candidevoltaire: (disbelief)
[personal profile] candidevoltaire
Television, like the InterNet, was solely created to teach people.  Thankfully, television, again like the InterNet, has remained true to this mission for well over half a century.  During this time it has gotten more sophisticated in the manner it educates the masses.  As many other educational systems have realised, entertainment is often the best, if not only, way to get people to learn things and remember them.  Television has surely been at the forefront of this method.  Which brings me to something I recently learned from watching television.

I'm somewhat of an addict of the various Law & Order series on television since I want to learn more about law, policing, and criminality.  I particularly enjoy Law & Order: Special Victims Unit since it deals with such light-hearted material.  It's a show where it's easy to eat dinner and watch the episode at the same time.  Anyway, I happened to catch a particular episode the other day that allowed me to understand human sexuality is binary, unlike what various idiots misinformed people have been trying to convince me of for years.

The episode that I watched is called Lowdown which aired during Season 5 on 6 April 2004 (according to NBC's website). (Oh, and I hope there's an obvious duh in that there are spoilers for people who haven't seen the episode and care, so check out the episode link above to see if this includes you.) There's this group of African-American men who get together every week to play poker, only it turns out as phrased by Detective Odafin “Fin” Tutuola (played by Ice-T) they're on the Down Low , which means they're actually engaging in homosexual sex. Apparently this is an issue as traditional male African-American culture has major problems with the idea of men being gay. More importantly, at least one of the men is married and has a child, and otherwise appears and acts publicly straight. (I've heard of some common idiom that refers to this situation as being in the closet , though I'm unclear about whether this is accurate and what it even means since I'm often in the closet cleaning my cat's litterbox.) OK, so far I understand all this as I've seen and heard the story before on television about gays trying to hide being gay. But, then I was confused because they also show that this same man really, really, really loves his wife. More confusingly, his wife still loves him with as much intensity even after finding out the truth about the poker games and the fact that because of them he's passed on HIV to her. And that's just the sort of thing that I've hard and read about from people who claim that there's this bisexuality thing where people can have sex with people of both sexes and love them and how people's sexuality can vary both by environmental factors (like being in prison or being a long-haul truck driver) and over time and all other sorts of other crazy stuff. I admit to even starting to think that there might be something to it, since there have been academic studies that seem to agree with these assertions. Thankfully television cleared this all up for me in an interplay between Tutuola and the married, down low man. To paraphrase, Fin yells at the guy that he's gay and he needs to stop pretending and the guy folds like a deck of cards, as though hit by a revelation from Goddess. This scene makes it very obvious that despite the guy being married for years and having a child, he's really just been deluding himself and that he's really gay. One thing I did have to think hard about before finally realising the truth: The whole thing about the guy intensely loving his wife and her loving him just as intensely takes place well after Fin's clearing the guy up on his sexuality. I finally realised that even after realising their gayness someone can still have delusions about being attracted to the opposite sex. As with any good teacher, sometimes television makes you think.

October 2010

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