Archive for May 10th, 2010
I didn’t watch this, so I only have others’ reactions to go on. Those reactions, however, are pretty damning. Brent Hartinger at AfterElton.com lays things out pretty clearly:
It takes a lot to shock me these days, but I confess, I was shocked by the insensitivity of “Quagmire’s Dad,” last night’s episode of Family Guy.
In the episode, Quagmire’s friends think his dad is gay. Cue Family Guy‘s regular flood of penis and anal sex jokes whenever anything “gay” is mentioned.
It turns out that Quagmire’s dad isn’t gay; he’s a transgender woman. To the episode’s credit, it does point out that “gay” is different than “transgender.” And Ida, the transgender woman, does talk about her choice to get gender-reassignment surgery, saying, “Do I want to be happy the rest of my life, or do I want to be miserable?”
But the second half of the episode is about Brian hooking up with the woman, thinking he’s found his soul-mate, but not realizing she’s transgender. When he’s informed of this, he precedes to vomit for thirty seconds straight; in a sight gag, the whole floor of the room fills up with vomit.”I had sex with her!” Brian says, before screaming like what has transpired is the most disgusting thing imaginable.
“When they move to a new place, they’re supposed to notify the neighborhood!” a character says of transgender people.On top of that Peter and Lois say a whole host of shockingly insenstive things including asking what they call “it” now.
Apparently, Seth McFarlane had this to say about this episode before it aired:
Seth MacFarlane: You have … the [gay] news anchor partners on American Dad, you have Bruce the performance artist on Family Guy, and you have my own personal abhorrence for Prop 8. That always distresses me when I hear that the gay community is upset with us, because that’s one group of people I hope would know we’re on their side. … I can safely say that the transsexual community will be very, very happy with the “Quagmire” episode that we have coming up in a couple of months. It’s probably the most sympathetic portrayal of a transexual character that has ever been on television, dare I say. (emphasis mine)
As many would rightly point out, Family Guy isn’t sensitive on any issues. I don’t think this absolves the show from criticism on those issues, however. Especially not after McFarlane pulls a trolling comment like that.
This episode features an extended remix of the Crying Game reveal, an oblique categorization of trans people as being like sex offenders, and the main characters being too fucking stupid to know which pronoun to use when referring to a woman. What the fuck. Ally McBeal’s trans story was more sensitive than this, and it was not all that good (featuring a cis guy saying he can detect trans women by sight, a trans woman as a sex worker, and her murder at the end). Alexis on Ugly Betty was better. The Bones episode “The He In The She” was probably more sensitive and the trans woman in that episode was only present as a corpse and a puzzle to solve.
This episode does nothing more than present a trans woman as an acceptable target for dehumanizing ridicule. This episode will do nothing more than confirm for everyone who already hates trans people that trans w0men are disgusting freaks who try to trick honest cis men into having sex. This kind of visibility does not do us any favors.
And I swear to god, I do not want to hear about how Seth McFarlane offends everyone. That’s bullshit. His humor is crafted for a cis, straight, able-bodied male audience. Everything you see on his shows is meant to affirm that perspective.
I meant to check this earlier, but was sort of afraid to look. I am happy to say, however, that Bita Ghaedi has not been deported to face possible execution:
After nature intervened to stop the deportation of Bita Ghaedi to certain death in Iran, she was re-scheduled to be deported today.However, earlier this morning, the British High Court granted Ghaedi interim relief pending a renewed application to apply for judicial review, while the European Court of Human Rights put a ban on her deportation.
As a woman who fled her husband as well as a political dissident, Bita Ghaedi has legitimate reasons to fear an “honour killing” if deported back to Iran. In his opinion, Justice Nichols stated that the British Home Office ignored a preponderance of evidence highlighting her very real claims to asylum.
Maria Rohaly from Mission Free Iran writes that mainstream media silence, in addition to dereliction of duty from organizations like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, only hurt the case. Still, this case is a testament for how a small number of dedicated people can bring international attention to the horrific ways in which asylum seekers and refugees are treated by developed nations.
A new hearing for Ghaedi is set on July 21.
She’s not completely out of the woods with a new hearing date upcoming. I’m not sure what the European Court of Human Rights’ ban specifically means in this instance, since there will be a hearing. I hope this time it is merely a formality and she is allowed to remain.