In Light (or dark) of the Election: Seinfeld, “Get Out,” and “Loving” – Corey Washburn

hillary pantsuit.jpg

With the election (of course) on the mind, I couldn’t help but notice some crucial things about this week’s episodes. I grew up watching Seinfeld with my dad, an avid viewer who most likely did think the show was “about nothing.” “The Outing,” one of the episodes required for this week’s watching, however, is definitely NOT about nothing. It confronted real issues in a time when they were not part of everyday language, and added humor to a serious topic to better appeal to viewers. This article by Huffington Post celebrates it on its 20th anniversary in 2013, and is well worth the read.

In thinking about the importance of today, November 8th, 2016, I can’t help but think about the LGBTQ community and how much is at stake for them. A dear friend of mine from camp posted a humorous snapchat story on Facebook the other day which displayed her “saying goodbye” to all her favorite things, which, if Trump were to become President, would cease to exist. Her comical ode to those favorite things included her sexual health items, her favorite Mexican spices, her Ikea furniture (which is NOT made in America), and her favorite hat which “makes [her] look gay – and [she] is really gay.” Yes, I laughed hysterically, but how funny is it that THIS IS NOT FUNNY.

“The Outing” aired 23 years ago. TWENTY-THREE YEARS ago, yet LGBTQ issues are still on the line. Today, even, more so than ever. This got me thinking about other issues on the line, which translated my thinking to not only sitcoms, but other media and movies which will be released. I applaud Seinfeld for being ahead of its time with “The Outing,” but how funny is it that we still have to confront and highlight issues of human rights because they are not being upheld?

I saw a commercial the other day for “Get Out,” a horror movie about an interracial couple, expected to come out in 2017. The movie commercial seemed starkly different from “Loving,” a movie about interracial marriage that ends in incarceration for both parties simply for being married to someone of a different race. I find these two movies interesting, to say the least, and they will have come out within a year of each other. “Get Out” shows just how scary it is to be a black man in America (see this article), while “Loving” (yes, based on a true story), depicts real-life scenarios on a milder scale. How interesting is it that “Get Out” takes this to the next level? It’s astonishing that filmmakers determine we need to resort to horror films to get this point across. Sure, it may seem dramatic – yet, I think it’s long overdue.

get out.jpgStill from Get Out Trailer, 2017.

Here’s to hoping tonight’s election is the continuation of how far we come. Here’s to hoping we can celebrate ALL people for who they are on the inside, and here’s to hoping we continue to move forward in our thinking, in our actions, and in our film, sitcom, and other media production.

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2 Responses to In Light (or dark) of the Election: Seinfeld, “Get Out,” and “Loving” – Corey Washburn

  1. mediaphiles says:

    I agree with you. Seinfeld is definitely about more than nothing. The way he subtly tackles social issues like gender norms is impressive. I think this is why I didn’t care for the show as a young child because I did not really understand what was truly going on. Now, especially after taking this class, I will never look at the show the same.

    Karoline Summerville

  2. mediaphiles says:

    I’m trying to catch up on all of my blog post comments/writings, which means I’m sitting here reading this two weeks after we learned that Donald Trump is going to be our next president. It completely and totally exhausts me to even acknowledge that, and yet it seems to make your blog post and all that you acknowledge within it even more critical and relevant. How horrifying is it that our current VP-elect has endorsed both personally and legislatively shock therapy for members of the LGBTQ community? If I’ve learned anything from this class (which I have), its that art has the unique ability to speak truth the power. Let’s hope that these next four years are productive of the kind of art that does just that.

    -Callie Sartain

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