Monday, January 14, 2013

Fostering Understanding

I love what Jodie Foster did last night at the Golden Globes. It was a magnificently snarky yet polite way of telling people to fuck off. The juice quote, as far as I'm concerned:
But now I’m told, apparently, that every celebrity is expected to honor the details of their private life with a press conference, a fragrance and a prime-time reality show. You know, you guys might be surprised, but I am not Honey Boo Boo Child. No, I’m sorry, that’s just not me. It never was and it never will be.
The irony? Everyone is fixated on "Did she or didn't she?," as in "just come out of the closet on national television, when her point was "I already came out decades ago and apart from that, it's none of your business."
Which is a far more interesting revelation for a celebrity to make.
Here's the thing: unless you've been living under a rock for roughly thirty years, then you know that Jodie Foster is a lesbian. Hell, she'd openly been in a domestic partnership for twenty years and has two sons with her ex-partner.
Which is why all the "Well, we all know what she was talking about" bullshit is so ludicrous. Why do we demand confessionals from people?
Here's how this probably transpired: Jodie Foster was approached by some LGBT activists and asked to publicly declare her homosexuality. She refused, and given Jodie Foster's dignity, refused politely.
That ought to be the end of it, because she's never once taken a stand that could be remotely construed as anything "anti-gay," and her entire career has been about pioneering new ground.
That she's pioneered new ground for women is obvious. She is outwardly one. That she's pioneered new ground for lesbians, too, should be obvious if you've been paying attention at all.
Have we in America become so dumbed down that we need to be beaten over the head with stuff? Apparently.
And it's beautiful that she took a swipe at American culture in the same breath. The fascination we have with peering into other people's lives in nauseating. There are issues, real issues, confronting us, issues that don't involve some fat spoiled brat who gets pampered and idolated.
Sorry, Snooki, for calling you fat. And then there's Honey Boo Boo, a child, a child, who will fall out of favor and fade into obscurity until her ego demands nursing. Then she'll either pose nude for whatever magazine needs a bump in subscriptions, or go on a meth-fueled rampage at a gas station. (cf Britney Spears)
The logical extension of this fascination with focusing on anythingbutourownpatheticexistences finds us at Twitter and Facebook, where we can learn more about people we know that we'd ever dare to even consider back in the pre-Internet days.
Look, I think it's cute that I have friends on Facebook and Twitter who are so wrapped up in themselves and their self-images that they think I care what they had for breakfast, or who they're dating or flirting with. It's mostly harmless and while there are rarely any deep insights into the human condition to be had in one fell swoop, reading them can lend clues to the answers we seek from society, like "Am I alone in this?" or "What should I have for lunch?"
In a way, blogging serves a similar purpose: in the grand scheme of things, why are you reading what I have to say on something, anything? I'm a human being, no more or less gifted than you are. I maybe a little more intelligent, or a bit more facile with words, but at the end of the day, I can't build a bookshelf or cook a gourmet meal, or bang out a 120 page movie script.
I have unique insights, and maybe I make you think a little, and that's a good thing, don't get me wrong, but I don't have anymore answers than you do. If I did, I'd be running the damned place.
Which, come to think of it, is a pretty appealing fantasy...but I digress.
Jodie Foster's a lesbian. She doesn't have to come out and say it anymore than you have to come out and admit that you slept with that dirty skanky person back in college because you got drunk, or that you secretly DVR soap operas, or maybe have a little too much wine with dinner.
She's human. You're human. We're all human and we're all entitled to have precisely as much as we allow to be known about us by other people.
And THAT was Foster's point.