Jodie Foster coming-out sparks heated debate

I wrote yesterday about the kerfuffle over Jodie Foster’s unique coming out speech while receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Golden Globes. I was relatively agnostic about the whole thing. While I thought Foster was wrong to criticize gay people who wanted her to come out, I also think the blistering response she got from some was unfair (to a degree).

First a little blister about Jodie Foster from Andrew Sullivan’s Daily Dish:

A highlight of her narcissistic, self-loving speech:

Jodie Foster

Jodie Foster during an interview at The Actor’s Studio in NYC.

I already did my coming out about a thousand years ago, back in the Stone Age, in those very quaint days when a fragile young girl would open up to trusted friends and family, co-workers, and then gradually, proudly, to everyone who knew her, to everyone she actually met. But now, apparently, I’m told that every celebrity is expected to honor the details of their private life with a press conference, a fragrance, and a prime-time reality show.

What unadulterated bullshit. She never came out until, very obliquely, in 2007. And virtually every coming out these days is low-key, simple and no-drama. I do not remember Anderson Cooper’s press conference, fragrance or reality show.

I’m thrilled Foster can now live a fuller life with less fear. I’m saddened she waited until others far less powerful had made the sacrifice to make that possible. And that she waited for the safest moment of all – winning a well-deserved Lifetime Achievement Award – to do so.

Here’s a bit more compassion about Jodie Foster from Nathaniel Frank, who made a name for himself during the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal process:

Any step a gay person takes to hide their identity that they wouldn’t take to hide the fact they’re, say, Irish, vegetarian or left-handed, is probably not a neutral quest for privacy, but reflects their own doubt about just how okay it is to be gay. Foster’s reluctance to just pull an Ellen (“Yep, I’m gay”), her tortured speech with its resentful tone and its ultimate avoidance of the L-word, made being gay and coming out seem tortured things in themselves.

Jodie Foster

Jodie Foster during an interview at The Actor’s Studio in NYC.

Still, gay people are born with the unique burden of disclosure, one which is supremely unfair. Coming out is never just a single act but a constant obligation if one is to assure that people don’t assume they’re straight. We’re always encountering new people who won’t know, hence stuffing us back into the closet, and re-imposing the burden of coming out. And for years, the world has berated and punished us not only for being gay but for being honest.

For folks like Foster, I’d borrow another theme from the Golden Globes: “Will you join in our crusade?” But that’s different from, “You’re an a**hole if you don’t.” Gay people should understand a bit about the messiness of public and private. What seems to draw many gay people to celebrity culture, perhaps more so than others, is the skill that both gays and celebrities must cultivate to navigate between privacy and disclosure under the watchful eye of strangers.

How hard it is to get it perfect. If there’s one thing LGBT people should agree on, it’s the importance of compassion, and of not bullying our own.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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  • caphillprof

    gay covers the gamut

    Subject: [americablog] Re: Jodie Foster coming-out sparks heated debate

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    This is a democracy, and thus we are free not to respect your opinions such as they are. Arguments like: “petulant child,” “pouty” and “troll” are considered rather light weight in this crowd.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Trust me honey, nobody wants to eat you.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    “Let her retreat further” I thought you wanted to throw kilgh lights on her open closet and be the mistress of ceremonies at her outing.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Honey, your old closet has turned into a three ring circus, complete with clown.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    “Hi. My name is Jane. I’m straight” ROTFL, thank you I needed that. Sensible and mature.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    We should be so lucky! :)

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Yes there is a distinction. And, gay is only a general term. I doubt all lesbians prefer the term gay, or B,T’s or for that matter, many activists prefer ‘queer’. It depends on the cultural, personal, sexual or political context.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Oh please. A shining beacon? Sounds like an old movie plot. If I was a questioning and suicidal youth, Jodi Foster is the last person I’d go to. How about Dan Savage or Ellen DeGeneres?

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Thank you

  • RainbowCoalition

    I wish she stayed in the closet. Too much division in this country already.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    And you are one of a troll—-et cetera

  • Sweetie

    quit trolling

  • Sweetie

    “She’s NOT one of anything.”

    More illogic.

    She is one of the category of women.
    She is one of the category of Americans.
    She is one of the category of gay people.

    et cetera

  • caphillprof

    If you don’t want to talk about sex then stay out of the comments

  • caphillprof

    there is no distinction, gay is the preferred term

  • caphillprof

    She becomes a shining beacon for questioning and suicidal youth.

    Subject: [americablog] Re: Jodie Foster coming-out sparks heated debate

  • ericpayne

    Foster’s coming out was nothing but a pre-emptive move; in late 2011/early 2012, Foster took her “ex” to court, and it was widely rumored/reported the cause of action — since the proceedings were closed, but were not in Family Court — was an anticipatory breach of a non-disclosure agreement. It was also reported Foster’s ex was shopping a “tell-all” book to various publishers.

    Don’t get me wrong, I believe every gay person who is also a “public personality” should come out, but not every “coming out” is “heroic.” Some are just “damage control.”

  • Duh

    You couldn’t tell she’s gay? She has been gay forever. I don’t think she needs to hold your hand to be a roll model. What community? Why is she “one of you”. Maybe that’s the point of keeping it private. She’s NOT one of anything, she’s her own person…and it works for her.

  • duh

    aha! SEEEEEE why people don’t need to come out!!!!!!!!!!!! Because of people like you! Tsk tsk!

  • duh

    why? why is the gay important? what changes if we know she’s gay?

  • duh

    then what is being gay? it’s SEXUAL orientation. it has to do with getting banged! sheesh!

  • Duh

    Huh? Who’s gonna be looking up to her? So, should straight people also be honest to their kids about who they bang? Should mommy tell them in the minivan on the way to school that she gave daddy a bj that morning? THAT’S HONESTY, Right? Get over yourself. Why does it make a difference?

  • Duh

    Bravo! She can do whatever the heck she wants!! Who are we to control her!! It’s not a crime to be private. Oh wait! *glances around* What country is this, anyway? Maybe it is a crime…where are we? Oh, yeah…I’m in the US and yeah, it’s not a crime to be private! pfft! Don’t ya just hate the haters, Tod? :)

  • Pissy at Media

    Truly. No one knew she was? I’ve always known…and I don’t even know her! What I don’t get is….what business is it of anyone’s what a celebrity does in the privacy of their own homes? Who gives a rat’s behind if they’re in love with someone of the same gender? Does it make the world a ‘better place’ because they involve us with the nature of their sex or love life? Do we make public announcements in our own private lives or do we have the option to choose? What kind of country has people so offended by the lack of knowing whether or not someone’s gay or lesbian? Does knowing benefit us or them? I read an article in my local paper and was pissed to read anyone at all would be upset or criticizing her for waiting. Someone said they came out 20 yrs ago. So? Do I care? Someone else said ‘even though it’s more accepted in our society, hundreds of kids are still killing themselves because of it’. Uh, they kill themselves because of their PARENTS not accepting it…not because a celebrity helped them. We have plenty of ‘famous’ people who are freely out. We have celebs who call some of their fan base, ‘my gays’. Melissa, Rosie, and Ellen came out a long time ago and people were freaking out! I knew those two were gay and all I said aloud was, ”Duh”.
    I’m not gay. I’m a 50 yr old married woman. This is just idiotic to me that people are soooooo concerned about her ‘finally’ coming out and have the nerve to find fault in how and when she chose to. She didn’t have to share that with ANY ONE OF US if she didn’t want to. WHY SHOULD SHE????? It’s so weird and I just don’t get it.
    Hetrosexual people don’t go around saying, “Hi. My name is Jane. I’m straight” to any and everone, do they?

    Anyone who takes issue with Jodie for being an extremely private person (one of the smartest things and respect worthy things a celeb should do) needs to reevaluate their own lives. Our society has gotten sooooo out of control.
    Bottom line is, celebrities ‘coming out’ isn’t necessary. They can hide it until they die and we’d never be worse off for it. If they are gay or lesbian, they shouldn’t have to hide it because of what people think, either. Kids shouldn’t have to hide it. If kids are, and feel bad about it…check the parents out. They’ll be the reason the kids are killing themselves, not lack of celebrity supporting them.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    You are welcome

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    absolutely clueless

  • Sweetie

    That doesn’t make any sense, but thanks for posting yet again.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    True. But I view Foster as homosexual, not gay.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    —–Sweetie 2013

  • caphillprof

    Being gay is very much being in the tribe. There is no choice.

    Subject: [americablog] Re: Jodie Foster coming-out sparks heated debate

  • Sweetie

    — Anita Bryant, 1978

  • Sweetie

    You may not be gay, but I am. Therefore, she is one of us, when it comes to the community I belong to.

    “She’s an actress, not a role model.”

    Horse pucky.

  • Sweetie

    That’s a lot of words to try to defend the closet.

    The closet is an institution that was invented for one purpose: to kill gay people. Invisible people have no rights. Gay people who are invisible don’t exist. They only exist when people with courage and less narcissism take the brave step to make the effort to be honest about their orientation, to stop agreeing that it’s something bad that needs to be hidden and lied about.

    The closet is the pretense of heterosexuality. It is the admission that heterosexuality is superior.

    All the excuses fail. They are all based on illogical assertions.

    The only time the closet has even a shred of credibility is in circumstances in which people are killed and tortured by their government for being gay. Foster doesn’t have that excuse. And, even in those circumstances, the only way the problem will be solved is for gay people to stop allowing themselves to be victimized and to stop victimizing others. The closet, like it or not, victimizes others by propagating heterosexism/homophobia.

  • Sweetie

    “I do not understand, but I appreciate her desire for privacy.”

    Purely illogical, just like all the foundational “logic” I’ve seen in such apology posts.

  • dula

    She never came until until a few years ago.

  • mpeasee

    Let her go…its none of our business, if she’s out great, if not who cares. Let her go.

  • bbock

    When did Jodie Foster sign up to be a gay rights crusader. Look, she’s been in the lime light since she was what, three or four years old. She was stalked for several years by a psychopath who went so far as to enrolled in her classes at her college and who sent love letters and phone calls to her dorm to declare his love of her. Then he stalked and tried to murder President Reagan. So I think we can cut the woman some slack for not wanting to draw any more attention to her personal life despite her chosen career as an actress/director/producer. Jodie Foster is a class act and people need to leave her the fuck alone about this. It’s her damned life. She never had a bad thing to say or do about gays and lesbians. So why the fuss about this. The only thing she did that I don’t like is befriend notorious homophobe Mel Gibson. You want to be pissy with her, be pissy about that.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    “She picked to live as a celebrity” Not exactly. She picked to live as an artist—an actress, who having been very accomplished has had celebrity. My guess is that she could care less about celebrity.or being any focus group’s icon mascot. The latter is a special choice. Two excellent examples are Ellen DeGeners or Rosey O’Donnell.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    “you begin to wonder how exactly she got that degree at Yale.” Well, like many —the hard way. Going there doing the work and getting the degree.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    She’s homosexual but not gay is my take.

  • FunMe

    I hear she refused doing interviews with any gay press. Why?

  • Sweetie

    Hyperbolic nonsense that distracts from the actual issue. The actual issue is that the closet is heterosexist/homophobic and perpetuates it. That’s all there is to it. No excuses. Just the truth.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Yes indeed :)

  • Steve_in_CNJ

    Agree, but wish she had come out proudly, with a nod to the people who made it easier for her. I think she will eventually regret the sarcasm, bitterness and focus on herself.

  • http://libertyviewmagazine.net/ Tod Westlake

    Douchebag, heal thyself.

  • just an elbow

    “Freeloading parasite” is the type of language I’d expect from Rush Limpballs, not here. Speaks volumes about the cockroach who thinks it’s a different species.

  • Just an elbow

    It’s obvious you have socialization issues. I’d pity you, but frankly, you’re not worth the effort. I will note, however that you seem to equate spamming or having a big mouth with gravitas…. how sad for you. Bye.

  • ezpz

    Moi aussi.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    “No empathy whatever for a smug, lecturing bisexual” Ah, sounds like bigotry to me and your are lecturing us?

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    This gay business is a red herring, when you consider the feminist aspects of her very independent, successful and excellent history in one of the most difficult careers of all—Hollywood.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Bring it on honey, I am really curious to know if your Cicada IQ is as large as my shoe size. And, please don’t end sentences with a preposition.

  • ezpz

    This hetero finds your use of the word fa***t offensive, even if you’re referring to yourself.
    And it’s not the first time you’ve used it.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    The conversations are not analogous, except in you twisted reality.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    “Sorry, dear, but I’m a regular here.” Well, isn’t that just so condescending and special.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Insects have ovipositors Tod, but, otherwise right on!

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Yes, remember when Lily Tomlin played a romantic lead with John Travolta? Was that ever a disaster. Being out never set back Tomlin’s career. Sometimes sheer brilliant talent wins the day.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    “the petulant child is now trolling” Project much?

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Exactly. Jodi Foster is not one of us, could care less. We don’t need her support. Her closet business doesn’t impact the GLTBQ community at all. She’s an actress, not a role model. nor does she want to be.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    No, you have failed to provide your ‘mocking Ellen’ quote.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    “Troll much?” You would know and speaking of “screw’ didn’t we just see you on a National Geographic” episode, where you chirped until you dropped?.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    LOL? trolls can laugh?

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    This repetitious line is getting old. Chirp much Cicada? Just can’t help yourself.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Try learning not to equate being gay with fucking, petulant child.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Oh, look, another account with no comment history. Fuck you.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    So the fuck what? Let her retreat further and stop exploiting rights that she won’t lift a finger to defend.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Yawn. I think you missed a comment down thread, troll.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Care to provide the direct quote or are you just blowing it out your ovipositor again.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Hmm. I thought you were the one demanding that everyone’s opinions be respected. Oh, wait, no, you were demanding that only your opinion be respected. That’s right. Now I get it.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    LOL! Oh, I’m so hurt. I think I’m going to cry. What are you, 12 years old?

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Sadly, this comment is about all you’ve ever proved intellectually capable of.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Agreed. If anything, the vitriolic attacks on her in this forum would make anyone in her position retreat even further.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    I usually agree with you, but feel strongly that privacy is a necessary peace. No matter how unpleasant and entitled Foster might be, I always remember her ‘stalking’ incident and the attempted assassination trauma. To fault her for pursuing her very public career in light of that event seems very unfair. We don’t need Foster as a gay roll model or symbol. She obviously could care less. Being gay is not the same as membership in the tribe of GLTBQ.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Yep. Is she a Republican?

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Agreed. Just because Foster is snippy, entitled, even nasty does not disavow her right to choose and the quality of that choice. Mary Cheney is another good example. All these little guppy insects nibbling at her arrogance is rather sad. I for one would rush out to buy an Anderson Cooper fragrance any day— just for the charm of it. Rosey O’D has a perfectly abrasive personality, but I’d go to battle along side her any day.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Or realizing that in the continuum it has become a point in linear history and a new opinion is required.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    You would

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Disagree: She’s gay, but not one of us by choice and that is her right.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Thank you Hue-man. Wise and intelligent response. I think as you do on the right in a democracy for choice. Having said that I have been an GLTBQ activist for over forty years and directed energy toward choice as well as ‘exposing’ enemies that harm us from their political closets. Cicada, however, is advocating a fascist absolutism that is incompatible with democracy and respect for others civil rights.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Yep, It really upsets them when one doesn’t turn into a pillar of salt.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Exactly

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    I just did—-mmm that felt gooooood.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Don’t you dare to presume what Harvey Milk thought, you viscous pipsqueak. You know nothing about him, neither his wisdom or magnanimous compassion.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Absolutely no need to apologize. The Insect is way out of line and needs to be sprayed.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    “you’re a freeloading parasite” And you would know.

  • http://libertyviewmagazine.net/ Tod Westlake

    So I’ve come to discover. Live and learn.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    “insufferably smug, personal lecturing schtick” Indeed you are so.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    “I said the conversations are analogous.” Wrong..again. If you need a smug directive ask yourself.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    What you expect can stay in that fetid little insect brain.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Well done Tod, articulate and generous in your approach to a narrow minded ( dare I say it?) ideological, immature, troll.

  • Steve_in_CNJ

    “Any step a gay person takes to hide their identity that they wouldn’t
    take to hide the fact they’re, say, Irish, vegetarian or left-handed, is
    probably not a neutral quest for privacy, but reflects their own doubt
    about just how okay it is to be gay.”

    One doesn’t have to be judgmental or unsympathetic towards Jodie Foster to recognize the deep truth in this statement.

  • Just an elbow

    I agree. Knock that shit off.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    “I can respect the choices of some people’ Oh, yeah…. ROTFL

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    I notice that ‘multiple’ commentators have given you the downer insect.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Don’t worry about it Tod, the insect has been attacking everyone lately. You’ll soon notice that the comments are irrational, vindictive and childish.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Yes, unfortunately you are a regular here, but without a shred of credibility.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Asshole is too glorified a term TW. SC is an insect with an ovipositor.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    The thought of you screwing anything is rather repellant. Crawl back under that dank rock and keep quiet troll.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Take it from an insect

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Very Like

  • quark

    Seeking a second opinion does not preclude finding that the first one was correct and then agreeing with it.

  • FLL

    Listening to Foster’s speech a second time, it comes off as snippy. Not angry, but snippy. I say this because of that crack about people expecting celebrities to come out by means of “a press conference, a fragrance, and a prime-time reality show,” a ridiculous straw-man argument. She could have left that crack out, but she highlighted the line in her speech, making it obvious that she thought it was very witty. She mocked the greater society from the safety of a roomful of her personal friends who were there to give a lifetime achievement award—something like sticking out your tongue and saying “Nyaaa, nyaaa, nyaaa. I’m here with my friends, so there.” It’s not surprising that the greater society might have a word or two to say when they saw the video of her speech. What a contrast to Anderson Cooper, who I don’t recall having a press conference or launching a fragrance line or appearing on a reality show in order to come out. I can see how the tone of Foster’s speech was like nails on a chalkboard to many people.

    But all of that pertains only to Foster’s specific speech. I still think each individual who comes out, either decades ago or today at the age of 50, makes a contribution and improves the national dialogue. Every individual deserves the space to come out in their own style. It’s just that Foster’s style was—what’s the word again?—snippy.

  • http://libertyviewmagazine.net/ Tod Westlake

    Like how it feels? I certainly hope so.

  • http://libertyviewmagazine.net/ Tod Westlake

    No, I was vehemently opposed to the war long before it started, and I have always supported gay rights. But Andrew Sullivan is a racist, a liar, and a total hack. A well-educated and quite erudite hack, but a hack nonetheless.

  • http://libertyviewmagazine.net/ Tod Westlake

    Well, I tried being apologetic. If anyone fits the description of the word “troll” around here, it’s you. I feel very sorry for you, with all the anger you have to carry.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Oh, look, the petulant child is now trolling all my comments.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    So you support the Iraq War and oppose marriage equality then?

  • http://libertyviewmagazine.net/ Tod Westlake

    Do you ever have anything nice to say about anyone?

  • http://libertyviewmagazine.net/ Tod Westlake

    If Andrew Sullivan told me what time it is, I’d get a second opinion.

  • http://www.lifeinspice.com/ rose88

    Given the history of women being held responsible for the actions of men who are sexually fixated on them, gender does indeed factor into it. I shouldn’t have to explain the implicit misogyny of blaming the victim for somehow “allowing” herself to be sexually attractive to a madman. Not to mention the absurdity of asserting that lesbians are never related to as sex objects by straight men.

    That the commenter is asking as a serious question that John Hinkley would not have resorted to violence if he had known that Jodie Foster was a lesbian goes beyond the pale not merely of “good taste” but of reason and sanity as well.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    You really are incapable of disagreeing without degenerating into this whole insufferably smug, personal lecturing schtick, aren’t you? You dial that down several notches, petulant child.

  • http://libertyviewmagazine.net/ Tod Westlake

    When did I say “for any reason”? Please point it out to me if so. I DID say that people may have good reasons to which we are not privy — and you appeared to agree with me. We don’t know why Foster has chosen the path she has. That’s all we know for sure.

    And I understand that you may be seeing what to you appears to be closeted behavior. And you could be right about Foster. The fact that she’s friends with the odious Mel Gibson is enough reason, perhaps, to treat her with some suspicion.

    But, again, I’m not egotistical enough to say that I know for sure what motivates others, I can try to guess, but I would never know for sure without asking — even then, who knows whether I would get the truth.

    And beating up people like Foster isn’t going to help any of the other fence-sitters out there, is it? Dial it down a notch or two.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    P.S. I don’t expect you to like feeling a little pressure about being out.

  • Babsdude

    I see the gay community missing an empathy gene on this one. If anyone out there can claim that they’ve had a stalker who shot a U.S. president to impress them, then “let them throw the first stone” at Miss Foster. I do not understand, but I appreciate her desire for privacy. She’s experienced this MUCH differently than the 99% of us who are [harshly] judging her. She also has children. Foster was not eloquent during her speech, but JEEZ, GAY PEOPLE, give her a break. She did a good thing, and it’s almost as if we as a community pressured her into admitting it. Sorry, but knowing an actor is gay is a DETRIMENT, just like knowing an actor is Jewish and playing a Christian … or mixed-race and playing a white …. Applying these high bars to ACTORS is not a good way to go, IMHO.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Your opening comment is the one that reduced being gay to fucking. I’m just the first person to say something that *you* didn’t like.

    I didn’t say you agreed with Giglio’s supporters. I said the conversations are analogous. You’re seeking validation for your view (that it’s perfectly fine for people to stay in the closet for any reason), and they’re seeking validation for their view (that we’re all sinful perverts). Both ask me to concede the legitimacy of a view that I philosophically find unacceptable. I didn’t say a thing about your motives.

    I have explained my view and told you that we disagree. We clearly disagree, and I see no point in trading personal insults.

    When I decide I need a smug directive to self-reflect, I’ll come and ask you for it.

  • Indigo

    One abandons privacy to become a celebrity. That celebrities treasure privacy suggests they didn’t think it through before they stood up in the spotlight. Too bad but a really foolish and self-destructive way o get out of the spotlight is to give an incoherent speech that could be about being gay but needing privacy and then again maybe just an incoherent rant is splendid mechanism for focusing the attention on one’s self again.

    That sounds foolish enough to be a Tom Cruise, boy Scientologist, move. Jodie isn’t a Scientologist, is she? Not that there’s anything wrong with that but they do have a tendency to jump the shark . . . or is Orpah’s couch . . . or is it an award speech at the Golden Globes? I choose to be grateful that it was the foreign correspondents’ event, so it doesn’t really count anyhow.

  • http://www.facebook.es/people/Jim-Morrissey/583382528 Jim Morrissey

    I don’t feel bad for her. She picked to live as a celebrity and there are certain responsibilities that come with that. I understand a certain need for privacy, and she’s entitled to that, to a certain extent, but not when it comes to this. It’s too important to NOT come out and be open about it when so much prejudice and hate exists.
    I get very tired of celebrities crying about being told they have to do something. They live pampered lives, make lots of money and live like kings and queens. Sure, they’re human too and have hard times, etc. but honestly, it’s such a crock of shit to hear these people complain about privacy when they are typically such narcissists.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Since the comment has nothing to do with gender, it’s unclear how you’re imputing misogyny to it. It take it the comment, though in poor taste, was meant to suggest that the shooter wouldn’t have been fixated on her as a sex object if she were known not to be straight.

  • http://libertyviewmagazine.net/ Tod Westlake

    But I find Giglio’s belief’s deeply offensive. I don’t think there is any place in society for such beliefs. Again, I think you are ascribing motive where you probably shouldn’t. And why do you feel you have the right to set the rules in other people’s lives? I think you need to rethink this. And maybe Foster does have “good, concrete reasons” as you put it, to which you are not privy? Maybe? Could it be possible?

    And I didn’t start with the negative tone. You accused me of being a troll, and I rightly took offense. But you seem to spend a lot of time potificating about what other people are thinking. Perhaps the same zeal could be applied to some self-reflection.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    You mistakenly assume that I respect the views of people who stay closeted. They have a fairly standard set of rationalizations–“privacy” being the leading one–that they use on themselves, on others in the gay community, and on the straight world. They are particularly threatening to the extent they try to convince the straight world of those rationalizations, as she was trying to do. Your “wear on your shirt sleeve,” “no one needs to know who you’re banging” rhetoric is similar. The pattern is to sanctify the closeted and demean the out. Her speech fit the pattern perfectly.

    One of the principal reasons for not respecting any of that is having watched it all collapse time and again when people come out and realize that all those things were just defensive rationalizations. It comes as no surprise to me when people who aren’t really out defend her homage to privacy and her digs at out people. It’s standard closet fare.

    Sorry, but I’ve been in the closet and remember the attitude and rationalizations myself. Now out for a couple of decades, I just don’t give it credence. Sorry. My perspective is radically different from yours.

  • http://libertyviewmagazine.net/ Tod Westlake

    And I’ve always agreed with Charles Barkley about the role model thing. Frankly, I admire Barkley as someone who thumbed his nose at the NBA establishment and was successful on his terms. Ironically enough, THAT’S a role model worthy of emulation, imo.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    While I appreciate the more civil tone, I am philosophically not willing to give you what you’re seeking. I just don’t view being out and being closeted as equally legitimate choices. I think we have an obligation to the community to come out if we possibly can. To the extent people choose not to, they weaken the movement, which harms us all. Coming out and staying in are just not morally equivalent options, in my view.

    This conversation feels very analogous to those involving the evangelical followers of Louie Giglio a few posts back. They so want gays to validate and respect their anti-gay beliefs as just another acceptable point of view. But, there, I absolutely refuse to validate what amount to personal attacks on my character, life, and family.

    I can respect the choices of some people to stay closeted in certain circumstances for at least a time, but there have to be good, concrete reasons, not a general rule that it’s okay to just decide not to be out because it’s not comfortable to come out. Teenagers struggling with their sexuality or facing bullying, fine. People facing serious threats to their physical well being, okay. Maybe even people facing some professional risks, although I’m less sympathetic on that one. But I don’t agree that coming out or staying in is just a neutral choice, with no consequences and of legitimate concern to no one else. Sorry. We just don’t agree.

  • http://libertyviewmagazine.net/ Tod Westlake

    And you are ascribing motive to Foster’s actions, when you have no idea why she has made the choice she has.

    And you say that her attitude is “dysfunctional.” How dare you? And, if she is dysfunctional as you so glibly say, shouldn’t we feel some sympathy for her? And she never said anything about her sexuality being a deep, dark secret. I don’t know where you are getting that. Maybe you’re reading more into this than you should? Maybe?

    Being a bit less sanctimonious would also create more dialog, no? Blowing people out of the water simply because you assume s/he is a troll seems a bit trigger happy to me.

  • http://www.lifeinspice.com/ rose88

    So you’re suggesting that Jodie Foster is responsible for the actions of her stalker? Do you have any idea how misogynistic that statement is?

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Yes, it is our business. Your line is just like professional athletes who declare that they refuse to be role models. Well, it’s not up to them.

    When she declares to a national audience that being gay is some deep, dark “private” matter akin to having cancer, her dysfunctional attitude affects all of us. When she attacks people who are more out than her as a bunch of attention-seeking Honey Boo Boos, it affects all of us–in addition to insulting all of us.

    And if she won’t lift a finger to help defend partnership and parenting rights, then the simple fact is that she becomes a freeloader on the movement when she proceeds to exploit those rights. She can’t avoid that bind by citing “privacy.” And we’re allowed to not think particularly highly of freeloaders. I’d have more respect for her if she were in the closet and never had any partner or children. At least then she wouldn’t be exploiting rights that she won’t do anything to defend.

    Harvey Milk didn’t say, “Be sure to stay in the closet forever if you’re the least bit uncomfortable because personal comfort is paramount.”

  • jomicur

    Foster is pathetic. She seems to be lodged in that far-off time she remembers so wistfully, when people only came out to their friends and lived on the down low. Hasn’t she been paying attention? The coming-out “news” of late has been the fact that neither the media nor the public seems to think gay actors are any sort of big deal. Actors come out in the most casual, offhand way, and then they move on–and so does everyone else. By putting on this big show of faux-anguish over her privacy she has made this into a much bigger deal than anyone would have made of it otherwise. If she’s content being a vestige of 1950s Hollywood, when being gay really could hurt a career, then fine, more power to her. But she’s smart enough to know better, and by pretending her sexuality is a bigger issue than it is, she’s insulting not only her gay fans but the public as a whole.

  • dula

    Unlike the comedy and music business, being out A list leading actors carries a lot of risk to a career. Americans are narrow minded and can barely accept Straight actors in Gay roles let alone Gay actors in Straight romantic situations. Jodi could have had the courage to come out at 20 but then she may never have gotten that lifetime achievement award. Name one actor or actress who came out yet still gets romantic leads…they wouldn’t even let Sean Hayes play a Straight role in a musical comedy on Broadway last year without criticism. Anne Heche’s career went in the crapper while she was with Ellen. Rupert Everett claims coming out ruined his career. So, it’s petty to sit there in your anonymous kitchen and smugly tell those hounded by the media to sacrifice their careers on your terms even though it does help future generations of LGBTs.

  • slappymagoo

    Another thing to consider, though I don’t know if it applies to the issue of Foster’s speech – The Golden Globes Show is well-known as an occasion for the celebrities there to get abominably sh*tfaced DURING the show. No need to wait for the after-party at the ol’ Double-Gees. Foster’s speech may have been more (or less) revelatory than originally intended if Foster had a couple of shots of liquid courage beforehand. But it also may be the reason why it rambled and came across as a little narcissitic (sp?) and self-pitying (“oh, poor me, poor me, pour me another!”).

  • http://cognitive-diss.blogspot.com/ Tod Westlake

    You really need help with your anger management, I think. I’m working on mine, with limited success.

    How about we try this again: I wasn’t trying to be offensive. But I do take responsibility if something I said offended you.

    And I’m not closeted. I just don’t talk about it. I don’t even like holding hands or kissing in public. It’s who I am and I feel you should respect that — in the same way I admire you for being strong enough to be “out” in a world that wants to make you disappear. Mazel tov! Seriously.

    But I could never do what you do, so I respect Foster for saying “leave me the fuck alone.” I think you should too.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Fuck you, asshole. Enjoy living that straight life, hiding in the closet, and spewing right-wing rhetoric at out gays.

    And multiple commenters immediately objecting means there’s no “if” about it.

  • http://cognitive-diss.blogspot.com/ Tod Westlake

    And I’m losing my temper. Again, to the community, if I said something offensive, I sincerely apologize. It certainly wasn’t my intent.

    And I understand that being “out” is very important when it comes to showing people, especially young people, that being LGBT isn’t something to be ashamed of. Those folks who have had the incredible fortitude to stand up against this hatred I admire. I could never be one of them. Why? Because of my emotional make up. I hate the public eye. I avoid speaking in public for this reason. Discussing something so private, to me, is very difficult.

    My point in all of this is that we don’t know why a person chooses to keep his or her orientation private. It’s their decision, not ours. If Foster feels she cannot be an effective role model for others, I say, thank you for knowing yourself well enough to make the correct decision. She wants to be a private person. I say let her do this. It’s really none of our damn business.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Sorry, but I don’t take direction from total strangers with no comment history. You’re welcome to click the down arrow.

  • manpop

    >Skeptical Cicada: you are being a bully. Reign it in please.

  • http://cognitive-diss.blogspot.com/ Tod Westlake

    Again, fuck you. I’ve been reading Americablog since its early days. I used to comment frequently under a pseudonym, but not so much anymore. So I would venture that I’ve likely been here much longer than you have. You will also notice that I am using my real name, now, whereas I wasn’t before.

    If I said something offensive to the community, I apologize — to everyone but you.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Sorry, dear, but I’m a regular here. Who the fuck are you?

    You’ve basically destroyed your credibility here with your offensive characterizations of gays. Congrats…asshole.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Foster just mocked Ellen’s coming out in that speech.

  • arleeda

    Try coming out as an atheist in a deeply religious evangelical family and community.

  • http://cognitive-diss.blogspot.com/ Tod Westlake

    And it’s people like you who are the reason I don’t discuss my orientation. Go fuck yourself you smug piece of shit.

  • tsuki

    I agree with Nathaniel Frank. And I also remember when Ellen came out. It cost her, but she was tough and came back. I have met very few Ellens in my life.

    As for Jodie Foster being narcissistic, self-loving, she is not alone. I do not believe she was ever a log cabin Republican.

  • http://cognitive-diss.blogspot.com/ Tod Westlake

    No, but you sure do, asshole.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    She’s not one of our own. I’ve not seen her lift a finger to do anything to contribute to the gay community. She’s a half-closeted homosexual who can’t even refer to herself as a lesbian.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    No empathy whatever for a smug, lecturing bisexual who reduces being gay to fucking. Get help.

    And why should you be open? Because if you’re not open and you’re benefiting from the newly open society, you’re a freeloading parasite on the movement. That’s why. It’s not all about you.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Why are you presuming to lecture us? The only issue is orientation. No one is demanding to know what her favorite sex acts are. You can’t stop you’re pathetic reduction of being gay to fucking, can you? Go away.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    Troll much?

    Nice reduction of being gay to “sexual proclivities,” Was the word “perversion” already taken?

  • Skeptical Cicada

    I’m completely unsurprised to see you in your congenital apologist role.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    This is not the gay community eating its own because she has steadfastly refused to ever be part of the gay community. I also grew up with no gay role models, and there is even LESS justification for the cowardly hiding today than then. I refuse to treat being gay like getting a cancer diagnosis.

  • Skeptical Cicada

    I agree with Andrew Sullivan.

  • S1AMER

    I guess I’m kinda sad to see so many people regarding Jodie Foster as an arch enemy. Or something. Jeez, don’t we have any real problems left?

  • http://cognitive-diss.blogspot.com/ Tod Westlake

    Who said I was talking about pornography? What part of “none of your damn business” do you not understand? I happen to be bisexual myself. Why the fuck should I wear it on my sleeve? If someone asks me, I tell them. But it makes me feel very uncomfortable to talk about sex in any way. Okay? Maybe a little fucking empathy?

  • caphillprof

    Orientation is the issue. Nobody is requiring her to discuss foreplay or specific sexual acts or even sexual partners. It’s the gay that is important, not the pornography.

  • FLL

    Her complaints about privacy are only hollow because she chose to continue in show business, a choice she made as an adult. Those complaints would sound more sincere from someone who chose another profession, since show business celebrities understand that they give up some of their privacy—a sort of occupational hazard. So I understand the criticism from others in Foster’s very specific case. However, the discussion on the other thread centered on the issue of coming out in general. My larger point was that there should be room for everyone to contribute. Those who came out in earlier decades, those who are 50 years old like Foster and come out today… room for everyone. That shouldn’t mean that we don’t acknowledge the pioneers whose work everyone else benefited from. We should honor and thank them, while at the same time not rejecting those who join us by telling them that they didn’t join us soon enough. No time like the present.

  • dcinsider

    I was one of her harshest critics and finally watched the whole speech last night. My belief that she is self absorbed and selfish is unchanged, but she actually “came out” more forcefully than I had originally thought. While I found it offensive in a way, it did spark a debate, and that’s good. She’s kind of a jerk, but I never saw her as any sort of role model to begin with, so there is nothing lost.

  • Hue-Man

    LGBT community eating its own, again. Straight attitudes to gays and lesbians have changed in ways that can only be described as revolutionary but the same internal disputes continue. I’m not looking for a kumbaya moment but the vitriol directed at Jodie Foster seems pointless – we can’t change history and it’s unlikely to change Ms. Foster’s mind.

    As someone who grew up in a time with NO gay models, I was highly critical of closeted public figures. With high-visibility gay role models and with straight public figures expressing their support for LGBT issues, I’ve changed my attitude to side more on the right to privacy. (I still think there is a special place near a lake of brimstone reserved for those who remain in the closet and actively campaign against LGBT rights and the LGBT community.)

  • http://cognitive-diss.blogspot.com/ Tod Westlake

    Sure. If that person is comfortable discussing sexuality in public. Many people are not comfortable doing this, however, and orientation isn’t the issue. Lots of straight people don’t feel comfortable talking openly about things sexual. Let’s leave her the fuck alone if that’s what she wants. That’s my only point.

  • A W

    It’s not about “who she bangs”, it’s about choosing to use her public status in order to model honesty to younger people who may look up to her and also about showing everyone that being gay is nothing to be ashamed of.

  • JefferyK

    Celebrities who whine about privacy always crack me up — if privacy is so important to you, get off the fucking stage. A friend described Foster’s speech as a “toxic stew of grandiosity and self-loathing.” Throw in a bunch of false equivalencies, and you begin to wonder how exactly she got that degree at Yale.

  • HtW

    “Narcissistic, self-loving…” Almost all of us have had to have some sprinkling of those qualities to get through those times when those we needed love from the most rejected us. I fail to see how it is narcissistic for Foster to presume that she alone could decide how openly she was comfortable living. Just when exactly was Jodie Foster “powerful” anyway? When Freaky Friday hit the screen? When Foster’s performance on Silence of the Lambs was the punchline on every skit show on television? Or perhaps when Contact was lambasted for being oversold? I bet those skits with Clarice would have been that much funnier if they’d been able to throw in a dig or two at confirmed lesbians. What a service to the community that would have been!

    Quite frankly I think it’s arguable she had more of a positive impact being successful in a glass closet. At this point her second coming out is as droll as a tabloid expose on Liberace but I think that was pretty much the gist of her speech. Any attack on her because of lack of fanfare, forceful statement or public celebration just plays into the argument that she put forward — an argument obviously not without merit. Speaking of, I am truly sorry that Sully didn’t get to print a personal email exclusive from Jodie on his new pay site. Such a missed opportunity for her.

    As a community we want equality — ‘marriage’ instead of ‘civil unions’ and equal protection under the law and we want these things without having to “refrain” from being highly visible, uncompromisingly sexual or having to be “abstinent.” So why do some of us insist on putting conditions on acceptance of our own community members? Who is to decide when someone’s coming out would be best, if not for that person themselves? Would you have felt comfortable if someone you didn’t know forced a timeline on your coming out? Some of us have had that happen via people we DO know — was it a “relief” when it happened or did that security come after your world didn’t fracture into a million pieces? Or perhaps after a new family helped you put those pieces together again?

    Go ahead and make the arguments for the good that can come of being out both for the community and personal peace but let the choice on timing reside with the individual. Don’t turn those arguments into a scourge. Punishing those that “waited too long” is bound to be more of a discouragement than positive reinforcement to the others you hope to inspire by example.

  • loona_c

    Every one chooses a different path.

  • http://cognitive-diss.blogspot.com/ Tod Westlake

    I think she’s perfectly within her rights either way. Some people, whether gay, straight, bi, etc., prefer to keep their sexual proclivities private. And I agree with Duncan Black that Foster isn’t a “celebrity,” but a serious actress who tends to avoid self-promotion. The fact that she appears in movies doesn’t give the public the right to know who she bangs, and those who think it does need to take a step back.

  • kingstonbears

    Privacy? Yeah right Foster. You chose your career path and, as a PUBLIC entertainer, so is your life, so get over it.

  • Steve_in_CNJ

    It’s a great irony that narcissists are often that way because they don’t approve of themselves. Low self-esteem makes them prickly, self-centered and boastful.

  • caphillprof

    Somehow it’s the opposite of being a premature anti-fascist. Perhaps there will be a price to be paid by those who keep in their closets much, much too long. The train has left the station.

    I’m not sure whether a person who makes her living off celebrity is entitled to any privacy.

  • B Cheeseman

    If she had come out before 1981 would Reagan have taken a bullet?

  • Indigo

    She’s one of our own now? Okay but you know what, she’s still a narcissist.

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