“Here are the values that I stand for: I stand for honesty, equality, kindness, compassion, treating people the way you want to be treated and helping those in need. To me, those are traditional values. That’s what I stand for. Oh, also I believe in dance.” – Ellen DeGeneres
Here it is yet again, the politics of sex exploding in real life across multiple paradigms. The 21st century is delivering a new normal.
Nothing signals what’s happening in culture, no matter the country, like what’s developing on television. I’ve been a watcher of culture my whole life, perhaps due to my performance career, which included acting, earlier in my life. So what’s been happening across the spectrum, from Obama’s contraceptive mandate to Bob McDonnell’s transvaginal humiliation, to Rush Limbaugh and Bill Maher, to Turkey breaking taboos, is on my radar, with the news this week fascinating and earthshaking.
This is the headline from Reuters on the story above: “Turkish soap operas ignite culture war in middle east revolution.” Watch the video report and you’ll see why.
Passionate kissing broadcast in a Muslim country… Women acting independently, including enjoying their sexuality on screen, with religious conservatives pronouncing death sentences as not too extreme for anyone reflecting modern reality in Turkey, whose economy is booming as is its prowess, which the report shows.
Turkey is the leading edge in any hopes of a new Middle East, so this development will be interesting to watch. But since these shows are hugely popular it means there’s money in them, which bodes well for the possibility their influence and presence could grow and perhaps spread.
Meanwhile, daytime drama in the United States just made history with the first very passionate gay making out session on NBC’s “Days of Our Lives.” It’s been covered by Huffington Post and many other sites across the web. The actor playing “Will Reed” is Chandler Massey, whose portrayal of torment has been a tour de force, by any daytime standard. A bit of trivia I found along the way to discovering this story: his hot lip-locking partner is Kris Kristofferson’s son.
It’s the closest thing you’re going to see to a public service on how parents and relatives should handle family members struggling to come out.
Unlike in Turkey, there’s been no political uproar or even a faint whisper of political or sponsor backlash from the daring “Days of Our Lives” plot line, which has been done with incredible sensitivity.
Ellen DeGeneres has not been so lucky.
When JC Penny announced Degeneres as their spokesperson all hell broke loose in one quarter. An organization called “One Million Moms” unleashed a hate campaign to put pressure on Penny’s with a boycott, which they’ve now dropped.
By jumping on the pro-gay bandwagon, JC Penney is attempting to gain a new target market and in the process will lose customers with traditional values that have been faithful to them over all these years. – One Million Moms
Ms. DeGeneres felt compelled to address it on her show this week. Raw Story has been covering the battle:
In a taping of the “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” which will air on Wednesday, DeGeneres used the opportunity of California’s same sex marriage ban being declared unconstitutional to pivot to the self-described “conservative, pro-family” group “One Million Moms.”
“Normally, I try not to pay attention to my haters,” she said. “But this time, I’d like to talk about it because my haters are my motivators.”
“This organization doesn’t think that I should be the spokesperson because I’m gay. For those of you just tuning in for the first time, it’s true. I’m gay. I hope you were sitting down,” the TV host joked.
“So, they wanted to get me fired and I am proud and happy to say that JC Penny stuck by their decision to make me their spokesperson. It’s great news for me because I need some new crew socks. I’m really going to clean up with this discount.”
This week on CBS’s “This Morning”, JC Penny CEO Ron Johnson addressed the controversy.
“She shares the same values that we do,” he said. “Our company was founded 110 years ago on the golden rule, as about treating people fair and square, just like you’d be treated yourself. We think that Ellen represents the values of our company and the values that we share.”
I’ve never shopped at JC Penny, don’t even know where one is around here, but the only way to reward them with this decision is to start.
The culture wars are raging, but wins are being logged in real ways.
What’s happening to Rush Limbaugh is the most visible sign, but as you see from these stories, the culture war is also leading to real shifts in daily reality.
When something hits TV, the most democratic entertainment force around, something that doesn’t require social media skills or a computer, but simply a remote, you know something real is shifting.
It’s good news all ’round, because the haters are losing.