If the politics of Larry David weren't so well-known – according to tray.com, he contributed nearly $81,000 to Democrats and Democratic entities in the 2002-2004 election cycles alone, with just $1,000 to a single local GOP candidate – I might be tempted to think he were a Republican.
Last night TBS reran one of the last episodes of "Seinfeld" that David executive-produced before leaving the show after the seventh season (only to return to write the series finale), titled "The Sponge." In it, Elaine learns that the Today contraceptive sponge is being removed from the market and she attempts to hoard them.
But it was the "B story" that interested me most. Kramer volunteers for an AIDS walk but is the only one in the vicinity to decide, for reasons known only to him, not to wear "the ribbon." ("This is America! I don't have to wear anything I don't want to wear!")
He is quickly descended upon by an angry group of enforcers, led by a fey couple named Cedric and Bob, whom Kramer previously described in the "Soup Nazi" episode as "street toughs" after they stole an armoire Kramer was supposed to be guarding for Elaine. (They are, incidentally, also the same couple who would later lead a rowdy mob against Kramer after he accidentally stomps out a flaming Puerto Rican flag, a controversial scene that led to the episode's being pulled from the rerun rotation.)
It didn't really register with me when "The Sponge" first aired 10 years ago, but it sure hit me in the face like a cold drink last night:
Cedric and Bob are every gay I have met who "won't date" Republicans. They are every gay who has called me an "Uncle Tom" or a "quisling" or a "Benedict Arnold." They are every gay who (moronically) called me as an "oxymoron." They are every gay who has thought me a traitor to some nebulous "cause" simply because I happened to disagree with them on budgets, crime or foreign policy.
Gay Democrats/liberals who demonize, caricature or screen out the people with whom they choose to associate based solely on an ideological filter probably do so, in part, because they have the luxury of numbers. But it is incredibly myopic to think that a tiny segment of the population that is striving for its "rights" is going to gain any traction if a majority among us feels so justified in marginalizing such a sizable minority.
(Disclaimer for the slow or stupid: No matter how hard I try to be discerning, many people automatically think I am lumping together "all" gay Democrats or gay liberals when I criticize the Left. I am not. But if you have lived a life as I have, encountering the kind of "tolerance" described above, then you will understand how tiresome it becomes. I have no problem – zero – with Democrats or liberals as a whole. As long as you can accept that gays of good faith can have legitimate ideological or partisan differences, then we will have no problem.)
So to Cosmo Kramer, I say, "Bravo." Stand tall and ribbonless, and stay strong against the ideological enforcers. But your constant harassment at the hands of the Cedrics and Bobs of the world is a sad reminder, even a decade later, that some things will probably never change.
OK, some things change. "Today" sponges are back on the market.
[Watch video – 2:00, WMV format, high bandwidth]
[Watch video – 2:00, WMV format, low bandwidth]