LeVar Burton is a lonely, lonely man. For years, I watched him enrich the lives and minds of young and old alike as host of Reading Rainbow. He traveled to the farthest reaches of fantasy and brought imagination along with him. He always talked kindly and hopefully with the guests, but I could see that they never took him into their hearts. They probably only knew him as the black book fag. But LeVar is so much more than that.
One time, at the end of a medieval-themed episode, his guest dressed him in knight’s armor and gave him a horse and a lance with which to joust. But then LeVar merely charged the camera at an awkward angle and rode off screen to the haunting melody and lamenting butterfly that closed every show. Where was the other knight, LeVar? Where was the other knight?
I imagined that LeVar would just keep going after the screen flickered on to the next show, just keep riding on toward the horizon where friends – many friends, thousands of friends! – eagerly awaited his arrival so that they may frolic gaily in the fields of companionship. But somehow, I knew it wasn’t so. Somehow I knew LeVar only rode as far as his lonely green station wagon which he drove to his isolated home where he would sit down on his empty couch and masturbate to tapes of synchronized swimming competitions.
Somewhere far away, my heart sank.
But then, when Star Trek: The Next Generation first aired, my heart leapt as I’m sure did LeVar’s. A new show, and with it, new friends. He was cast as Geordi LaForge, the jubilant and kindly friend of all, not to mention the heart of the Star Friend-Ship Enterprise. At long last, I said, he has come home.
But I had spoken too soon. LeVar was to play a role for which he was altogether too well suited. Geordi was crippled with blindness, an ailment that gains the sympathy of all, but the friendship of none. The crew thought Geordi was blind from birth, but it was the bitter solitude hidden within that stole LeVar’s sight from him. LeVar was Geordi, Geordi was LeVar. And the man millions of viewers saw every week was GeorLeVar: The Unloved.
But do not fret! I will read to you LeVar. I will take a look in your book. Alas, it is blank. And rightly so, for no one has cared to lift a pen to its tender pages. Let my pen be the first to stroke your ? hey what the hell are you? I’m not gay, LeVar! Jesus Christ. Get away from me.