Queer TV by Glynn Davis, Gary Needham

By Glynn Davis, Gary Needham

How will we queerly theorise and comprehend tv? How can the nation-states of tv experiences and queer thought be introduced jointly, in a fashion precious and efficient for either? Queer television: Theories, Histories, Politics is the 1st publication to discover tv in all its scope and complexity – its undefined, construction, texts, audiences, pleasures and politics – when it comes to queerness. With contributions from unusual authors operating in film/television experiences and the research of gender/sexuality, it deals a different contribution to either disciplines. An introductory bankruptcy by means of the editors charts the foremost debates and concerns addressed in the ebook, by three sections, each one vital to an figuring out of the relationships among queerness and tv: 'theories and approaches', histories and genres', and 'television itself'.  Individual essays research the relationships among queers, queerness, and tv around the a number of websites of construction, intake, reception, interpretation and theorisation, in addition to the textual and aesthetic dimensions of tv and the televisual. The booklet crucially strikes past lesbian and homosexual textual analyses of particular television indicates that experience frequently focussed on reviews of positive/negative representations and identities. really, the essays in Queer television theorise not only the queerness in/on tv (the construction group of workers, the representations it bargains) but additionally the queerness of tv as a special medium.

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Writing on classical cinema, Richard Maltby (1996) has argued that the Production Code functioned as an enabling mechanism to allow Hollywood films to speak simultaneously to both ‘the innocent’ and ‘the sophisticated,’ thereby promoting, as previously noted, the industry’s presumption of a universal audience (unlike the later film rating system that divided the audience into age categories). I am suggesting that something similar occurs in television, though rather than personifying the ‘sophisticated’ and ‘innocent’ readings in distinct viewers as Maltby does, I would argue that television’s particular epistemology often allows the same viewer to assume both positions at once, so that, for instance, a viewer might be expert at decoding TV conventions without necessarily being particularly ‘knowing’ about the stakes and implications of this very decoding (that is, one might be a ‘clever’ viewer but not a ‘critical’ one).

It is therefore not surprising that the epistemology of the closet is such a notable structure in recent television, even – or especially – in an era of more detailed articulation. With sexual disclosure seemingly compulsory yet forbidden, demanded yet contained, television constructs illicit sexualities ambivalently as both known and unknown; in the epistemology of the console, some things are apparently better not really apprehended even as this ignorance is maintained and betrayed by an attitude of smug knowingness about things supposedly beyond our need to fully comprehend.

Well aware of her own position within the TV industry, she remarked on more than one occasion that ‘I’m the one who’s going to get the biggest boycott. C. Penney, Johnson and Johnson, and Wendy’s. Despite this ad soundbite-flight, ABC still refused some commercials offered in their place: a thirty second anti-discrimination appeal from the Human Rights Campaign, and an ad for Olivia Cruise Lines, a business owned by and geared toward lesbians. The last case is especially peculiar. Rejecting the ad in an apparently prophylactic segregation of TV’s commercial spots from TV’s (commercial) programmes, ABC stated that ‘discussion about samesex lifestyles is more appropriate in programming’ (quoted by Kelty 1997: 16), thus disavowing the very fact of broadcast flow through this denial that television commercials are an intrinsic (indeed the most crucial) part of the programming schedule.

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