This thought first hit me the day after the "fat naked fag" Richard Hatch won the Survivor TV game show.

The final episode was the only episode of the show I watched, as TV's not really my bag, baby. I watched it only at the behest of my houseguest, who convinced me to watch because Richard was a "hot bear".

As I watched the show, and got some of the background to how the last 3 contestants got to that point, I grudgingly admitted a fascination for these people. I was pleased that Richard had made it so far by truly playing the game using a strategy of survival that included manipulation of his fellow game players.

Somehow, though, this was interpreted as a bad trait, and some press accounts I've read seem to imply that Richard shouldn't have won, because he manipulated people. There were even allusions to the fact that manipulation is often a tactic of homosexual activists (shocker!!). Media accounts seem to be disappointed that Richard didn't do the "right" thing in winning the game.

EXCUSE ME?!? Richard won the game, using survivalist tactics. When there can be only one winner, you can trust no one else. This game was no more than Monopoly on a grander scale. When you play Monopoly, you have to gain the trust of your fellow players, either to form an alliance against someone else, or to manipulate them into being convinced that the property trade you're offering is of more advantage to them than to you. If they swallow that line, it's as much due to their own greed as to your skill at manipulation.

Richard played Survivor no differently than I would play Monopoly. There's no room for two people at the top, therefore, he had to do whatever it took to survive. And yet, in a poll conducted after the show concluded, about two-thirds of viewers thought the wrong person won! Did people really expect him to nobly bow out and let a "better" person win? Some of my roommates, religious watchers of the show (and gay) expected exactly that. Why? For no other reason than he was a gay man, and they expected him to do it, to send some kind of "message" about gay people to the 51 million people watching the show. I'm sorry, but I'm as greedy as the the next guy, gay or straight. I'll pocket the million, and THEN send a message, thank you very much. FUCK being a nice guy trying to get that cash.

Then the thought hit me ... my roomies have been conditioned into thinking that gays should hold to a higher standard of conduct than straights. They seem to think that a sense of "nobility" or of "self-sacrifice" is what earns them acceptance in the straight world ... and they didn't even realize they thought that way until they were forced (by my close questioning) to examine their feelings.

One of my roommates has a superior work ethic. He's never late (often early), never calls in sick, and covers shifts for people who do call in sick. He feels that having a good work ethic is lacking in a lot of people, and I agree, but he also feels he gains acceptance as a gay man by having a good work ethic ... as if having a good work ethic was a trait all gay men possessed, or somehow makes up for the "distaste" he thinks people feel knowing he's gay.

What piffle! Why is it that we are a culture of extremes? Homosexuals used to be portrayed as nothing but pure eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeevil. Now, portrayals of gays seem to have swung the other way: the "stalwart best friend", the "caring neighbor who dispenses witty advice", the "heartland couple who adopted". When a gay is portrayed in something less than angelic light, it's usually as someone who's bitter and/or a drag queen...the last refuge of insensitivity for gays, it seems.

This is ridiculous. Straights seem to accept all of these "sweet" portrayals, and gays try to emulate them. Both groups of people are doing themselves a disservice. The best way for a person to gain acceptance amongst their family, their peers, and their social circle is to be who they are. Warts and all. A gay doesn't have to believe they must be nice all the time to gain acceptance any more than a straight has to believe homosexuality equates with sterility. However, we've all been trained (to some success, it seems) in recent years to think that gays are "super, thanks for asking" and that any less of a response makes them a "bad" person ... not a gay, but one of those fags. Straights don't have to be nice all the time to gain acceptance, so why do gays think they have to?

Oh, sure, there's those radical queers who believe that the only way to gain acceptance is by shoving their existence down other people's throats, but really, what has that accomplished other than to contribute to the rise of irrational conservatism to balance out their own irrational liberalism? Gays are people. They love, they hate, they do things for people, and they're mean to people. Why is it so hard for gays themselves to accept this, or at the very least, show this to straights?

Richard was definitely not a "typical" media portrayal of a gay man. He was overweight. Hairy. You didn't seem him wearing the latest fashions, nor saying all the correct slang phrases and buzzwords. He appears to have been the only person to have understood what it means to be a "survivor" and that is a trait that I could apply to a lot of gays. We've survived hatred, AIDS, evolution, and radicals on both sides of the fence. It appears now that we'll have to survive godliness, too. The fact that Richard's being scorned for being manipulative is stupid. You'll note that Rudy, his "friend to the end" (until they left the island, anyway), lost by being stalwart and true and noble. And yet people expected that behavior from Richard. Would they have felt the "right" person won had Rudy? I wonder.

So bully for Mr. Hatch, I say. He played the game the best, and thus deserved to win. He did it by manipulating his fellow players into losing, which wasn't against the rules of the game. All other considerations, including the fact that he's gay, or "good", or "bad", are moot. He has the check. You don't. End of story.