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Ellen DeGeneres Is Out There

Promoting President Clinton's speech at the November 8 Washington fundraiser for the gay Human Rights Campaign, HRC executive director Elizabeth Birch proclaimed that Clinton has "put gay issues on the radar screen of America." Without minimizing this administration's considerable efforts to further the militant homosexual political agenda, the important screen for the gay movement is television, and the face on that screen at the moment belongs to someone else. If in the past year or so you've heard and read far more about lesbians than you cared to, Ellen DeGeneres is a happy camper.

Clinton's address was pedal-to-the-metal pro-gay (he equated the civil-rights movement with today's homosexual activism), but he hypocritically arranged it so that he wouldn't be seen in public with DeGeneres. She was taken backstage, away from the cameras, to meet him, and although a White House photographer captured the scene, the picture was not made public. Clinton neither mentioned DeGeneres in his speech nor stayed to watch her accept the award she received for her celebrated coming-out.) Virtually the only reference to her came in a "Meet the Press" interview taped before and aired after the HRC event, wherein Clinton seconded Al Gore's endorsement of DeGeneres's "forc[ing people] to look at sexual orientation in a more open light."

And DeGeneres certainly is forcing the issue. This season, almost every "Ellen" episode has dealt, then dealt some more, with homosexual topics. The especially egregious October 15 installment opens with two of Ellen's friends, Peter and Audrey, returning from a "gay charity hoedown." Audrey presents Ellen with a gay Yellow Pages, which Peter, who is gay, describes as "an important step in our empowerment." Looking at an ad therein, Ellen remarks, "Wow, check out the abs on that mortician." Peter adds, "You could die and go to heaven."

Later, when Ellen throws a party, the beer comes from a gay-owned microbrewery, naturally. "There's [sic] two men kissing on the label," comments someone. Ellen offers a lesbian activist guest tortilla chips, but the woman declines them, stating, "I'm boycotting - excuse me, girlcotting. [The chip company has] repeatedly denied benefits to same-sex partners." Apropos of that, Peter tells Ellen, "Some of my friends can be a little bit rigid, but that's just their way of finding unity in the face of oppression," whereupon Audrey enters and says, "Come on, Ellen, we're about to play 'pin the tail on the white establishment homophobic bigot.'" Cue laugh track.

According to the critics, right about now you should be holding your sides, bent over in laughter. This advocacy actually has won "Ellen" raves from those holding the moral-equivalence view of homosexuality. Ken Tucker of Entertainment Weekly called the above episode "howlingly funny" and gave the series an A- for the season, opining that it "keeps getting funnier, even as its star conducts the most relentless gay-empowerment campaign prime time has ever seen."

Seemingly it escapes the likes of Mr. Tucker that someone might find "gay empowerment" offensive - unless that is why he thinks it's so funny.

Make no mistake, DeGeneres knows what she's doing. In a TV Guide cover story, she boldly stated that she wants to be remembered not only as "somebody who had a sitcom, but as someone who helped change people's minds...In thirty years, we'll still be dealing with homophobia, and it would be nice to have 'Ellen' on Nick at Nite along with Mary Tyler Moore, someone that [homosexual] kids could identify with." But soon after that article appeared, DeGeneres, protesting ABC's insertion of a parental advisory before an installment in which she kissed a female co-star, had the nerve to claim, "I never wanted to be an activist, but they're turning me into one." (She also accused the network of censorship, an implausible charge inasmuch as the kiss was shown.)

Perhaps what is most bothersome about this is the slipperiness of it all. Bill Clinton becomes the first president in the history of the republic to honor a militant gay group, but doesn't have the guts to be seen publicly with that group's honoree. Ellen DeGeneres allows her private sexual lifestyle to be shamelessly exploited, turns her television series into a propaganda machine for lesbianism, publicly proclaims her political agenda - then denies being an activist, period.

There is something almost pathological about this hypocrisy, and yet almost no one dares say a word. The Republican party (with the exception of a very few, like Steve Forbes and Dan Quayle) is silent and useless. The religious community is AWOL as well, to no one's surprise. The news media... They're just too busy investigating other controversial organizations. Like Promise Keepers.