Hhappy Pride month to all watching, especially the huge construction company building several housing estates at the end of my road, who proudly displayed the rainbow flag outside their showroom and from which I guess LGBTQ+ mortgage applications will be accelerated and discounted. Thanks guys!
It’s rainbow wrap month on your favourite, gay-friendly products for June only, although it should let us know if the NHS can keep the rainbow on as a thank you for everything its hard work during Covid, or if the rainbow will find its rightful place on a lettuce, guacamole, bacon and tomato sandwich. The first brick was thrown at Stonewall so that guacamole could mean “gay”.
This year, the drip of Pride-adjacent news has been less crudely commercial than usual, or less “hi, gay!”, to quote comedian Meg Stalter, whose videos risk becoming an annual balm (please watch the premiere of Stalter”Companies this month» video and the rest of this year, both of which had me crying with laughter), than Rebel Wilson announcing that she was dating a woman. “I thought I was looking for a Disney Prince…but maybe what I really needed all this time was a Disney Princess,” she wrote on Instagram.
Joe Lycett will host a Big Pride Party in Birmingham for Channel 4, to celebrate Pride’s 50th anniversary. And in the only Pride merch link I can appreciate, other than this Royal Mint 50p, Cher has collaborated with Versace, releasing a £280 ‘Chersace’ t-shirt in rainbow colours, featuring matching socks which cost £80.
But the ultimate has to be Kristen Stewart’s casting call for LGBTQ+ paranormal experts on Instagram last week. It has partnered with the producers of weird eye to produce a new ghost hunting show, fulfilling a promise made in the New Yorker last year, when she talked about developing “a paranormal game in a queer space.”
She posted a video/casting caption, looking for experts “to lead the pack on this super gay ghost hunting adventure.” Although I don’t believe in psychics and spiritualists, I love the idea of a paranormal adventure in a queer space, especially if everyone is wearing Chersace t-shirts and socks. A top movie star pivoting to a format made famous by Derek Acorah and Yvette Fielding wasn’t on my Pride checklist this year, but I’ll be happy to wave the flag for it.
Alison Bechdel: Moving the goal posts was a wise move
Cartoonist Alison Bechdel, whose graphic novels are the kind of graphic novels that make people who don’t read graphic novels take them seriously, found herself in the news, in a strange offshoot of an inconsiderate tweet about a movie streaming on Disney+.
It all started with the kind of online nightmare scenario that gives me cold sweats. An American podcast writer and producer tweeted that she thought fire islanda film centered on two Asian gay men and based loosely on Pride and Prejudice, did not pass the Bechdel test. In fact, she gave him an F- and criticized his “dull lesbian stereotypes.” Bechdel proposed the test in 1985; he measures representation by directing a film according to three simple criteria: if a film contains at least two women, who, two, talk to each other, about, three, something in addition to a man. Applied to a film about homosexuals, it has, perhaps, a little less relevance in this case. The writer, clearly not giving this thought, posted a more thoughtful apology and deleted the tweet.
However, it has grown out of its original form to become a bigger debate, as these moments often do, but in a beautiful coda to that (island) firestorm, Bechdel then modified his own test. “Two men talk to each other about the female protagonist of an Alice Munro story in a script structured on a Jane Austen novel = happening,” she said.
I look forward to the extremely broad application of this rating to all future films with the exact same premise.
Graham Norton: slipping into a hot bubble bath of words
I’m not a podcast aficionado – I claim to be short on time – although in hopes of one day becoming one, I’ve subscribed to several hundred of them.
At one point I thought I’d definitely listen to an American permaculture podcast that crosses the two hour mark every week and ironically ignoring notifications for all the podcasts I don’t listen to takes probably as long as it would be fair to listen to an episode once in a while. But there’s one I listen to with real devotion and that’s Graham Norton’s Book Clubwhose third series began last week.
It’s on Audible, which means you have to pay for it, and it’s affiliated with Amazon, like almost everything else. But it’s an audio bubble bath that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Norton interviews authors, and as his long-running chat show proves, he’s unrivaled at personal and personal discussions. A-list actors read excerpts from classic novels and, best of all, a panel of (books, not night) clubbers discuss picking the book club of the week. The All-Time Greats are criticized as often as they are praised, usually in the same conversation. I love it.