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jeff whitty's leno letter, and a civil debate

i'm not sure if you're aware, but jeff whitty, book-writer of 'avenue q,' wrote a letter to jay leno asking him to stop the gay jokes on 'the tonight show.' i think it's a pretty good letter, but it does have some problems. i think jeff would have done better to use his own excellent joke writing as an example of how gay jokes -could- be used on the show. david cross did this extremely effectively in his open letter to larry the cable guy.

instead, it looks like jeff is asking jay to banish gay jokes altogether, when anyone who's seen 'avenue q' knows, jeff is a big fan of gay jokes. jeff really needed to focus on the very fine line between the tone of a gay joke that implies acceptance and one that encourages derogatory mockery peppered with superiority.

tvsquad, a blog i read and comment on regularly, posted an entry about jeff's letter, and asked readers "So what do you guys think? Is Leno a closet homophobe or just some guy who tells crappy, easy jokes?"

one of the comments was from landon howell, who posted this:

"So what do you guys think? Is Leno a closet homophobe or just some guy who tells crappy, easy jokes?"

Or maybe Mr. Whitty is simply too sensitive.

Actually I think it's a mixture of easy jokes, an overly sensitive homosexual, and an American public that, as a majority, still doesn't really know what to think about homosexuality as a whole.

I for one do not agree with homosexuality, however I have no hatred towards homosexuals themselves. [As a sidenote: I have many homosexual friends... they know my thoughts on the issue.]

I think that Leno should learn to come up with some more original material. But I also don't think we should hand the microphone to every individual who gets his/her feelings hurt but jokes.

Becasue, well, that's what they are folks - jokes. And I think that the American public is smart enough to know the difference between indepth reporting of a life decision such as homosexualty, and a 15 second stereotypical sound-byte from a comedian.

so, if you know me, you know this drove me crazy. so i wrote this:

hey landon,

i agree that leno's jokes are easy - but beyond being easy, they are deliberately exclusionary. they slyly afford those bigoted audience members the chance to laugh at those they hate rather than having their supposed understanding of homosexuality challenged. they are most definitely not 'just jokes.'

also, i'm curious about your gay friends - have you -really- talked to them? have you told them your true feelings about their 'choice?'

as a gay man myself, i'm so perplexed when someone says they 'don't agree with homosexuality.' what don't you agree with? i don't agree with many homosexuals myself - the whole fauxhawk thing? bad idea. but to not agree with homosexuality? what does that mean?

it seems to be a subtle way for you to say that we've all chosen this life of persecution, marginalization, and immorality. it's a subtle way for you to say any abuse piled on us, be it offensive jokes, gay bashing, bullying at school, should not come as any shock to us because we decided to live our lives this way.

landon, i don't want to put you off - because i -really do- think you should talk to your gay friends some more. find our their stories, and find out about the pain of gay adolescence and coming of age. once you know more about it, and because i know you respect your friends, i'm sure you'll come to see the issue differently.

landon wrote back with this:

Joe they do know how I feel, I've explained my position many times. Also, I'll try not to turn this TV Squad comment into a "Gay vs Straight" post. Because it isn't that... I'm just trying to explain my stance.

Simply put (and it's your responsibilty to do research on this topic, because I simply cannot explain my entire situation through a tv blog comments section.)

I DO NOT believe homosexuality is a choice.

I DO believe that each individual is born with certain characteristics... some are more athletic, some are intellectuals, some have more homosexual feelings and tendancies.

I believe these tendancies are wrong due to the fact that homosexuality is not in line with God's teaching through the Bible.

(This is where everyone sighs, thinks I'm an idiot. This is also where you have read what I have to say, then do some research of your own.)

I believe that God is real because of what was fulfilled and testified through Jesus Christ. I believe that what Jesus Christ said is fact and can be trusted because he lived a perfect life, died, and was resurrected... thus conquering death. I believe these events happened because there were eyewitness accounts that have been documented on more than 5,000 pieces of paper, Egytian papyrus, lamb skin, etc. I believe these can be trusted for multiple scientific (yes.. factual) evidence.

HOWEVER... should you chose not to believ in God and claim to believe in a Darwinsim mode of thought... I've also got an
answer for you.

Darwinsim is "survival of the fittest"... which would make homosexuality a recessive gene... which means that said gene would have been killed-ff millions, if not billions of years ago.

So... not matter how you slice it, homosexuality either A) Doesn't exist (Darwinsim) or B) Exists, but must be dealt with like any other temptation (Creationism)

Let me say, however, that anyone who claims that "God hate gays" is wrong. God loves you ust as much as he loves me. No less... no more than he loves anyone else.

I know I'm gonna get ripped for this stance... but I don't care. Chances are, most of the people who don't believe in Christ have actualy never read the Bible... or any other religious/spiritual book for that matter.

Book to read:
The Case for Christ (written by an award-winning athiest who set-out to disprove Christ/God/etc then actually proved the existance of Christ/God/etc... and ended up becoming a Christian)

Ladi - To answer your question... I love my homosexual friends, but do not love the sin they struggle with.

Example: I love my uncle, but to not love his alchoholism.

my reply:

hey landon,

thanks for your lengthy and detailed response - i guess it outlines the basic conflict between our camps: i will always feel it is my given right to pursue happiness in the orientation i've been genetically disposed to, and you will always feel that, while i have that right, i am acting against god's law.

should i jump into the darwinism bit? eh, why not! screw jay leno!

ok so, darwinism - that's a whole other conversation. i don't understand your logic that because it may or may not be a recessive gene, it 'doesn't exist.' recessive genes are only 'killed off' when they are selected, i.e. when something happens to specifically kill off all the gay people. and yet despite all of human history, despite disease and persecution, gay children continue to be born in small percentages in every culture and at every level of society. kinda makes you think there might be some purpose to it, doesn't it? (i actually have a theory about this purpose, but that's for another time)

i can't tell you how disappointing it is that you would equate a love i might feel for another human being with an addiction or vice like alcoholism. if you insist on seeing it as a 'crime against nature,' i hope you see it as a victimless crime. i hope you at -least- acknowledge that healthy gay relationships exist, and that being gay and living a worthy, dignified life are not mutually exclusive things. i suspect that you do acknowledge this, and this is why you are able to remain friends with your gay aquaintances.

anyway, you do seem like a cool guy. if you didn't, i wouldn't think it worth writing all this.

landon replied:

To joe:

Glad you understand my view point... I understand and respect yours as well. I challange you to pick up 'The Case For Christ.' I'm not trying to "un-gay" you... simply challanging you (like I challanged myself) to understand just *why* the Bible is so important, and why it *can* be trusted.

he offered to continue the discussion in private emails, which i may. i may also check out the book, at barnes and noble - i won't buy it. but i am curious, and as ever, skeptical. i'll post updates here.

i really think engaging in thoughful conversation with people like landon is extremely important. if we don't, gay people become abstract ideas, and thus increasingly easier and easier to target, ridicule, and debase.

of course what this means is that my own perceptions of what it means to be a devout christian must also be challenged. this should get pretty interesting.

evolution of elliott

it's really pretty amazing what a tan, a haircut, and strategic makeup can do. and yet he remains quintessentially himself. love him. i'd love to see him win. now that kelly is gone (yay america, thank you for finally waking up), i'd love to see any of them win. there's never been a year like this!

pics from


took some hot pics of my friend dana this weekend.

this is the BEST news any fan of star trek could receive. fresh blood, proven genius, and die hard fan behind the camera. that's what we need.

chris daughtry...

proves that not only can he fuck us fast and rough, he can fuck us long and slow.

my brush with heathness

i was dogsitting for the downstairs neighbors all weekend, and everytime i walk byron, i walk him down the street past heath and michelle's fancy place on the opposite corner, in the hope that i might see them.

see, we're really close. and it seems like everyone else has spotted them around the neighborhood. in fact, heath has already met byron. he loves byron, and he told byron's owner that 'byron, australia' is where little matilda was conceived. odd information to pass out on the street to a stranger, but byron does have that effect on people.

see? he is the coolest dog ever.

so this was saturday morning and i rolled out of bed to walk byron so that he wouldn't poop on my head, which you might know, is any dog's last minute strategy to get outside before exploding.

we walked down the street, turned the corner, and - i've made a little diagram.

there they were, right in front of me, walking matilda in a stroller. michelle's hair was stylishly unkempt, heath had a nice camera over his shoulder, red t shirt and baseball cap. hot hot hot.

i of course, with my grayness and long hair and early morning grogginess looked like this:

byron ran right up to matilda and started sniffing her. i pulled her back and kind of waved at heath and michelle saying 'hi.. sorry.. hahah.. sorrry.. hi..' they were deep in conversation with random guy and just kind of waved back, acknowledged my existence and kept talking to the guy as i passed between heath and michelle.

next time. next time i will talk to them.

my long ass hair

it getting out of control. it's starting to look like apollo's. and not the hot jamie bamber apollo.

24 drops the ball

i've been a big (albeit critical) fan of this season of 24. it's been politically slightly more palatable than last season, and dramatically just as engaging.. that is, until the last few weeks, and after last night's episode i'm sorry to say that this season has tanked. it's lost all logic and credibility by switching entire characters for no other reason than to create drama.

ok, now i know there are a lot of consessions that have to be made when watching a show like 24.

they never go to the bathroom. they never get tired. they never eat. sometimes it takes ten minutes to walk down a hallway. sometimes it takes 5 minutes to clean body parts off your face, change clothes and appear on the other side of the city.

but i'm willing to forgive those things because they don't interfere with the core of the characters, which have been so strong.

but this 360 with the president makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. it's a plot twist thrown in to give dramatic purpose to the season's thrid act, and there has been -nothing- in the season leading up to it.

suddenly the president, who was once a shifty weakling, is cold, determined, and ruthless. what prompted this change? did he witness the death of someone close? was there an event immediately previous to this change? no. what changed is that we the viewer have now been informed that he is the villain. it makes no sense at all. it also doesn't gel with any of his actions during the first two thirds of the season. if the weakling bit was just an act, why does he make the choices he did early on? if he's the mastermind behind this, he had sooo many chances to make the whole thing easier. why would he have a big 'fake fight' with walt cummings? why would he so genuinely feign surprise when walt launched into an explanation of his plan? why would walt even need to explain it? what i also don't understand is why the other characters around him aren't saying 'you seem different.' even one line like that would help a lot.

gregory itzin must have been so frustrated when he got last week's script. he sure isn't playing a logical vulcan anymore..

aside from the presidential switch, i'm boggled by jack's shifting morality. in one scene he's perfectly willing to shoot someone in the leg to get them to talk. later, he'll jump through a million hoops when he could have just shot the person in the leg. i think a good formula is:


where Jack's Morality equals the Time To Fill times Conventional Morality

something else that guides 24:


no one ever lies to jack when tortured. i continue to be mystified as to why this show advocates torture constantly. we've -still- never seen anyone give false information through torture. why!? wouldn't it make great drama???


is there anything more disheartening than working forever on a big long post and then losing it?

so annoying.

well i wrote a big long thing about pink's new album 'i'm not dead,' 'threepenny opera,' and 'the drowsy chaperone.' but it's lost now. i guess all you really need to know is that i liked all three. thumbs up all around.

gays gays gays

see ya mandisa, not gonna miss ya.

i didn't see it, but i've just been informed of this story on cbs tonight: the science of homosexuality. based on what i've read about the story it sounds like a horribly unscientific borderline homophobic piece extremely reminiscent of the piece of crap book 'the sissy boy syndrome' i read a few years ago. 'the sissy boy syndrome' was written in 1987. HAS THERE BEEN NO PROGRESSION OF THOUGHT IN THIS FIELD SINCE???

here's a malcontent link with clip.

and here's an article on it in the washington blade.

i think what this shows is that it really isn't enough to just be 'out' anymore. sure, silence equals death, but what we have now is visibility without voice. people know other people who are gay, but don't really know what our experience has been. for many, i think 'brokeback mountain' was many straight people's first real grasp of what it means to be in the closet. equating femininity to gayness may be an indicator of sorts, but how many exceptions to this rule do we all know? this idea that orientation is locked in one way or the other is just ludicrous. remember the cuddle puddle? kids are growing up with open minds about what they might grow into, or be attracted to. it's so much more fluid.

anderson cooper really needs to do a similar story. i'm sure his would be much more balanced and far less ignorant. because, well, he understands.

thanks john for the tip.

also, i totally love the 'clay aiken fucked me' blog. though this idea that paulus was coerced is totally ridiculous. he's a big gay whore and knew from moment one that he was going to use a clay hookup to gain noteriety. i plan to do the same thing once i land mr. cooper. and his boyfriend.

mandisa and clay

it's interesting to read all the homos pile the hatred onto mandisa after her 'lifestyles' comment on 'idol' last week. i couldn't help but think that they might identify just a tiny bit with those fans of clay aiken who felt similarly betrayed when his gayness came to light.

maybe she doesn't know how charged the word 'lifestyle' can be.. maybe she does. i'll reserve judgement until she is forced to face the gay question directly.

wtf apple?

why no announcement? why no product release? why no acknowledgement of your birthday on the website? why nothing!? why the wait???

tuaw has been alerted to a belgian applestore website offering product support on an 'imac 30.' could this be akin to the 20th anniversary mac? the 20th mac was a big flop, but it did prophesy the look of computers to come standard ten years later.

found this on screenhead. very cool rendering/animation job. note to devil's spawn michael bay: hire this guy onto the transformers movie!

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