On yesterday’s episode of Ellen, which is normally a rather cloying affair, although also entirely inoffensive and I don’t mean that in some kind of College Campus Misanthrope kind of way where “inoffensive” is the gravest of insults, I mean it in a straight-forward, dictionary definition way as in “that show couldn’t and shouldn’t offend anyone because it’s well-intentioned and has an overall spirit of positivity, which maybe the world could use more of”–(What dictionary am I using? The dictionary of MIND YOUR BEES)–Ellen announced that Prop 8 was overturned, which, by the way, Prop 8 was overturned, so that is GREAT NEWS! And then she addressed a minor but not unimportant controversy surrounding her recent appointment (nice euphemism) as the latest JC Penny spokesperson, which has outraged at least one conservative group due to Ellen’s homosexuality. Oh brother! That is what someone is mad about? That the latest JC PENNY SPOKESPERSON is gay? Not only that, but that the spokesperson is gay ELLEN? Who doesn’t love Ellen? I mean, going back to my “inoffensive” comment: it is very hard to “hate” Ellen. You might not care for her show, and you might find that she has slipped into an increasingly comfortable and unambitious slot of padding celebrity puff piece interviews with what could most generously be described as “humor” (but certainly not “comedy”), but that’s her business and her choice, and she is and has always been entirely likable in a way that at least FEELS very genuine and OK, I’m playing devil’s advocate and trying to be cynical here, which is hard for me because I am never cynical about anything, but OK maybe this “genuine” good vibe that she emits is just Hollywood smoke and mirrors and she’s as bitter and hopelessly disappointed with the meaninglessness of a life spent in pursuit of money and attention when death still awaits us all as the rest of us, but even if so: does it matter? I would argue that it doesn’t. The vibe she puts off is the vibe we receive, so who cares whether she does as many goofy dances at home? (But I bet she does! I bet she goofy dances all over that mansion!) But to get back to the issue at hand, and the people getting mad at her about JC PENNY STUFF: Ellen addresses these jerks in a way that is both funny and smart and morally correct and seems like an important and meaningful thing for a highly-visible and unthreatening celebrity to do on national television, but then is also a little bit complicated because of how at the end of the day she’s working very hard to defend a corporate sponsorship:

See what I mean? That was a good opening monologue! Ellen believes in all the right things and she stands up for herself and for gay rights and she does so with humor and confidence and compassion. But then also we are mostly spending 10 minutes applauding JC Penny? For hiring her? To be in commercials? That’s a little weird. But maybe we SHOULD be applauding JC Penny for hiring her to be in commercials, since clearly that’s a way more CONTROVERSIAL decision than anyone might have guessed. If a JC Penny spokespersonship makes people mad about homosexuality, then a JC Penny spokespersonship probably IS something worth fighting for. Ultimately, I suppose it probably IS some combination of daytime television hosts and low-budget mass market retailers broadcasting the message that homosexuality is acceptable that’s going to move the needle way more than some Capitol Hill speech on C-Span that no one’s watching but if they were watching it would make them so mad. Personally, this doesn’t make me any more inclined to shop at JC Penny (sorry, JC Penny!) but it does make me kind of want to watch more Ellen. I’m not going to do that either. But you know what I mean. Good for her. As they say, you go, girl. Bigger and better. Eye on the prize. The prize being the Dinty Moore Spokespersonship, I’m sure.

Comments (72)
  1. when they cut you out of advertisements they make you feel unwanted. media in the u.s. is designed to make you feel desirable. they want to make you anxious and worry that you aren’t good enough for their product, or that you require your product to be good enough for society. when they cut your sub-group out completely it makes you feel a little less inside. everyone wants to see someone that reminds them they are normal on teevee.

  2. JC Penney is going to bump her salary up for this, right? Because she really polished the Hell out of that turd of a department store.

  3. Somewhere, there is an anti-gay legislator watching this clip and breaking out in a cold sweat about 20 seconds in when he realizes that both he and Ellen are wearing the same J. Ferrar Mens Relaxwear Sportscoat from JC Penney.

  4. BAH-DAH-BAH BAH BAH! I’m lovin’ it!


  5. On the one hand, I agree that it feels a little weird to be so proud of JC Penny for just not being terrible. “Way to meet the minimum requirements of not being a terrible corporation (in this respect (not that I think JC Penny is otherwise terrible, but I am hardly a JC Penny expert, and do not want to overstate my knowledge)). But on the other hand, yay for not being terrible, JC Penny!

    As an aside, santorum won the MN republican caucus yesterday. What the hell, MN? What the fresh hell? I just don’t get him and his ilk that think the GLBT community is some subversive group intent on eroding America. Obviously I can only speak for myself, but regardless of intent, I am way too lazy to erode anything. I think santorum greatly overestimates my capabilities and drive.

    Also, Ron Paul came in second. I am somewhat convinced I am in bizarro world.

    • “What the hell, MN?”

      need i remind you this is the state that has elected Michelle Bachmann to congress.

    • Y’all are just a bunch of crazy Bachmaniacs these days. Sorry, Walter Mondale.

    • People should stop with the “minimum requirements of not being terrible” thing. It just doesn’t make sense to point out that something is wrong, and then when people start taking the small steps necessary to correct that wrongness deriding those steps as “just the bare minimum of not being awful”. Small steps in the right direction are still small steps in the right direction.

      Also the minimum requirements of not being a terrible corporation are, you know, not employing slave labor or driving your employees to suicide or selling guns with the slogan “Good for killing those pesky blacks!”. Hiring a (relatively) diverse set of corporate spokespeople is well above the “bare minimum of not being terrible”.

      • i agree wholeheartedly. there is an awful lot about corporations that is awful, but we must start somewhere.

        perhaps this will lead to brand improvement for j.c. penny which will inspire other brands to hire homosexual spokespeople and then eventually we can all hold hands and just have a big snuggle fest. i figure once the bigots of middle america have decided they can buy something endorsed by ellen or neil patrick harris, perhaps they will no longer use derogatory words towards homosexuals, and eventually we will all live in some utopian society…then again, maybe not!

      • I was ready to disagree with this point but it’s true, and I feel the same way about it as I feel when we complain about what celebrities do or do not do with their fame…nobody owes you anything but the government you pay taxes to. Corporations, businesses, individuals whathaveyou…the only thing they owe you is what they feel they need to pretend to owe you to sell you stuff. I agree that everyone should probably back off the notion that a business needs to be diverse and respectful…they don’t actually. If their main demographic is racist frightened old people, then so be it, that’s who they have to sell to. You don’t like it, don’t buy their products.

      • Furthermore, what will companies learn about their incentives if their small steps toward liberal goals are smacked around by conservatives, but ignored or smirked at by liberals? It’ll make it that much harder and less likely the next time if JC Penny doesn’t get some good publicity and extra sales out of this.

    • I know, right? Oh Minnesnowta. They’re going to test my faith in their awesomeness in November, too, when they vote on that ri-DIC-ulous anti-marriage referendum. Let’s defeat it, guys & gals! Ugh. I guess this means I should prooooobably come out to my family and then convince them to vote against it.

      In honor of E-Dawg, I’ll do it in a JC Penney.

    • I just don’t get him and his ilk that think the GLBT community is some subversive group intent on eroding America. Obviously I can only speak for myself, but regardless of intent, I am way too lazy to erode anything. I think santorum greatly overestimates my capabilities and drive.

      Top score, lilbobbytables. I want to put this on signs for some protest, but, well, you know.

  6. It’s still amazing to me how much hate there still is for gay people. People always say that I live in a bubble because I live in NYC and I’m lucky that I don’t live in the mid-west or the south, but I’ve had people in the city tell me to my face that they hated me because I’m gay and threatened to kick my ass much more. In NYC. In the 2010s. So while it’s hard to hate Ellen – everyone does seem to love her, and rightfully so I think – there is still so much hate for gay people. So, unfortunately, this controversy doesn’t surprise me. That said, Ellen handled this superbly and in a really tasteful way. I’m glad she’s a spokesperson for the gay movement and I never shop at JC Penney but I just may start.

    • They have great sales on Levis in Herald Square!

    • Don’t hate on the midwest, Iowa had gay marriage before New York did.

      • Good point! And I don’t mean to hate on anyone – I love Iowa! But people do think life is easier for gays in NYC than a lot of other places in the country in terms of prejudice and it very well may be; but it is not devoid of it.

        • Yeah…I mean to say that to people who are like “At least you live in NYC and not the midwest” …but you’re right…it’s not easier any one place or another and even if it is, it doesn’t make any one person’s fight easier…

          so the moral is that it is still amazing how much hate there is out there! Even in places like NYC or Iowa.

  7. You know what is unfortunate? That any asshole with a fax machine and an email account can declare themselves an interest group and get a bunch of press if they touch a hot-button issue in a sufficiently stupid way. For some reason, I never forgot the dumbass make-believe group that protested against an episode of “Mighty Mouse” that supposedly showed Mighty Mouse snorting cocaine (he was smelling a flower), and the dumbass make-believe group that got upset that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has villains named Bebop and Rocksteady, since those are traditionally black musical genres.

    These were stupid, stupid complaints! A proper media would filter out the ignorant complaints of dumbass nobodies, not make them into national news stories! Do the “Million Moms” represent anyone? Who gave a flying fuck about the group ten days ago?

    Argh. Pave the world, Mayans; we’re done with it.

    • Whaaaat? I’m actually kind of annoyed about this bebop thing now. Since when do you name your bad guys after something unambiguously awesome?

      • Need I remind everyone that Bebop and Rocksteady were highly entertaining “light-hearted” villains, and I want to say they even at times allied themselves with the TMNT against larger enemies. Plus they looked pretty darn cool for a kids show.

        Btw, Bebop the warthog guy was actually a BLACK MAN who had been mutated. A BLACK MAN with a purple mohawk. Rocksteady was a militant white dude mutated into a Rhinoceros.

        Also, a sewer rat taught ninja moves to turtles and they all fought a kitchen utensil and a brain.

        Let’s not delve too deep into TMNT lore. We’ll all wind up as mutated squirrels with our heads in giant yogurt cups.

        • Whoops. I meant for the all caps on ‘BLACK MAN’ to emphasize that he was a black street thug guy who went by the nickname ‘Bebop.’ Now, whether that is more racially insensitive is up for debate, but I just wanted to clarify why ‘black man’ was capitalized. It looks weird just by itself in my comment, as I didn’t capitalize WHITE DUDE when I was talking about Rocksteady, which arguably is the weirder nickname for a militant white guy, but considering the two came in a pair, and I would argue their nicknames were given to them when they were designed in their mutated forms, which were what was drawn first, it is pretty safe to assume. Therefore, ‘Rocksteady’ is a pretty tough name for a Rhinoceros guy.

  8. Hey monsters – how about letting one million moms know what narrow minded asshats they are?

    they want your feedback:
    “We appreciate hearing from our members. If you would like to send us a comment, criticism, or word of thanks, please send it to: omm@afa.net.”

    will do.

    • Purrrrrrfect…. I shall send them gifs! Gifs of their daughters’ favorite pop icon kissing the voice of their daughters’ & sons’ favorite animated fish.

      Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, &c.

    • I honestly forgot how dangerous and evil these people were. Look at their list of HOT TOPICS:

      Take Action: Obama mandates pro-abortion policy on faith-based organizations

      Superintendent bullies Christian student, calls him ‘ignorant’

      Home Depot digs in, issues statement to AFA

      Macy’s fires Christian for protecting women’s dressing rooms from cross-dresser

      AARP uses member resources to advocate same-sex marriage and special rights for immoral behavior

      • I’m going in through the AFA and urging my senators and congressperson to not sponsor ANYTHING the AFA is for or to voice my opinions for anything they are against. Since I get to write my own message, this is how it is looking:

        Please do not support the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act (H.R. 1179 and S. 1467). If you do, I will work very very hard to make sure you are not elected again.

        The people sponsoring this legislation are bigots and bullies. Do not placate to their interests or I will be very active in getting your opponents into Washington D.C.

        Try it, it’s pretty fun!

  9. well, we all know that businesses are the great moral compasses by which our country is governed…

  10. I think we can all agree that Ellen doing goofy dances around a JC Penny is much better than those awful people-screaming-Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo-over-and-over-and-over-until-you-want-to-die commercials they have been running, right?

  11. I never understood how people draw the line for who should and should not be ostracized.

    Assuming for a moment that being gay is actually wrong (which I don’t think that it is), how does that qualify for such treatment but other acts don’t. I went to a Jesuit university and I remember in my theology class discussing that the Catholic Church’s point of objection is that gay people were participating in non reproductive sex. That means it’s on the same level as masturbation, condom use, oral and anal sex. Yet I don’t see people getting this treatment for whacking off or getting a blow job.

    I understand this treatment for people who actively hurt others (murders, pedophiles, rapists, etc.), but if people aren’t being hurt by their existence, isn’t it enough to leave it up to God to punish?

    • What’s your favorite traditional value? Mine are probably hatred, bigotry … hmm, close-mindedness is good too.

    • It’s easier to get all up-in-arms about homosexuality if you’re a straight Christian. It’s more difficult to get up-in-arms about masturbation, oral sex, etc. if you’re a straight Christian who would then have to fess up to doing those things.

      As part of the gay bandwagon, I’m okay with Ellen being one of our public faces. But if change is really going to happen, gay people need to be out and open with the the anti-gay people close to them, from friends and family. It’s much more difficult to pass laws demonizing a group of people when someone you care about is part of that group.

      • My cousin came out yesterday and I was so goddamn proud of him that I’m welling up thinking about it. Then I saw this and realized I need a new blanket, so I have a pretty good idea where I will be buying one. Maybe a lamp, too. Advocates be needing housewares, you guys.

        • Also, he’s had a really easy time of it, which is just wonderful. (Thankfully our family is very, very liberal and he lives in a progressive area.) And though it wasn’t actually a secret, he made it Facebook Official so I got to point him to Heart2Heart.

      • That’s too true. It’s much easier to hide what you’re doing. I’m still up in arms over the Rolling Stone article I read about bullying in high school. You know damn well that there are plenty of kids having premartial straight sex, spreading disease, and getting pregnant, but hey this girl is dressing butch, so let’s get her. (Of course I’m talking in a bit of a circle, because I don’t think the bullying is warranted for either group, I’m just pointing out the double standard)


  12. This is just really nice. I know that is a supremely boring statement, but I’ve spent the week rather angered by this One Million Moms thing. I made the mistake of crawling the Facebook pages for some republican candidates and the National Organization for Marriage, where the discussion about gay rights is absolutely depressing and upsetting and infuriating. I literally cannot believe how staunchly some people will stand against love and tell me that I’m less deserving than others.

    So this is great. And nice. And thanks for posting it.

    • Something about reading this comment (the part about you crawling FB pages and what you found) combined with your avatar makes me sad. I just keep picturing this frowny little popcorn guy scrolling through horrible FB pages and sighing, becoming more and more dejected.

      But then I remember that it’s just an avatar and the anti-gay rights movement is slowly dying. Every day another future open-minded person is born, and every day and old crotchety bigot dies. Things will start changing, and I have a feeling it’ll be sooner rather than later.

      • Well, this comment definitely made me laugh.

        I am fully confident that gay rights will not be an issue in 20 years time, at least in the first world. Luckily, I am from Montreal, which means I can get married if I so choose. My city is about as liberal as they come and so it was just a shock to realize how much progress is left to be made elsewhere.

        I’m actually very happy and successful and I even have a date for Valentine’s Day, so I’m definitely a smiling bucket of popcorn in real life. :)

  13. Yesterday Rick Santorum tweeted: “7M Californians had their rights stripped away by activist 9th Circuit judges. As president I will work to protect marriage.” I’m very curious about exactly what rights he’s referring to. The right to opposite day forever?

    • maybe he’s referring to the overturning of a vote? Of course, he probably isn’t willing to take the logical next step being that the vote itself was “stripping rights” away, but we can’t really expect more than from him, now can we?

      • Exactly!! What if people voted that everyone had to only shop at Wal-Mart, or only go to school with people of the same race, or kill their firstborn if it was a girl, or any old crazy horrible thing??? Just because people vote for something doesn’t make it legal! Rick Santorum is a dumb-dumb!!

    • I saw this, too.

      Dear American Republicans: You do not need to “fight” for traditional marriage. You still have it. Nothing is being taken away from you. The rights are simply being extended to more people than you care to have included, due to your personal and misguided religious convictions. Shelve your archaic book and see the joy that is spreading before you. Show some compassion and let all people share in the happiness you know.

    • EX-FRIGGIN-ACTLY. YES. Because it makes SO MUCH SENSE to allow people the right to vote to strip other people of their rights! That’s definitely what the Constitution is for. That is why I live in absolute fear and trembling that one of these so-called “constitutionalists” or “historians” running for president could actually win. So, so dangerous.

  14. I’m breaking my legendary silence (or its been so busy working!) but I wanted to because I’m a gay lady getting married to another gay lady in Toronto and I just don’t get it anymore. And by “it” I clearly mean “homophobia”. I’ve been gay bashed by exactly two people in my life. One was a 16 year old boy on the bus who saw me holding hands with my girlfriend and asked if I had a boyfriend (I replied with a witty “Oh, no, sorry, man, I don’t know any guys who would be good for you!” Wait to fight homophobia with..more…homophobia, Harke) and the other was an 11 year old black kid in the apartment building I lived in who followed me around (I being a 22 year old) asking me if I went down on my girlfriend, etc, etc. And it really, really felt terrible, you guys. And those aren’t even that bad! So when we live in a world where my country’s conjoined sibling still has so much hate/mistreatment for the gays I get so confused and angry and sad.

    I love Ellen (no doy) and love how she softly subverts by talking about the mundane things her and her wife does but I especially love when she calls people on their shit. I don’t shop at JC Penny but only because their flannel collection was low and I expect this will be improved. We need more Ellens and we need less Santorum’s and popularity is how that will probably happen.

    ..This rant was brought to you by coffee.

  15. who’d have thought we’d come to a time where I could pretty proudly proclaim myself to be anit-mom?

  16. Of COURSE Ellen goofy dances at home, Gabe. Who do you think taught her how to goofy dance in the first place?

  17. I am anti- anything that forces Ellen to make her sad face, which to me is the downer equivalent of those Sarah MacLachlan dead cat commercials.

  18. “I guess they round to the nearest million” YA BURNT!

  19. I can’t help but feel proud about the shoes I bought at JC Penny last week.

    I’m sure the children who made them would agree with me!

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