Saturday, May 23, 2015

Compulsive Inclusion

I've been running the NYCPlaywrights web site/email blast as a money-making (although not notably
profit-making) proposition since January 2011, and about six months ago or so I started including free theater notices in the email blast, as a service to the readers. There is always some free theater - usually readings but sometimes full productions - going on in New York City, and especially between May and October because of all the Shakespeare in the park productions.

Sometimes I have to go looking for free theater, but often I'm emailed notices and I've never turned anything down for inclusion in the email blast. But I did briefly consider not running a notice for a Project Y Theatre reading last Sunday for a play by Adam Szymkowicz. But in the end I did run it for the sake of NYCPlaywrights inclusivity.

I found it odd that Project Y Theatre was promoting his play as part of a reading series called "Parity Plays."  What they consider "parity" is 50% women in casting - not playwriting.

The four or five regular readers of this blog may remember my excoriation of a web series written by Szymkowicz and produced a couple of years ago, called Compulsive Love, a case study in un-self-aware male entitlement in which the hero of this anti-romantic, unfunny romantic comedy is such a creep that when he loses a bet playing pool with a woman he refuses to pay up and instead pimps himself out (because there's such a huge market for unattractive hetero male prostitutes in the world of Compulsive Love)  performing oral sex on first his creditor and then on some kind of organized crime lady - there might be more to the plot but I can't report on it because of the vomit that inevitably lands all over my laptop screen whenever I try to watch more than a few minutes at a time of this show. Anyway, since his cunnilingus skills were honed through prostituting himself he is able to walk into a lesbian bar, buy a lesbian a drink and then have sex with her.

But since the hero has sex with at least one new woman per episode I guess that demonstrates Szymkowicz's track record writing work with lots of roles for women. Take that, patriarchy.

While researching this blog post I found somebody else complaining about the series, on the Youtube posting of the lesbian episode:

You do understand that "Where no man has gone before" is actually a name of a trope that you present here - a man having sex with lesbian? It appears in about 90% of movies and shows with lesbian characters (that are not aimed at lesbian audience) - that the lesbian has to be de-gayed and be sexually accessible for a man. I think I don't have to mention it's incredibly homophobic and misogynistic, and actually this way of thinking stands behind "corrective rapes" on lesbians too.
And no, that isn't me writing under a pseudonym.

The trope that the lesbian episode best embodies is If It's You It's OK. See illustration on the right. Although Compulsive Love goes this trope one better - you don't even have to be "The Batman" to turn lesbians into bisexuals, just some goofy-looking ethical failure. That's amore.