the awesome/terrifying freedom

out here, somewhere, figuring it all out.

yes timmy, lesbians do exist!

Hi there,

I read your weblog and I wanted to respond to Wednesday's entry. I pretty much agree with everything you wrote, but I wanted to comment on "The L-Word." I don't know how successful it will be. Lesbians will tune in, if they have Showtime, but I don't know how many straight people want to watch a (somewhat) realistic show about lesbians. We're pretty much invisible across the board.

I think the reason lesbians get so little screen time on Queer as Folk and Will & Grace is that straight women make up a large part of the audience for these shows. They want to see hot guys doin' it, or they want the harmless gay best friend. It's about *their* fantasies. They want men who act gay, as long as those men are straight in real life.

It's the same thing with Clay Aiken. Again, the straight girls need to keep their fantasy alive, so Clay is being marketed as the ultimate non-threatening ladies' man. The rest of us know that a man who has that many female friends is probably not straight. To quote Karen Walker, "Honey, your gayness can be seen from space!" (I love Clay to pieces, so this is not an insult. It's stating a fact, like saying that Ruben is black.)

Okay, this e-mail has gone on long enough. Thought you'd interested in one lesbian's perspective. Keep writing; I enjoy it.


kelley, i'm so excited to get your email!

showtime is definitely taking a risk by producing 'the l word,' but it's a pretty calculated one. they have obviously had great success with 'queer as folk' (as dreadful as it is), and have legitimate reason to think that there is a substantial lesbian market for the show: lesbians have money too! i hope it works and i hope showtime's new head of entertainment can muster up some actual talent for the risk-taking, but thus far intellectually challenged network.

it's true.. straight women and gay men are a similar audience - it should logically follow then that straight men and lesbians would have similar tastes too.. do they? is there a secret lesbian following of 'the man show?' or is there some weird discomfort that straight men have with women no longer concerened with attracting a penis? is this why straight men didn't tune in, and only lesbians watched the wnba?

so kelley, tell me, what are lesbian fantasies? are lesbians attracted to the 'traditional' model of femininity? do lesbians face the same media-image-induced self hatred that many gay men face? how does the absence of penis into the equation change your lives? i want to know! and i want the lesbian voice to be heard! grrrrr!! there was a show on pbs when i was in high school - it used to be on tv after 'in the life,' called 'dyke tv.' now that was an honest look into the lives of lesbians. there were mullets and crop tops and motorcycles and tennis and golf and some lipstick lesbians talking about fucking. now that's what a lesbian 'queer as folk' should be.

there's a strange gray area of sexuality that intrigues me so much.. that place where effeminate men and butch lesbians sort of meet in the middle and become indistinguishable from each other. i see it a lot every pride day, which is really the only time that i ever see large numbers of lesbians. so many times i would see someone from behind and think 'oh that guy in the jeans and button up shirt is pretty cute.' and then he'd turn around and have a set of perfect jugular mammary glands on his/her chest.

there is an urban legend.. perhaps you've heard it.. about the ultra butch dyke who looks like a hot guy (think hillary swank) who picks up the passing-for-a-real-woman drag queen at a bar. only after they get each other's clothes off do they realize that their sexual extremes have tricked each other into a weird twilight zone reverse-hetero coupling! i don't tknow if it's ever really happened - i think it was a setup on the maury povich show once, but i love the idea that the spectrum of gender can be stretched so far that sexual identity and gender identity become independent of each other.

check out for the complete spectrum, and find out where you fit in. i like the site because it's honest, bit it kind of disgusts me too - it serves to solidify the gay male aesthetic that being 'straight acting' is more attractive. gay men are always touting their straight-rating as if it's some kind of sexiness indicator.

ah, and check out this article from the village voice about 'd-l homies:' semi-closeted black men 'living on the down-low,' who defy all sexual labelling. these guys just like sex. with anyone. and crib from ultra-masculine thug culture the way white gay boys crib from ultra-masculine frat culture. this is fantastic - a part of gay life i've had almost absolutely no contact with - i only had a small taste of this facet of gayness the one time i went to 'krash,' an 'urban' gay bar in astoria. it was a culture shock. i couldn't adjust. i wasn't fascinated at the time.. i couldn't look at the experience as an anthropological excursion, i just wanted to get laid - and dressed like the frat boy i wanted to pick up, i was clearly in a very wrong place.

but now it's cool to look at it, and to look at the gay pride parade on sunday and realize that the best thing about gay culture is that it really is a subset of all cultures, and that being gay brings many groups together that would never socalize otherwise.

back to clay for a moment.

kim writes in with a link and says:

Hey Joe. any comments on Simon Cowell's most recent nastiness and homophobic statements?

hmm.. i read the article carefully kim, and actually can't find any homophobic statements made by cowell. i think he can only be acused of being anti-clay. he's pretty nasty, and refuses to take clay's denial of being gay at face value, but then so do i. really simon is only echoing the thoughts of gay and straight people around the country. the article makes a few mistakes - simon doesn't actually sign the winner of american idol, and doesn't really have stake in whether or not clay or ruben's albums sell - only clive davis and simon fuller have to worry about that, and you won't hear them ever saying a bad word about their boys. simon's made his name and his millions by calling like he sees it, whether he sees it right or not, and really just not giving a shit about how he comes off and who he's pissing off. it's pretty admirable really.

so is he homophobic? this is a really really shady shady area we're starting to get into as gay culture becomes more and more ingrained. what is homophobic about assuming someone is gay because they look and act gay? gay people do it all the time.. how do you think we get dates? (although that is all beginning to change with the advent of the metrosexual)

what if simon was also gay, but simply (as many gay men do) finds effeminate behavior repulsive? would this make him homophobic?

this same question is asked about hate crimes all the time - how can you determine intent? and how does the identity of the perpetrator influence the perception of the crime? sometimes it seems clear cut - skinheads beating up men outside a gay bar. other times it's totally unclear - rebellious jewish kids breaking the synagogue windows and spray painting swastickas as a prank because they know no one will suspect them.

ah, this is amazing.. it's the exact same question i asked earlier about comedy- how does the source of a joke affect its perceived humor? ooh, what a cool correlation between comedy and violence! anyway, back to the point..

there are no more clear cut lines. can you imagine a high school environment where the openly gay jocks beat up the openly gay theatre kids? of course, beatings are never pretty, but it's a wonderful thought for a few reasons - 1) that with total gay acceptance, social lines would be completely redrawn into new, strange prejudices, 2) that there would be openly gay jocks in high school, and 3) that they might beat me up.. over and over again. mmm. okay, i'm back.

simon isn't saying anything that i haven't said on this website for the past four months. he, like me, is an equal opportunity man-bitch.

stay tuned for a lesbian perspective to wednesday's blog!

it's an historic day. scalia is and always was a homophobic prick.

wow, it's a great time to be gay.

it's always fascinating to me to explore the other side of things. get these people. wow! they even came up with a clever play on words: 'saddamy free zone!' these people claim that the supreme court must uphold the texas law in order to ensure a victory over saddam hussein. i guess they are justifying their argument through chaos theory: if a butterfly gets buttfucked in texas, a war is lost in iraq.

this is creepiest part, though:

"The Texas law is not an attack on any person or group, and as our Public Advocate Amicus brief points out, the Texas Anti-homosexual Sodomy law "is no more a condemnation of a person's homosexual orientation than a murder statute is a condemnation of a murderer's homicidal orientation." It is a statue which only punishes unnatural behavior."

and that is and always has been the heart of the problem of gay acceptance vs. gay tolerance. will we ever be accepted by the religious right? oh sure, they're willing to tolerate us - the way suspected murderers and crazy people on the subway are tolerated. kushner puts it best in 'angels in america' when louis says 'what I think is that what AIDS shows us is the limits of tolerance, that it’s not enough to be tolerated, because when the shit hits the fan you find out how much tolerance is worth. nothing.'

is it as hopeless to expect that these people will ever change their beliefs about homosexuality and truly accept us as it is for them to expect these laws (and the bible) to turn us straight?

i don't think so. it's always eye-opening to me to consider that some people believe that i am going to hell with the same fervor that i feel to the core of my being that i am a gay man. what makes me right? how do i know that they aren't? what constitutes belief?

oy, so much to write about on this topic. i have to stop or i'll keep going forever. another day. today, i'll be rejoicing in the fact that we've finally seen some acceptance on a governmental level.

kevin emailed me with a link to a pertinent article in the times about the new straight male: the metrosexual.

it basically says that straight men are now able to crib from gay culture without threatening their masculinity.

it's the wave of the future... at least in metropolitan areas. i don't think a straight guy wearing clinique for men and deisel jeans in lincoln nebraska is going to be very well accepted by his chums on the company baseball team.

here's another pertinent article about gay retirement homes.. another wave of the future. let's all pray that socal progress continues in this direction. who knows what kind of rights and services we may have in sixty years? sixty years ago you could end up with a lobotomy for being gay!

saw the musical 'zanna don't' last night. it was very fun and almost gratingly cute, but by design. the premise is that it takes place in an alternate universe where gay is the norm and the straight high school kids must go through the same tortures of closeted self discovery that we all went through as gay kids. a very fun time.

my only complaint, and i often have this complaint - is about the treatment of the lesbians. sorry - i'm going to give away a major plot point, so if you've got tickets for one of this week's final performances, don't read: in the end, the world is transformed and all the gay kids become straight. the once flaming homos now exhibit jock behavior (some of the flames in the cast tried valiantly, but couldn't pull it off for a second), and the once lesbian girls are now, wait.. oh, the girls are pretty much exactly the same as they were before, except holding hands with men.

and here it is again.. this gay-male-filtered version of lesbians in our (our meaning 'gay') media. we only ever see images of lesbians as gay men would like them to be, meaning that 'they should be just as fabulous as we are!'

i think the problem with lesbian visibility comes from two factors:

1) male domination (straight and gay) of media, which has two facets: straight men like to see traditionally hot women as lesbians from a sexual perspective and gay men like to see it from an aesthetic one.

2) a general absense of lesbian voices in entertainment. i'm not talking about ellen or melissa etheridge (who do a great job of representing themselves).. i'm talking about movers and shakers.. the ratio of lesbians in the entertainment industry seems to be about proportionate to the number of gay men in sports. hmm. maybe that works the other way too: the ratio of lesbians in sports is about proportionate to the number of gay men in entertainment.

so gay men have carried most of the voice for the entire gay community, and the lesbian presence has been almost insulting - like the token black characters in 'the real world,' or the token ethnic friend in every sitcom, they exist only to say 'i am here only to let everyone know that the person who wrote this wants to be considered 'all inclusive.' they are not all-inclusive because they do not care to expand my character beyond an image deemed 'safe' for my community. thank you.'

perhaps i only have this problem because i am only ever really exposed to gay male media - i don't read 'curves' or 'diva.' so then the problem is that gay male magazines need to stop pretending that they represent all gay people. in many issues of the gay magazines i subscribe to there are letters to the editor from lesbians complaining that the publication is too male-centric. i agree. if it's going to be a gay mag, then make it an all-inclusive, equal coverage gay mag. if it's going to be 'male cosmo for the homo,' fine. stop pretending that it's anything else.

showtime has a new show coming up called 'the l word,' which looks to be a kind of 'queer as folk' for women. such mixed feelings. congrats to showtime for separating the lesbian voice from the gay one, but god, i hope they get better writers than we did. i hope it's a great show. i would love to learn what life is actually like for a lesbian in our sociey. based on what gay men have told me, i know absolutely nothing. in the meantime, i think i'll pick up an issue of 'curves.' i'm sure it's more than the writers of 'queer as folk' ever did.

are there any lesbians out there? what do you think??

john talks about the phenomenon of male objectification in the media.

i have a lot of theories on all this - some of which have gotten me into drunken screaming matches in bars.

i've been thinking about where this new male objectification implies that our society might be heading. it's always been interesting to me that socially, women are allowed and encouraged to evaluate the attractiveness of other women, but straight men must deny any knowledge of what makes another guy hot, or even what makes themselves hot. classic female beauty is the result of innumerable products, scrubs, applications, peels, treatments, etc. but classic straight male hotness must seem accidental; the great body comes from playing sports, which comes from a desire to beat the shit out of other guys - and definitely not from needing a good v-shaped back because it looks really good with the new tapered button-up, untucked shirt look.

it all seems to stem from a key difference between men and women - that men require arousal for sex to take place - and that arousal is easily gained through visual image. and so women, since the beginning of time, have beat themselves and each other up trying to look good enough to give johnnie a stiffy. nice deal for johnnie, huh?

so why is it that 'gay men always dress better,' 'have better taste,' and 'care about how they look'?? because gay men are subjected to the same litmus test that straight women face: that ultimate siskel and ebert, the erection. and gay men know it on an even more intrinsic level than women do because we are faced with the litmus test every time we look in the mirror. 'do i look hot enough to turn myself on?'

and now we've reached the era of johnnie homo - an era where the adonis complex is no longer just a gay phenomenon. where women not only have spending power, but sexual power. an era where straight men are getting cosmetic surgery more than ever before - and part of me thinks this is great! straight men finally know what superficial objectification feels like! but then part of me thinks how sad that we all just can't be hot the way we are. will the rodney king of the future be saying 'can't we all just be hot?'

last night i watched a bit of 'in the life,' a gay news program on pbs that i used to sneak out of bed to watch back when i was in high school.

one of the lead stories was on ageism in the gay community - another phenomenon i find fascinating. what is going to happen to my gay generation when we hit 50-60-70 years old? we will be a very unique group of elderly - we will have survived the aids crisis, we will have lived through our youth without the grand scale war of our parents (and their parents) went through, and we will be the first generation of eldery in all of history where the majority of us will have lived out of the closet for almost our entire lives. so it's very possible that we'll see a whole new market emerge as we get older.. and hopefully the ageism will start to disappear as the young'uns start feeling the cold march of time themselves. those centrum silver and depends commercials are going to get a lot more fabulous. gay men may finally discover what the straight world seemed to know all along: that men can be sexualized well into their 60's. remember sean connery boning catherine zeta jones in 'entrapment?' well it was creepy, but you have to examine what makes that type of pairing possible; it's the same phenomenon that allows ron jeremy to be a porn star - men who see the film want to believe that even when they're old they can bag a chick like zeta jones. hmm.. i guess that doesn't really help my point, does it? we're still talking about a youth based, image perfected fantasy, only made more accessible through the fulcrum of a leathery old man.

i'll talk about sugar daddies later.

are gay men doomed to replace their sexual power in youth with financial power in old age? unless old people suddenly become sexier than younger people, i think the answer will always be yes.

anyone have any insights? anyone want to throw a drink in my face?

a fun thing to do is to assign horoscope-type significance to snack foods. i love playing this game, and i think you'll find that it's a good way to run your life. when opening a packet of m&m's pay careful attention to the first color to emerge from the bag. brown means you're going to have an uncomfortable poo. blue means suicidal depression. green means gangrene. yellow means jaundice. orange means gastroesophageal acid reflux, and red means accidental death within 24 hours. enjoy!

curse you god. i renounce you. although i never really believed in you from the beginning, i now believe. you are one viscious bastard. i can't remember a time in my life where weather has conspired so perfectly to destroy the sprits of so many people for so long a period of time. sure, we've all had the rainy weekend before, but all of this just screams evil henchman with a twisted sense of humor and a weather controlling machine at his fingertips. 'hahaha, oh it's saturday? press the 'rain' button igor. on monday, give them the most beautiful day they've ever seen! we will drive them all to suicide!'

okay so maybe i don't believe in a vengeful god. i've only found faith in twisted-humor-sensed evil henchmen with globular-power technology. does globular-power mean what i mean it to mean? does it mean power over the globe or power over the globs? is there a difference?

an open letter to jewel:
honey, quit trying to call it irony and just admit that you've sold out. you've traded simplistic folk poetry for simplistic pop gloss and frankly, the former is more honest - if you'll just be honest about it. 'only kindness matters?' no, what matters is milking those boobs and bee-stung lips for every last cent you can. and there's a conundrum in your latest video - one that doesn't warrant nearly as much thought as i've given to it. in your video 'intuition,' you show what is apparently two sides of yourself - the 'normal looking jewel' which walks down the street in jeans past homeless people - and then during the choruses the video abruptly switches to glamour mode and the homeless people jump up and beome super hot gyrating models. also throughout the video are freeze frames that mock various ad campaigns. you seem to be making a statement about product placement - but then, i see that your song is used in the 'intuition leg shaving razor' commercials! what? so what is your video saying? is it saying that product placement is stupid - and so am i? or is it saying is that for career longevity, product placement is inevitable? in the video for 'hands' you walked like she-jesus through disaster areas and the healing power of your touch enlightened the poor, suffering non-telegenic wretches of the earth. in your new video the lyrics say over and over again 'follow your heart... something something intuition.' is this where your once oh-so-saintly heart has guided your 'intuition?' to peddling pink plastic razors?

u2 went through a similar phase during their 'pop-mart' tour, but they didn't try to be ironic about it. they said 'we are in our money hoarding phase. we love it. oh yeah, and we're also pretty much going to be artistically dead until we come to our senses again in a few years. thanks.'

so grab the cash girl. and don't pretend like you're not grabbing the cash with the same 'tiny hands' you used to rescue that poor ugly burned teenage girl who looked at you with such well directed admiration before wiping off her makeup and running over to her stage mother who will beat her later for not looking heart-wrenchingly burned enough. 'tiffany, do you not remember the heart-wrenching face we practiced yesterday??'

whew. didn't know i had so much to say about jewel. i'm almost ashamed. but am i the only one who looks at her and sees a phony pretending not to be a phony by pretending that she's pretending to be a phony? read that over a few times.. it took me a while to figure it out, but i think it's right.. very victor-victoria, or rather, real-or-fakeola.

what does it take exactly for a 'virgin mary' sighting to ignite an international media storm?

why isn't there a camera crew and a hoarde of nuns and weeping picture-bearing fanatics behind ropes holding their arms above their heads in ecstasy every time i open a bag of potato chips and find a lopsided oval with vague iconically facial discoloration?

i hate leno, but watched last night because justin timberlake was performing.

leno said "clay aiken doesn't believe in sex before marriage, owns 16 pairs of shoes, and says he's not gay. not gay! turns out he's just in gay training.

orrin hatch once again proves himself completely out of touch with the rest of the universe.

hatch: now what we need is some kind of program that will automatically destroy someone's computer if they download illegal music.

kerr: uh, okay, but that's not exactly legal.

hatch: waddaya mean? they're breakin' the law! fry those fuckers' computers.

kerr: okay, well what you're talking about is developing a crippling virus which would be willfully be spread by the government throughout the internet.

hatch: what's wrong with that? s'pretty much what we did with aids.

kerr: what?

hatch: kidding! kidding. sort of. anyway.

kerr: uh, yeah. so there's no way to control the spread of a virus in that way. you can't gurantee that only computers engaging in illegal file sharing would become infected.

hatch: that's where you guys with your programs and your languages and shit come in. write the damn virus so it doesn't infect anyone who's innocent. heh, we pretty much did that with aids, too. aside from all the black people getting it - the black people in africa i mean. kidding! sheesh.

kerr: okay, well what you're talking about here is also a violation of federal anti-hacking laws.

hatch: fuck the laws. we'll change 'em. we gotta stop these swappers.

kerr: that whole idea is delusional. there's no way to stop the sharing of files short of fundamentally limiting people's right to utilize the media they purchase. you would have to outlaw making copies altogether. which is stupid. as long as music can be listened to, it can be copied.

hatch: well i don't know about that. ain't nobody gonna steal my tunes.

kerr: your tunes?

hatch: why do you think i give a shit about all this? i mean, aside from taking checks from the music industry lobby. you know why? 'cause i write my own shit. yea bitch, i writes music. and it ain't none of that pansy ass homo shit. checkit: this one is 'america united.'

kerr: you put that song on the internet?

hatch: you bet. i'm 'withit.' i'm 'in wit da crowd.' but here's where you gotta help me. i want to fry the computers of anyone who downloads it.

kerr: you'll at least fry their brains. it's a start.

hatch: i don't want this bein' swapped all over the place, you know.

kerr: i wouldn't worry.

hatch: waddya think of the song?

kerr: lee greenwood could sue you. it's a straight rip-off of 'god bless the usa.' only less catchy and more inane.

hatch: you one of them homos?

kerr: no. i'm a former justice department cybercrimes prosecutor and a professor of law.

hatch: don't get all hoity-toity with me missy, talking like all those high falutin' credentials can't be had by a homosexualist. like when people said liberace was one of them cock smokers. broke my heart. or those idiots on the intranet saying my boy clay aiken likes it in the butt. that shit better not be true or i'm-a-burnin the disk i downloaded 'this is the night' onto. i mean bought. the cd i bought.

okay, clay aiken's cover of rolling stone is the gayest thing since the crusts were first cut off sliced bread.

check out the other photos.. taken by matthew rolston, another screaming queen who directs music videos that are indistinguishable from the l'oreal commercials he churns out. matty takes a great picture, but i despise him. he represents so much that is wrong with creativity in the music business - placing the focus on making the star look good and forgetting completely about creating something memorable or -gasp- original! he is the michael bay of music videos now that michael bay is the glossy prince of trite cinema. cheers to madonna who yelled at matty for trying to make her look 'too perfect' in the video for 'the power of goodbye.'

so if it takes matthew rolston to make clay look great, then great. but dear lord, keep him away from your videos. and heaven forbid he hops on the michael bay band wagon and tries to direct 'pearl harbor 2: back to the bay'

i have all kinds of theories.

clay is all 'bitch, i tol' you i won that show (snap).'

upcoming rolling stone reports that clay is a 'shoe whore' and finally, finally openly denies that he is straight. i mean gay. i mean denies that he's gay. he's gay. he denies that. gayness. (denied). gay.

well, pick out your best penny loafers, clay.

his single sold over 100,000 more units than ruben's. while they hold first and second places respectively on billboard's singles chart, the margin between them is vast.

verry verry eenteresting. i've heard all the conspiracy theories about ruben's victory - and i'm actually not totally convinced that funny business was going on with the vote counting.

i imagine the puzzle simon fuller and his cohorts must have been faced with on tuesday night after all the votes were in:

fuller: who got more votes?

fuller's bitch: ruben.

fuller: hm.

bitch: but of course you know we don't actually have to say that. it was close enough that we can make it go either way.

fuller: alright, so do we say this floppy wristed white homo won, or do we let the black guy the size of a truck win?

bitch: well, they play to two totally separate markets; 'gay men and white teenage girls' for clay, and 'every straight black person in america' for ruben.

fuller: which group has more money?

bitch: toss up. 'titanic' proved 'white teenage girls' are the most powerful force on the planet. but those girls are getting older and pickier. 'every straight black person in america' has more money than 'white teenage girls', but it's harder to get them to spend it.

fuller: what about gay men?

bitch: they'll buy anything with a 'mo on it.

fuller: so who's going to make more money?

bitch: clay.

fuller: but ruben got more votes?

bitch: yeah well 'every straight black person in america' voted for him. but they're not necessarily going to buy him in those numbers. they just want to see him win. on principle.

fuller: if we say clay lost, how will his sales be affected?

bitch: no effect. his fans won't care. clay will still outsell ruben even though he lost. 'gay men and white teenage girls' have more throwaway money than 'every straight black person in america.'

fuller: what if we say ruben lost?

bitch: he'll sell okay, but we stand to gain a lot more if we let ruben win. we get the whole 'black pride' thing and we can push his bland single all over the radio and bleed as much money as we can from 'every straight black person in america.' meanwhile we reap in the unaffected top sales from 'gay men and white teenage girls' for clay.

fuller: where do gay black teenage boys fit in?

bitch: we estimate that all 500 of them auditioned for the show and didn't get past the first round. they're in counseling.

okay, good to know i'm not the only one wondering about the hulk's penis.

are we supposed to believe jennifer connelley doesn't get ripped in half just like eric bana's shirt?

eric bana was on leno last night. not a very funny guest, but yea, i'd knock that down.

justin guarini was also on leno. one of the misconceptions about gay people is that we hate women. i don't hate women. but i do hate justin guarini. this chick will never disappear will she? now i'm not saying that justin is into man-on-man action. no way. first of all, you have to have two men for that to happen. remember those tight pants he wore on idol? hello cameltoe. ms g is one hundred percent lipstick lesbian.

in other news, canada is officially rewriting the law to allow for same sex marriage. this is huge.. this isn't provincial law, this is the entire country - only the third country - to provide gay couples with all the same rights and protections as straight couples.

look at what viacom owns!

clay and ruben visited frenchie in 'rent' this weekend. i'm surprised '19' allowed them to be seen with that ultra-talented slut.

maryindiana writes in with a gem about a recent clay appearance:

Did you see Clay on Extra or Inside Edition? He went to some big event and actually took a girl. The reporter on the red carpet asked if there "was a somethin' somethin' going on between them." Clay blushed and tried to say "Welllll...." in a way that indicated that there WAS a relationship. Then the girl in the slinky red dress on his arm ruined it. "NO! Clay and I are OLD FRIENDS!" Someone needs to teach her proper beard behavior!

indeed. the beard guide states in situations like this a good beard is to: drunkenly stumble and then half whisper to the interviewer 'we totally just fucked in the limo.'

mary also chimes in our discusstion about offensive humor:

I'm not sure about Rhonda's theory that it's the disconnect/situations that aren't our own. I tend to find funny the jokes made about my race/religion/whatever. I (mostly) recoil at the ones about other races/religions,etc. I guess because I know when my ethnic stereotypes are true or not true and just go with it.

ah, i totally agree that identification can be an even more powerful factor in humor than superiority. i'm reminded of chris rock saying to a mostly-black audience 'there's two kinds of black people: black people and niggers. and the niggers gots ta go!' the statement brought the house down with roaring applause. meanwhile, the few white folks are saying 'hoo boy, fred, not sure if i should laugh at that one.'

oh yes john, i'm vomiting already.

jane clayson: jessie, thanks so much for joining us today on cbs! did you get the birthday card i sent you?

jessica lynch: uh yeah.

clayson: taurus pride! woo! so how are you holding up?

lynch: fine.

clayson: wonderful to hear! and after all you've been through: the attack, the shooting, the torture, the rescue..

lynch: yeah. well, i really only had a few fractures, and a cut on my head.

clayson: and stabbed! you were stabbed, too!

lynch: no.

clayson: tell me, jessie, i can call you jessie, can't i? jessie, what did it feel like to get shot fifteen times?

lynch: i didn't get shot, i was injured when the/

clayson: one of your fellow officers says you were 'fighting to the death,' and 'you didn't want to be taken alive.'

lynch: i was sort of pinned under a jeep.

clayson: and still fighting!

lynch: not really.

clayson: and what was it like being gang raped by all those greasy muslims?

lynch: i was taken to a hospital and given the best care. i became friends with the entire staff. i was assigned one of two nurses on duty, her name is shinah. she was wonderful. she brought her children to meet me, she/

clayson: horrifying. truly horrifying. and bringing their children into it! (to the cameraman) can we get a close up of her scar?

lynch: that's a birthmark.

clayson: such a shame. tell me about your daring rescue.

lynch: well, the hospital staff put me in one of their vans, and tried to return me to the american base camp. but once they got close, our vehicle was fired upon and they had to turn back/

(clayson puts her hand on jessie's shoulder)

clayson: jessie, i know it's hard to let go of the tortures you faced, but let's focus on your rescue.

lynch: i am. are you referring to the u.s. soldiers who broke down the hospital doors even though they were unlocked? who shot at unarmed hospital staff? who/

clayson: jessie, thank you so much for joining us today!

lynch: sure.

clayson: (to dan rather) there you have it dan. a beautiful young woman. raped, tortured, stabbed, one report says 'kicked in the boob.' and clearly brainwashed. we suspect electroshock methods.

rather: tragic. she still has a long road to recovery.

clayson: oh yes, dan. psychologists have no doubt that she'll regain her memory once she sees beauty under fire, the cbs movie of the week based on her story, coming out next friday 8pm eastern, 7 central. lynch will be played by shawnee smith of the cbs smash hit becker! (sundays, 8pm eastern). tomorrow she'll be hosting MTV's (a cbs viacom property) 100 best videos with explosions and on wednesday, VH1's (another viacom property) 100 best 80's videos with explosions followed by jessie's dance party and jessica's 'the grind'. simon & schuster (viacom property) will publish her 'auto'biography! a 'mash' style sitcom on the upn (50% viacom property) network coming soon! baby jessie to premiere on nickelodeon (yep, viacom) this fall! all jessica lynch media will be exclusively available at blockbuster (you guessed it, viacom) video! ride the 'iraqi-terror coaster' at parmount carowinds (do i even have to say? okay, viacom!) theme park!

rhonda writes in with some insights on humor:

Regarding your questions and analysis of why you laughed at the Special Olympics joke and not at the Auschwitz one - perhaps it has to do with how disconnected you feel to the actual tragedy. Maybe you feel more connected to the Jews wiped out in the Holocaust because you know that Hitler was also trying to wipe out gays (assuming you aren't Jewish yourself). Maybe you laughed at the Special Olympics joke because you are not retarded yourself, nor do you expect to be the parent of a retarded child.

As someone who is Jewish and also has a child who isn't retarded but does have special needs, both those jokes make me cringe. However, I can see the humor in jokes that don't "involve" me. In those cases, sometimes it feels good to me to let down the Political Correctness meter and just laugh at something; other times, I want to at least try to be sensitive to other people's feelings.

Maybe it's like someone putting down your mother or the house you grew up in. YOU can trash it along with your siblings, but you'd want to punch anyone else who did.

i think you've nailed it - it's all about distance. i'm emotionally closer to the persecution of a people than i am to the disabled. i think there's another element - the difference between a joke whose humor hinges on superiority, and a joke whose humor is based on hate. the holocaust joke was glorifying death, where the special olympics joke, although extremely crude, in the end has a grain of truth to it - yes, it would be better to be totally healthy. no morally admissable truth can be found in the holocaust joke. no amount of 'letting go' of my political correctness could ever make me find that joke funny. to make that punchline funny, the joke would have to be changed to 'how many butts can you fit in a volkswagon?' and even then - pretty lame ass joke.

but the grain of truth argument doesn't explain my penchant for dead baby jokes. so maybe i am just plain evil. i'm so negative.

it gets really complicated.. like you said, closeness to the subject matter can also make it okay to laugh. like the rent-a-negro website; is it 'okay' to laugh at it because it was written by a black woman? how does knowledge of a joke's origin inform it's humor-value? i guess knowing the origin of a joke sometimes changes it from a hate joke to a superiority joke. i'm reminded of 'the producers' which is loaded with holocaust and homosexual humor. is 'the producers' only funny because it was written by a jewish man and the gay jokes are mostly spoken by openly gay actors? when we watch it do we go 'well, they're laughing, so i guess it's okay if i laugh?' i think the humor in 'the producers' is superiority-based (a good portion is also crotch-based). mel brooks has said over and over that making hitler a laughingstock is his best revenge. as a jewish man, he's using the humor to assert his superiority over the nazi mentality.

here's another one from the program on trio, a joke probably told all over playgrounds in the bible belt: "why are there no muslims on star trek? because it's set in the future." while i sort of appreciated the crude cleverness, i definitely didn't find it funny. hate based.

something i became aware of while watching the program was that almost no thought process went into whether or not to laugh. i either did or didn't, and then i had to sit and think for a moment about why i had or hadn't done it. it might have been different if i was watching the show with a group - if other people laughed, i might have taken a split second to decide if it was 'okay' to laugh before allowing myself to do it.

sarah silverman is my hero. i think she walks the line so expertly, but not everyone agrees. her shows have plenty of walkouts:

'i'm going out with a guy who's half-black, who's totally going to break my heart......oh my god. i can't believe i said that. i'm so negative. he's half-white.'

'the writers of sanford and son were so brave in bringing their program to television. i mean, working with all those black people!'

'i saw my father naked once . . . but it was okay . . . because i was soooo young . . . and sooo drunk.'

sometimes a joke is not funny because time has rendered it innocuous. my dad told me about a joke, really an anecdote he found particularly fascinating as a child. he read it in a 50's issue of his mother's 'reader's digest,' probably in one of the 'humor in real life' sections. someone had overheard the conversation and sent it to the magazine, thinking it was a gem. it went something like this:

two japanese mothers were talking about their children's upcoming weddings. 'i'm so disappointed in my son,' one mother said to the other.
'why?' the other mother asked, 'isn't he marrying a nice oriental girl?'
'yes, he is..'
'then what's the problem?'
the first mother shook her head and said with shame, 'she's chinese.'

i love the sociopolitics of this joke! it's a sad revelation of general american ignorance at the time. when my dad first told it to me i sat there waiting for the punchline... then had a slow realization that 'she's chinese' was the punchline. then i thought 'oh, it's about the friction between japan and china.' then i realized 'no.. it's not about that at all', it's about total ignorance of that conflict altogether. it's about 'how ridiculously silly it is that this mother should be concerned her son is marrying a chinese woman when all asians are exactly the same! oh ethel, it's brilliant!' to see 'she's chinese' as a punchline requires viewing the joke from a completely different perpective - i didn't realize how much cultural understanding i take for granted. my grandparent's generation did not have the same kind of basic world cultures education i got in elementary school. listening to it now, it doesn't even seem like a joke. it seems like a setup.. like the joke should continue:

the second mother recoiled in horror. then the first mother said, 'there's more...'she' is their biggest opera star.'

i can tell that joke because i'm gay and half-asian. god, i'm so negative. i meant to say half-white.

bad news for generation y fag hags: homos are actually taking real dates to the prom these days.

i wonder what my high school existence must have been like if i was sexually comfortable enough to take a boy to the prom, and no one cared.

sadly, i don't think it would have been much different. i would have spent weeks trying to figure out just how i should ask tom metz, the head boy, to go out with me. and then i would finally work up the nerve and he'd say 'uh, sorry, joe. but i'm already going with eric.'

me: eric?

tom: yeah, eric on the tennis team.

me: oh.

tom: you know, eric with the tan almost as good as mine, and the tom cruise smile.

me: oh.

tom: and the chest that ripples while he's writing in math class.

me: uh huh.

and so i'd sulk back to my locker and i'd end up calling nicole and asking her to go with me instead.

nicole: so tom turned you down.

me: yeah. he's going with eric.

nicole: eric who just broke up with super hot jeff, the captain of the football team?

me: uh huh.

nicole: eric with the silky hair that flops over his sparkly eyes?

me: yah.

nicole: eric with the perfectly sculpted/

me: YES.

nicole: okay. so we'll go together and pretend to be a couple, but we'll both know and everyone else will know that we're just friends and i'm trying to make that bastard scott who dumped me jealous?

and so history would play out in the same way, the only difference being that i would actually get to deal with the same high school bullshit that the straight kids dealt with in high school and not have to wait until college and grad school to deal with it. wow. i'd give anything for that.

can you imagine a future in which two men being together does not dimish masculinity? a future where two straight jocks would play 'reverse fag-hag' with each other and go to the prom together because they can't get dates?

jock 1: dude, sheri like totally dumped me.

jock 2: no way, kathy totally dropped me on my ass too.

jock 1: fuck.

jock 2: yeah. fuck.

jock 1: fuck. so who're you gonna ask?

jock 2: dunno man. all the hot chicks are taken.

jock 1: i know. it so fuckin'. sucks.

jock 2: fuckin'.


jock 1: dude, we should like, fuckin', totally go together.

jock 2: of course, that's perfect man!

jock 1: we'll like pretend to be a couple..

jock 2: right, but we'll both know and, fuckin', everyone else will know that we're just friends and we're trying to make those fuckin' bitches jealous.

jock 1: dude, we are so, like, fuckin', brilliant. dude.

jock 2: dude i so know.

jock 1: fuckin'.

last night i watched a bit of tv brilliance on the trio network that perfectly ties into the 'rent-a-negro' site i linked to. this network needs to be in every household in the country. check out 'uncensored comedy,' a series that looks at why we find some forms of comedy humorous, offensive, and/or both.

we watch as comedians deliver the most offensive jokes they know, while blue-screened behind them is newsfootage of the actual event they are joking about. it's a brilliant juxtaposition, erasing the usually required 'distance' between an event and the humor associated with it.

for example: over footage of a special needs elementary school class, a voice says "what's better than winning first place in the special olympics? not being a retard!"

i laughed. i admit, i laughed hard. then felt shame. well, a little shame. then the program immediately switched to a social analyist who deconstructed my exact reaction and traced it to an entire line of humor based out of superiority. aids jokes, gay jokes, jewish jokes, and polish jokes come from this same place.

the deconstruction was just as fascinating as the experience of analyzing my own reaction to each joke. did i laugh? did i groan? did i go "ooh. that's bad."? why? there were a lot of world trade center jokes - "how did customers at windows on the world order their food? burnt beyond recognition." "how long did it take people to get from the top of the WTC to the bottom? the rest of their lives."

the program rehashed the christa macauliffe jokes that troublemaker kids in my 4th grade class used to tell. i remember giggling under the jungle gym with a kind of secret defiant glee. "how do we know she had dandruff? cause her 'head and shoulders' washed up on the beach."

it was interesting to learn that tragedy-based humor was not prolific before television saturated our society. it is only after images are played over and over again, coupled with announcers telling us how to feel about it did we start the subversive rebellion of tragedy based humor.

the hate based humor was the hardest to stomach. i found the anti-jewish auschwitz jokes totally unfunny - "how many jews can you fit into a volkswagon? 15. 2 in the front, 2 in the back, one in the trunk, and ten in the ashtrays." my god. which made me question why i had laughed so hard at the special olympics joke. i'd like to think that it's because there's a fundamental difference between a hate joke and a superiority joke - but it's chilling to think that someone out there in new york city had just heard the auschwitz joke and was laughing his ass off. i guess it's all about perspective, distance, and social positioning.

this woman is a genius! a brilliant deconstruction of politically correct attitudes. also a mock attempt to cash in on people's need to not feel racist, and to be validated by having a 'black aquaintance.'

she is my new hero.


the justice department is playing the 'okay, well, we'll give you a little bit of what you had back, only so that you can see how much power we have, and know how easily we can take it away.' the gay pride celebration is no longer banned, but it will not be financially supported by the doj.

ruben will no longer wear '205' jerseys. textile factorys across alabama go out of business.

hours after the legislature passes, canada has its first gay wedding!

i am walking. step step step and my god it feels so good. look, there's a guy who looks like jesus. thank you jesus i say quietly as i pass him, thank you for finally giving us a day with decent weather you long-haired hippie fuck. get a job. and i keep walking, head bent down, eyes sneered, glared forward. i have horns, i am a ram, ready to bust the whole fucking day into two pieces. and as i walk, it does. everything divides into insignificant crap to the left and insignificant crap to the right. only forward. the only goddamned thing that matters is forward.

and walking is like hypnotism. like an inverse chinese water torture with its rhythymic gentle pounding beneath me. the earth is a treadmill. i'm just keeping up. what was that? oh, a car. what was that? oh, the street. what was that? oh, the time. and i have a sick little grin. i'm a killer. i've put knives in hearts and poison in coffee. i've left someone dead behind me and none of these fucks out here knows it.

the secret makes me happy. i've taken a life. i've left a shell of a man behind me. i watched the spirit lift away from him, poor sap. that poor sap with no plan, with no initiative, with no fucking balls, who has only vague dreams and no passion. he deserved to die. that poor sap, destined for a life of mediocrity, with only fantasties and a beige keyboard in a grey cubicle. he's probably still sitting there, dead, head bent down, eyes sneered, glared forward. he wishes he was me, poor sap. but his cold dead fingers can only type it.

the new york post is the biggest piece of shit newspaper in the city. sorry anne, you seemed so nice when you interviewed me on the phone, and i understand the difficulty in getting good internships fresh out of college, so i'm willing to give you the benefit of the doubt that 'the post' was not your first choice. please tell me you didn't go to school for journalism so that you could pursue a dream of writing propaganda for rupert murdoch. anyway, congrats on getting your article published! and you didn't even have to give it a headline like 'GAY TEMP COULD BE WORKING FOR YOUR COMPANY.'

bush and ashcroft are riding their wave of nationalistic popularity as far as they possibly can. fresh off the heels of rick santorum's anti-gay statements having no negative impact on his career, ashcroft has barred u.s. justice department employees from holding their annual gay pride celebration.

amazing. this goes beyond 'don't ask, don't tell.' this is 'we're telling you: don't tell.' better yet, it's 'don't exist.' are we back in the reagan years? bush must be so disappointed that despite killing hundreds of thousands, reagan wasn't quite able to exterminate all the homos in the 80's. i fear a huge gay backlash coming. we can't make a few strides, can we, without someone freaking out that we're trying to take over the world.

neal pollack snags a candid interview with hillary clinton where she breaks the steely facade a bit and says 'i'm the greatest fucking writer of my generation!'

roger ebert is one of my heroes. while i don't always agree with his reviews, i always admire his writing. he is a reminder that criticism is an art form - and he always reminds us that art is a form of criticism.

he can turn the worst film into a hilarious essay.

and he can metaphorically bitchslap the most self-obsessed of artists.

vincent gallo is certifiably insane. there's an artaudian misunderstanding, energy, and insanity to him that i sort of admire. but i wouldn't want to be his friend. i also wouldn't want to be chloe sevigny, who took her role in 'the brown bunny' without seeing a script. i imagine her suprise at arriving on set and being told

gallo:so this is the blow job scene.

sevigny: (a pro, having done sex scenes in films before) oh, okay. and the cameras will be back there, right?

gallo: no, they'll be here to the side.

sevigny: oh. so how are you going to cover it?

gallo: cover it?

sevigny: yeah. i mean. for when i'll just be bobbing my head up and down.

gallo: um.

sevigny: right?

gallo: yeah. it's just. see. i have this vision.

sevigny: yeah, it sounds really interesting.

gallo: i really want to break new ground here.

sevigny: right.

gallo: i want to destroy that wall of pretension between the performer and the audience.

sevigny: uh huh.

gallo: i don't want anyone thinking 'she's not really doing that,' you know?

sevigny: hm.

and so she courageously plunged headfirst into one of the most reviled films in cannes history. she didn't see the finished product until the press screening, where she wept with shame.

from the horses mouth: (what do gay horses eat? hayyy)

Dear Joe,

I'm going to start by saying how much I love this site. I had to write after I read the e-mail from the "mother in Raleigh, NC." If I had to judge just on grammar, I'd say the e-mail was written by a twelve year old. Nevertheless, her arguments for why Clay is not gay are pretty damn ridiculous, and I considered what she had to say in accordance with my life. Let me tell you baby, the arguments don't fly.

I am an 18 year old homosexual from Pennsylvania. I go to college, I work, and I do all the normal things a college kid does. Hell, sometimes I even go to church with my mom! Even better, I used to be in the church choir. Arguments one and two refuted: go to church, and I used to sing there. Moving on. Okay, the whole thing with intelligence is by far the dumbest thing I have ever heard. God knows that gay kids don't "throw [themselves] into...studies at college." I just ended my first year, I made Dean's List. Number three......check.

I've dated girls...but not recently. That's number four. And finally, I'd say that I have damn good morals, because - despite popular belief - gay people are good too! Now then, "Mom," (or should I say the fifteen year old christian who has a lot of time and little understanding of grammar and punctuation).....If you are offended or bothered by what Joe has to say, don't check his web-site.

it's a long one today folks, bear with me, but lydia asks me some great, well thought-out questions:

1. Suppose he isn't gay, but constant speculation has an effect [on] his career either positive or negative - would you consider that to be a shame? a victory somehow? What if it enhances his career but irritates him for the rest of his life?

i guess my hope is that gay speculation amounts to nothing much , and it's a testament to societal progress that gay speculation seems to do just that: nothing much (other than earn a person a few more gay fans and lose a few hardcore christian fans). i don't think tom cruise or ricky martin's careers have suffered. but then there's your question of enhancement.. it sort of goes back to my earlier discussion about straight men playing gay roles because it gives them respectability. if clay is actually straight, yet irritated that his success may be due to his gay behavior.. well that'd be like brad pitt resenting his face and body for helping his acting career along. if you resent the thing that brings you success, you'd best come to terms with it or switch careers. it would be great if it were true - that straight men had to pretend to be gay in order to be successful.. but in a country where rick santorum's statements have no effect on his ratings, we're not quite there yet. regardless of whether or not he's gay, i consider it a victory that someone with such nelly traits has become so popular.

2. Suppose he is gay but prefers to have his sexuality remain his personal business-do you feel that you have some sort of obligation to out him?  Does he have the right to keep it private or does celebrity negate those rights?

this is another sketchy issue raised by the mark foley camp. are democrats who cried 'invasion of privacy' when it applied to clinton suddenly willing to sacrifice an enemy candidate's privacy because it will benefit them? my feeling is that sexuality, like gender, is a question of being , not a question of privacy. i talked a little about this before, that to keep sexuality private means never answering basic questions such as 'who are you attracted to?' 'what type of person do you see yourself in a long term relationship with?' being cagey about these kinds of questions renders a person basically characterless - just ask anyone who was in the closet for an extended period of time (which is why the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy has been a dismal failure: it goes beyond privacy and asks gay and lesbian people to fundamentally deny who they are.) take a moment to observe straight people for a day and realize how casually their sexuality is revealed 'she's hot.' 'i had dinner with my girlfriend last night.' even photos of significant others on someone's desk reveals sexuality. right wingers cry 'i don't want to know what's going on in your bedroom!' when we can tell a lot of things about their bedrooms just by looking at their cubicle. i'm not trying to 'out' clay so much as explore different perceptions linked to sexuality. i look at clay and see a perfect picture of myself at 18. regardless of whether or not it's true, i'd like others to see him from that perspective as well. as for celebrity status - well i think the level of interest in a person is directly proportional to their invasion of privacy. i don't know if that's right, but i think it's safe to say that if people aren't trying to find out about your private life, then you're not much of a celebrity.

3. General question - The Commonwealth of PA is truly an equal Opportunity employer and when I was hired here 15 years ago, for the first time in my life I became acquainted with and befriended by large numbers of gays and lesbians. My church, a Mennonite one, had it's pastor removed from the Central Mennonite Committee for allowing gays and lesbians to join and worship and I have many friends there as well. Most of mu friends would cause nary a blip on anyone's "gaydar" because they seem to be exactly like any straight person. I've also known a couple of "geeky" guys who aren't gay but are effeminate and are frequently the object of speculation about their sexuality, much to their irritation.  Oddly enough, straight guys from my congregation are now the object of speculation just because they worship at our church!

Now (finally) the question - When you assume Clay Aiken is gay simply because of what you've seen of him on TV, aren't you really just promulgating a stereotype? A stereotype that irritates a lot of gay and straight people? You aren't questioning Ruben's sexuality when he's a) never had a girlfriend b) is constantly hugging and touching Clay and c) in interviews repeatedly says how much he loves him.    What gives?

i'm so glad to hear that you've met and befriended some homos! i hope they've been nice. we are a fun people.

first lets explore what stereotypes are: something conventional, formulaic and oversimplified. traits are inherently stereotypical. swishy hips and a lisp are sterotypical, and are not uncommon in the gay community (especially in areas where gay men do not need to fear persecution). but clay's gayness has a level of detail that goes beyond simplification. like the character of jack on 'will and grace,' he has stereotypical traits, but is not himself a stereotype because of the complexity of his character. each week that clay stayed on the show, he broke down the stereotype even more. he proved his talent, and became more rounded as a person each time we saw him. now, we certainly did see a lot of negative stereotypes on 'idol' during the preliminary rounds. tina fey referred to it as the 'gay delusion.' swishy homo after swishy homo paraded across that audition floor and fully embarassed themselves and the entire gay community. what's so fun to watch is clay's very first audition for simon and randy - you can tell just by the way they're asking him questions that they expect him to suck, because his image fits that of all the deulded swishys who came before him. the moment he opened his mouth to sing he broke the stereotype.

effeminate behavior, gay or not, has always been subject to ridicule - within and without the gay community. clay and ryan's popularity as effeminate males is a hugely progressive step for effeminate straight and gay men. it's a shame that 'causing nary a blip' on someone's gaydar is still seen in many parts of the country as some sort of behavioral victory. when i moved to florida for grad school i became a student of straight behavior. i reinvented myself as the frat boy i always wanted to date - buffed up, wore abercrombie and baseball caps, got the 'looks' down (you know, that whole jerking of the head when you look to the side thing).. and i set off nary a gaydar. thank god i now live in a place (and am at a place psychologically) where i can be myself (somewhere in-between nelly musical theatre fag and chauvinistic gym rat) and not care if i'm setting off any gaydar.

ryan seacrest is straight. sorry guys. i believe him because he has been candid and comfortable about the whole issue since the beginning, and has had a great time teasing us about his gay image. it's clay's avoidance of the issue, more than his image or behavior that makes me wonder a lot.. what if he is gay and is contractuallly bound to stay in the closet? what if he wants to answer all these questions, but can't? it sounds ridiculous, but britain's 'pop idol,' will young was asked to go back into the closet before trying to pursue a career in the us. what if clay is a gay man who hadn't come out to his family yet, and has now found himself suddenly locked in the closet by unexpected fame? there's a lot of possibilites.

ruben does fit the three criteria you've stated, but the key difference is that he's not sexually ambiguous. nor does his joshing with clay carry a minutia of the weird sexual spark in that moment of silence between clay and ryan seacrest. with ruben it seems to truly be a brotherly love.

i've rambled.. thanks lydia for your questions. i love exploring this stuff.

guest letter of the day, from senbird48:

Hey Bored Office Temp,

Perhaps you need a job more stimulating, but your fantasies about Clay Aiken being gay, is just that fantasy. My family lives in Raleigh, NC where Clay is from, and he is VERY heterosexual. He did not go to Raleigh High School, so any crap that comes from people saying that he went there is totally false. Clay is a very good Christian young man. He went to church all the time, listens to Christian Contemporary music, also singing in church. He listens to the great Shania Twain, and Faith Hill, for they are his favorite female singers. He is very intellectual, being on his executive council at school, and he threw himself into his studies at college because he wanted to make something of himself. He has extremely good morals, and is VERY fussy about his women, just like my son is. Old and dear friends of his, say that he has dated girls, but not recently, because he wasn't the type that women fell all over, or at least the ones that HE liked. So, he would just hang out like the basic dating scene. Clay is not a playboy. He fully realizes that he must increase his weight, for he is now in the public eye. Rome wasn't built in a day. He can't help it that all of a sudden he has been turned into a beautiful swan. Stop the shit. He should never have to answer such a question. He'll ignore it completely, and so would I. That is a total insult to his inegrity, and he has lots of it. His religion even condemns it. So, go take your devil worship somewhere else, and pick on someone else.

Also, remember Carla Rasmussen? When she was on Idol her boyfriend was VERY jealous of Clay, because she and Clay had so much chemistry. He really liked her. I wondered myself ,whether, something was going on with them. Clay is not completely comfortable with his image yet. Would you? So, go take your shit elsewhere.

wow, i guess all the homos go to raleigh high school! you seem to forget though, that him being a 'very good christian young man' is also a great argument for the case that he is gay. don't forget that the death rate of priests from aids is four times higher than the national average. i don't think these priests are shooting drugs, do you? your letter is so funny to me because when i was in high school these were all the exact same excuses i used to explain my lack of sexuality to my parents and friends. i said i was picky. i went to church a lot. church is like the best explanation for a lack of interest in punany.

i'm sad that you equate being gay with bad morals. 'very fussy about his women?' 'just like' your son? buddy, you might want to check under junior's mattress for hidden issues of 'freshmen.'

you're right. rome wasn't built in a day. they could have done it though if they weren't having all those gay orgies.

carmen's boyfriend should be very jealous of clay. i bet carmen's boyfriend never did her nails or braided her hair or gossiped with her about which backstreet boy is the cutest (kevin). yeah, clay is a huge threat to his manhood.

you've inspired me. i will take my devil worship elsewhere. i will go back to church and remember the days when i was an altar boy. when i wore a dress, drank some wine, got on my knees and put a 'biscuit' in my mouth. okay, i'm being too graphic. the biscuit is a metaphor for the 'body' of christ. hmm. that's pretty graphic too. maybe church is really one big metaphor for liquored up tranny boy-sex.

hoo boy.. this one is a biggie.

a right wing christian group wants to end the 'no-fly zone' ruling over disney world so they they can fly planes during gay day with banners carrying statements like 'JESUS CHRIST: HOPE FOR HOMOSEXUALS.COM.' the group claims that the no-fly zone bars their right to free speech.

the no fly zones were implemented after 9/11 because disney parks were considered a terrorist target.

disney's fear of terrorist attacks is totally justified - only the attack isn't likely to come from islamic extremists, it's likely to come from christian extremists - those who take jerry falwell's call for 'an asteroid to fall on orlando' too much to heart.

christian extremists are freaky, but disney frightens the shit out of me too. any place that spray paints the grass green and pumps artifical baked cookie smell into the air is seriously demented. on the other hand, it is nice to have a pro-gay mega-corporation.

if the right wingers get to fly anti-homo banners, then homos should rent some planes and fly banners over the promise keepers convention saying "THE GUY STANDING NEXT TO YOU IS ADMIRING YOUR ASS"

god, check out the guy on the promise keepers home page in khakis carrying a cross. hilarious! he wants to be more like jesus? then take off your shirt and work on those abs!

the fans are voting with their money after all - clay is outselling ruben by 4-1.

affable (and boffable) ty pennington shakes things up on 'trading spaces.' i feel a little annoyed that my private saturday 'watch it while i'm making breakfast' show has become such a huge hit. it's got to be the gayest show on tv. let's see: vern is gay, frank is gay (wife? please), doug is gay. ty isn't gay. he's the ryan seacrest of carpentry which makes him an honorary gay.

i watched some of 'all over the guy,' a cute sitcom style romantic film about gay dating in la. the dweebier guy in the film (also the film's screenwriter) is an openly gay actor. his ultra sexy love interest is of course played by a straight actor. i've noticed a trend over the years that i've found a bit troubling: the continual casting of straight men in gay roles. eric macormack in 'will and grace', hal sparks, gale harold and scott lowell on 'queer as folk', stephen weber in 'jeffrey,' david and keith on 'six feet under' and in almost any film with a 'sexy straight acting guy.'

at first it was great! actors were casting aside the stigma that came with playing a gay role. remember when will smith refused to kiss anthony michael hall in 'six degrees of separation?' i will never forgive him for that. not that id want to kiss anthony michael hall either, but c'mon. he knew the role was gay - is he going to be an actor or a poser? can't commit to a kiss? you're a poser, get off the screen.

anyway - those days are over now. now we're hard pressed to find an openly gay actor who's playing the role of a straight-acting gay man. oh, there are plenty of opportunities for out actors to play nelly queens - just ask peter paige of 'queer as folk.'

don't get me wrong - i think the effeminate characters should appear in shows - remember when the gay community went on 'image patrol' and wouldn't allow 'negative stereotypes' to appear in the media? even a realistically effeminate character was seen as 'negative' (justly so for the time- it was too often used as a cheap, easy, derogatory laugh. thank god that's started to change). these were the years when the nightly news went to extra lengths during the coverage of the gay pride parade to pan past the glitter trannies and focus on the lawyers, doctors, and 'everyday folk.' 'we're just like you!! we could be your parents or kids!' it all screamed.

so now we're well into the era of post-gay political correctness: where the hoards of gay men running the entertainment industry (what do you think happens to all the drama fags?) are safely able to start writing tv shows and movies about their gay experiences.. except something is happening. rather than allowing more gay actors to get work playing themselves on screen, those plum roles end up going to straight actors who can 'stretch' and gain respectibility for taking the 'risk' of playing a gay role. it gives them cover stories in 'out' and 'the advocate' where they get to stress that they aren't gay and win all kinds of cool points from gay men and adoring housewives across the country.

i think a few of factors are at play here.

one: gay fantasy. gay men write, direct, and cast these films. how can they resist casting their fantasy men (the super macho jocks who beat them up in junior high) as themselves? we're attracted to masculinity. what could be more masculine than a straight guy?

two: gay self hatred. we still want to be those straight men, deep down. we want to see ourselves as the macho, tough men who jerk their heads when they look to the side - we want to see those guys that we wanted to screw us, screwing another guy.

three: gay actors good at playing straight must remain in the closet to protect their careers. we've come a long way, but not far enough for an out gay man to play straight roles. there are plenty of excellent gay actors who can play these roles but must remain in the closet to protect their careers. so when the part calls for a straight-acting guy, it ends up going to a straight guy. the only gay actors i can think of who have sort of succeeded in playing straight are michael t. weiss and rupert everett. michael t. weiss starred in the second rate aptly named tv show 'the pretender,' and rupert can only play straight in oscar wilde adaptations which pretty much cancels itself out.

so what now? perhaps one day the film industry will catch up to broadway, where openly gay actors are playing-straight, acting-straight, making out with women and making out with men all the time.

went to see the cremaster exhibit at the guggenheim this weekend, which was a fascinating trip into the mind of matthew barney - a sort of melding of the aesthetics of prada with the creepiness of david lynch and the fleshy sexual dysmorphia of david cronenberg. we only had time to see 'cremaster 5,' the last in his 5 film cycle, which i found interesting but not as cool or involving as the actual sculptural exhibit which inhabits the entire guggenheim. i stand in awe of any artist who can create their own vocabulary (visual, aural, tactical, or literary), and then execute a 'great work' using it.

'angels in america' comes to mind.. even tori amos' 'scarlet's walk,' 'the lord of the rings'.. these may be more accessible than barney's work which reads like egyptian heyroglypics - undeniably beautiful, beyond comprehension, but breathing with an internal logic that holds it's rosetta stone just out of reach.

the exhibit also reminded me of the power of silent film - the searing force of image, and how many of the film clips, especially those from 'cremaster 3' reminded me of 'metropolis.' the use of the chrysler building mimics 'metropolis'' new tower of babel, right down to the 1930's setting, art deco sensibility, and the creepy, mannered acting style of his performers with virtually no dialogue.

in other news, i am in shock and awe to discover that the smarmy film 'alex and emma,' which looks like 'adaptation-lite' in it's cheezy trailer is actually based on the dostoevsky novella 'the gambler,' in which dostoevsky himself made a bet that he could churn out a novel in less than a month - so he dictates it to a young russian girl, has conflicts with her over the novel's content, then marries her when it's all over. wow. dostoevky becomes a movie with luke wilson and kate hudson. what's next? 'brothers karamazov' with kieran, macaulay and rory? jesus, some hollywood exec just read that and thought 'hey.. julie! get me this dusty-evsky guy on the phone!'

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