" images will stir up "lurid reflections of hackneyed homophobia" -- her theme being that most heterosexual males are "already haunted by the specter of a queer Kulturkampf," and not only are sick but stupid, unable to discern fantasy from reality.

Vincent, as many so obsessed, projects her angst upon a society that reflects a more mundane nature. Abiding issues such as putting food on the table, finding a good school and caring for aging parents are seldom upstaged by the "embodiment of fantasy" Vincent laments in "reality television." If chilled by the imminent "attack of the 50-foot homo," perhaps she'd best focus on toning down gay pride parades and gay date days at Disneyland, where homosexuals strut their "in your face" stuff.

Stuart Weiss

Beverly Hills

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Vincent's use of stereotypes in describing heterosexuals, both male and female, was frankly offensive and would not have been tolerated had the situation been reversed. According to her, most heterosexual men will tell you that you can be gay, but keep it quiet, and if you come on to me I will beat you. Hetero females are apparently driven to intense joy by the thought of bringing out the homophobia inherent in their men. Also, the few hetero males not already "haunted by the specter of a queer Kulturkampf are likely to become so," due to a few new television series. I am sure that she has encountered such people, but I do not think they are the majority of heterosexuals. I think Vincent could use a little shot of diversity in her personal life.

James Wheeler

San Diego

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