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Ryan Murphy Lives in a Glass House

May 12, 2010

I'm sure you have some cosmic rationale...

Glee creator Ryan Murphy is real pissed at Newsweek for some statements made regarding Sean Hayes’s performance in a revival of Promises Promises:

The revival hands the lead over to Sean Hayes, best known as the queeny Jack on Will & Grace. Hayes is among Hollywood’s best verbal slapstickers, but his sexual orientation is part of who he is, and also part of his charm. (The fact that he only came out of the closet just before Promises was another one of those Ricky Martin-duh moments.) But frankly, it’s weird seeing Hayes play straight. He comes off as wooden and insincere, like he’s trying to hide something, which of course he is. Even the play’s most hilarious scene, when Chuck tries to pick up a drunk woman at a bar, devolves into unintentional camp. Is it funny because of all the ’60s-era one-liners, or because the woman is so drunk (and clueless) that she agrees to go home with a guy we all know is gay?

Emphasis is mine.

I was right there with Ramin Setoodeh up until this line: “But frankly, it’s weird seeing Hayes play straight. He comes off as wooden and insincere, like he’s trying to hide something, which of course he is.”

The problem has nothing to do with Hayes’s sexuality. The problem is as old as Hollywood itself. Now I’m sure Hayes has talent up the ying yang, however, nothing in his body work has indicated to me that acting is one of his strengths. You think Charles Bronson could shut down Promises Promises? or Jack Lord? I’m thinking no. They’re straight, so why not? Well, because they were personalities, with charisma to boot, but that does not equal command of the craft of acting. Saying that Hayes is miscast because he’s not that skilled an actor is a valid analysis. Saying Hayes can’t play straight because he’s gay, well that’s troubling, but is a lot different as an insider critique.

That said, Ryan Murphy acting as the outspoken voice of the “offended” does nobody any favors. Particularly when he’s no stranger to being ridiculously problematic towards marginalized groups himself. Murphy’s own career has been riddled in -ism abuses ranging from transphobia/transmisogyny to the mammification of black women and all points in between. Moreover, as a white gay male, he’s still benefiting from both male and white privilege, And based on his body of work this seems to be a fact that does not ever occur to him.

Murphy said:

“I would like to join my good friend Kristin Chenoweth on her condemnation of a recent Newsweek article written by Mr. Ramin Setoodeh, in which Setoodeh basically says that out gay actors should go back into the closet and never attempt to play straight characters. This article is as misguided as it is shocking and hurtful. It shocks me because Mr. Setoodeh is himself gay. But what is the most shocking of all is that Newsweek went ahead and published such a blatantly homophobic article in the first place…and has remained silent in the face of ongoing (and justified) criticism. Would the magazine have published an article where the author makes a thesis statement that minority actors should only be allowed and encouraged to play domestics? I think not.

Come on now. Murphy needs way better reading comprehension skills and an introduction course in derailing for dummies. Also, I really hope Murphy doesn’t think he gets to dictate what “all” gay males should think, feel and write about publicly. Because that scans extremely problematic to me.

I’m real tired of the outspoken arm of the “gay community” the face of which is mostly a bunch of rich white guys, demanding their pound of flesh from other marginalized groups – I see you Prop 8 and your racial bigotry – without critical examination of their own problematic behavior. It’s interesting the only oppressed group who truly gets a free pass for their despicable acts of racism, sexism, transphobia, classism and ableism happens to be the same group – white gay men – demanding that everyone else be run off the planet on a rail. The worst part is their insistence on being the “face” means folks who share this identity, but do not share the problematic views of black people, disabled people, trans people, poor people and so forth are again having their voices silenced by someone more privileged dictating the discourse, which largely ignores the legitimate concerns raised within the “movement” so to speak.

It takes a lot of cheek to demand boycotts in lieu of someone else’s fucked up behavior when you still haven’t addressed the valid criticisms of the problematic content in your own work. I mean when is Murphy going to address the sheer volume of criticism lodged at Nip/Tuck for the bulk of its run in a thoughtful way? How about creating another loud, fat, asexual black woman who sings and takes care of everyone else and trying to pass it off as satire or edgy?

I’m waiting, Mr. Murphy.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. evmaroon permalink
    May 12, 2010 2:02 pm

    Yay for Kristin Chenoweth. Didn’t Newsweek just put itself up for sale last week? Perhaps they’re thinking that being controversial will increase their value? But I’m cynical that way. In any case, I’m a bit tired of gay men being homophobes. Setoodah and Murphy need a little group therapy…

  2. IrishUp permalink
    May 12, 2010 2:08 pm

    “It takes a lot of cheek to demand boycotts in lieu of someone else’s fucked up behavior when you still haven’t addressed the valid criticisms of the problematic content in your own work. I mean when is Murphy going to address the sheer volume of criticism lodged at Nip/Tuck for the bulk of its run in a thoughtful way? How about creating another loud, fat, asexual black women who sing and take care of everyone else and trying to pass it off as satire or edgy?”

    OH SNAP! But seriously, this is right on time.

    I’m not saying you’ve got to be perfect before you can call someone else out, but you DO have to be engaged in the work, FFS. Motes and Beams, people! Everything I read about Mr. Murphy points to his being one of those people who seem to be able to ignore the Sequoia hanging out their eyeball, but are on PERMANENT MOTE ALERT w/r/t the rest of the world.

  3. May 12, 2010 2:17 pm

    IrishUp, absolutely. You don’t have to be perfect, but if you’re gonna position yourself as the dictator of all that is righteous and correct, you might want to make sure your own clue phone isn’t ringing off the hook.

  4. evmaroon permalink
    May 12, 2010 3:01 pm

    I believe that he’s tuned out the frequency of his clue phone so he doesn’t hear it anymore.

  5. Kia permalink
    May 12, 2010 5:54 pm

    I watch a lot of questionable tv but could never get behind Nip/Tuck and always wondered how that show and Murphy got a”pass”, not in all quarters I’m sure but the ones I came across.

    I’m also glad that Chenoweth spoke up because in the past she has identified herself as a practicing or devout Christian and the world needs more people who are both religious and vocally support the gay agenda- hope the sarcasm with that phrase is obvious.

  6. May 12, 2010 6:18 pm

    The more I read about intersectionality, the more aware of how rare it actually is. Mostly what I see is the more privileged of the oppressed groups trying to distance themselves from those with even more marginalized identities, like the second-placers in the race trying to break out of the pack.

  7. badhedgehog permalink
    May 13, 2010 7:34 am

    Seriously, what is it with people thinking one oppression = a licence for every other -ism? It’s not a badge. It’s not supposed to be a privilege multiplier.

    I love the mote/beam analysis, IrishUp.

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