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Ellen vs. Rosie

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Speaking as a presumably liberal, progressive, and open-minded gay man, I risk sounding conservative and judgmental when I plainly declare that I really don't like Rosie O'Donnell. Furthermore, while the presence of her very big mouth on The View says a lot about how far gay Americans have progressed in the fight for acceptance, I believe that Rosie not only fails in her self-declared mission of advancing gay rights, she actually has a negative impact.

Rosie is a lesbian clown — a three-ring circus act. Rosie is a lesbian train wreck and we cannot avert our eyes.

She conducts herself as if she's the ambassador of gay to the mainstream and proper world of Barbara Walters' Land o' Straight. Gossip flies out of her cavernous loudspeaker with the self-imagined authority of "I'm gay and you're not." I imagine that in a desperate attempt to remain relevant, Barbara lassoed Rosie because notorious faux-celebrity gossip blogger Mario Lavandeira was too busy battling lawsuits. Ms. Walters, like most American journalists, has betrayed her professional integrity for ratings and advertising, pandering to the lowest common denominator.

A diet of facts and relevance requires critical thinking from Americans whereas the gossip and scandal as coughed up by the Lavandeiras, O'Donnells, and now Walters of our time is pure crack — cheap and fatally addictive. Never mind that the former is vital to the future of democracy and freedom while the latter is quickly eroding the very foundation of our culture and society.

Okay, you get the picture, I don't like Rosie. I think she's profoundly dysfunctional. But she sure does make an entertaining pet lesbo for HRH Barbara. And speaking of Barbara, I recently watched the two-hour TV special hosted by Barbara as a tribute to Barbara. Entitled "The Barbara Walters Special: 30 Mistakes in 30 Years", the point of the special was to confirm that Barbara is in fact perfect and while she can sometimes be slightly inappropriately adorable, she never really makes any mistakes. She ended the special with a sly and knowing grin as if to say, "Okay, I tried to do a special on my greatest flubs and outtakes, but, well, there just weren't any to be found." The special pretty much focused on the mistakes and fumbles made by her vulnerable guests.

Barbara and Rosie make a lovely couple, separated only by tone and grace.

And then there's Ellen. While Rosie is America's most notorious professional lesbian, Ellen is a witty, charming comic and host who is openly gay. Ellen has advanced the cause of gay rights and acceptance with style, intelligence, and endurance. Her varied guest are straight, gay, and who knows what, but that's not an issue — the focus is on their talents and their contributions which have little to nothing to do with their sex lives. Ellen makes sexual orientation incidental, normal, and natural.

Her references to her personal life and her significant other, Portia, are infrequent but appropriately integrated into her talk show as would be the case with any straight host. There's plenty of "we" did this and "we" did that, and occasionally Ellen will show photographs of aspects of her life and there's Portia at her side. Ellen will be the first openly gay celebrity to host the Oscars, not because she's gay but because she's talented — and the fact that she's gay is almost incidental.

I'm all for taking to the streets and manning the barricades when appropriate, but in the gay ambassador to Land o' Straight competition, Ellen takes Rosie with nothing more than a sideways glance.

I also dislike The Donald, but loved him to death these past few days as he openly and honestly turned Rosie into his own personal roll of bathroom tissue (that's Barbara Walters Upper East Side English for "toilet paper".)

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About Ricky

  • http://www.morethings.com/log Al Barger

    I hadn’t thought about them together like this before, but you’re definitely making sense here. I don’t really mind Rosie that bad, but I bet if I were gay I’d be wincing at the sight of her.

    Whereas Ellen really IS the queen of nice. Odd that Rosie would have ever had such a title. Ellen’s just a much nicer person.

    A young person not old enough to remember the big hoo-haa about her coming out might well watch a couple of hours of her show and not know that she’s gay. When it gets to not mattering much in this way, that’s when you’re making progress.

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    “Speaking as a presumably liberal, progressive, and open-minded gay man, I risk sounding conservative and judgmental when I plainly declare that I really don’t like Rosie O’Donnell.”

    Um, why?

  • John

    At least Rosie talks about gay issues. I’m not saying that Ellen should, but she can hardly advance gay issues, if she doesn’t even mention them…

  • Lisa

    JUST LIKE A GAY GUY.WE TOOK CARE OF YOU IN THE EIGHTIES OUR BIG MOUTHS FIGHTING FOR YOU WAS FINE THEN LITTLE MAN!!!!! SOME OF YOU GAY GUYS SPIT ON US NOW……YOU THINK YOU COME FIRST, ALL OUR MONEY GOES ON YOU GUYS AND AIDS…..WELL LITTLE MAN, YOU GUYS CANT EVEN PUT A SOCK ON IT SO WE IN THE GAY COMMUNITY PAY FOR YOUR PERVERSIONS AND SELFISH WAYS!!!!! GROW UP LITTLE MAN ,AND JUDGE YOUR OWN!!!! AND STOP USING US AS SPITOONS AND MONEY SO YOU CAN SCREW EVERYONE IN SIGHT!!!!PITIFUL MAN PITIFUL!!!!!

  • http://rjr10036.typepad.com Richard Rothstein

    Hell hath no fury like a bigot with Internet access. How many irrational generalizations can one fit into a few short lines?

  • http://www.tyjennings.com Ty Jennings

    Ignorance abounds, obviously. And just to be clear, “sir” – you just did (in writing) what rosie does verbally. You just spouted a “View”. One that is solely your own and passionately selfish. Welcome to having an opinion, sounds like you’re jealous that it’s on this small of a platform. Well if you can, get a bigger platform and BALANCE OUT other opinions, but personal attacks that most definitley verge on homophobic (Donald Trump calling her life “immoral”) are idiotic and just an ignorant cry for attention, as are yours. Well, you both got some attention, what are you going do with it? Anything good for the world? seems unlikely…

    PS – Lisa’s very right!! The lesbians were marching for rights, money and medical attention in the 80’s and volunteering at hospices and bading together, so you might want to celebrate the collective lesbian big mouth! Grow up!!!

  • Jazn

    I think Oprah and Donahue did the most for gay issues. It was the whole tabloid talk show genre that Donahue started, but that Oprah popularized into an industry that really puts gays in American living rooms on a daily basis. It was because of those tabloid talk shows of the late 20th century that gays became mainstream on shows like Will and Grace, Queer Eye etc. It was Oprah who played the therapist on Ellen’s big coming out show.

    The tabloid talk show genre has since gone over the top (Springer) and has mostly gone exstinct, but Oprah continues to do progressive shows, most notabley, when she got her fans to grieve over the death of Nate Berkus’ gay lover.

  • Toodles

    Lisa,
    As a man that was a teen to an early something year old during the 80’s I agree with you 100%. It was the worst time in recent history for gay men and the lesbian community was the first to come to bat to assist our sick and dying.

    As far as Rosie goes, I would much rather sit by someone who says exactly what they think rather than someone that beats around the bush……….It’s called being a real person. Over the last decade or so the media has taken aim at any person that is blunt and goes against what they have rendered is the “norm” of society.

    Ugh

  • http://rjr10036.typepad.com Richard Rothstein

    Let me see if I understand the pro-Rosie comments correctly. Racism, slander, baseless gossip, tabloid journalism and dishonesty is acceptable in Rosie simply because she’s a lesbian? And because some lesbians helped some gay men with AIDS in the 80s and 90s, all bad behavior on the part of Rosie is automatically forgiven? This is all fascinating logic and competely escapes me. Part of my original post was tongue in cheek, but now I’m seriously appalled.