Like many others, Adam Lambert's loss on Tuesday spurred thoughts about eyeliner, gayness and cultural acceptance. Two friends commented that they "were not surprised, just as they would not have been surprised but were disappointed, as they would have been if McCain had won the Presidential Election.
I enjoyed Alex's queer music piece on this site from a few days ago as one way to deal with disappointment. My own cynical response was, thank God he doesn't have to crow that he's going to Disney World and Lambert doesn't have to sit on the hood of Ford's latest model and shill. However, seeing a guy in blue eyeliner posed across the hood of the car a la Michelle Pfeiffer in the Fabulous Baker Boys would have been a cultural watershed!
My friends clearly thought Adam lost due to his image vis-a-vis Kris Allen's Middle America, teenybopper appeal. Republican strategist Todd Harris went on CBS's The Early Show the day before the vote and framed it in terms of red and blue states. He argued that "You've got these more liberal elites who live on each coast, represented by Adam, and then Kris represents what those on the coast refer to as the flyover states."
This response made me more intrigued by Out Magazine editor's Aaron Hicklin's opinion piece in the Washington Post's Sunday section this morning.
Hicklin noted the continued existence of the closet in the worlds of Hollywood and in the entertainment worlds. Certainly, there is significant truth to this. Despite the actions of Ellen Degeneres and Rupert Everett (who he does not mention) and Clay Aiken and Elton John in the music sphere, there are limits to the number of people who have exited the closet and some real and perceived constraints constructed by both of these industries (note the homophobic questions that James Franco faced about men kissing in Milk when he appeared on talk shows.)
However, I was disappointed by the article for a few reasons. As Alex's Queer music Friday series observes, there is a whole arena of queer music. With this platform, why not take the opportunity to discuss some of the many people in the industries who are out? Rufus Wainwright and Pansy Division may lead the parade, but check out this website.
I thought the article's reference to politicians such as Larry Craig, was an intriguing link about the Hollywood and Washington closets. However, it also made me think we need to be careful about who we consider gay, lesbian, queer, and someone who has sex with a member of the same sex. Doesn't a person have to embrace the culture and lifestyle of queer to be queer? Similarly, to be lesbian, gay or bisexual? Isn't such an acceptance a critical component of being and significantly different from craving a sexual activity with a person of your sex?