Thursday, December 10, 2009

Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are today’s Mattachines

A most interesting sociological (and psychological) study would be learning who watches/listens to Comedy Central’s shows, especially The Daily Show (Jon Stewart) and The Colbert Report (Stephen Colbert). What only a few homosexuals may “see” is that these people are today’s version of Mattachines. It seems lost that not all “mattachines” were homosexual, including the supporters of America’s first successful organization seeking understanding of homosexuality.

This is relevant today as we see more and more print media, homosexual and non-homosexual, disappearing, and many people crying that our civilization will be the lesser for their loss. Nonsense. The sad fact is that journalism has never been the great contributor to our civilization that most people, especially academics and journalists, have told us. It is not just the faux “news” we get from Fox News that is recent and indicates a decline. It is the rare exception—Edward R Murrow—to the rule that makes us think journalism has been so good in the past or different from Fox's ignorant talkers.

That is why it is good that so many young Ameicans now get their news and views on important issues from Stewart and Colbert, et al. Like the early mattachines, who talked truth to the “leaders” of their time, which is why Harry Hay proposed that name for the first organization, it was a perfect name—sorry Dear departed Dale Jennings, although your version of the discussions held are also funny—and is a perfect name for Stewart and Colbert and their staff. But, sadly, there are no mattachines in our news rooms today. Serious Americans should ask the tv networks and local newspaper editors why a few staff members at The Daily Show and The Colbert Report can find information on people who are telling us lies and tell us about their deceit, with humor and satire, entertainingly, and NBC, Time, et al, can't with all their vaunted money and experience. And the evidence is there, even more today, on the internet.

I challenge anyone who thinks that they are getting news and good views in The New York Times, or Newsweek, or the local alternative publications such as L. A. Weekly, to watch these two shows a week and learn who is really giving you facts and the “news” and how really sad the state of journalism is. And I challenge the glbt journalists to even learn the history of their homosexual community/movement—as it seems few have even heard of Mattachine and ONE. And they may learn news from Stewart’s segment called “gay watch.” They will not learn anything from watching endless repeats of the L Word and Queer as Folk on LOGO. And they sure will not get any news—gay or non-gay—from the nightly network news shows, including PBS News Hour which seems to follow Karl Rove's idea of politics, don’t change things, just change names or the meaning of a word. And even less will they learn the truth from liberal media—which has been true from the start of the homosexual movement. We got less then and get less now from The Nation and The New Republic and The Village Voice than we got from the main street media. What a true journaolist, Don Slater, learned early was that we got more help from rightwingers of each era, such as Joe Pyne, than we got from the liberals who ignored us, including the ACLU. Our attorneys were conservatives, not liberals. Our printers were conservative, not liberal. We got more publicity from attacks from the right than we got from silence from the left. Playboy ignored us, but we got publicity when the lesser sex publications mentioned us. As any effort or cause learns, there is a serious question of whether you are better off being attacked or being ignored.

There may be a day when newspapers and magazines, major religious groups and even current political parties are no longer with us, and today's politicians are dead—some are already, except physically—but there hopefully will always be mattachines.

While it seems that the first public homosexual publication, ONE Magazine, founded in 1952, coming out of early (secret) Mattachine did do a good job, and had no competition for several years, the vast majority of later publications, like ONE, didn't have the resources to really give news and view on homosexuality, and once some got advertising and income, they seemed to go for entertainment only, ignoring the work of the movement. And most recent books seem to also ignore the serious discussion, so th3e clsoing of lgbt bookstores means little in fact as far as our community/movement is concerned.

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