Today my cousin sent me a link to the following video on YouTube, entitled “Sassy Gay Friend: Romeo and Juliet.”
“So funny. I think you might enjoy this,” she typed, leaving a link to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lwnFE_NpMsE. I paused a moment before going to watch the video. I could see the title, and wondered what the primary reason was for thinking that I would enjoy it. Is it my passion for Shakespeare? My love of absurdism? Or is it because I’m a staunch supporter of civil rights? Maybe all three?
The video is very clever. Juliet, about to kill herself, gets a sassy reality check from her flamboyant friend. He puts it all in perspective to keep her from killing herself: “Romeo! Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo? Translation: Desperate! Desperate! I am really desperate!” I did enjoy it, and thought it would even be a useful, humorous thing for a teacher to show in a classroom to start an analytical discussion on Romeo and Juliet’s behaviour. But I hesitated to respond right away. This cousin had dutifully obeyed the prophet when he told her to give her time, talents, and wallet toward the passage of Proposition 8. She had worked the phone banks, knocked on doors, and called loving, committed couples an abomination.
I wish that people who engage in gay-bashing could see the hypocrisy of turning around and laughing at gay humour. This is someone who denounced gays as monsters when all they wanted was equal treatment, but she felt it was okay to laugh along with them when they were safely defanged as prancing comic stereotypes. People like my cousin don’t mind keeping gays around as court jesters to make us laugh, cut our hair, and decorate our lounges. But heaven forbid that we accept them as real people who are parents, spouses, friends and citizens. It was so tempting to ask her why she thought this video was funny when she had criticised me in the past for supporting LGBTQ rights and claims to despise homosexuality. I could guess at the real answer; she hated gays when the church told her to. Because she only reflects what she is told to think, she doesn’t really hold any opinion at all on the matter, making it easy to laugh at a funny joke, whatever the content. I don’t know if it counts as hypocrisy to betray philosophical viewpoints you support but haven’t actually thought through, but it’s definitely bollocksed.
After thinking for several minutes about a hornets’ nest I didn’t wish to stir up, I just wrote back, “That’s very funny.”