GLAAD raised a big stink about Vince Vaughn’s “electric cars are gay” line from The Dilemma only after Anderson Cooper mentioned it on Ellen, but they were successful in getting the line pulled from the trailer. GLAAD then demanded that Universal remove the line from the film entirely. In a rare show of balls from Hollywood, director Ron Howard says the line stays.
“I believe in sensitivity but not censorship.”
“Our lead character of Ronny Valentine has a mouth that sometimes gets him into trouble and he definitely flirts with the line of what’s OK to say. He tries to do what’s right but sometimes falls short. Who can’t relate to that?” Howard asked. “It is a slight moment in ‘The Dilemma’ meant to demonstrate an aspect of our lead character’s personality, and we never expected it to represent our intentions or the point of view of the movie or those of us who made it.”
“I defend the right for some people to express offense at a joke as strongly as I do the right for that joke to be in a film,” Howard said. “But if storytellers, comedians, actors and artists are strong-armed into making creative changes, it will endanger comedy as both entertainment and a provoker of thought.” [CNN]
For a guy directing an Allan Loeb movie, he makes a lot of sense. Meanwhile, GLAAD’s president had this to say:
“Unfortunately, by leaving it in the movie, they are now contributing to the problem. The conversations started as a result of the community’s response to this slur will help schools, media and parents understand the impact of the word ‘gay’ being used as a pejorative. Hopefully in the future, Universal and Ron Howard will recognize the power of their words and use their films to bring people together rather than drive us apart.” [THR]
Look, the gays are probably tied with Mexicans as my favorite minority, but this thinking you can change society through nomenclature thing has to stop. For one thing, calling it “using ‘gay’ as a pejorative” is unfair to the complexity of language (not that it makes it a good joke, but still). For another, since when did gays get a monopoly on bullying? When I was growing up, getting beat up and called “f*ggot” was called “junior high.” A “that’s so gay” joke is pretty far from that. That said, naming a character “Ronny Valentine” is gayer than two electric cars sixty-nining at a Lady Gaga concert.