Re "Big Love" on HBO about polygamous family, reviewer says gay creators don't get it

Pretty much a standard review until it hits the halfway point at which it becomes a not too subtle statement that

1: The shows even handed approach toward polygamy is dangerous and oppresses and objectifies women

2: Queers (the writers are a gay male couple) should stick to what they know, and that doesn’t include heterosexual relationships

3: The homoerotic ethos has triumphed and heterosexual relationships are boring and irrelevant sideshows

Boy Meets Girl, Then More Girls
HBO’s Big Love and the stuffy side of polygamy.
By Daphne Merkin

You know I read that article the other day and I had a similar reaction, though I couldn’t quite put my finger on what bothered me about it until now.

God what a pretentious writer Ms. Merkin is.

Anyway, a few points.

While I think a polyamorous relationship is a pretty difficult thing to pull off given human’s jealous nature, there are people who claim to be in happy poly relationships. Some of them even post on the dope, IIRC, so perhaps they will enlighten us. In any event I don’t see why a poly relationship has to be about the subjection of women. Why can’t the women have an equal say in a one-man three-woman relationship? I don’t see any reason why they can’t.

Second, it’s a television show. If you’re getting your ethics from the TV, that’s kinda sad. Nor do television shows have to accurately protray reality. I mean some shows have vampires and starships in them. An unrealistic poly family shouldn’t be cause for a tirade.

And then there’s this (Astro’s point three):

AAIIEEEE!! The homoerotic ethos has triumphed!! Run for the hills my fellow straights! Run and don’t look back!!

Seriously, What the frak is a “homoerotic ethos?” There are gay people and straight people. And there are people who try to live in polyamorous relationships. There’s no “ethos” there, just people trying to find love and sex. If someone can find a happy relationship in this sad world, more power to them. Certainly there are fairly obvious ethics relating to love and sex. Be honest with your partner(s), be loyal to them, consider their wishes etc, etc. None of this has anything to do with the gender or the number of people you’re involved with.

I haven’t seen the show, and won’t see it until it comes out on DVD. It may suck donkey balls. But if it does suck I can guarantee it won’t suck for the reasons the bigoted small-minded Ms. Merkin listed.

I read that as more specific to the two writers behind the show, and not about queers in general.

I did like this from the beginning of the article:

I’m just tickled by the idea of a writer for Slate complaining about “hipsters.” Self aware irony, or a long over-due admission that Slate is almost wholly irrelevant?

I would agree with that if the author had gone on her rant about how alternate lifestyles are overruning popular culture. It just seems (even though this not be true) that she has an ax to grind and these guys make an easy target.

I found Merkin’s article quite annoying – she fumbled around with some interesting ideas and managed to screw up every one of them. It IS rather interesting that a series about polygamy is being written by a couple of gay guys. How did that happen? Merkin doesn’t seem to be interested in asking the question, though. Her thesis that gay guys aren’t well qualified to write about polygamy because they don’t get the whole male/female thing is potentially interesting, but she does nothing to back it up – she just announces it and expects everyone to believe it as revealed truth. It occurs to me that gay guys might be better qualified than straight guys to write about polygamy because they have more experience on being on the wrong side of the mainstream with regard to their sex lives, but she misses this rather obvious point entirely.

Her “homosexual ethos” conquering Hollywood is as has been pointed out, strange, considering that the bulk of sitcoms still deal with straight people. She points to some gay stuff and says it’s taking over, but there’s a difference to be made between “existing” and “taking over.”

All in all, not an impressive outing for Ms. Merkil. On the evidence, she wouldn’t last five minutes in GD.

This woman is an idiot. She seems to have a problem with the fact that the show portrays having three wives as being like, well, having three wives. I can understand her objection about the abuse of women and girls that actually occurs in communities where polygamy is practiced, but she spends two sentences on that and then heads right over to the “gay agenda.”

Well, if those gosh-darned homo writers had been normal, then the husband in the show wouldn’t have had to take up the slack by marrying two extra women.

If there’s a rule (ironclad or merely the force of tradition) confining polygamy to polygyny, I’d day subjection of women is built in. If Martha is just as free to marry a second and third fellow as Jeremy is to have multiple wives, though, that would seem to me to be pretty neutral, sex-politics wise.

I don’t know anything about the show, just curious if it is set in rural Utah or in the city? I did see a pic of Chloe Sevigny and laughed out loud. The “sisters” I saw when I lived in SLC wore identical gingham dresses and had the same long hair cut with bangs. When I saw them in public, for example shopping at Target, they would always hold hands. I wish I had more cable channels! As far as the gay writer aspect, not sure how why the writer of the original article would focus on that. You guys say she’s a moron, I’ll take your word for it. So is this going to be a series or just a made for TV movie?

Isn’t Daphne Merkin the one who said that transsexuals should not get surgery? That to do so was cowardly? That to do so was to conform to societal expectations, to construct a safe closet for themselves? That they should just live proudly as gender-queers?

If it’s the same broad, she seems to have an extremely narrow agenda; that of a self-hating gay homophobe.

Just sayin.

I’ve always wanted to ask that myself. You just put it a lot better than I could.

Well, I watched the premiere to see evidence of the gay takeover or … anything. And it appears the gays are planning to lull us into complacency by boring us to death. Scheming bastards!

Isn’t Daphne Merkin the one who wrote articles for the New Yorker about her S&M practices?

Hmm… she’s a real expert on “normal” sexual habits.