I keep seeing that video of Ellen DeGeneres making the rounds, responding to her detractors opposed to her deal with JCPenny.
(Here, if you've missed it.)
And every time I see it, it makes me happy. Mostly because to me, Ellen, and her sustained popularity, in particular, is one tangible sign that it really does, sometimes, "get better." I remember very clearly what a huge outcry there was when she first came out on her television show as a lesbian. I was in high school, in a small conservative town, and even though we all knew she was gay, it was an enormous thing when they made it a plot line and actually said it in so many words, on television. I remember kids talking about it in the lunchroom. And now, I can't begin to count the number of "out" celebrities and gay plot lines in t.v. shows, and every day it seems there's a new one, and I can note on my own personal timeline how much the universe has shifted, because I remember personally that time when it was radical that Ellen was gay. And she's still gay, and it's no longer radical, and the world has improved just that measurable amount, and I love Ellen, for being a measuring stick for that important change.
I love her for other reasons, too: She's funny, whether she's hosting an awards show, on her talk show, or being interviewed in magazines and on other shows. Or that video with Kristin Bell.
She makes me laugh. She makes me laugh in a belly-deep, chortling way that defies the conventional comic wisdom, that says that women can't be funny.
Also, I love that even though she's not conventionally cover-model-gorgeous, she's still won the cultural recognition of a "beautiful woman"--many particular honors that are normally reserved for a different, less interesting kind of face, like a makeup sponsorship deals (CoverGirl) and the covers of fashion magazines.
And mostly, I just love that this supposedly "not funny" "not pretty" kick-ass gay woman is all over the place, still being hilarious and gorgeous and smart and in every way bad-ass.