Thursday, May 13, 2010

May 13: Setoodeh Doesn't Get It

By Sylvia Gurinsky

In reading obituaries about the death of Lena Horne, I noticed one that mentioned the double-edged sword of Horne being called "a credit to her race." The description insults African-Americans by categorizing them.

Speaking of insults, there was Ramin Setoodeh, a writer who is homosexual, penning a column for last week's Newsweek and saying that gays and lesbians aren't convincing to him when they play heterosexual roles. He focused specifically on actor Sean Hayes, who has been starring in the revival of "Promises, Promises," a musicalized version of "The Apartment," on Broadway.

Setoodeh got a lot of people upset, especially Hayes' co-star, actress Kristin Chenoweth.

This week, Setoodeh writes an online column, crying "poor me" for all the criticism thrown at him.

Setoodeh brings up one valid point: The question of whether a mega-movie star perceived as heterosexual would be just as embraced if that star came out. Otherwise, he is guilty of the same kind of categorizing of gay actors and actresses as those who labelled Lena Horne as "a credit to her race" were.

There's a perceptive scene in "Giant," a classic film that starred Rock Hudson. In the film, Hudson, who was homosexual in real life, is married to Elizabeth Taylor's character - and starts the film as prejudiced against Mexicans. In the scene, Hudson's character has a memorable fistfight to protect the honor of his granddaughter - a Mexican-American.

As Hudson lies, bloodied, on the floor of the cafe, Taylor goes to him and says "You never stood taller."

By the way: Hudson was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor for the film. Obviously, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and movie fans know something Ramin Setoodeh doesn't.

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