The Daily Agenda for Tuesday, November 8

Jim Burroway

November 8th, 2011

TODAY’S AGENDA:
Secretary of State Clinton to Deliver Remarks on Global HIV/AIDS Epidemic: Bethesda, MD. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will deliver remarks this morning at the National Institutes of Health on the fight against the global HIV/AIDS epidemic in light of recent scientific advances. Her talk is titled, “A vision for the next steps in the fight against HIV/AIDS,” and will be live-streamed on the State Department web site beginning at 11:00 a.m. EST.

TODAY IN HISTORY:
Police Woman “Flowers of Evil” Episode Airs: 1974. When NBC’s hour-long action drama Police Woman starring Angie Dickinson began airing in 1974, was so popular that even its reruns in the spring and summer of 1975 ranked number one in the Nielsen ratings, making it the first successful police drama to feature a woman in the starring role. Dickinson’s unabashed sex appeal, undoubtedly, played a far greater role in its success than the plot lines themselves. One particularly odious episode, “Flowers of Evil,” had Dickinson’s character, Sgt. Pepper Anderson, investigating a trio of lesbians who run a retirement home where they murdered and robbed their elderly residents. Positive portrayals — indeed, any portrayal — of gays and lesbians were extraordinarily rare, which made this episode particularly egregious.

To add insult to injury, the Police Woman episode aired one month to the day after a similarly negative plot line appeared on ABC’s Marcus Welby, M.D., in which a child molester was portrayed as gay. Police Woman’s “Flowers of Evil” was originally scheduled to air on October 25, but after the National Gay Rights Task Force organized national protests which led some advertisers to pull their commercials, NBC pulled the episode for re-editing. But with the filming wrapped up, the edits were mostly cosmetic. After the episode aired on November 8, TV Guide called it “the single most homophobic show to date.” A week later, a group known as Lesbian Feminist Liberation occupied NBC’s Standards and Practices office overnight, unfurled a banner from an office window reading “Lesbians Protest NBC.” Advocates continued to negotiate with NBC for several more months, and NBC finally agreed in 1975 to not rebroadcast the episode during re-runs and to withhold it from syndication. The “Flowers of Evil” episode re-appeared again, but only after thirty years had passed, in the Season 1 DVD box set where in today’s context it can be safely viewed as a historic and cultural artifact.

Harvey Milk taking the oath of office.

Harvey Milk Elected to San Francisco Board of Supervisors: 1977. Newspapers across American carried this two-paragraph news item a few days after election day:

Homosexual Elected to Supervisors’ Board

San Francisco (AP) — Harvey Milk Tuesday became the first avowed homosexual to be elected to the city’s board of supervisors, some 25 years afte he was discharged by the navy when it learned he was gay. Mr. Milk, 47, a camera store owner, said Wednesday, “I’m a symbol of hope for gays and all minorities. My election, against all the odds, shows that the system can work and that there is hope.”

Mr Milk defeated a field of 17 candidates which included several other gays and former San Francisco 49ers football player Bob St. Clair.

This was Milk’s third run for Supervisor. He lost in 1973 and 1975 when all six Supervisor seats were elected in city-wide at-large elections where the top six vote getters joined the board. He also ran for the State Assembly in 1976, but lost in a close race. In 1977, San Francisco switched to single-member districts, and Milk won a seat on the Board of Supervisors on his third try.

If you know of something that belongs on the Agenda, please send it here. Don’t forget to include the basics: who, what, when, where, and URL (if available).

And feel free to consider this your open thread for the day. What’s happening in your world?

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