OFF THE GRID

LiLo and Sam Really Do Mean Something

Apr 9, 09 | 8:18 AM   byMichael Wolff
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We spend a fair amount of time and space at Newser on the ever-continuing drama of LiLo and Sam’s relationship. Behind the scenes at Newser, there is quite often an animated debate about why we’re giving LiLo and Sam so much attention. Many of the other over-50 men at Newser (there are two of us) find our interest excessive—but not me.

Or, after months of grousing, I’ve finally gotten their significance. LiLo and Sam are the first post-gay couple. We’re gay-blind to LiLo and Sam. Nothing askance attaches to them. The word lesbian seems hardly ever—even unconsciously—to arise.

Nor do they seem merely part of the movement to turn gay couples invisible by making them as uninteresting and middle class as any other kind of couple. That is, after all, part of the meaning of the gay marriage issue—we’re ever so unsexy, too. But those gay couples still look gay—as well as boring.

LiLo and Sam aren’t trying to hide in plain sight by being ordinary.


(AP Image)

They’ve denuded their lesbianism in part through all the media attention. Self-promotion creates a noise level that drowns out everything else, including, it seems, prejudice.

It could be the fighting. That’s the universal point of empathy between all couples, gay or straight: You know your own tensions and resentments could as easily boil over in public (and involve changed locks, restraining orders, bouncers, etc). We identify.

And they’re young. It would undoubtedly be different if they were old lesbians. Young lesbians seem, well, more young than lesbian.

It could be that, given everything we’ve seen, each fight as it's been reported, we don’t see a same-sex couple, but a divided couple. By class, for one thing. The Ronsons think they are very New York and superior (albeit via Page Six), while the Lohans couldn’t be more trailer trash. And, indeed, the constant tussle between the families not only makes that point, but further establishes that, gay or straight, you’ll have horrifying in-laws. Of course, Lindsay Lohan is a star, and Samantha Ronson is…hmm, not sure. On the other hand, Samantha Ronson is cool, and has lent that cache to Lindsay Lohan, who, on her own, is a bit of a cow.

At any rate, I’m now giving the issue of why we give LiLo and Sam so much attention a double-dose of too much attention. And yet, I do think it’s worth noting that LiLo and Sam, whether together or not, have broken a cultural barrier. With a little critical interpretation, they’re the Jackie Robinson of same-sex couples. Their very irrelevance and insignificance seems to have made their sexual orientation irrelevant and insignificant, too.

That’s something.

More of Newser founder Michael Wolff's articles and commentary can be found at VanityFair.com, where he writes a regular column. He can be emailed at michael@newser.com


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OFF THE GRID is about why the news is the news. Here are the real motivations of both media and newsmakers. Here's the backstory. This is a look at the inner workings of desperate media, the inner life of the publicity crazed, and the true meaning of the news of the day.

 

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