Friday, August 07, 2009

Julia Child: The Homophobe in the Kitchen

Oh no. I was so looking forward to seeing Julie and Julia because I adore Meryl Streep AND French cooking.

And when I was boy I used to love watching Julia Child on TV. She had such a funny accent, and was always dropping or spilling things.

And besides how can you not like a movie where a humble blogger becomes a STAR?

And they warn you NOT to watch it if you're hungry ..... because you might slobber all over your seat.

But sadly I'm going to have to give it a pass.

Because I just found out that the real Julia Child was a horrible homophobe.

She often used the term pedal or pedalo—French slang for a homosexual—draping it with condescension, pity, and disapproval. “I had my hair permanented at E. Arden’s, using the same pedalo I had before (I wish all the men in OUR profession in the USA were not pedals!),” she wrote to Simca. Fashion designers were “that little bunch of Pansies,” a cooking school was “a nest of homovipers,” a Boston dinner party was “peopled by 3 fags in an expensive house…. We felt hopelessly square and left when decently possible,” and San Francisco was beautiful but full of pedals—“It appears that SF is their favorite city! I’m tired of them, talented though they are.”

Gawd. Now I don't know whether to pedal forwards or backwards. I suppose I could go to the movie and just remind myself over and over again that's Meryl up there NOT Julia.

But I'm afraid after this everything she cooked would look about as tasty as a grilled homoviper au jus.....or a pedalo pancake. Even if I WAS hungry. And I'd always wonder what it must have been like to be a gay chef... or kitchen slave....and have been forced to work with that snooty bigot.

And of course... the ugly question: did they or didn't they spit in her fancy Vichyssoises? Which alone would ruin the movie for me because I really LOVE French cooking.

Oh boy. Isn't life unfair ? Homophobia usually rolls off my back like fat off the back off a roasted duck.

But serve up a bigot fruitcake. With a yummy chocolate pudding.

And it can be sooooooo DISAPPOINTING...


P.S. Luckily thanks to my favourite gay chef I get to have French cooking at home ALL the time. Like Poutine a la Italienne and Pâté Chinois or Shepherd's Pie a la Saguenay.

Mmmm..... Bon Appétit !!! .....*Burp* ..... Sorry Meryl.

But who needs Julia when I got Sébastien?

UPDATE: Oh great. Now the chef is offended and I'm going HUNGRY #@!&#

And no homoviper tonight either. Damn you Julia Child. I'm NEVER seeing your movie !!!!!

h/t Joe.My.God.


  1. Anonymous8:57 PM

    Maybe you should give Julia Child a break on this one. She was a product of the times. The article you link to reports that she didn't believe gays should be persecuted or that homosexuality should be criminalized. The just thought the flamboyance and the superficiality (which is what most people during her time thought was what homosexuality was all about) would be a turn-off for what she was trying to do: make the finer things in accessible to the general public.

    The last paragraph in that article is revealing:

    But by the 1980s, when the AIDS crisis began to unfold, the horror of what was happening to people she knew, and people she loved, dealt a significant blow to her longtime prejudice. “Last year my husband and I stood by helplessly while a dear and beloved friend went through months of slow and frightening agony,” she told a crowd at the Boston Garden in 1988 during an AIDS benefit sponsored by the American Institute of Wine and Food. “But what of those lonely ones? The ones with no friends or family to ease the slow pain of dying? Those are the people we’re concerned about this evening. And food is of very special importance here. Good food is also love.”

    We gay people need to show as much understanding of others as we expect for ourselves. In the totality of Julia Child's career, her anti-gay remarks need to be put into perspective.

  2. When I was about 10 or 11, I used to borrow Julia Child VHS tapes from the public library and try my hand at cooking; I actually called myself "Markia Child."

    Looking back, shouldn't my parents have seen the whole gay thing coming?

    Anyway, now that I've admitted way too much, I hate to think she might have been a homophobe; I hope anonymous is right about her coming around in the end!

  3. Some times people have to learn and accept that some people will be products of the generations POV, and from that POV they may be trail blasers, but when we look back on them threw our modern POV they may very well look like thugs,...

    A progressive of yester year may todays neo con, timing and context are everything

  4. I would hate to boycott a film because the main character doesn't always demonstrate positive character traits. I can watch a film about World War II and watch the character, Adolf Hitler, performed by actors in different ways. I can watch WWII films from American, British, Canadian, French, or German perspectives. Just because I watched Das Boot, that doesn't mean that I became sympathetic to the Nazi perspective of WWII.

    No matter if characters are not sympathetic to gays, Jews, blacks, women, or others, that won't prevent me from watching a film. If a film is good, I will likely watch it eventually.

  5. I met Julia Child in a super market in Southwestern Ontario a few years back and I near fainted when she asked me what kind of roast in that store do I think would be a good one !!

  6. Fine, she was a "product of her times"... So were a lot of people who WEREN'T disgusting bigots. And, as Joe Jervis points out: "Although the article notes that Child appeared to have softened in her later years and spoke sympathetically at an AIDS fundraiser in 1988, the lawsuit that came a few years later [she was sued in 1992 for blocking a gay chef from an executive position with the American Institute for Wine and Food] tells us that perhaps she didn't change that much. Many excuse Child's attitudes as typical for her day, but one has to wonder how someone could maintain a decades-long homophobic posture in a gay-heavy environment like professional cooking."

  7. Hi anonymous...I thought I DID give her a break. I didn't say I hated her, just that I was disappointed. If I didn't want to be generous I might say something bitchy about that touching AIDS tableaux. You know like EVERYONE loves a dead homo.
    I also understand she was a product of her age, but considering how many gay people she came across in her business, she really should have known better. And it can't help but diminish her in my eyes...

  8. Hi Mark.... OMG !!!!!!!! MARKIA Child? Oh no. *Gasp* I'm going to have to delete this comment IMMEDIATELY before Perez Hilton gets hold of it and your reputation is RUINED.
    But now that it's out...yes...your parents really should have seen the gay thing coming... :)

  9. Hi scubaq-admin...yes I suppose you're right. People are products of their times...although not everyone has to be a prisoner of them. But look...really all I was trying to say is I'm just sad that a pinch of prejudice turned a funny lady who I quite liked...and her delicious things...into so much less than they once were...

  10. Hi Skinny Dipper...I don't make a practice of boycotting movies...but with my entertainment budget I have to be really choosy.
    And please I want to make something very clear: I'm NOT calling her Frau Hitler. ;)
    Also because I like Meryl Streep I will probably watch the movie sometime. But it won't be what it could have been. And I'll be BORROWING it from a friend...

  11. Hi that's something. You wouldn't want to be WRONG.
    She was quite an imposing woman...and I hate to say it... reminded me a bit of my English granny. So if she had brushed me with her greatness, and asked me to choose a good roast I probably would have FAINTED... :)

  12. Hi 'berto...yes I was hoping that people would read about the lawsuit and what Joe said. The impression I get is that although she was formed by homophobic times, she went out of her way to be unpleasant to gay people.
    So although I don't hate her, and I might even see the movie, I'm certainly not impressed....

  13. Anonymous9:30 AM

    The entire pedalo, pede, PD thing was done to death yesterday on CFRB and on probably all the other Corus radio stations.

    I'll bet it was part of their daily talking points for their on-air personalities like Bill Carroll and Michael Coren.

    It was nearly relentless and I'll bet the other stations of the system "Chorused" in on the same subject from every possible angle.

    Just a side thought:

    On Air Farce, John Morgan played
    Jock McBile and he reminds me very much of Bill Carroll.


  14. I've seen this clipping around the web, and it's clear that her homophobia, while certainly present, was not at all consistent. Child's husband was investigated by McCarthy's goons for homosexuality when they worked for the State Dept. in France (actually, they were BOTH spies on ice). Many women who are married to closet cases have a few, uh, "issues"; maybe we can cut her just a little slack on this one

  15. hi Torontonian...did they really? I suppose they thought it was really funny. Oh well now I'm glad I wrote this post. I was always regretting it you know because I'm a bit of a pushover. I start off blasting someone, but because hate really isn't in my genes, I end up feeling sorry for them... :(

  16. hi Bigbeard61...and thanks for that interesting information. I didn't know that so maybe she felt forced to make those comments.
    So maybe I will cut her some slack.
    Although as I mentioned to Torontonian, if I keep backsliding I'm going to end up starting a Julia Child Fan Club !! :)
    Oh mum picked up some delicious recipes from her show, so I suppose there's worse things...

  17. Child's husband was investigated by McCarthy's goons for homosexuality when they worked for the State Dept. in France (actually, they were BOTH spies on ice). Many women who are married to closet cases have a few, uh, "issues"; maybe we can cut her just a little slack on this one

    Oh, right. If McCarthy's goons investigated him, then there MUST be something to it, all right. *rolls eyes*

    Give me a break. The only thing that McCarthy's goons (or Hoover's goons, for that matter) saw more of under every bed than "reds" were "queers". McCarthy, Hoover and their ilk were paranoid freaks who saw monsters in every shadow, and just because they investigated Child's husband is no reason to suspect/presume that he was a "closet case".

    Here's a news bulletin for you: not every disgusting homophobe is really a closet case, or is covering for/reacting to a closet case spouse or child. Many, many, many of them are just repugnant, despicable, hateful malignancies. I see no reason to think Childs was anything other than what she so fiercely demonstrated herself to be -- a vile bigot.

  18. Anonymous3:02 PM

    She was a bigot, plain and simple...

    Remember she blocked an openly gay chef, Daniel Coulter, from becoming executive director of the American Institute of Wine and Food from a job in 1992 AFTER her so called 1988 touching "speech" at an hiv fundraiser.

    Fuck her and this fake, lying, bullshit movie.

    All Streep does is play dress up in her films. She is the same in every one.