Colin Delany August 9, 2007

Video: Gays for Giuliani

Genius citizen video via techPresident and others — a gay New Yorker wants to “remind Rudy who he was when he was mayor and to let Republican primary voters have some idea on the man they’re voting for.” Micah Sifry describes it as “deeply subversive,” and one viewing will tell you why, since these guys are really out to horrify Republican primary voters, and they’re not ashamed to ham up stereotyped characters to do it. Take a look:

According to director Ryan Davis’s MySpace blog entry, there’ll be more to come. This one’s been picked up all over the place, so let’s see if it makes some real waves. I’ve long felt that Rudy’s apparent strength in the polls will evaporate once average Republican primary voters look past the tough-guy pose (remember the Onion article about his running for President of 9/11?) and realize that they actually agree with him on very little. The nice thing about this video is that while it definitely has fun with and gains emotional punch through stereotypes, it makes its points with facts.

BTW, looking at the most-recent posts on the site, it’s clear I’ve been writing about the Republicans a lot lately. The Democratic field has really settled down now, and there just hasn’t been much to say since the YouTube debate. Hey Dems, can one of you kids stir things up a bit? C’mon Biden, you REALLY want to take a swing at Gravel, don’t you…just be sure that the video is shot with good lighting and good sound. Finally, congrats to the techPrez team for the award nomination — nice work!

cpd

6 Comments:

  1. Jess

    This is disturbing. Reminds me of the “Vote for Cuomo, Not the Homo” ads from NYC’s mayoral race in the 1970s.

    It should be unacceptable in the year 2007 for someone to run an ad like this. Seriously, folks, how is this OKAY!??!!

  2. Jess

    p.s. As a gay person myself, I find it hard to believe that this was made by a proud gay man.

    I suspect this was made by homo-hating frat boys employed by the RNC.

  3. cpd

    Hi Jess, thanks for your comments and questions — they are definitely worth raising. I think it comes down to a comfort level with a certain kind of humor. A lot of humor comes from socially or personally awkward and uncomfortable stereotypes and situations, but (just about) everyone has a point at which it goes out of bounds. Dave Chappell is a great example — his show at its best (the black white supremacist skit, for instance) horrified a lot of people (ultimately including Chappell), but it was still amazingly funny for a bunch of us and actually got a fair number of dicussions about black/white cultural issues started, at least in the bars I hang out in.

    It sounds as though in this case, the characters go too far for you, which is absolutely legitimate. They don’t for me, which is equally legitimate. If you’re interested in the director’s motives, why not go to his MySpace site and read what he has to say? Or ask him yourself.

  4. Jess

    Colin, I appreciate your response, but respectfully disagree.

    In fact, I’m dumbfounded by how many progressive blogs (including the Huffington Post) are posting this video. I know this is difficult to understand, but stay with me for a moment.

    This video is a hit piece. The only thing that is a joke here is that they’re calling themselves “Gays for Guiliani.” They’re not trying to make a “deeply subversive” ironic video that will remind Guiliani of where he stands on gay rights. The Republican men in this video are trying to appeal to homophobia among GOP primary voters! Geesh. Now tell me, what self-respecting gay man would do that?

    Do you need more evidence? Go to the YouTube page: http://www.youtube.com/user/gaysforgiuliani

    Several of the “favorite” videos are excerpts of Guiliani speaking publicly on abortion issues. So, are the “Gays for Guiliani” militantly against reproductive rights? Again, how did they get away with promoting this on the Huffington Post?!

    Too bad this myspace site says it’s “under maintenance”.

    And finally…Dave Chapelle is Dave Chapelle. Comparing his infamous sketch to this crude hit piece is like comparing Monet to finger-painting.

  5. Rebecca

    Look, I appreciate humor as much as the next person, but what is at issue here is intended audience. When I am among queer or queer-friendly people, I may very well make fun of some silly stereotype as it applies to me or my friends, but Im certainly not going to air dirty laundry in front of homophobes.

    I think Dave Chappell is an excellent example of this actually. As I understand it, his comedy was geared toward a primarily African American audience and he became increasingly uncomfortable as his tv show became more and more popular with 20-something white kids.

    The myspace link is temporarily disabled, so I cant see what is motivating the director in his own words. But I think it’s pretty clear that the video isnt meant to speak to gay republicans to get them to vote for guiliani. Exploiting damaging stereotypes in order to scare conservatives into voting a certain way — isn’t that what the right wing does? Maybe you dont know this but that kind of politicking has everyday reprocussions on queer people. Even in the service of undermining a heinous presidential candidate, it’s still more harmful than helpful. It’s certainly not “deeply subversive”.

  6. cpd

    Hi y’all, thanks for the fascinating discussion — I guess I just see it differently. As far as I know, going back to Micah’s original pickup and other stories, this is a video put together by a group of independent film guys in NYC, at least some of whom are gay. I would be more than a little surprised if this is some kind of hit piece put together by conservatives — the filmmakers were definitely portraying themselves as New Yorkers fed up with what they saw as Rudy Giuliani’s hypocrisy. Too me, it’s a legitimate exercise in political criticism/activism.

    And, I’m sorry, it also seems to me that often the best way to undermine stereotypes of all types is to parody them. I’m straight, so there’s always the chance that I’m missing something that’s particularly offensive here, but in general, I’m not a fan of having two codes of behavior — one for use among “family” and one among everyone else — and that certain kinds of humor are only allowed when one is among an audience that shares assumptions. I’ll trade the chance of misunderstanding for the opportunity to have richer discourse among everybody.

    For instance, the other day I linked to an article about the absense of women’s voices in the political blogosphere using the line, “Blogging While Female. Crime, travesty or dangerous trend?” (Blogging While Female was the name of the article). I thought pretty carefully about that one, but I went with it b/c my regular readers (and my female friends) would know that I was having a good time playing with a sexist stereotype while hoping to draw readers’ eyes to an article that I thought people ought to read. Of course, I risked someone actually thinking I’m a sexist pig, but what the heck? It was a good line.

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