Thursday, November 26, 2009

The double standard at CBS.

Singer Adam Lambert set the cat among the pigeons by snogging his male drummer during his performance at the America Music Awards. The Bible-belt went into a tizzy and sent complaints to the network for this egregious sin. (Please note that anything regarding sex offends them deeply, but the most bigoted, cruel, vicious acts imaginable can be portrayed with barely a peep from them.)

Lambert refused to apologize and noted: "I'm not a baby-sitter. I'm a performer." (I like the "not the baby-sitter attitude, I just wish Congress would adopt it.)

Fearful of offending the Jesus crowd, ABC's Good Morning America canceled an appearance by Lambert lest outraged Bible-thumpers whine at them endlessly. CBS, however, then invited Lambert onto The Early Show to discuss the controversy.

Lambert said it was all a double-standard because he was gay. He said the same performance, done by a woman, wouldn't create nearly as much of an outrage, and he's probably right. CBS, to illustrate the story showed the infamous kiss scene but blurred the picture so no one could see it. Of course, a blurred image makes the debate far less real to the CBS audience. What got interesting was that in the course of reporting this controversy CBS also showed the clip where Britney Spears and Madonna snogged on stage except that since it was two women they didn't blur the clip at all. It was shown with perfect clarity.

What is particularly incredulous is the excuse that CBS uses for their own blatant hypocrisy. It is perfectly fine for them to show two women kissing but for two men the image has to be unviewable. A spokesman for the show tried to excuse this double standard saying that the Spear-Madonna kiss was fine because it "is very familiar and has appeared countless times" while the "Lambert image is a subject of great current controversy" and "has not been nearly as widely disseminated." Okay, sure that makes, .... well, that makes no fucking sense at all. If anything CBS looks even sillier. That CBS tried to pretend their might be legal consequences for the Lambert kiss is even more absurd.

If the one kiss is fine to air then the other kiss is as well. While CBS ought to be free to set their own standards about showing kisses—my god! this sounds like a debate from Saudi Arabia—the blatant hypocrisy ought to be condemned. CBS didn't have the obligation to show either kiss. The show certainly could have discussed the silly controversy without showing the kiss. They could have done the report without showing either clip. But to show the one, while censoring the other, is, to me, somewhat offensive.

Could it be that male officials at CBS get a kick out of seeing two women snog but no pleasure from two men doing it? Was this decision merely an example of the well-known trait of heterosexual men to get aroused seeing women snog. Both clips depicted same-sex kisses. But only one makes straight men sit up and pay attention and smile (if the wife is out of the room).

I suggest that the Madonna clip got aired, while the Lambert clip didn't, merely because decision makers at CBS tend to be heterosexual men who enjoy seeing women snog. The double standard is not so much "homophobia" or "hetereosexism" as it is just old fashioned sexism. I don't know if straight women find much pleasure in seeing men make out. I know some do, but I doubt it is as widespread as the male fantasy of seeing women make out. Women, in general, are not as visually oriented as men when it comes to sexuality—which is why there is so little erotica for women and so much for men.

CBS would be more believable if they had just come out and said: "Hey, we're men and we like seeing women kiss, that's why we didn't blur the second clip." At least that would have been more honest. But to pretend that the one clip can't be shown because it is a "current" issue, while the second, similar clip can be shown, merely because it was shown before, is absurd and rather circular in logic. I suggest you will find that when the Madonna incident took place that CBS showed it when it was still current. And how if a clip can't be shown, because it wasn't widely shown already, then exactly how does a clip become "widely shown?"

CBS just looked stupid with their excuses. I'd advise them to go with the "we're just men" defense instead. At least that would sound plausible to most people.

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