The Thing Speaks for Whatever

Biblical Knowledge: The Intersection of “Reality” and Religiosity, and What We Can Glean from Cameron’s Exit from “The Glee Project”

In Rooks, This verges on the ridiculous on August 5, 2011 at 11:18 pm

First of all, why are they usually only called bunny (ear) quotes in the context of scare quotes?  Aren’t all quotes technically bunny quotes?  I’m just sayin’.  Also, this post is stupid long.  That’s what we get for taking, what, a nearly year long hiatus?  ALSO, FOOTNOTES!  It’s not perfect – a number of the notes have embedded links that are only visible at the bottom of the post – but if you hover over a footnote with your mouse, the text of the note will appear without your having to scroll down.  Dude, I was friggin’ excited as hell.  (Maybe because there are 24 footnotes in this post.  No, I’m not kidding.)

Anyway.

Clearly many of us on RIE own that we watch a lot of TV, much of it fucking ridiculous.  On a personal level, beyond all the fictional stuff and all the sports, not to mention the standalone category of Things that Appear on HBO, I’m personally a huge fan of competitions that require some degree of actual skill.  (Ok, and maybe the occasional season of “Survivor” or “Big Brother.”)  “Project Runway” (Mondo 4evah), “Top Chef” in all its incarnations (way to not choke, Blaise!), SYTYCD (Sasha. SashaSashaSasha.) . . . I will gladly watch the heck out of some “reality” tv.  (What can I say, I like to veg.)

To what, poorly decorated apatments? Ok!

Thus, when friends asserted I should watch “The Glee Project” on Oxygen, it seemed like a no brainer, as I tend to both enjoy “Glee” and talent based “reality” TV.  In case you have a life, here’s the basic premise.  “Glee” is a hit show on Fox that’s been nominated for Emmys and stuff.  “The Glee Project” is produced by them same folks, and is a new “reality” series on Oxygen.  (Live out loud, on key.)  The idea is that a smattering of vocally talented young hopefuls vie for the opportunity to become a character on “Glee” by being the last Gleek standing, and thus earning a seven-show story arc in the upcoming season of the Fox original.  In order to Lord of the Flies their way onto the show, the gleektestants must complete a weekly “homework assignment” in which they do a group number of a song based on a theme – say, tenacity or dance ability – during which a winner is chosen to receive special coaching by a member of the “Glee” cast in advance of the big challenge, performance in a music video that also incorporates that week’s theme.  The participants record vocals for this video as well as learn choreography.  After the video’s completed, the Powers That Be decide which kids will be “called back” and which kids will have a “last chance” to sing, this time for producer/writer Ryan Murphy himself, and prove why someone else’s dreams should be dashed that night.  Someone gets kicked off each week, and the Circle of Life begins anew until there’s only one person left.  That person will join the “Glee” cast for Season 3.

For the most part I’ve been enjoying it, gladly sucked in to yet another screen vehicle of incredibly questionable realism.  However, if you either watch this show, watch Oxygen generally, or watch blogs or pop culture outlets that watch this show, you’ll already know that, in the most recent episode, themed “Sexuality” and sparking no small amount of fluttering and concern amongst a number of the remaining hopefuls,[1] one Gleektestant, Cameron, quit the show, citing his principles re: the inappropriateness of kissing and being generally “ready to go.”

Since, like I said, this post is absurdly long, a brief summation is as follows:

1. Why audition for this particular show if that’s your stated belief?
2. Why on earth is that your stated belief, anyway?
3. In what universe is Cameron enough of a frontrunner for any of this to matter?
4. You mean “reality” isn’t always, um, real?

If you don’t think I can easily write the equivalent of reasonably sized grad school final paper on those four things, we’ve never met, so allow me to now, with only some mild regret, disabuse you of the notion.

Let me just say from the outset, Cameron, that we know you have a girlfriend.  You’ve maybe mentioned her existence before, once or twice.[2]  That being acknowledged, I’m going to go ahead and point out that this is not relevant to why you are on this show.  Lots of actors have romantic partners.  Some are even married.  And sometimes they do things for work that, outside the context of their jobs, might cause them relationship problems, or that directly contravene their personal identity.  You know how people circumvent this very issue on the daily?  By understanding the difference between real life and the job you are required to do as an actor.  Relatedly, I’m not certain how Cameron could assert towards the end of the GP: Sexuality episode that this is “something [he’s] never been through before,” you know, except for like, oh I dunno, TWO WEEKS AGO when you like cried and called your mom because of the dirty dirty kissing.  I’m pretty sure you’ve not only been through it before, you been through it before ON TAPE.  ON THIS SHOW.  GTFOH.

After all, what did Cameron expect?  Putting aside, for the moment, that acting is what actors do and sometimes that involves sexually related subject matter, clearly these kids have seen “Glee.”  (I mean, I would hope.)  At this point, pretty much every character on “Glee” has had some sort of on screen relationship, actual or implied, and almost all of them have had kisses as a part of that portrayal.[3]  It is simply not credible that Cameron was previously unaware of the potential requirements of a show like “Glee,” unless Cameron is simply brutally naïve in a way that is, to my mind, unjustifiable.  (This may be entirely possible, I freely admit that, but seriously, that’s no excuse.  If the choices are dumb, naïve, foolhardy or blissfully unaware of the potential requirements of the job for which you are applying . . . which would you pick?)  And frankly, I don’t buy it, or rather, I don’t buy that it’s quite that simple.

More likely, it seems, is that it isn’t that Cameron just didn’t think, but that he didn’t expect that such a thing would be required of him.  Similar in some ways to certain branches of current evangelicalism generally,[4] I think Cameron expected the reality of “Glee” to either shift to encompass his reading of these beliefs, or to simply accommodate him, regardless of the realities of the show.  Now, of course, these days Cameron’s read on the situation is a bit different: “It wasn’t just because of sexuality, because I wasn’t comfortable with it. Now I’m a little more comfortable. I just felt like it was the right decision.” [5]  Alright, I love revisionist history as much as the next gal, but, uhh, Cameron?  You know that that business was, umm, taped, right?  Like, that the stuff you say has been recorded for dubious posterity?  Which is to say, the part where you said that “just the word sexuality makes [you] uncomfortable” – yeah, I just watched that on cable, then again on On Demand to make sure I had the quote right.

So Cameron.  Seriously.  Have you never like, read the Old Testament?  Positively filled with sexytimes.  (“And Adam knew Eve.”  Knew.  Like in the biblical sense.  Like, there is a reason they fucking call it the biblical sense.)  This is one part of my many problems with these sorts of incarnations of this particular brand of religiosity, particularly the Christianity = anti-sexuality meme, yet is one that the creators of this show and many the world over seem to unquestioningly accept.  Regardless of one’s stance on premarital sex, the Bible, even taken literally and with the very, very notable exception of Paul, is not exactly anti-sex.  (It’s not exactly anti-booze or anti-non-“Lord’s name in vain”-style-cursing either, but I digress.)  Indeed, the very notion of sexual expression is not one with which one should be uncomfortable, else “be fruitful and multiply” is some really shoddy advice.  Clearly I’m not the first person to say this, as I’m pretty sure Beverly LaHaye is still getting royalties from The Act of Marriage, and she and I do not exactly have overlapping stances on sexual politics or faith, but for the fact that we would both refer to ourselves as Christians.  (How we would refer to each other, on the other hand . . . )  In fact, probably one of the only things Bev and I could likely agree on is that sex is meant to be enjoyed.[6] That’s why it feels ever so delightful.

Would you enjoy sex with this man?

Of course, as Cameron (and Bev) would hold, the enjoyment of said sex shouldn’t occur until after marriage.  Here’s the funny thing: kissing isn’t sex.  (Unless you’re Sallie Tisdale in this rather fun book, and even then it’s definitively more about the feeling than the action.)  Despite the assertions of the Virgin Lips movement, this reading of kissing, front-motherfucking-hugs, and other mild, merely potentially sexually overtoned physical acts has not only no basis in post-medieval historical Christianity – i.e. the variety of hardcore ascetics generally abandoned post-Aquinas – but is functionally a fiction of the modern Evangelical movement in backlash to the sexual freedom/empowerment movements of the 70s.[7]  Usually, the ostensible Biblical basis for these assertions is . . . nowhere to be found.  No, that’s not just me, these folks actually admit that there’s no Biblical justification for this sort of anti-sexual extremism:

“While sexual abstinence until monogamous marriage is the biblical standard, these young Christians see virginity as requiring more than reserving sexual intercourse for marriage.  They see kissing as an act of physical intimacy — a gateway drug to greater physical intimacy and involvement.”

I contemplated bolding for emphasis, but how do you even pick a phrase from the multitude?  Eventually, that whole statement would functionally end up bolded due to sheer WTFness.  Clearly Al Mohler, the original source of the quote and current president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary[8], is a bit extreme, but I’m willing to admit that he likely knows his scripture, so when I say it’s not in the Bible and you can trust me on this, I mean it is seriously not there, anywhere, even according to people who would be positively delighted if it were.  So why no smooches?

This, Dear Reader, if you haven’t already seen the warning signs, is clearly one of those instances where one inadvertently falls down the rabbit hole of the Interwebs.

It's a series of tubes.

I started simply enough, trying to find the website for the Virgin Lips Movement, an idea that horrified me from basically the moment I was made aware of its existence (thanks Jenny!) within the so-called courtship movement just over a year ago.[9] (In retrospect, I eventually remembered that the movement had no official website per se.  I know, genius.)  Over the course of this needless hunt, I discovered what is apparently a central book to this entire concept: Joshua Harris’ I Kissed Dating Goodbye.  When I went on Amazon to “look inside,” then 21 year old author Harris asked, in the prologue, that if this book concept seemed wackadoo to me as a reader (it does!) I should try and stick out the very first chapter.  Sure, dude.  You’re on.  You have exactly one chapter to show me why this isn’t an overly and overtly reactionary screed against the perceived so-called evils of sexual feelings and that it actually has some genuine basis in a Biblical message of love.  Aaaaand GO!:

“It was finally here – Anna’s wedding day, the day she had dreamed about and planned for months.  The small, picturesque church was crowded with friends and family.  Sunlight poured through the stained-glass windows, and the gentle music of a string quartet filled the air.  Anna walked down the aisle toward David.  Joy surged within her.  This was the moment for which she had waited so long.  He gently took her hand, and they turned toward the altar.  But as the minister began to lead Anna and David through their vows, the unthinkable happened.  A girl stood up in the middle of the congregation, walked quietly to the altar, and took David’s other hand. [ . . . ]  Soon, a chain of six girls stood by him as he repeated his vows to Anna.  Anna felt her lip begin to quiver as tears welled up in her eyes.  “Is this some kind of joke?” she whispered to David.  “I’m…I’m sorry, Anna,” he said, staring at the floor.  “Who are these girls, David?  What is going on?” she gasped.  “They’re girls from my past,” he answered sadly.  “Anna, they don’t mean anything to me now…but I’ve given part of my heart to each of them.”  “I thought your heart was mine,” she said.  “It is, it is,” he pleaded.  “Everything that’s left is yours.”  A tear rolled down Anna’s cheek.  Then she woke up.

Anna told me about her dream in a letter.  “When I awoke I felt so betrayed,” she wrote.  “But then I was struck with these sickening thoughts: How many men could line up next to me on my wedding day?  How many times have I given my heart away in short-term relationships?  Will I have anything left to give my husband?” [emphasis original][10]

Archie Bunker/George Jefferson

No love lost.

Hold the damn phone.  Since when does love operate on some sort of crazily skewed scarcity principle wherein if you love one thing, you might not have enough left for something else?  Like, are Christians not commanded to love thy neighbor as thyself?[11]  Are we supposed to pick which neighbors, just in case we run out?

But gamely I soldiered on.  I can sum up the rest of the chapter as follows: blahblahblah . . . shame-ridden confessional of sexual sin somehow expressed both obliquely and salaciously . . . purity is the purest form of purity ever, and that is awesomely pure . . . yaddayaddayadda . . . a head-scratchingly contorted interpretation of 1 John 4:10-11 used as the basis for this lifestyle choice[12] . . . fleeting admission that there’s “no biblical command not to date” . . . this pure purity goes beyond sexual purity in order to be the pure purest of the pure . . . anecdote about a dirty temptress for whom kissing was “mere sport” . . . purepurepurepure.

Well, that was appalling.  I feel like my brain got side-hugged.[13]   Though the word purity seems to have abandoned all hope of meaning in favor of a semiotic clusterfuck, reading things like this make poll results like these suddenly make sense:

56.8% of the young men surveyed either agree or strongly agree that a girl stretching is a “stumbling block.” Do not get limber for the Lord, ladies.

What about personal responsibility, you ask?  Well, visually lady-indentified people – trans, cis, high femme genderqueer, or whatever works for you – you’ll be pleased to note that “you don’t have to hide the fact that [ . . . ] you are a woman. You don’t have to [ . . . ] wear a gigantic paper bag over your body. But you do have to do what you can to protect [ . . . ] the purity of your brothers.”  Don’t you feel assured?[14]  In fact, responsibility, celibacy and temptation are issues they deal with with some regularity (and marginal success) on “Glee” itself.  (You thought I’d forgotten what I was supposed to be talking about, but no sirree, I did not.)  Of course, on “Glee,” they’re discussing abstention from sexual intercourse rather than all potentially sexually connotative behaviors, but . . .

Here’s the thing.

The kiss in the Hannah/Cameron section of the weekly music video on “The Glee Project” is not at all necessary, artistically.  It truly isn’t.  First of all, the director already had a kiss under wrap from the Damian/Lindsay scene.[15]  Secondly, they clearly didn’t want a kiss from everyone because, at least under the impression one gets from the editing, no one asked for a kiss in the Samuel/Alex scene.  (Golly, I wonder why.)[16]  Third, as Cameron demonstrated earlier in this episode during the “Like a Virgin” homework assignment, which is to say when he wrapped Lindsay’s legs around his waist like he was a brass pole saying “I missed you!” to a friggin’ firefighter, there are about a million ways to behave to convey sexual interest in performance that have nothing to do with mouths touching other mouths.[17]

In this specific instance, when the blocking calls for Cameron to have Hannah up against the fridge, kissing is merely the most obvious possibility to connote sexual desire.[18] Frankly, if even the word sexuality didn’t put the fear of God into Cameron, he might be more apt to realize this essential truism of sexytimes on film, and use his chosen limitations to his advantage.  For instance, what about the fake out neck nuzzle?  You don’t even have to put lips to skin if the camera angle’s right.  No?  How about the ol’ touching-the-other-person’s-mouth-with-one’s-thumb-while-taking-the-chin-in-hand? Or the not-kiss kiss, where the lips almost touch, but don’t?  Ear whispering?  Fingers into the hair, then light stroke down the jaw line or to the collarbone?  The forehead-to-forehead deep sigh of awesomely hot sexual frustration?  I could clearly go on all day, and the answer is the same: If Cameron could act, this kissing thing would’ve likely been a blip that the Powers That Be might not have discovered until much, much later.  (Infra.  Yeah, I said it.)  In fact, this is the root of advice that Murphy would later in this same episode give Damian regarding singing “Danny Boy” for what appears to have been the umpteenth time – “if it’s not something that’s great for you, fake it.”  Revolutionary, I know.

So why doesn’t this quintessentially obvious performative advice apply to Cameron?  Why do the producers, represented in the person of Ryan Murphy, seem to have such a hard on for Cameron anyway?  From an audience member perspective, I do not get why Cameron was still around for us to be having this conversation at all.  As Ryan rightly points out, Cameron has a problem with something every. damn. week.  The slushies “shut down his lungs.”  Kissing makes him have a moral aneurysm.  Dancing is like, hard and shit.  Acting is . . . like, hard and shit.  Anything the judges rightfully critique about Damian – can’t dance, not a great actor – you can just as easily say about Cameron.  I’m certainly not picking up what he’s throwing down charismatically, and that was even before I knew that our 22 year old Texas native thought kissing was basically the equivalent of cracking open the seventh seal.

It seems odd to me, then, that Ryan Murphy wants Cameron to stay so badly.  Is it because he said no?  Are we suddenly meant to be entranced with the perversity of the universe, ever wanting what we cannot have?  Is this autreMurphy’s Law of Television Production?  Because, let’s face it, if Ryan Murphy really did respect and/or understand Cameron’s beliefs (whether or not I believe they are intellectually or spiritually valid, he nonetheless seemed to feel quite strongly about them, and I’m in no way trying to assert that his feelings on this matter are manufactured on a personal level) our head honcho would grasp that giving up a TV show or national tour based on the courage of one’s convictions isn’t wackadoo – it is, in that context, simply the right thing to do.[19]  Taking a stand for something, even if, in this instance and in my opinion, it’s not a thing that makes much if any sense, often means that one is potentially giving up certain opportunities.  (See e.g., Paul Robeson, Jocelyn Elders, boycotts generally, Curt Flood, Kurt Hummel, you-get-the-idea.)

Well, I have a theory.  (Shocking.)  The key is looking at the sex/gender identities of the remaining contestants – two lady identified ladies – Hannah and Lindsay – and four dude identified dudes – Samuel, Damian, Cameron, & Alex.  I very much doubt, from what we’ve seen of and heard from Ryan Murphy, that he’s really just leaving all of this to the best person available, no matter the ostensible purpose of “The Glee Project.”  That simply does not seem like Team Glee’s draft strategy.   I’ve got to believe that the evidence, admittedly circumstantial, nonetheless clearly suggests that Murphy et al. are going for the position player.  Here’s why:

Fact #1:  They’ve clearly already thought about what this mythical character’s story is gonna be if they know for a fact that, as the editors keep telling us, there will be a seven show arc.  Now, I’m not asserting that it’s impossible to write a story for someone without knowing that person’s vitals – in the case of “Glee,” that would be presumptive/reasonably expressed sexual orientation, gender, and Team ODB quotient (we’re all the same because we’re all different!  Hearts!  Skidoosh!) – but let’s be honest, it’s quite a bit harder, especially in a show that continually revolves around relationships, relationships that are seriously intertwined.  For instance, if you hire a girl, you could have her as a romantic/performance rival to Rachel (which would implicate Finn, Quinn, periodically Jesse, and retroactively Kurt, plus all the high register singers), or perhaps as a new option for Brittany S. Pierce (and thereby implicating Santana, Artie, and thus by extension, Karofsky, and even potentially Tina and Mike Chang); conversely, if you hire a boy, is he a love interest for Kurt (Blaine, Karofsky), a hot new rival voice (all the dudes who aren’t Finn, and Finn), or a (non)sexytimes person for Quinn (Finn, Puck, Sam if he were coming back).  I find it difficult to believe that the writing team has a gaping hole in the spider web that is Glee’s personal plotting where a seven show storyline should be.

Fact #2: If we look at the eliminations as a trend, it’s not hard to see that the ladies have been, comparatively, dropping like the proverbial flies.[20]  Though in this week’s elimination there were no women up for the boot, the three dudes up for elimination have been there, if we include this week, a combined twelve times in only seven episodes.[21]  Why is this interesting?  Because of last week.  Poor Marissa, right?  One bad week, her first time ever in the bottom and after winning two homework challenges in a row, and she’s out like Heidi Klum hosts this show.  And seriously, her week – acting-wise/dancing wise/arguably singing wise – was not notably worse than either of her fellow bottom three compatriots, Alex’s Drag Show of Complete Fabulosity aside.  (Dear Marissa: Man, I think Nikki the recording doyen missed your voice this week – even if “Teenage Dream” is a complete waste of musical space, Darren Criss’ decent performance of the tune aside.)[22]

So what happened?  Ryan Murphy basically said it: Marissa’s essentially just another pretty girl.  What he didn’t say, but I’m pretty sure is not an unreasonable read, is that “Glee” is top-full, in the words of Docta K, of stereotypically pretty girls who can sing.  Let’s add in the fact that, according to a common wisdom, approximately 80% of actors are women, while 80% of roles are for men.  Also, I saw Every Little Step. (Umm, so should you.  Netflix that shit, fo’ reals.)  This is to say that there’s a positive surfeit of young-ish, nice-lookin’ ladies with good voices that Ryan Murphy could add to the mix of “Glee” – he certainly doesn’t need a TV show as a vehicle to find one.  In fact, I’m willing to lay bets now that in Season 3 of “Glee” there will be some sort of story arc involving a singing pretty girl whom we’ve pretty much never met before.  So Imma put it out there – I think the producers would prefer to hire a dude, and ideally a straight one at that.  A bridge too far, you say?  Well, what about . . .

Fact #3:  Ryan Murphy explicitly told Damian, during this week’s last chance callbacks, that he’s looking for another male lead, due to the imminent graduation of, oh, basically the entire “Glee” cast.  (Why is everyone in the same grade?  I’m calling “Saved By the Bell” on this one, Gleeple.  Just like it was patently unrealistic that, at a school of Bayside’s supposed size, Lisa, Zack, Slater, Screech, and Jessie & Kelly/Tori all had pretty much all of their classes together, it is just as unrealistic – and rather shortsighted, from a plotting perspective and on a patently practical level – that every single person in New Directions is, apparently, a rising senior.)  In short, Ryan needs a Finn.  Not an alternaFinn, as regardless of “Glee”’s (very) periodically progressive politics (oh, you don’t want to get me started on this one), this show is not gonna eventually centralize the ubiquitous Dude with Piercings and Interesting Hair (there’s one in almost every school, Samuel, dreds being just one incarnation).  If you want more evidence that that’s likely a privately/quietly articulated goal of the folks behind the curtain, please see Max Adler’s guest spot on “The Glee Project” in Episode 6.

I'm just sayin'.

Aside: Is it odd that I think Max Adler’s really, really cute?  Because I do.  If we were playing “Who Would You Do?” with the entire “Glee” cast, despite the fact that Cory Monteith seems like a funny dude in interviews, and really despite the, umm, rather memorable performance of “Me Against the Music” by Naya Rivera and Heather Morris, and really really despite Harry Shum, Jr.’s stoopidly sick dance skillz, and really really really despite the fact that Adler’s arguably playing the biggest closet case in pop culture today – unless, I suppose, you’re under the impression that that honor ought to go to Marcus Bachmann – I’d pick Max Adler pretty much every time.  I dunno.  Whatevs, I don’t have to justify myself to y’all.  

Holy tangent, Batman.

Right.  Um, yeah, anyway, so . . . during the “Tenacity” episode (no, Lindsay, tenacity does not mean “grrr”), it’s mentioned that Karofsky was originally meant to be a two-line character, and due to Adler’s tenacity and general awesomeness, he became a near-regular.  (I think one could argue, by this rubric, that the most tenacious cast member would necessarily be Heather Morris, since she was originally brought on to teach the choreo for the “Single Ladies” number in season 1, and now portrays one of the best loved characters on the show.   I mean, did you know that dolphins are just gay sharks?  I didn’t think so.[23])  It’s impressed upon our wee proto-Gleeks that tenacity is vital to take advantage of opportunities in life, like, you know, THIS ONE, KIDDLES.  Given “Glee”’s track record in nurturing talents who prove to fit the vibe of the show, be useful to plotting, and have popularity with audiences – even if their consistency regarding those characters leaves something to be desired, to wit: how did we not know that Jesse St. James was a flaming ball of idiocy and general waste of carbon until after he reappeared in Rachel’s life, seemingly for the sole purpose of driving her into Finn’s delightfully awkward arms yet again – it seems likely that, in an ideal world, Murphy’s gunning for an eventual regular with a built-in fanbase crafted from this reality show, preferably one who fills the apparently difficult niche of singing, dancing, acting generic or marketably alternative straight dude.  Maybe I’m wrong, but given actual reality, as opposed to pop “reality,” it doesn’t seem farfetched.

Fact #4: Chord Overstreet, aka Sam of the House Guppylips if this were “Game of Thrones,” is apparently not returning to the show for the next season.  ‘Nuff said.[24]

Cameron

Dude, it's so true.

As such, at the opening of this episode, the producers have two of these “ideal” options left on the show – Damian of the admittedly awesome yet occasionally impenetrable accent that periodically needs to be subtitled, and all-American, hipster-lite, he “kind of looks like a guy version of Taylor Swift” Cameron.

It’s not rocket science; it’s reality television.  Given that Ryan Murphy comes right out and says that Damian would have been going home, had Cameron not gone quietly into that good night (Infra.  Yep, again.), you can, I think, glean which way this was supposedly gonna go.  It doesn’t help that Murphy is basically like, “why is this dude such a perennial pain in the ass” right up until he doesn’t at least have the option of potentially having him on “Glee.”  Murphy’s void (heh) on the show is, to him, one of the “conservative, religious, faith based” variety – an idea supported by the rumors that have been present from pre-Season 2 onward that “Glee” was hoping to add such a character, and simultaneously one that pretty much ignores the existence and previous characterization of one Quinn Fabray.  Cameron rings every bell.

Speaking of easy stereotroping, “the person you just saved is Damian.”  :::sigh:::  Must we really go the noble sacrifice route?  Really?  Didn’t I just see Harry Potter DHII?  C’mon now.  I mean, Cameron’s been in the bottom what, four times?  He’s got a lovely voice, but unlike the Powers That Be, I didn’t find him particularly compelling as a performer – though he sometimes has an interesting quality and tone, as previously mentioned he can’t really dance and, most importantly, he can’t really act.  Like seriously, fellow “Glee Project” viewers, of which there are apparently more than five, can you credibly see Cameron being able to sustain a seven show arc, even if you liked him as a person?  No.  He doesn’t have the chops.  So, if Cameron chooses to leave because this is not the experience for him, than more power to him.  Do you, bromie.  But rope-a-dope troping that he’s selflessly giving up the opportunity of a lifetime for his friend, even by implication, is both inaccurate to the circumstances of the show and a needless, reality tv justification for a personal decision.


[1] Ok, were like, none of these kids actual theatre kids in high school?  Because whip cream on the “tats” (sorry, I really enjoy that Damian called ‘em “tats” or sounded like he did) is not even close to the dirtiest thing I encountered as a theatre kid in high school, and they are fanning themselves like belles who might need to retire from all that undue excitement.  Given the fact that college was an escalated version of the same . . . the hell?  In fairness, credit to Lindsay for finishing all of her whipcream on the first lick – I think her “my mom’s gonna kill me” was maybe really a “my mom’s gonna kill me for doing this on national television” – but seriously, where did Ryan Murphy find these people, under the only non-salacious rock in the entire entertainment world?

[2] The award for most assertions of relationship status in a single season, however, will now and probably forever go to pastry chef Morgan Wilson of “Top Chef: Just Desserts.” WE KNOW YOU’RE STRAIGHT, MORGAN.  Way to lose gracefully, though.

[3] I can’t think of anyone Mercedes has kissed, honestly.  Anyone?  Bueller?  All I got for Mercedes is the cliffhanger hand-holding at the end of Season 2.  Same for Sue – nothing except kiss-that-wasn’t in the “Funk” episode, quite possibly the least eponymous Glee episode of all time.  I mean, I genuinely enjoy this show much of the time, but it is basically devoid of funk.  Like if the solution to Glee’s really big funk headache is an even bigger pill, that show needs not just Dr. Funkenstein, but regular inoculation and quite possibly the whole damn clinic.

[5] Note how Cameron says, later in this interview, that he would totally smooch now.

[7] Except for certain Puritan sects in the colonies, but even then kissing was only criminalized in public, including kissing one’s spouse, and these are the same people who outlawed celebrating Christmas.  “Oh you have the wrong man; The dog ate my homework; I saw Goody Osbourne with the devil.”  You think the Magister was involved with the New Right?

[8] From one personally known source who attended SBTS before eventually becoming fed up, “They [the SBTS] basically make the Klan look left of center.”  Obviously this is, perhaps, racially hyperbolic – I can’t speak to that person’s actual experiences at SBTS as a person of color – but as a general assertion of sectarian far-right politics . . . I mean, if you don’t believe it, feel free to check out, as an example, Mohler’s website.

[9] At the time, I asked, via gchat, how many of my friends knew someone currently saving or who had saved their lips for marriage.  Most of the responses involved some variation on the theme, SHUT THE FRONT DOOR!, NO WAI!, and other expressions of extreme incredulity, but this wholly unscientific poll did yield some fruit.  (But not like tempting fruit, like wholesome fruit.) At least six people within one degree of separation from myself are or did completely abstain from kissing before marriage.

[10] Joshua Harris, I Kissed Dating Goodbye, pp.13-14

[11] Matthew 22:39, Mark 12:31, Luke 10:27

[12] “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.  Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” (translation unknown)

[13] PSA to any rough riders, so filled up with Christ-love that they will send your ass home in a coma for front-hugging: it’s all well and weirdly anti-Semitic to comment on Rabbis as prurient huggers, but if you later go on to say that you bet Jesus never hugged like that, eventually someone’s going to school your ignorant ass on the fact that Jesus was arguably a Rabbi, and at the very least is referred to as a Rabbi throughout the New Testament.  Ah, you crazy kids and your seeming lack of reading comprehension.

[15] Upon Damian and Lindsay returning to the make up area, Alex: “Is that some lip gloss I see?”  DUDE.  Alex has super-spidey makeout sense!

[16] What would Cameron have done if he were assigned the gay partnering?  Also, why is Samuel talking about his being raised Christian and that making the public gay partnering uncomfy like these things are necessarily synonymous?  Furthermore, did we not just see him give the sexy eyes (and jacket strip) to Alex during the “Like a Virgin” number, such that this week’s judges complimented him on his ability to be “equal opportunity” sexy and thereby gave him the win?  Has this bell not already rung?  More fundamentally – heh – is there not, on a TV show about a TV show about “acceptance,” a big queer elephant in the room?

[17] Lindsay: Dude, 1) you are a lil’ bit evil, and not in that awesome way, because I saw what happened with Ellis; 2) You really didn’t deserve to win.  I promise.  I would not steer you wrong on this.

[18] Putting our lovely and zaftig (thanks Michael!) Hannah in the food section – purposeful or what?  Is this something I’m not supposed to think about one way or the other?  Because it seems weirdly not like an accident that they put the most heavyset cast member in the kitchen scene with the dude who doesn’t kiss, but on the other hand, Lauren Zizes.  I don’t know how to react there; perhaps a cigar is just a cigar on this one.

[19] As an example, if Tyler Perry asked me to be on a TV show of his tomorrow, I would not just say no, but, in the immortal words of Mercedes, hellz to the naw.  Because I believe, regardless of whether others agree, that his brand of minstreltainment – especially in the TV shows, his more recent attempts at non-shittily crafted films arguably aside – is unabashed coonery of the first water, usually devoid of redeeming value in both writing and directing (because Perry’s done both), and I wouldn’t be willing to sacrifice my credibility to do it.  Tyler Perry simply can’t buy my shuck and jive, and that’s a comparatively shallow belief when compared to the potential depths of religious faith.

[20]  Episodes 2, 3, 4, and 6 all eliminated women.

[21] Alex four times (ep. 3-7), Damian four times (ep. 1,3,5,7 – he’s clearly got issues with odd numbers), Cameron four times (ep. 3, 5-7)

[22] Tom Waits said, in his R&R Hall of Fame Induction Speech, that songs are really just “very interesting things to be doing with the air.”  (@ 7:40.)  Clearly, he’s never heard Perry, or he might have more narrowly tailored that statement.

[23] It’s Shark week, yo!  Respect.

[24] It’s true.  This is also how I know that everyone on “Glee” is apparently a rising senior.

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  1. Yay, fun post! I was raised in a/the subculture that read Joshua Harris, and I totally remember the mindset in which none of what you wrote about the Virgin Lips movement is at all unreasonable. Thanks for skewering it a bit for me. (I suspect the super-pure thing was born of the same human reaction to sexual repression as what once made glimpsing a woman’s ankle exciting and scandalous.)

    As for your criticism of Saved by the Bell, in a school of 2000 people I had basically every class with at least 4 people I can think of off the top of my head. All you needed was to be in the honors/AP track and in my grade, plus be in marching band. If you leave off band, that number expands to about 15 or 20 people. (Of course, Zach certainly wasn’t in honors courses, and the kids didn’t really share extra-curricular activities/electives, so my point doesn’t completely hold, but I thought I’d still throw it out there.)

    Bunny ears reminds me of Logic Bunny. :) I miss you and am glad to see you writing (so much) again.

    Incidentally, your disclaimer sentence (immediately after the numbered brief summation) drew my husband in, and he decided to read the post, too. (He is a kindred soul in long-windedness.)

    • Ankles are super scandalous. Rawr. But seriously, I think movements like that actually do a disservice – it doesn’t encourage responsible behavior and actual self-control, it basically makes out human beings to be enslaved by their, shall we say, baser interests, completely incapable of regulating their own behavior if exposed to any and all shenanigans. Or even something as non-shenanigan ridden as a simple hug. It makes out sex as disgusting, dangerous, or both – something I’m sure some proponents would count as a positive, but it also reads functionally all physical affection as potentially dangerous, disgusting, and/or inappropriate and unacceptable. I worry for those kids’ sex lives when they do get married, and hell, maybe I shouldn’t, maybe all that pent up sexual frustration finds healthy, satisfying outlet within the context of their post-married lives, wherein they respect and cherish the bodies of their partners, and mutually explore how to give pleasure and how they receive it . . . but somehow, for the vast majority, I doubt it. You don’t learn discipline, control, patience – all you learn how to do is say no, to not touch, to completely otherize physically affectionate behavior. (You certainly don’t learn to seek out sexual possibilities that may not be familiar to you and explore them. Especially not if the very concept makes one uncomfortable.) And given studies about what happens to primates when deprived of physical affection and/or touch, I worry about a movement that encourages its members to physically distance themselves as much as possible. I think that such a complete sexual repression, once acquired, can be a very tough habit to break. At any rate, I’m glad I could skewer. Heh.

      Ok, I was in honors classes with a lot of the same people too, but not, like all of them. :D And certainly not all four years, even for courses like, say, Home Ec and Drama. Like, supposedly these kids had no disparate interests except in extracurriculars, and usually not even then? Like I know Zack got a 1502 on his SATs, but the kid never did homework, while Jessie couldn’t even look at a geometry test without the Saturday morning TV equivalent of amphetamines, and I’m supposed to believe that they’re in the same math class as Screech? C’mon, SBTB – I love ya, but I don’t have to respect ya. :)

      Dude, I should totally change that tag to Logic Bunny Quotes – awesome inside joke before & afters FTW. I’m glad to hear the hubby became interested! We few, we happy few, we band of people who won’t shut it; for he who actually manages to read the whole thing shall be my brother . . . . ok, I’ll stop that now. I hope he liked it!

  2. […] Handholding is a filthy gateway sexual activity.  If this means she’s never been kissed, I may fucking lose it.  Also, most inadvertently (we hope) racist conversational segue of all […]

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