March 14, 2010
Posted by: Chris
The abrupt resignation of New York Congressman Eric Massa seemed ideal for a SNL send-up, replete with stories of naked shower chats with Rahm Emanuel, tickle fights with his all-bachelor flatmates, self-described "Caligula orgies" naval initiations, and -- of course -- the allegations of "snorkeling" his fellow sailors.
Possibly for that very reason, or because it's more painful than humorous to watch the slow-motion trainwreck that is Massa's career and personal life, the skit that opened last night's SNL was among the least funny I can recall.
Anyone want to wager how long it takes Republicans to capitalize on Massa's Navy hijinks as an example of why lifting the ban on service by openly gay service members can undermine unit cohesion?
March 10, 2010
Posted by: Chris
"We tried the carrot. Now it's time for the stick."
That's the message from Cynthia Nixon, Miranda of "Sex and the City" fame, in a simple yet powerful new PSA for the fledgling group Fight Back NY, which exists for the sole purpose of voting out of office those state senators who voted against marriage equality a few months back.
As the dysfunctional New York legislature was winding down for the Christmas break, hopes for same-sex marriage never seemed brighter. The state Assembly had already approved the measure and embattled Gov. David Paterson (D) was vocal in his support. The last piece of the puzzle was the Senate, where a majority or close to it had given private assurances to activists that they would supply the votes needed for passage. Instead, same-sex marriage went down to defeat by a lopsided 38-24 margin.
With big-time political backing by Tim Gill and others, Fight Back NY was born, and convicted girlfriend abuser Hiram Montserrate (D-Queens) has been named the first target for his high-profile vote with Republicans against marriage equality.
Cynthia Nixon asks for donations to Fight Back NY's PAC, and with a smile on her face, makes it clear that it's no more ms. nice gay for her:
February 24, 2010
Posted by: Chris
If you took the time yesterday to go to the Big Brother Brasil website to vote to eliminate Marcelo Dourado, the homophobic contestant who once threatened to beat a female contestant because she's a lesbian, then thanks. It turns out that last nights "paredão" -- elimination showdown -- pit Dourado against Angélica, that same lesbian, and Dicesar, one of two openly gay male participants, who also does drag.
Despite an online campaign among gay folks and their friends, and despite his neanderthal machismo, Dourado survived elimination, receiving 38% votes, behind Angélica's 55%. Only 7% of voters wanted popular Dicesar to leave.
My co-blogger Kevin, who first alerted us to Dourado's offensive conduct, characteristically pulled no punches himself in response:
Thanks for your support everyone, but Globo just announced that Dourado will remain on the show, and the lesbian he said he'd love to beat until she was sent to the hospital was eliminated. Globo said it was a total of 77 million votes (a new record), and Angelica received 55%, vs 38% for the homophobe Dourado (and 7%... for the drag queen, Dicesar).
If you believe that was really the votes (Globo doesn't submit to outside verification, to my knowledge) I have a bldg to sell you in the Cracolandia section of Sao Paulo. But if it was the real voting, why watch this vile show any longer? I won't be watching.
"I just lost my appetite," said mixed martial artist Marcelo Dourado, after hearing a gay contestant on "Big Brother Brasil" talking with a friend about going to The Week, a popular São Paulo gay club.
February 23, 2010
Posted by: Chris
Cooking up homophobia on "Big Brother Brasil," Marcelo Dourado needs to go, and you can make it happen. From meu amigo and co-blogger Kevin comes this call to arms:
Attention to my American friends: There is a huge favor for gay rights you can help with in Brazil right now. … Please go online TODAY and vote as many times as possible (there is no limit to voting) -- vote to ELIMINATE Marcelo Dourado, the most homophobic and revolting participant ...that Big Brother Brazil has ever had, the same season they have put three openly gay participants in the house.
If this guy continues to win the contest, it will be a horrible day for Brazil. PLEASE HELP! You have to vote TODAY because the voting on this week's elimination ends tonight! If he is not eliminated, one of the gay characters will be...
A bit of background from my friend Juliano at Made In Brazil:
There are three openly gay contestants in the Big Brother Brazil house this season: a 20-year-old boy, a drag queen, and a lesbian. I did not necessarily expect any of them to be the favorites to win the R$ 1.5 million prize, but what I also did not expect is the fact that the only homophobe in the house is current favorite to win the big prize, perhaps a sign that the majority of viewers across the country are not ready for all the gay exposure on the show.
Over the course of the last 50 days, Marcelo Dourado, a castaway from season 3 of Big Brother Brazil who was brought back to the show this season, has made sure to let Brazilian viewers know that he is not only homophobic, but also ignorant, and misogynistic. Earlier in the season he caught the media attention by saying that heterosexual men could not contract the HIV virus even by having sex with HIV positive women because AIDS only affected gay men.
According to him, the HIV virus is spread only through homosexual sex. After that statement, which was obviously addressed by Globo network, Dourado refused to have conversations which involved any gay topics saying that it disgusted him. He also said he wanted to beat the lesbian contestant and send her to the hospital, but that he couldn't do it because if he were to physically attack someone he would be automatically eliminated from the show.
This might strike you as another case of political correctness, like the flap over a faggy lion mascot at Missouri Southern, but the difference is not only the outrageousness of the remarks and the absence of any apology. "Big Brother Brasil" has huge cultural influence in Brazil, along the lines of "American Idol" here in the U.S.
So imagine an Idol hopeful spewing ignorance of the sort of Marcelo Dourado, and click here to vote to eliminate him -- the deadline is today!
For those who understand Portuguese (or even Spanish, Italian or French will do), here are some of Dourado's homophobic highlights:
February 11, 2010
Posted by: Chris
Chris Matthews goes all Hardball on D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty for the slow pace of plowing in response to the first wave of Snowpacalypse 2010. Paraphrasing JFK's famous witticism that Washington combines the charm of the North with the efficiency of the South, Matthews quipped, "We have the weather of Buffalo and the snowplowing capability of Miami." Boom!
My friend Jonathan Capehard says, "Amen brother!" WaPo's Jo-Ann Armao has the mayor's back, claiming Matthews is even more unpopular than the mayor. I guess I missed the memo; I'm a fan of Matthews and always thought Fenty was full of promise (and certainly better than several of his mayoral predecessors).
I spent most of the Snowmageddon Part 1 in the District and thought the plows responded pretty quickly, at least well enough for me to make my way back across the river over the weekend. D.C. folk don't know how good they've got it; Rosslyn looked completely unplowed from Round 1 as late as Tuesday night
February 03, 2010
Posted by: Chris
MSNBC's Chris Matthews shows why "Hardball" is the best political show on cable. The debate over Don't Ask Don't Tell between Aubrey Davis of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network and Peter Sprigg of the antigay Family Research Council, is given enough time to go below the surface and Sprigg is given enough rope to hang himself.
To be sure, Matthews helps Sprigg along, and in the process shows that his opposition to open service by gays in the military is actually only the tip of the iceberg. The FRC and its conservative Republican allies would, if they had the power, ban gays entirely from serving and even jail sexually active gay people.
The only piece of the puzzle left unsaid it is that the same sodomy laws that Sprigg and his ilk favor would actually imprison the vast majority of heterosexuals as well, since studies show than more than 80 percent of straight people (in and out of the military) engage in oral and anal sodomy, which would also be criminalized.
(QuickTime video for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad users after the jump).
February 01, 2010
Posted by: Chris
More proof the late great "MadTV" was way ahead of the curve. In addition to their sendup of the iPad from way back in 2007, check out this skit that pre-dates the "Mancrunch" Superbowl commercial rejected by CBS. (iPhone, iPad Touch and iPad users can watch the QuickTime version after the jump).
The MadTV iPad video and the Mancruch ad are also after the jump.
Hat tip: Terry Michael
Posted by: Chris
Schoolhouse Rock fans will enjoy this cartoon rock video about how the U.S. Supreme Court intervened at the 11th hour to block the judge's plan to broadcast the Prop 8 trial on YouTube. The video tells the story about how a group of actors reacted to the decision by reenacting the trial each day from transcripts so that the public still gets access -- of sorts. (iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad users can watch the video after the jump.)
Kudos to actor Joseph Gordon Leavitt, who didn't exactly set the world on fire when he hosted SNL last fall, for producing the cartoon video. In addition to the sympathetic view on gay marriage, the video breaks down the basic fairness that comes from transparency in the judicial process. Cameras in the federal courtroom is the third rail for most conservative, and some liberal, judges, but it's absolutely essential to ensuring the fairest possible judicial system.
January 31, 2010
Posted by: Chris
When Kristen Wiig first joined the cast of "Saturday Night Live," I wasn't even sure I liked her and never imagined she would rank among the best talents the show has ever produced, male or female. Now I find myself watching the show just waiting for the next skit to feature her.
I'm a big fan of the recurring characters, of course, especially braggadocious Penelope and so freakin' excitable Sue, and of course the Target lady (especially the episode with Justin Timberlake as her gal pal Peg). But I like Wiig best of all when she takes a modestly funny, offbeat character and through sheer talent turns them into an instant classic.
Last night she came close with Lillia, an egocentric party host from the 1920s.
But to be honest, this entire post is just an excuse to share with you this final clip, from an SNL last fall hosted by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Wiig plays Mindy Grayson, a 1960s Broadway star getting her guest turn on "The Secret Word," a send-up of "Password." The half of the skit featuring Gordon-Levitt as a South American singer is pretty much a flop, but Wiig is at her absolute best for her portion, and it ranks among my all-time SNL favorites:
January 29, 2010
Posted by: Chris
Remember when the Superbowl was just a football game? Well it got too big for its britches years ago, and the hype over the commercials aired during the game, not to mention its halftime shows, got more attention than the action on the gridiron. This year is no different, as savvy marketers have figured out that merely submitting an ad to air during next Sunday's broadcast guarantees priceless free media exposure.
You've probably already heard about the antigay group Focus on the Family, which convinced Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow of the University of Florida to record an advocacy ad about abortion that makes the unremarkable claim that he's glad his mother didn't get one.
The Tebow ad hasn't been released yet. Leave it to FOF to blow the marketing piece and miss out on all the free publicity the ad could have gotten by showing it early. But you can see an ABC News report about the ad, complete with coverage of the Bible verses Tebow paints under his eyes before each game, after the jump.
Abortion rights groups have responded with understandable outrage, since that's the only permissible emotion in that particular debate, but I think Tebow's message is actually rather unifying. Can't all of us unaborted fetuses agree at least that we're glad Mom didn't have us yanked from the uterus?
Rather than complain, NARAL et al should record their own spot, letting some rival athlete speak up on behalf of really fast sperm, and say how appreciative he is that he was faster than the other sperm that raced toward his mama's unfertilized egg. It would be about as relevant to the political debate as the Tebow ad.
Then there are the gay ads already rejected by CBS. First, this commercial by website host GoDaddy.com (used by your's truly over the years) was turned down apparently for its use of effeminate gay stereotypes:
Company CEO Bob Parsons said he was surprised the ad was rejected, considering the racy content of the GoDaddy's other submissions. "Of the five commercial concepts we submitted for approval this year, this never would've been my pick for the one that would not be approved," Parson said. "I just don't think 'Lola' is offensive." I would agree actually; it's just unfunny.
Speaking of unoriginal and not particularly funny, an ad featuring two macho football fans discovering (shock!) that they're into each other was also apparently rejected by CBS, which told gay dating site Mancrunch (who?) that the broadcast was already sold out.
"It's clearly a form of discrimination that we're getting the runaround, that we're not being told the truth," said Mancrunch spokesman Dominic Friesen. "Quite frankly, there is a lot of ad space available -- a lot of the companies that typically advertise during the Super Bowl are not advertising this year." Take a look:
The content is about as original as the site's name, and I'd bet the $3 million cost of airing the spot that Mancrunch didn't have the bucks and is simply riding the free publicity. No harm in that, except the whining they're doing about antigay discrimination only makes the public less sympathetic to legitimate claims down the road
The Mancrunch ad is about as original as the site's name, and I'd bet the $3 million cost of airing the spot that Mancrunch didn't have the bucks and is simply riding the free publicity. No harm in that, except the whining they're doing about antigay discrimination only makes the public less sympathetic to legitimate claims down the road.
Despite all the hubbub, I still can't wait for the game. Who dat is gonna be playing anyway?
June 10, 2009
Posted by: Chris
"He's the one guy that I found attractive in the whole group on the show: nice, nonchalant, pretty and totally my type — except that he has a wife."
Adam Lambert, "American Idol" runner-up, revealing his crush on season champ Kris Allen in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine (Reuters)
May 27, 2009
Posted by: Chris
You can get CNN and Fox News in Brazil, but not so MSNBC, so someone please correct me if I'm wrong on this: Does Rachel Maddow ever acknowledge on-air that she's gay, even when discussing stories about marriage and other gay rights issues?
I couldn't help but be struck by Maddow's take last night on the Prop 8 ruling and the protests that followed. She discusses the events with her usual bright-and-funny-if-a-bit-too-smug-and-predictable manner, then winds up by sharing that she's interested in a rally this Saturday in Fresno because she's a big geography geek:
No mention of any interest in same-sex marriage because she's a Sappho-lover herself.
It's unfair to compare Maddow directly with CNN's resident closet-case, Anderson Cooper, because Maddow has been open for years about being gay, at least in personal interviews. But isn't it fair to expect that such a proudly liberal talking head find an appropriately cheeky way to fill-in all her viewers about her direct connection to gay rights?
Like I said, maybe I've missed it and correct me if I'm wrong,
February 23, 2009
Posted by: Andoni
If an Oscar were given for best acceptance speech while receiving an Oscar, Dustin Lance Black would win my vote. Black, who won the Academy Award for for Best Original Screenplay for "Milk," brought tears to my eyes with a brief description of his own personal struggle of being gay in a hostile world, then gave hope to millions of young gays by paraphrasing Harvey Milk, asking them to love themselves and assuring them that very soon they would have equal rights federally across this land.
January 22, 2009
Posted by: Chris
The Los Angeles TV affiliate KABC refused to air an advertisement about gay families by a group called GetToKnowUsFirst.org during the inauguration. The spot was intended as a general response to passage of Proposition 8 and aired in 42 of the California's 58 counties -- everywhere the initiative passed by 50% or more -- during Tuesday's coverage of the Presidential Inauguration.
KABC is the only station that refused to sell the ad space, saying "it was too controversial to air during the Inauguration, since 'many families will be watching,'" according to the group's ad agency, which tried to place the ad. The rejected spot profiles two African American men raising five children ages 6 through 25. Ironically, the family lives in Los Angeles.
KABC's decision is particularly remarkable because the ad itself is very wholesome:
It's also exactly the type of advertisement that the No on 8 campaign was missing, making the gay issue plain and the desire for marriage equality one in which more people could relate.
For those wishing to register with KABC their opinion over the refusal, here's the contact info:
500 Circle Seven Drive
Glendale, CA 91201
Send email from here.
January 20, 2009
Posted by: Chris
For all those who suspected some grand conspiracy between the Obama transition team and HBO to exclude openly gay Bishop Gene Robinson from the broadcast of the (ironically named) "We Are One" event, rest easy:
The cable network said that it had not been advised about what would go where in the two-hour live telecast. … The omission caused a pile of headaches for HBO and the Presidential Inaugural Committee, which received an estimated $2 million to give HBO the exclusive rights to the concert.
Whew. And even double whew:
HBO said late Monday that it will include an opening prayer from an openly gay pastor in subsequent telecasts of the "We Are One" inaugural concert, whose original live telecast began after the pastor's invocation.
No doubt gay activists will be watching like hawks to make sure HBO follows through on its promise. Will they watch with the same level of scrutiny to make sure Obama and Congress move forwarrd on legislation to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and Don't Ask Don't Tell, or enact federal civil unions?
January 19, 2009
Posted by: Chris
A transcript of the prayer by gay Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson at yesterday's opening inaugural event is now available, as is the video:
It's a challenging prayer, no doubt something of a downer for an event that is supposed to celebrate Barack Obama's historic election. Perhaps the event's producers excluded it from the HBO broadcast for that reason. Reverend Robinson's glass is not just half-empty; it's mostly evaporated.
Still, it will no doubt please its intended audience, the progressive left that revels so much in victimology that it is loathe to ever recognize the "progress" from which it gets its name.
Here's the Robinson transcript:
Welcome to Washington! The fun is about to begin, but first, please join me in pausing for a moment, to ask God’s blessing upon our nation and our next president.
O God of our many understandings, we pray that you will…
Bless us with tears – for a world in which over a billion people exist on less than a dollar a day, where young women from many lands are beaten and raped for wanting an education, and thousands die daily from malnutrition, malaria, and AIDS.
Bless us with anger – at discrimination, at home and abroad, against refugees and immigrants, women, people of color, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.
Bless us with discomfort – at the easy, simplistic “answers” we’ve preferred to hear from our politicians, instead of the truth, about ourselves and the world, which we need to face if we are going to rise to the challenges of the future.
Bless us with patience – and the knowledge that none of what ails us will be “fixed” anytime soon, and the understanding that our new president is a human being, not a messiah.
Bless us with humility – open to understanding that our own needs must always be balanced with those of the world.
Bless us with freedom from mere tolerance – replacing it with a genuine respect and warm embrace of our differences, and an understanding that in our diversity, we are stronger.
Bless us with compassion and generosity – remembering that every religion’s God judges us by the way we care for the most vulnerable in the human community, whether across town or across the world.
And God, we give you thanks for your child Barack, as he assumes the office of President of the United States.
Give him wisdom beyond his years, and inspire him with Lincoln’s reconciling leadership style, President Kennedy’s ability to enlist our best efforts, and Dr. King’s dream of a nation for ALL the people.
Give him a quiet heart, for our Ship of State needs a steady, calm captain in these times.
Give him stirring words, for we will need to be inspired and motivated to make the personal and common sacrifices necessary to facing the challenges ahead.
Make him color-blind, reminding him of his own words that under his leadership, there will be neither red nor blue states, but the United States.
Help him remember his own oppression as a minority, drawing on that experience of discrimination, that he might seek to change the lives of those who are still its victims.
Give him the strength to find family time and privacy, and help him remember that even though he is president, a father only gets one shot at his daughters’ childhoods.
And please, God, keep him safe. We know we ask too much of our presidents, and we’re asking FAR too much of this one. We know the risk he and his wife are taking for all of us, and we implore you, O good and great God, to keep him safe. Hold him in the palm of your hand – that he might do the work we have called him to do, that he might find joy in this impossible calling, and that in the end, he might lead us as a nation to a place of integrity, prosperity and peace.
(Video h/t to our pal Jeremy at G.A.Y.)
December 15, 2008
Posted by: Chris
I'm usually a bit loathe to sit and watch the latest Jon Stewart and Keith Olberman video making the rounds of gaydom, even though they both are strong supporters of our equality, because a political preacher exhorting his choir does not make for the most interesting viewing, IMHO.
But I will pass on Jon Stewart's mini-debate on gay marriage with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee because it is two-sided and touches on a lot of the hot buttons of this issue generally. Huckabee's folksy image and guitar skills have successfully refurbished his image from that of an angry Baptist minister who urged that people with AIDS be quarantined to protect us from "the dangerous public health threat of homosexuality."
At one point in the discussion, Huck defends treating same-sex marriage differently than interracial marriage because, "There's a big difference between a person being black and a person practicing a lifestyle." Nice try, Mike, but you said otherwise on "Meet The Press" a year ago.
You can take the Baptist preacher out of Arkansas, but you can't take the Arkansas out of the Baptist preacher.
I'll also note, in passing, that almost none of the pro-marriage-equality arguments that Stewart voices so effectivly were even attempted in opposition to Proposition 8 -- mainly because doing so would require using words like "discrimination," "marriage" and "gay," which our side's focus groups apparently found too messy.
July 25, 2008
Posted by: Chris
Need any additional evidence that gays are non-existent in the world of U.S. neo-conservatism? Look no further than this post by Kathryn Jean Lopez on the National Review website after the passing of actress Estelle Getty:
Did any male ever watch The Golden Girls?
Ironically enough, I came across this bit of know-nothing-ism less than 24 hours after hearing a gaggle of D.C. gays -- including more than a few Republicans -- mourning her loss and reliving their favorite "GG" moments.
I will admit, however, that I was never a fan.
June 19, 2008
Posted by: Chris
About a month ago, Dan Renzi of "Real World 5: Miami" fame was named the new editor of the Express Gay News, the lesbian and gay newspaper for Fort Lauderdale and South Florida. It's a paper I know well, since I oversaw editorial operations there from 2003 to 2006, after Window Media's sister company purchased it about five years ago.
I was lucky enough to find a great editor for the Express; long-time gay journo Mubarak Dahir compiled an excellent record of serious, entertaining and well-rounded coverage. He was succeeded last year by Phil LaPadula, who had been a reporter at the paper dating back to before our purchase of it.
Now comes Renzi, famous mainly for his bitchy tirades more than a decade ago on "Real World." My personal favorite was the haughty lecture he gave his Miami castmates about how "superficial" they were for choosing an original fashion line as their business project. Disgusted at their shallow display, Dan quit the project and sought more depthful employment as, wait for it, a fashion model.
But hey, he was a kid back then, and thank god there weren't cameras falling my closeted conservative self around at the ripe old age of 22. Still, Renzi's journalism credentials -- a few freelance articles and a stint at Queerty -- are certainly unusual.
I'll let you be the judge about his early days as Express editor. His first big story, of course, was last month's landmark California Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage. Renzi posted this at the time on his personal blog:
Who wants to write a story for me about the whole gay marriage thing?
I'm thinking it will be more interesting as a column, that is not just a regurgitation of facts. Great, gay people can get married in California now. That's it for the facts.
Yeah, that pretty much sums that up. Then there was his editorial on the subject in the current issue:
The “gay marriage” topic has been beaten to death, with so many pictures of gleeful gays galavanting along the streets of the Golden State, holding hands and kissing romantically, happy to join the world in matrimonial bliss. But now the dust has settled, and we can sit back and think…marriage? Really? …
As I’m sitting here in my bed typing this, I just looked over at this man lying next to me watching TV. Marriage?...really?
Just so you know, I can sit here and type about him without him noticing. He doesn’t read, or speak, much English; we have more of a “yes-or-no” relationship, which is blissful in its simplicity. “Do you want dinner? Do you like Chinese?” That’s about it. Watch, let’s type something to him right now. Hi. Do you like your show on Telemundo? What is this talk show host yelling about? Why is he wearing a viking helmet? Telemundo is crazy. You are very sexy in my bed. You don’t know I am typing about you and it doesn’t matter. When I am finished typing this I am going to give you besos. Nope, no reaction.
I'll leave it to Latino readers whether they find that little passage offensive. My own partner spoke no English when I met him in January 2005, and I didn't know Portuguese. But we did get by in Spanish and within weeks we were both learning each other's language. Equal partners learning how to communicate; that's sort of what a real world relationship, married or otherwise, is all about, right?
Fort Lauderdale may have a Spring Break, Sodom by the Sea reputation, but it's actually home to a mature, well-read, political attuned gay population. I can't help but wonder whether the content-"lite" snarkiness of reality TV and Queerty will play well in this Peoria.
May 23, 2008
Posted by: Chris
I was apprehensive about how Ellen DeGeneres would do discussing gay marriage with John McCain, but the result was pleasantly surprising. She hit him from the civil rights angle and the personal angle, citing her (now legally recognized) wedding this summer to actress Porcia DiRossi. McCain seemed flat and really had no reasons to offer for his opposition. He just repeated that marriage ought to be for opposite-sex couples.
Just as nits, I wish Ellen had made clearer that McCain not only opposes marriage but also civil unions and domestic parterships, strong or weak. He opposes any form of government recognition of gay relationships, a view that's out of touch with most Americans, two-thirds of which either back marriage or civil unions.
Also I was bit confused by Ellen comparing McCain's view to past opposition to giving the vote to blacks and women. That's a bit apples and oranges, especially when a much better example -- interracial marriage -- was a key point to the California Supreme Court's ruling.
If you'd like to see McCain really get grilled on the issue, there's no beating the pointed questioning by George Stephanopoulus on "This Week" in November 2006. I'm proud to say my cheesy home video has now been viewed more than 16,000 times on YouTube; it's jumpy quality and focus are probably why it hasn't been yanked.
George was on fire that morning, also pushing McCain on the military ban and even whether homosexuality is a "sin." My full post (with more home vids!) on McCain's "This Week" interview is here.
May 13, 2008
Posted by: Chris
"Grey's Anatomy" has become one of my iTunes "season pass" picks, after I just couldn't wait the 6 to 8 months for the show to show up with subtitles down here in Brazil. I've been a fan since the show's premiere, just for the range of characters and heart-tugging storylines.
A recent episode featuring a gay soldier and his platoon boyfriend was no exception. Enjoy the clip from YouTube while it lasts:
Hat tip: My pal Steve in D.C.; also David Mixner.
April 05, 2008
Posted by: Chris
Jay Leno is trying his best to have it both ways in the flap over whether he was gay-baiting actor Ryan Phillippe during a "Tonight Show" interview.
Leno had noted Phillippe's conservative Baptist upbringing and his first role, playing a gay teen on the soap "One Life to Live." Then Leno tried to be funny -- always a risky move on his part, if you ask me -- and said, "Give us your gayest look." Phillippe responded, "That is so something I don't want to do. Are you just going to embarrass me tonight, or ... ?"
Here's the clip:
That led to a handslap from the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation for Leno's "misguided use of adolescent humor" and kudos for Phillippe from GLAAD director Neil Giuliano for refusing to take the bait.
Leno dutifully apologized by press release, insisting, "In talking about Ryan's first role, I realize that what I said came out wrong. I certainly didn't mean any malice. I agree it was a dumb thing to say, and I apologize."
Came out wrong? Hard to see how he was misunderstood and within days, Leno was unfiltered and unapologizing (listen here), whining about "political correctness" and the rigors of being a comic today. After all, he claims to have gay guests all the time and he never makes fun of their relationships. (I'll bet "some of his best friends are gay," too, and he invites them over for dinner and everything.)
Woe is Jay.
December 16, 2007
Posted by: Chris
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Tonight on "60 Minutes," Army Sgt. Darren Manzella will tell the story about how he came out to his commander in Iraq after receiving anonymous emails threatening to out him. He was investigated pursuant to "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," and even provided photos of himself kissing his boyfriend to authorities. But rather than being discharged, Manzella was told there was insufficient evidence of homosexuality, and he was retained by the Army.
His story may seem shocking, but actually it's par for the course because military leadership knows the ban on service by out gays is an anachronism, since gays are generally accepted without incident by fellow soldiers and sailors, just as they are in the armed services of the U.K., Australia, Israel and many other countries.
Manzella highlights several of the most outrageous aspects of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," among them being government policy that allows gays to serve but requires that they lie in deference to the (presumed) personal prejudices of other service members.
Just as disturbingly, the policy allows a loophole for straight service members to avoid war in Iraq or Afghanistan by claiming they are gay -- think of a modern-day version of Klinger in "M*A*S*H." There's no question that some significant percentage of those higher discharges since Bill Clinton agreed to "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" are heterosexuals escaping their military obligation.
Finally, it's clear that the U.S. military, strapped by two wars and extended international commitments, has little interest in discharging gay service members with good records doing good for their country. Discharges have dropped from 2,000 a year in 2001 to half that amount in the last several. To be fair, it's not up to the military to change the policy, since it's now the law of the land, but the Pentagon could be more blunt with Congress and the White House that the time has come to end the ban.
December 07, 2007
Posted by: Chris
The Larry Craig toilet tapping has just about run its course as a social phenomenon, working its way through mainstream culture in an episode of ABC's "Boston Legal." Conservative lawyer Denny Crane (William Shatner) is the Craig stand-in here, busted for tapping his foot in a bathroom stall at the courthouse as he tried to hum his way through mild constipation.
Alan Shore (James Spader) defends Crane on the solicitation charge and in his closing argument takes on not just the facts of the case but the bigger social and political issues -- even the David Vitter comparison -- pretty much hitting the nail on its proverbial head. The jury finds Crane not guilty, as they would have Craig.
In case you missed it, George Clooney and Brad Pitt pulled off their own Larry Craig send-up in a Julia Roberts film tribute, of all places. For that video, just follow the jump.
July 03, 2007
Posted by: Chris
For someone who claims to be censored, Isaiah Washington sure does talk a lot. By my count he's given a half-dozen well-publicized interviews since being canned from "Grey's Anatomy," but there he was again last night on "Larry King Live," saying no one had heard his side of the story on the "F-word" flare-up that cost him his job.
Washington has been a moving target all along, taking responsibility without actually taking responsibility — apologizing to castmate T.R. Knight, who came out as a result of the October incident, even while repeatedly denying he used the word in reference to Knight in the first place.
Of course not much light was shed by Larry King, who in his inimitable kid-glove style walked Washington through his October clash with castmate Patrick Dempsey.
Readers' digest: Washington claims Knight had complained to him during a long plane flight about abusive treatment by Dempsey, and Washington encouraged Knight to raise the issue with "Grey's" producers. In October, after several unrelated incidents in which Dempsey was late on set, the two actors got into a heated exchange.
KING: So why does that lead to this word?
WASHINGTON: [Dempsey] got un -- became unhinged, face-to-face, spittle to spittle, in my face -- first. I did not start it. And I'm asking him why is he screaming at me, why are we doing this? Get out of my face. Several times. Several times. And he just becomes irate. But I'm not understanding why am I being berated to this point in front of our crew, particularly after what we experienced in Seattle [when Dempsey was several hours late]. You know, I mean, I think you owe me on apology and I'm being berated.
And by that time I pushed him out of my face and it just took off from there and I began to say a lot of -- a lot of things that I'm not really proud of -- but all referring to myself and how I felt I was being treated.
KING: But how did the bad word come out of that?
WASHINGTON: Well, I said several bad words, as well as he did.
KING: To him?
WASHINGTON: To him about how I was feeling. I said there's no way you're going to treat me like a "B" word or a "P" word or the "F" word. You can't treat me this way in front of our crew.
KING: So you weren't referring to him as being an F person?
WASHINGTON: Never. Never.
KING: Or anybody else being one?
WASHINGTON: Never, Larry. Never, never, never, never.
King (of course) accepted the explanation at face value, but later in the show, in retelling the story, Washington's account changed significantly, in a way that explains the connection with the in-flight conversation Washington previously had with Knight, and in a way that explains why pretty much everyone but Washington took his "F-word" reference as a shot at Knight.
WASHINGTON: I said, "I don't -- I don't want to bring anymore attention to this than I already have. I don't want to throw anybody under the bus, but I've got to clear my name. I -- this is misinterpreted. I did not say" -- I said yes, you're not going to "B" me, "P" me, "F" me, because I'm not T.R. I never said you are T.R.
Going back to me thinking that I could be the big brother, to defend my family and T.R. which is not my place to do, against so- called bullying.
So Knight had complained to Washington about Dempsey's abusive behavior, and when Dempsey became abusive toward Washington, he wanted to be clear with Dempsey that he was no faggot, like T.R.
Even accepting Washington's account, he was referring to himself but by way of contrast with Knight. "You can treat T.R. like a bitch or a faggot. But you won't get away with it with me." "I'm a man," in other words, "unlike that faggot Knight." With defenders like Washington, who needs bullies?
Can anyone imagine Washington accepting a similarly half-baked explanation if the roles were reversed? What if Dempsey had an on-set blow-up with a castmate and said, "I'm not your [N-word]. I'm not Isaiah." Would Washington have agreed the "N-word" wasn't used in reference to him? Methinks not.
I do agree with Washington that the situation was blown completely out of proportion, though Washington contributed more than his share by repeating the "F-word" at the Golden Globes, ruining the celebratory mood after the cast won several trophies. And his failure — to this day — to accept responsibility for the fact he did use the word in reference to Knight, only made matters worse.
Even still, I don't believe Washington should have been canned from the cast. And as a big fan of the show since its first episode, I'll miss Dr. Preston Burke and his quirky relationship with Cristina Yang (played by Sandra Oh).
But I am happy to see the "F-word" move closer and closer to the off-limits territory occupied by the "N-word," where it's no longer acceptable to use in any context, no matter how innocuous. A few semi-guilty folks like Washington may get overblown treatment, but it's a small price to pay for the societal good that will result -- in playgrounds and workplaces and TV sets everywhere.
May 01, 2007
Posted by: Chris
Our interior and exterior decorating skills are legendary. We keep a tidy lawn and a colorful garden. And in city after city, we renovate and update, raising property values for ourselves and those around us.
To top it off, we’re avid neighborhood activists, throwing ourselves into better policing, stricter zoning and removal of “unsavory elements.”
Who wouldn’t want a homosexual for a neighbor? Plenty of people, as it turns out.
Asked who they would not want as neighbors, one in five residents of Western Europe, the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand said “no” to the gay next door. That’s fully double the number who said they wouldn’t want Jews or someone of a different race for a neighbor.
The papers may be full of stories about resentment toward immigrants and foreign workers, but gays are less welcome to the neighborhood by more than 50 percent. Even Muslims, with all their bad press, are 25 percent more accepted.
The somewhat surprising findings are from work done by researchers at universities in Northern Ireland and New Zealand. Since few among us would admit outright to being a bigot, these academics found that the best way of measuring bigotry is a more indirect inquiry into what types of people you wouldn’t want to live nearby.
If you believe, as many of us do, that homophobia is the last acceptable prejudice, you’ll find support in the study. In two-thirds of the countries surveyed, gays were rated the least desirable neighbors, including in the U.S., Canada and Australia, where the numbers who disapproved of gay neighbors were more than double that of Muslims, the next group down the list.
Only in a few countries in Scandinavia and northern Europe were we welcomed by almost everyone. A special thanks to Sweden, Holland, Iceland and Denmark — the only places where fewer than one in 10 respondents were homophobic.
As bad as that looks for the gays, it’s clear that bigotry loves company. In every country at least one in four residents didn’t like the idea of at least one minority group in their neighborhood, and in strife-torn Northern Ireland and Greece, almost half were bigoted against at least someone.
Still, we homosexuals are the most despised group among bigots generally. In most major Western countries, including the U.S., Canada and Great Britain, more than three-quarters of those who object to at least one minority group include gays on their list of phobias. That gem led the researchers to conclude that, “Homophobia is, by far, the main source of bigotry in most Western countries.”
What, in turn, is the source of that homophobia? Not a person’s level of education or income, as it turns out. Age and gender were much better indicators. A New York Times poll released last week backs that up, showing only 25 percent of Americans under the age of 30 opposed to any form of legal recognition for same-sex couples, while opposition among those over 30 ranges between 35 and 45 percent.
It’s impossible to say whether the 23 percent of Americans who don’t want gay neighbors form the bulk of the 35 percent of Americans overall who don’t want our relationships to receive legal recognition — but it’s a pretty safe bet.
I’ve always resisted the idea that opponents of gay rights are bigots. It has struck me as a cheap shot that polarizes the debate, rather than attempting to reason and address concerns. There’s not much point in reasoning with prejudice, of course; the whole idea is that’s animus without any logic to it.
Religion can be as impenetrable to reason as prejudice, and gay rights opponents have long cited their moral beliefs as justification for our inequality. Sill, since I come from a loving, religious family that is steadfastly opposed to my equal rights as a gay man, I’ve always taken the anti-gay Christians at their word when they swear it’s the sin they hate and not the sinner.
So how do they explain the “good neighbor” study’s most surprising finding? That being deeply religious made Christians less prejudiced against Muslims and immigrants, and much more prejudiced against gays? Being deeply religious was the single most significant factor in predicting whether someone would reject the idea of having a gay neighbor.
Do these churchgoers simply ignore Jesus’ central commandment to “love thy neighbor”? Or are they figuring if they do have to love their neighbor, they hope for Christ’s sake their neighbor isn’t queer?
As more lesbians and gay men live their lives openly, there’s hope the number of anti-gay bigots will someday soon drop down to the same levels we see for race and religion. The short-lived ABC reality show "Welcome to the Neighborhood" effectively tested out the findings of the “good neighbor” study, allowing a group of mildly bigoted Texas neighbors to award a house on their block to either a black family, a Korean family, hippies, Wiccans or a gay couple. The series was yanked because it touched on too many racial hot-buttons, but the gay couple won over their skeptical neighbors and won the house, too.
One objection to the show was from "fair housing" advocates, who pointed out federal law prohibits discriminating on the basis of race, religion, and national origin in the housing market. Of course that law doesn't include sexual orientation as a protected category, and absolutely no one is talking about amending it anytime soon.
But as the gay couple on "Welcome to the Neighborhood" proved, although no one got to see it, the answer to this level of bigotry may not be in changing laws, but in changing hearts and minds. We have always been our own best ambassadors, and perhaps if we keep extending our welcome mat, one day more "deeply religious" folks will do the same.
March 26, 2007
Posted by: Chris
First off, the more we learn, the less sympathetic here! TV is sounding. The GLAAD policy of limiting its awards to non-niche media is long-standing, yet here! waited until the eve of the ceremonies this year to go public with its complaint. That seems timed not only to benefit here! but to hurt GLAAD — not something that should give gay cable TV consumers much of a warm fuzzy.
Stephen Macias, the somewhat shrill here! TV exec who penned the nasty public letter to GLAAD, told the Times he was "flabbergasted" by the policy, which is a bit surprising since it's not new and certainly defensible, if not unassailable.
Anne Stockwell, the executive editor of the Advocate, said her magazine’s staff members have been bewildered that GLAAD has chosen not to honor their work at the awards.
“Everybody feels it would be great to see GLAAD take a forward-looking position and be assertive in coming to some kind of a sensible way to recognize all of us,” Stockwell said. “I do think it can feel frustrating to do all the reporting that we do, and break all the stories that we break, and not feel that there is a path to recognition.”
It's surprising to me the Times didn't go on to ask Stockwell why it wouldn't create a conflict of interest for the Advocate to cover GLAAD while also seeking its recognition. After all, the Times won't let its own editors and reporters accept awards from GLAAD or any other advocacy group because it creates the appearance of a conflict and the potential for bias.
I was at the Human Rights Campaign black-tie dinner in New York a few years ago when Stockwell's predecessor, longtime Advocate editor Judy Wieder , received a special award. In her acceptance, Wieder spoke proudly of how in her first days at the magazine's helm she adopted a policy that gay rights organizations were not to be criticized in the magazine's coverage.
Now that's the kind of "journalism" that HRC particularly likes, and the temptation at GLAAD would be similar. Would award-caliber journalism get the same consideration if it comes from a gay media outlet that has asked tough questions of GLAAD and other gay rights groups?
(It's also worth noting, as an aside, that GLAAD does hand out the Barbara Gittings Award, named after the recently deceased, groundbreaking lesbian activist and publication editor, to an individual, group or publication that made a pioneering contribution to the gay media. The Advocate received the award in 2002.)
Finally, the Times also talked with gay advertising agency head Howard Buford, who served on the GLAAD board in the late '90s, about the changing definition of "gay media":
“Is it gay ownership? Is it predominantly gay content? Is it a gay target audience? It’s not as easy a definition as it was at the beginning.”
Buford is right about that, especially in the TV industry, where Logo is owned by media giants MTV and Viacom. But still, I think "gay media" can be fairly reliably defined by the content and the target audience. Adding "gay media" categories to the GLAAD awards in the entertainment realm would recognize that changing landscape while not presenting a conflict of interest the same way handing out journalism awards would.
(Top photo: "Dante's Cove" — pioneering programming at here! TV ineligible for GLAAD Award recognition)
March 25, 2007
Posted by: Chris
In a blistering blog post (is there any other kind?) over at HuffPo, gay jouralist and author Gabriel Rotello weighed in against the long-standing policy of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation not to consider work by gay TV and media for the organization's Media Awards.
GLAAD and its awards focus on "those whose attitudes about our right to fairness, dignity and equality we must work to transform."
In other words, GLAAD sees its awards as a way of cajoling mainstream media types into treating gays better. If you're a straight producer who has accepted a gay award in front of hundreds of cheering queers, the idea goes, you will be less likely to dump on those same people in your next broadcast.
By that reasoning, GLAAD doesn't think it needs to cajole the gay media into doing the right thing. The gay media do the right thing by dint of their very existence. So why waste awards on them?
Exactly. Couldn't have said it better. So why isn't that enough? Again, Rotello:
GLAAD was founded to advance gay visibility and fairness in the media, and to reward excellence in the coverage of lesbian and gay issues. Excellence is excellence, even if it springs from outlets run by and for gays. You'd think a gay group would not just know that, they would celebrate it.
For a gay media group to reinforce outdated divisions, and shove into the shadows those who do the most to advance visibility, is archaic, absurd and insulting to its own community.
As someone with a decade of experience in the gay media, I have to disagree. Gay media should have its own, built-in incentives for portraying gay lives in a fair and inclusive way. And it's a clear and dangerous conflict of interest to set up a system whereby a gay rights group covered by the gay press also decides when their work is worthy of commendation.
The biggest challenge facing the the quality of journalism in gay press today is the pressure to accede to the A-crowd within each gay community, abdicating our watchdog role so as not to anger potential advertisers and win plaudits at black-tie dinners. As pointed out before, GLAAD is not the gay TV and motion picture academy or the queer Pulitzer Prize committee. The National Lesbian & Gay Journalist Association, for one, already hands out awards from peers to reporters and editors in the gay press and general circulation media.
The point of the GLAAD awards is to incentivize the mainstream media and raise money for the organization. That should be enough.
What do you think? Be sure to vote in my Vizu Poll (to the right) on the topic. As always, voting does not transport you off the site or subject you to annoying pop-ups.
January 31, 2007
Posted by: Chris
Does actor Isaiah Washington deserve the serious heat he's getting for calling "Grey's Anatomy" cast-mate T.R. Knight a "faggot" on set, or even for using the same word later in a Golden Globes press conference?
After all, since the initial flap Washington has issued two written apologies, admitted himself into counseling, and even met with leading gay activists with a promise to make things right. Yet still the fallout continues, as rumors swirl that he'll be yanked from the popular program.
Neil Giuliano, president of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, chose rather dramatic language to condemn Washington, particularly considering the actor used the "F-word" the second time only in denying that he'd used it the first.
"When Isaiah Washington uses this kind of anti-gay slur," Giuliano said, "whether on set or in front of the press, it does more than create a hostile environment for his cast-mates and the crew of 'Grey's Anatomy.' It also feeds a climate of hatred and intolerance that contributes to putting our community in harm's way."
GLAAD ratcheted down the rhetoric once Washington took a meeting/self-flagellation session with Giuliano and with Kevin Jennings of the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network, but the issue has dominated GLAAD's public activity for weeks. Does it deserve the attention?
At first blush, the whole thing struck me as more political correctness than protecting "our community." It's not as if Washington launched into the kind of expletive-laden racist tirade as Michael Richards (a.k.a. Kramer from "Seinfeld"), much less the anti-Semitic diatribe that exposed Mel Gibson (again) as a bigot we knew him to be. And that's even assuming (and I do) that Washington actually used the "F-bomb" against Knight, who came out as a result of the original on-set flap back in October.
To make matters more prickly, Washington is a prominent African-American with a history of taking on challenging roles, including gay and even drag queen characters, with an uncharacteristic sensitivity. (Will Smith, are you listening?)
Washington Post columnist Jabari Asim even uncovered an Essence magazine essay by the actor from a decade ago, in which a thoughtful Washington writes about his first amateur acting gig, playing a "flaming drag queen" named Sweetie Pie, which offered him "a firsthand look at gay-bashing."
"I was the target of angry expletives, jeers and nervous laughter and was even spat upon by a junior-high-school student who took my performance just a little too seriously," Washington wrote back then. Not exactly the kind of thing you'd expect to hear from a heartless homophobe.
In fact, Jasmyne Cannick, a respected black lesbian activist and columnist, has leapt to Washington's defense, accusing "white gay America" of hypocrisy and the "gay mafia" of "smelling meat, dark meat."
Cannick's beef isn't just that the gay press and activists overreacted. To her, "the whole thing reeks of white privilege" and hypocrisy because, she claims, white gay America hasn't protested a peep against Charles Knipp, the white gay drag performer (somewhat) better known as Shirley Q. Liquor, a self-described "inarticulate black woman on welfare with 19 kids."
Of course, even mentioning a huge star like Washington in the same breath as a two-bit drag act like Knipp is a bit like comparing apples and watermelons; their respective cultural influences aren't in the same time zone. And to suggest white gay activists relished frying up "dark meat" is nonsensical to anyone remotely familiar with the racial politics of the gay rights movement.
What's more, Cannick is flat-out wrong on the facts, since I know for a fact that many gay publications (including those I've edited) have covered Knipp and the protests that follow his performances in many cities. When he was invited to appear at a gay benefit in Atlanta two years ago, negative publicity from articles in Southern Voice resulted in his being uninvited. And while I agree completely that Knipp goes way way over the line, he has been defended by legendary black drag queens like Washington, D.C.'s Ella Fitzgerald and RuPaul herself.
More importantly, Cannick misses the same point I did in chalking up the whole mess as P.C. run amuck. It isn't about Isaiah Washington or his race or his TV show. It's actually about taking a page out of the playbook used so effectively by African American activists. Nothing focuses the public on an issue like celebrity, and Washington's temper tantrum offers a unique opportunity to consign the "F-word" (in its short and long form) to the same dustbin of history as the "N-word."
Efforts to combat anti-gay bullying will only go so far so long as anti-gay slurs — not to mention the use of "gay" itself to mean "lame" or "stupid" — remain playground de rigueur. Like it or not, Washington's abject apologies, like those of Richards and Gibson (and Jesse Jackson's "hymietown") before him, jump-start social change, getting through to teachers and parents and even the kids in ways that years of earnest press releases couldn't hope for.
So spare me the sympathy for Washington, who'll no doubt redeem himself and be jumping on Oprah's sofa in no time. I'll keep my eyes on the prize.
November 30, 2006
Posted by: Chris
Some say Key West has gone ex-gay, what with the overwhelming number of straight cruise ships that now dock at the quirky island. But come Jan. 1, residents and tourists there will nonetheless be treated to the first-ever broadcast gay TV channel. David Letterman was quick to pounce on the news, and suggest some programming options:
10. "How I Met Your Brother"
9. "Gary's Anatomy"
8. "Desperate Poolboys"
7. "Everybody Loves Raymond...Especially Steve"
6. "The King Of Queens"
4. "I Dream Of Gene"
3. "Gays Of Our Lives"
2. "My Name Is Earl And I Like Construction Workers"
1. "His Deal Or No Deal"
The marketing folks at WGAY-TV (yes, those are the call letters), were no doubt thrilled.
November 25, 2006
Posted by: Chris
- The National Hockey League and one of its teams, the Toronto Maple Leafs, have approved the use of their logos in an upcoming movie called "Breakfast with Scot," a "thoughtful comedy" about the relationship between a former player and the his partner, the team's lawyer, whose lives are turned upside down when they become guardians for "a budding queen of an 11-year-old boy." Tom Cavanagh ("Ed," "Scrubs") and Ben Shenkman ("Just Like Heaven," "Angels in America") star in the production, which begins filming in Toronto next month.
- Atlanta is among the cities leading the way in attracting 25 to 34 year-olds, a demographic that will be especially key as the Baby Boomers retire, removing two people from the workforce for every new young entrant. Among the key factors in Atlanta's success, along with plentiful jobs, is a diverse and open culture, including large international and gay communities. Of course the biggest losers — New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington and Philadelphia — also have large gay communities.
- Latino heartthrob Gael Garcia Bernal signed an open letter in support of Mexico City's civil unions law. Among the other 50 signatories was Diego Luna, Bernal's co-star in "Y Tu Mama También." "The vote for the civil-unions law was a vote in favor of liberty, social equality and the strength of civil society," the artists wrote.
- Don't expect much from the new Congress as far as putting the reins on pork. The Democrats set to control spending decisions are every bit as committed to the status quo of "earmarks" as their GOP predecessors. Two of the worst offenders, Sens. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) and Ted Stevens (R-Ala.) have promised to continue scratching each other's backs to ensure a disproportionate share of federal funds. “I had a chat with Senator Stevens before the election,” Mr. Inouye said. "We pledged to each other that no matter what happens, we will continue with our tested system of bipartisanship," Inouye told his hometown paper, "We've been doing this for the past 25 years, and it’s worked."