Among the interesting aspects of a constantly-changing lexicon is the process by which a word becomes attached to a particular function or occupation, the two never thereafter to be parted. A pattern of common usage, if it persists long enough, can separate the word from its original meaning. That’s the way languages work: a word acquires its meaning from the way it’s used by speakers and writers.
There’s a common term that’s used to refer to an intermediary between two parties who seek to reach a contract with one another: agent. (Time was, we called that middleman a negotiator, but that word has declined in use. Apparently five syllables is too many for the typical pro athlete.) The agent represents one side of the exchange. He seeks to get the best deal he can for his client, in part because whatever the client gets, the agent will get a percentage: typically ten or fifteen percent.
For many years, the prevalent agent / client agreement was for ten percent: if the client will nominally be paid $100, in fact he’ll receive $90, the remaining $10 going to the agent. As a result, another term for an agent entered common use: a ten-percenter. That term is still used to refer to an agent today, even though today the more common agreement is fifteen percent for the agent. (Cf. Shoshanna Litvak’s representation of actress Jana Tyrell in my novel Love in the Time of Cinema.)
The percentage that interests me just now – not for what some agent is paid, however – is three percent. That’s the consensus estimate of what fraction of America’s population is homosexual, lesbian, et cetera: the somewhat fractured quasi-demographic often denoted by the letters LGBTQ.
Consider, ever so fleetingly, how members of that quasi-demographic have become over-represented in many areas of life and society. Movies and television are practically overrun by them. While I no longer watch broadcast or cablecast TV and seldom go to a movie, I have friends who keep me abreast of such things. Apparently it’s now de rigueur to have homosexuals or lesbians featured prominently in any show in current production. Moreover, cases in which they’re cast as villains are vanishingly rare.
Let’s pass in silence over the uses to which content providers put those characters. What I want to know is who’s negotiating for them. He’s fantastically effective…often despite the consequences for the “bottom line.” Consider this report:
Target SLAMMED Over ‘Gay Nutcracker’ Christmas Decorations
Target is under fire once again – this time for selling LGBTQ+ styled Christmas decorations. And conservatives are NOT having it.
One of the new items on the chain’s inventory is a 2023 nutcracker decoration which features the nutcracker in a jacket with a pride flag running down the middle, a pride flag hat, and a pride flag in his hand. I say “his” hand loosely, as the statue also has pink hair, eyeshadow, and feminine eyelashes. Perhaps he’s a drag queen as well.
Another new item this year is a Christmas snow globe with a rainbow heart in the middle and the phrase “love is love” in the center.
Target also recently collaborated with an artist named Kurt S. Adler, whose creations include more gay nutcrackers, a pride drinking glass ornament, a 10-inch fabergé Pride Santa, and a pride picture frame ornament.
Other Christmas/Pride collaborations include a rainbow “Love is Love” ornament, the description for which reads: “Spread love and acceptance this holiday season with this charming pride ‘Love is Love’ holiday ornament,” adding, “Whether you’re an ally, a member of the LGBTQ+ community, or simply someone who believes in love and equality for all, this ornament is the perfect way to showcase your support during the festive season.”
Well, gag me with a spoon! I had no idea the “festive season” is considered a time to wave your sociopolitical affiliation in others’ faces. I had this antediluvian notion that the season is about the Nativity of Jesus of Nazareth. You know, the Christ Child. The kid who was born in a stable and got his first nap in a manger.
But soft! The point here is that Target has already suffered bottom-line losses from kowtowing to the three-percenters. Remember the foofaurauw about Target’s marketing of transgender-themed merchandise? It wasn’t that long ago. At any rate, I doubt Target’s Board of Directors has forgotten it.
Boards of Directors have to be sensitive to what management decisions do to the corporate bottom line. Stockholders expect it of them, and turf them out should they scamp their duties. Yet here we are again: Target is showcasing LGBTQ merchandise at the risk of offending the 97% of the nation that’s heterosexual and largely sane: i.e., the folks that penalized Target for its previous decision. Considering that, whatever ten-percenter is negotiating for the three-percenters is definitely worth his fifteen percent.
Middlemen of the world, you have a new role model. Study his moves! Learn his secrets! Absorbing what he knows could enrich you as well. Or get you tarred, feathered, and run out of town on a rail. But what’s life without a little risk?