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such a nasty woman | by maryann johanson

straight white man unable to comprehend pop culture that doesn’t focus on straight white men

Behold the bewilderment, in a piece actually entitled “A Straight Man’s Guide to HBO’s Looking” at Esquire, by Mick Stingley. (Yes, he’s white.)

Gays have largely been depicted in television and movies as either extremely fun and funny (Will and Grace; The Birdcage) or starkly sad and depressing (Philadelphia; Angels in America) so perhaps it’s time for a Hollywood portrayal of gay life as normal, tedious, and bland. Makes straight guys seem together and interesting by comparison, though. And if this show really takes off, prepare yourselves for a world of boring gay men who blend in and will probably talk to you about last night’s game and drink bourbon

Could be Looking is in fact extremely boring. But there’s tons of extremely boring shows about straight white guys, and you don’t see straight white guys scratching their heads at the oddity of such a thing. Because that’s not necessary: you see, straight white guys just make sense, even when they’re boring. But what’s the point of gay guys if they’re not funny or depressing and hence entertaining to straight white guys? No point at all.

The very best hilarious bit? When Stingley is particularly perplexed by how there are “no straight guys” in Looking’s version of San Francisco. How can that be? The world is made up of all sorts of people, some of which happen to be straight white guys, and Looking acts like straight white guys don’t even exist. The affrontery!

I wonder if it ever crossed Stingley’s mind that this is the sort of conundrum that everyone who isn’t a straight white guy deals with on a daily entertainment basis.

Newsflash! Apparently Stingley’s piece is an “attempt at humor,” Esquire informs us in an “update.” Which means that it’s our own dumb fault if we didn’t appreciate Stingley’s clear effort to satirize straight-white-male privilege by engaging in a stunning example of such.

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  • RogerBW

    When the gay romantic comedies are as boring and template-bound as the straight romantic comedies, the good guys have won? Or something?

  • chrisvogel

    Some men never grow up; their fragile egos couldn’t take it.

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