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Friday, December 6, 2013

Targeting Christian Conservative women

Last night, Shonda Rhimes had Christian conservative Vice President, Sally Langston, kill her closeted gay husband for having sex with a man, getting caught at it, and threatening her political career.

Set aside for a moment the question of whether she ever really had a chance running for President on the Independent ticket, or of winning over women voters by suddenly disavowing her life-long, passionate opposition to abortion and marriage equality. She believed she had a real shot at being her country's first female President. Until her political opponents managed to manipulate her husband into a situation where he was tempted, and gave in, to having sex with a man.

I suppose I should have seen this coming. Perhaps it is the only obvious conclusion to this character's storyline, given the way that Rhimes has been constructing this trope all along. But somehow, after ruminating on this new twist in Scandal, it all just feels wrong to me. After all, it wasn't enough to make Daniel unfaithful in his marriage.  No, he had to be unfaithful AND secretly gay. And filled with self-hatred about that. Because he's a Christian conservative. Because that's how all gay Christian conservative men are, right? 

Have we become so cynical about Christian conservative women that we believe the only way one of them would get this far in American politics would be by selling her soul? Do we believe that they are so angry at the hypocrisy required to maintain their Christian conservative facade that they are capable of murder when confronted with inconvenient realities? 

Or are we so addicted to the ratings and the "twists" and turns of this television show, that we will throw any group of Americans under the bus to keep viewers shocked and begging for more? And why ARE we begging for more?

People are torturing each other, turning on each other, mired in life-long secret imprisonments and cover-ups, blatantly manipulating each other with sex... and viewers can't wait for the next episode. So the writers and producer keep amping it up, until we find ourselves here, escalating a storyline that highlights one of our culture's favorite political stereotypes, the closeted self-hating gay Christian male and his long-suffering, denial-based politically-aspiring wife. But have they gone too far?