The antigay GOP used my 'Jeopardy!' snap on their homepage: What is irony?
Last year I was on Jeopardy! and I got a Daily Double about Arthur Miller right. Here is footage of that moment.
I was down in the game and thrilled to rebound with a $5,000 pickup. You could say I was feeling more like myself at that moment, and here’s what that means: I felt like an ebullient, intense, trivia-obsessed gay guy. I would argue that I looked like one too. Look, I even wrote about it.
That GIF enjoyed some Reddit acclaim, so every once in awhile I still see it pop up on Tumblr. Today I saw it somewhere else: The GOP's website! They’re advertising their (I guess?) sassy Snapchat handle, and that’s where my "snap" comes into play. It's the “Snap of the Union," you see. That’s the kind of pun work you get from the GOP, which is grim enough.
But after glancing at their "humorous" posting for more than two seconds, I realized how horrified and sad I am. Nothing about representing myself on Jeopardy! with excitement, self-possession, and pride has anything to do with the GOP’s ideals, and it is borderline traumatizing to see my image associated with their horrifying, regressive shambles of a party. Every fearful, closeted kid I knew growing up in suburban Illinois had one thing in common: ignorant, blindly adherent Republican parents. In my mind the Republican party (especially its current lineup of candidates) has done nothing to advance the cause of LGBT rights, and in fact they were dragged kicking and screaming into basic LGBT tolerance in the first place. Jeopardy! is beloved by people of many political leanings, but my GIF is a celebration of apparent, serious gayness. Newsflash: Nothing about the GOP is a celebration of gayness, and it is a sick joke that they’d feign such a stance for the sake of their social credibility.
I happen to be a standup comic, so many of my friends (including several gay standups) encouraged me to take a saucy approach here. In the past I’ve stated that every GOP candidate seems like a horrifying Wonka parent. In the past I’ve stated that every GOP candidate seems like a string of ALL-CAPS YouTube comments come to life. I like mocking their disgusting existence because something has to be said about their disgusting existence. But when it comes to addressing their pathetic use of my image (and their lack of research about the identity of the guy in the — ahem — aubergine suit), I become numb and unwilling to respond with tweet-length rage. My militant belief in the power, importance, and well-being of the LGBT community supersedes any instinct I have to respond with just a pithy retort worthy of Hollywood Squares. And I love Hollywood Squares.
So instead of "dragging" the GOP for being a gross, harmful creepshow that continues to endanger the lives of LGBT Americans, I will solemnly say this: The fact that the GOP can’t detect gay pride in arguably the gayest "Jeopardy!" moment of all time is proof of their brutal ignorance. There is nothing sassy or cute about the GOP invoking my image to prove they're hip with the kids, who almost unanimously think they're a joke anyway. The GOP’s aggressive, antigay hysteria fills me with contempt, and this is just another laughably moronic mistake to consider alongside their regressive legacy. I will save my harmless ribbing for loving allies like Taylor Swift, who is what happens when you water a Livejournal, and Tilda Swinton, who is italicized Cate Blanchett. The GOP, meanwhile, deserves straightforward, unyielding derision. Though I’m still thunderstruck and depressed by the GOP’s error, I’ll phrase my final remark on their snafu in the form of a question: Who’s snapping now?
Hopefully their social media handlers can use their cool cred to find these:
Hey, GOP! Your candidates are horrifying garbage who've done nothing for LGBT rights. Don't use my image. https://t.co/N1zddPOeZR— Louis Virtel (@louisvirtel) January 12, 2016
@GOP I think every day about closeted gay kids who want to kill themselves because their parents are ignorant, fearful Republicans.— Louis Virtel (@louisvirtel) January 12, 2016