Zelda doesn't do Dobie anymore....

Instead, she attacks the Terminator!

Arnold Schwarzenegger recently used the term "girlie men" in a disagreement with lawmakers, and for this he's being denounced for "homophobia":

Democrats said Schwarzenegger's remarks were insulting to women and gays and distracted from budget negotiations. State Sen. Sheila Kuehl said the governor had resorted to "blatant homophobia."

"It uses an image that is associated with gay men in an insulting way, and it was supposed to be an insult. That's very troubling that he would use such a homophobic way of trying to put down legislative leadership," said Kuehl, one of five members of the Legislature's five-member Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Caucus.

"It's ironic that the governor would try to find a metaphor for weakness when his real problem is that we're being too strong," she added.

Actually, whether "girlie" is "associated with gay men" depends on who's doing the associating. Most gay men I have known are attracted to men and not women, and the more macho the men, the more they're attracted. The cultivation of a butch appearance and ethos among gay men is so well known as to not require extended comment or serious debate. While there are gay men who can be called "girlie," they tend not to fare well in the bar scene, and often suffer ridicule far worse than the sort of comment made by Arnold.

Among heterosexual men, however, there is the documented phenomenon of metrosexuals. Isn't it possible that a guy like Schwarzenegger might just as easily have had them in mind?

Or Saturday Night Live?

How any of this is "homophobic" escapes me.

I don't think there'd have been the slightest outcry had Kuehl accused a Schwarzenegger of macho posturing. I don't recall much of a fuss when she said his supporters were lacking in rational thought:

"Voters watched Arnold Schwarzenegger rescue everybody, saving the world in an hour and 51 minutes, and that really appealed to them," said Democratic state Sen. Sheila Kuehl, D-Santa Monica. "They put aside rational thought about if Arnold Schwarzenegger could really do the job. They just voted for the recall out of anger and for Schwarzenegger out of hope. They voted for him because they hope someone will rescue them from the angst they feel."
Bear in mind that Sheila Kuehl starred as "Zelda" in "Dobie Gillis" (a role and a show I liked). Instead of accusing her voters of putting aside rational thought in electing her, the governor acknowledged her role in TV history. Kuehl's reaction strikes me as a bit defensive:
Kuehl recalls Schwarzenegger bounding out of his Hummer in the Capitol basement to give her a bear hug. "Senator," she quotes him, "I just found out you were on TV. I'll bet I'm the only one in the Capitol who knows that." Kuehl didn't have the heart to tell him that, no, practically everyone in the building knew she'd played Zelda Gilroy in the early '60s TV show "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis."
Then there's Kuehl's claim that "if this guy was not a movie star he would not be governor."To that Bryan M. Westhoff replies:
Just so I am clear, this is coming from the woman who played Zelda on 'Dobie Gillis.' And she gets to be a State Senator? People in glass houses Sheila. People in glass houses.
I'm not alone in finding Kuehl's remarks offensive. Here's Boi from Troy:
I am offended, not by the Governor's remarks, but by the reaction to them. Senator Kuehl and Assemblyman Leno are promoting homophobic stereotypes of effiminate qualities attributed to gay men. If they understood the homoeroticism between SNL's Hanz and Franz, they would understand the real meaning of girlie men--those who are too weak to fight back and represent themselves. There are too many members of the State Legislature who fit this mold--those who are beholden to the theocracy of the religious right or those beholden to the theocracy of big government on the left...and too few who are joining with the Governor to represent the rest of us Californians.
Promoting of inaccurate stereotypes? Maybe someone could ask Sheila Kuehl whether she lied about Superbowl violence.

I don't think she'd like it. Omphalos (the blogger who supplied the Superbowl link) also says she hates criticism:

....the way to piss her off is to suggest there might be something she doesn't know.

posted by Eric on 07.19.04 at 02:45 PM


"They put aside rational thought about if [sic] Arnold Schwarzenegger could really do the job."

It seems as though the state senator has put aside rational thought "about if" the construction "about if" could really be English.


"Me fail English? That's unpossible!" -- Ralph Wiggum

Varius Contrarius   ·  July 19, 2004 4:20 PM

I think he was doing an Ann Coulter drag number.


Ray Eckhart   ·  July 19, 2004 7:15 PM

While Arnold Schwarzenegger never hosted SNL, he did appear on the show, once.

Dec 3, 1988. Danny DeVito hosted with the Bangles as the musical guest.

The pre-opening skit (before the "Live...from New York...it's Saturday Night!") was a "Pumping Up with Hanz & Franz" (Dana Carvey & Kevin Nealon). "Cousin" Arnold dropped by to give his "girly-men" relatives some inspiration: "It doesn't matter how pumped you are, as long as you reach your full pump-tential."

(Twins, starring Schwarzenegger and DeVito, was released in 1988.)

Lynxx Pherrett   ·  July 20, 2004 3:35 AM

Excellent point that men's men like yourself are the manliest of men.

This whole controversy proves Schwartzenegger's point: We are becoming a nation of wimps.

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