It Could Happen to You

This video is making the rounds all over the internet today, in the wake of the NC vote to ban gay marriage.  My first thought while watching it was , “God, I sincerely hope this is not a scam.”

It’s a shame to have to think that way, but with so many people desperate to try anything to garner more subscribers to their various e-sites, it is not at all out of the question.  It would be a disgraceful thing to do, but we have all seen it done before.  Many times.  Reality television has been around long enough for a whole generation of people not to realize how fake it all is.  They simply accept it.  The participants become stars, as equal in the eyes of the young or undiscerning as movie stars or sports heroes.  People who have dedicated years of their lives to the pursuit of excellence.  To honing their skills.  To training and developing the talents they have been given.  Rather than  opportunistically catapulting themselves into fame for fame’s sake.

With a quick bit of investigation, I have learned that the husband really did fall off the roof accidentally, while doing a photo shoot.  The relationship described was real.  The tragedy as well.

What bothers me about this video, aside from the hateful things posted in the comment section, is how manipulative it feels, in certain parts.  There is a disconcerting effort to sensationalize for maximum emotional effect.  When done properly, by an accomplished film maker, that sort of thing goes unnoticed.  When done by just some guy with a youtube channel, about himself, then the pulling of strings and pressing of buttons cannot help but be noticed.

How long did he sit in front of his computer, deep in imovie, carefully choosing which frame to insert where?  What part of that close-up of himself, crying into the camera, would fit the music best?  Should he go with the Ken Burns effect on the still photos?  How long should the screen stay black in between sequences?

All these editing choices can be detected by anyone who has ever posted a video on youtube.  They scream of self.  Self awareness.  Self consciousness.  Self promotion?

There is a moment in a comedy with Burt Reynolds and Goldie Hawn, from the seventies or eighties.  They have eloped, and the mother is crying hysterically.  She gives her son a camera and says to take her picture.  When he objects, she says, “This is the worst moment of my life and I want it recorded.”

That was meant to be funny.  It was, too.  Funny.

Times have changed.  Now, every kid crying over a trip and fall is subjected to daddy with a camcorder posting the video for all to enjoy.  Every teen contemplating coming out makes sure to set up his camera, carefully staged, before confronting his mom.  Now what?  The sad and tragic accidental death of an ideal husband is being set to violins and tear filled close-ups?

“My heart is aching and I cannot go on.  Quick, let me grab my camera and film myself for all my followers.”

The message of this video is a valid one.  Important.  I agree with the main point.  I know a straight couple who were together for nine years before they decided to marry.  They never thought it was important to have that piece of paper, until they watched a friend of theirs lose everything when his longtime boyfriend died.  The family did not approve, and he was barred from his own apartment.  Could not go through his husband’s things.  Had no rights at all.

That is what this video is about.  Protecting the rights of someone who is every bit as much married as my friends were for nine years.  Before the papers were signed.  I just wish the video could have been edited by someone else.  Someone other than the guy all of this happened to.  It would have been so much more powerful, lacking the uncomfortable scent of self promotion.

My heart goes out to this poor guy who has lost everything, but at least he can take comfort in knowing that his husband’s death was accidental.  It was not a suicide, nor was he the victim of a hate crime.  There is small comfort, but even so.

Another point, which is sure to get many gay people up at arms, is the issue of acceptance by the families involved.  I’ve never understood why some gay men (it seems to be particular to men) get all bent out of shape because they are not being embraced by their families when they come out.

People are who they are.  Laws should be changed, absolutely.  Without question.  People, however, must be given the right to change in their own time.  If they want to change.  You demand that your narrow minded mother put down her Bible and open her heart to you and your boyfriend?  Well, maybe you should put down the ax you are grinding, and accept her for her limitations.

I am not talking about the guy who made this video, by the way.  I do feel compassion for him.  I’m addressing a larger, more prevalent issue.  One I see among so many gay men.

“Accept me for all that I am or I will cut you out of my life.”

That’s harsh, and unnecessary.  Many teens are thrown out of their homes when they are discovered to be gay.  If you are lucky enough to have parents who merely don’t recognize your boyfriend as your  husband, count your blessings and focus on changing the law.  Minds and hearts will follow, eventually.


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