August 21, 2003


QUEERED BY 'QUEER EYE': Lionel Tiger, the Rutgers biology professor who invented (no joke) the concept of "male bonding," has an entertaining smackdown of "Queer Eye For the Straight Guy" on the Wall Street Journal op-ed page. I totally agree with Tiger's argument about the offensiveness of the show- the problem isn't at all its celebration of homosexuality, but rather its deep-seeded prejudice that there's something "defective" about heterosexual maleness.
Here's Tiger:

The charade feeds on an enthusiastic glee in confronting what I call the "male original sin," which is that all men and boys are in urgent need of remedy from their natures and must rapidly liberate "their feminine side" (the front? the back?). It is all remarkably condescending and peculiarly rancorous, but also nationally fashionable. It has little to do with homosexual rights and everything to do with antipathy to maleness and confusion about what it is.

'Queer Eye' is an entertaining show, no question, and it's clearly touched a cultural nerve. And that it wouldn't have been possible ten years ago is something of which I'm quite mindful. But my objections to it are the above, plus its stereotyping (both of gays and straights), plus its unquestioning, all-encompassing faith in the cult of materialism.
And one more thing- I can't help wondering how Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, and the rest of 'em feel about the 'Queer Eye' people using the "Fab Five" name. Then again, there's a fairly good chance that neither Fab Five has any idea of the existence of the other.

Posted by Stephen Silver at August 21, 2003 08:21 AM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?