BootLeg Betty

An Essay From AfterElton.com – Should Bette Be Given A Pass?

Mister D: Anybody have any opinions on this: Click Here

AfterElton.com
From The Advocate March 25, 2008. Am I being too hard on Bette Midler? Certainly
March 25th, 2008
Author Unknown

Reading The Advocate’s recent interview with Bette Midler reminded me of why we should never place anyone, much less a celebrity, on a pedestal. It seems like no one will ever be able to live up that idolatry.


http://advocate.com/issue_story_ektid52469.asp

Having said that, it’s hard to accept when long-time “gay icons” don’t openly embrace certain issues, like gay marriage, that we think should be no-brainers for them as we see them as our allies. At the risk of sounding like Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City, is it possible to safely lower a celebrity who one may have put up in a pedestal and continue to be a fan of theirs? Right now I am not so sure.

The following is an excerpt from an interview Midler gave in 2003 to Larry King, which I am including as it’s referred to in the article but not included:

KING: I understand. It’s a dilemma to you.

MIDLER: It’s a real dilemma, but I think it’s a dilemma to a lot of people. I don’t think it really hurts anybody. I think — I think — to tell you the truth, my — my — many, many, many of the homosexual men that I know — I can’t speak for the women because — the way I feel — the women, they can look at each other from across a crowded room, and suddenly, they’re mates for life. You know, they — you know, they’ll go out for a Coke, and they’ll just be, you know, move in, and that’ll be the end of it. But gay men, they like to — you know, they like to move around. They like to have — you know, they’re — that’s part of it. That’s part of the fun of being a gay man. So if they’re married, does that mean they’re not going to cheat, they’re only going to be with one…

KING: Well, that’s what they say, they want to make the commitment.

MIDLER: They want to make the commitment…

KING: Why shouldn’t society let them make the commitment?

MIDLER: Well, it’s interesting.

KING: That’s what they’re saying.

MIDLER: It’s very interesting. I’m really wondering how — what that commitment is going to be about.

Has she changed her mind since then? The interviewer seems to give her a pass, but I don’t see a significant shift, particularly when it comes to how she views gay men in general. After reading her article, I am not sure that there is a straight man or woman alive, who could meet the standard the she seems to be setting for gay men who want to have the right to marry.

But why should any of this matter is what I would be asking any music/film fan who enjoys Bette’s work. I guess that it should not as she’s not done anything to hurt gay men and did not ask to put be put up in a pedestal. She’s not pulling a M. Gibson or I. Washington, but for now I need to see if the quality of her contribution (past and future) can offset this knee-jerk reaction to not want to hear from her for a while. It will be my loss but I am just not feeling her after reading the interview.

Mister D: Here’s a link to the newest Advocate interview with Bette -2008:

Click Here

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7 thoughts on “An Essay From AfterElton.com – Should Bette Be Given A Pass?

  1. I just think Bette was trying to say during the Larry King interview is that most of the homosexuals SHE knew (from personal experience) were unable to hold a true commitment – I think she meant she could not see how a marriage would last between them, so that is why she is on the fence about making it “legal” – I don’t understand why everyone gets so f*ckin pissed at her for really just expressing her opinion.

    It’s not like she is a protestor on the streets preaching about how “unchristian” gay marriage is. She even said that (in the Advocate interview) that she personally does not have a problem with it. I think her opinion is a justified one. I hardly doubt she was trying to speak out against her homosexual fan base!

  2. I’m definetely writing, my dear friend. As I was reading her latest interview in the Advocate I wanted to write so many comments, like if I could debate many weak arguments from the journalist. Now I have a pretty good reason, specially because I thought Bette’s answers were pretty good and sounded honest. So, my dear, your brazilian bombshell is going to speak…but I promise I won’t be the reason for any other American governor to resign…LOL!

  3. this comment bette made was from 5 years ago! so i really don’t get the stress of it. maybe she’s a different view on it now? but why really care! we all know she has gay friends and has done so much for gay rights in the past so i hope that’s not forgotten! and to be honest my opinion on gay marriage is probaly the same as bette’s. if anything i’m even more unsure about it after seeing my gay friends get married and a few months later getting a big gay divorce! i’m gay myself and the whole marriage thing, well i’ll reserve my judgement on it for now too.

  4. Hi Mr D & All!

    Is this comment going to come back and bit her on the ass every few years? I hope not.

    As a gay man I understand where Bette is coming from with her reply, and I also understand the commitment side of things.

    Let’s look at the larger scale of things and what I am talking about is called a time line.

    Bette comes from a time when gay men used to partner swap or have multiple partners at the same time, this was back in the early 1970’s, laws were changed to make Homosexuality legal in most countries, so it was like being gay in public was something new, it was like we were all kids who had been let loose in a toy shop where all the toys were free.

    Since then things took an very unexpected turn for the worst, with HIV/AIDS. People started dying left, right and center and it didn’t seem to have an end in sight. Homosexual men have matured since those times, they have formed bonds and family connections with their friends and partners, there are even relationships formed with HIV+ & HIV- men, it’s only natural that if a someone in a relationship should want to leave everything to their partner when they pass, after all it’s done in Heterosexual relationships and marriages.

    Now, moving forward in the time line. Bette no longer performs in the bushes on Fire Island or Gay Bath Houses. She has a husband and daughter. Though she may still have many Gay friends, she may not be completely up to date on Gay current affairs, but at the same time I know she is not stupid nor ignorant. I am sure Bette has been told or maybe even bee shown Gay websites and chat rooms online. A lot of these “Facilities” have plenty of Gay couples looking for “Group Sex” or stating that they are in an “Open Relationship.” Bearing in mind that this also happens on Heterosexual websites and chat rooms. So I can understand where she is coming from when the article states:

    MIDLER: It’s very interesting. I’m really wondering how — what that commitment is going to be about.

    PLEASE NOTE: Bette uses the word “Wondering”

    Doesn’t that in itself state that Bette is asking a question to understand the full scale of the situation before giving an honest opinion or answer?

    Now, as a Gay man I even ask that question when I see my friends in open relationships or engaging in group sex, when I ask them how often they have sex with each other one on one, most of them say never! So I ask myself, “Why do they bother?” But it’s their choice and I leave it at that, my choice would be different. Hence the word “Choice.”

    Also I look at the big picture, in Heterosexual marriages, when the relationship goes haywire and pair shaped, there is this word called “Divorce.” This can be devastating to all parties involved, more so when there are children involved. Property gets divided, money split, payments made for child support the list goes on. As a Gay man I don’t think I am ready to face all of that nor do I think I ever want to deal with that.

    Now before anyone protests to what I just said, please keep reading.

    I do agree that same sex relationships should be recognized in the eye of the law, after all isn’t it my choice whom I should leave my money too when I die? I mean it’s my money isn’t it?

    And I do agree in being able to make a choice, should I want to go down the path of Gay marriage, I’d like to know that it’s there and that it is as legitimating as a Heterosexual marriage, again that is if I choose to go down that path.

    I feel safe in saying that Bette didn’t really understand what was being asked of her because as we all now, she is married and has a family and she has been concentrating on that. I have heaps of Married couples as friends who now have children of their own, who used to go out partying in Gay bars and clubs who haven’t kept up with Gay current affairs and it’s because they have all been doing what Bette has been doing, concentrating on family. But when the issues are explained and they are brought up to speed on things, they understand where the argument is coming from. So I doubt for one second that Bette had or has any intention of speaking bad about her Gay fans or Gays at all.

    There are millions of Gay couples who are only loyal to each other as with Straight couples and it’s all about equality and being able to make the choice for yourself.

    Big Hugz!

    Manny
    xxx

  5. Hello, Dolls.

    I’m going to have to play devil’s advocate on this one. (As opposed to The Advocate’s Devil.)

    I work 50+ hours a week in gay civil rights, (lobbying) so please rest assured that my interests lie within marriage equality and justice for all, but I hardly think that it’s Bette Midler’s place to champion an entire movement because she sang in a bath house forty years ago.

    “We made her!” Really? We gays made her? I doubt that. We certainly assisted her, but we are not responsible for her God-given talents and the mastery of her crafts. If we (as a gay collective) are responsible for her successes, are we then also to blame for “Jinxed” and “Drowning Mona”? Are homosexuals responsible for “Stella”?

    I remember the infamous interview with Larry King vividly (as well as the subsequent backlash from the gay community) and I just didn’t get what all of the fuss was about. I mean, I have often heard in my line of work that “if you aren’t with us, you are against us”, but I don’t buy that either. She is entitled to her opinion. (Even if that means she doesn’t really have an opinion.) She’s a woman from a different era, (to be sure) but let us not forget that she was from another era forty years ago as well. As a 63 year-old woman who acts as if she were born 163 years ago, is it really such a leap to assume that her personal opinion (on what has essentially become a political hot-button) might be a little conservative.

    And was it really all that conservative? It was stereotypical, but it wasn’t the gay-bashing that many in the LGBT communities have made it. She basically said that she perceived gay men to be promiscuous and that lesbian women have a tendency to pick out china patterns and exchange vows on the first date. As a drag queen that has been active within gay circles for over half of my life, I would have to echo those sentiments. I mean, let’s face it: While Bette was belting to the boys in the bathhouse, there was a gay sexual revolution going on. Some of it was good and some of it was bad, but everybody was getting some! It might serve The Advocate’s editor well to remember that the vague and somewhat dizzy opinion Miss Midler served up was, nevertheless, from a woman who sang in a GAY BATH HOUSE during said revolution. She has often remarked how all of these people from that period of her life are now dead. Maybe it’s just me, but I’m not surprised that Bette Midler’s views are not convoluted, all things considered.

    And that concludes my thesis on Bette Midler’s opinions of gay marriage.

    Kindest regards,

    The Divine Grace

  6. I think that one of the real problems is, why is MARRIAGE the ONLY union given this special status. What if someone never finds “the one”? Should they not be able to eventually file some paperwork that will make it easy for them to leave things to someone not in their immediate family without having to pay a heavy tax or fee? Get reasonable health insurance even if they work for a small business, or a couple of part-time jobs, or are an independent contractor? I would also think it is probable that whatever gay people Bette is friends with right now, none of them face economic hardship as we know it without the benefit of marriage.

    I also agree that it is not Bette’s “job” to champion anyone.

    Also, one of the above comments said that they did not think a straight person could adhere to this level of commitment. I’m sorry, but they indeed can, and anyone who doesn’t is not a good spouse and if they have kids, also not a good parent. As a straight person, who is by the way, not religious in any way shape or form, I believed that getting married meant I would not sleep with anyone else unless and until my husband dies before me. If you have any doubt in your mind that you cannot do that, than you have no business thinking about getting married. If my husband slept with anyone other than me, the marriage would be over, end of story. I think it is perfectly reasonable to call into question whether a marriage is even legitimate if it includes sleeping with other people.

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