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  • February 23, 2010

    From faggy to ferocious to farce

    Posted by: Chris

    Mssu lion fag ferocious
    Out of the heartland -- Joplin, Mo., to be exact -- comes this bizarre tale:

    David Ansley has resigned from the Missouri Southern State University Board of Governors, after he used a homosexuality slur during a board retreat on Saturday.

    In a written statement Monday, Ansley apologized to students, faculty, staff and administrators for any offense, and expressed remorse for his actions.

    “I have always thought of myself as a tolerant man,” he wrote. “Yet the fact that I spontaneously made the comment has caused me pause. Personally, I am conducting introspection. My goal is to examine my own prejudices with the hope of renewed tolerance. I hope to be a better person because of all this.”

    Ansley's grave offense? After a presentation by the school's athletic department about how they had butched up their lion mascot, the personal injury lawyer/board member "spontaneously" commented, "We went from the fag lion to the ferocious lion."

    Board Chair Rod Anderson tried to tell the roomful of reporters covering the board retreat that Ansley's pronouncement was off the record, but to no avail. Ansley's "fag to ferocious" pronouncement was the lead headline from the meeting, with some reporters jumping the gun to report it on Twitter and Facebook.

    Before the weekend was out, a Facebook page calling for Ansley's resignation had been created. By this week came the inevitable: Ansley resigned. Even that was not enough for some:

    “He is now the cowardly lion, in my opinion,” said Hillary Fogerty, an English professor and adviser for the Equality Alliance at MSSU.

    “He’s saying, ‘Let’s avoid the issue entirely, and fall on the sword and pretend it’s not here.’ What will his resignation serve? Resignation is not education. It doesn’t solve the problem of other board members being willing to cover up what he said or to laugh at it.”

    Right. Let's ask for the manes of the board chair trying in vain to contain the controversy and two others who told the Joplin Globe that the comment wasn't newsworthy.

    This is political correctness run amok, and those responsible should be ashamed of themselves. The "F word" is not the same as the "N word," no matter how much you want it to be, and we'd win a lot more sympathetic friends if folks like Ansley were asked to say they're sorry rather than retreat from the public square in shame.

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    February 01, 2010

    MadTV does Mancrunch

    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

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    January 29, 2010

    Are you ready for some football... ads... controversy?

    Posted by: Chris

    Mancrunch gay dating site superbowl commercial
    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.

    Tim tebow university of florida superbowl ad abortion gay 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?

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    August 22, 2008

    Nervous Norteamericanos in Brasil

    Posted by: Chris

    Usbrasilwomenfootball2 These are tense times for us "Norteamericanos" in Brazil, as Americans are often referred to here. Brasileiros are huge sports fans -- imagine Philadelphia or Boston multiplied by a country of 200 million -- and intensely patriotic about their national teams. Forget "U!S!A!" chants. You haven't heard anything until you watch TV here and hear the pre-recorded, echoed shriek "Bra-ZIL! ZIL! ZIL!" after every decent play or performance.

    Beachvolei_2Of course their passion for "futebol" (pronounced something like "footy-ball") is unmatched worldwide. So you can imagine how their blood was boiling when the men's soccer team was ousted in the Olympic semifinal by hated arch-rivals Argentina. The sarcastic headline in Globo said it all: "Now, the women's team is all that's left."

    The U.S. women took care of that, defeating Brazil in the gold medal match in overtime, just as they had in the Athens Olympics, even though the Brazilian women had completely dominated the game.

    Volleyball is Brazil's other great sports passion, with loyal fan support for professional leagues for both men and women. For obvious reasonsbBeach volleyball is also hugely popular here, which explains why two of the three men's teams on the medal stand in Beijing were Brazilian. But it was a pair of Americans looking down from the golden perch on the Brazilians in silver and bronze position.

    Now the Olympic tournaments for team volleyball have finally reached their climax, and the gold medal matches are set for men and women. It will be the U.S. vs. Brazil. In both.

    There will be some nervous gringos in Brazil this next couple of days . . .



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    Filed in: Brazil , Sports

    August 12, 2008

    Milli Vanilli Nation

    Posted by: Chris

    Chinesegirls It's been interesting to view the Olympics through the lens of my country of exile. Like back home, the broadcast network here (O Globo) is all-Brazil almost all the time -- even though the country's medal total thus far has been a few bronzes in judo and swimming. (That judo is fun to watch, I will admit!)

    It's also been fun to watch the host country get the special treatment that only the international press knows how to dish out. I remember like it was yesterday how frustrating it was to live in Atlanta in the build-up to the '96 Games, which were absolutely incredible despite the (anti-gay, in part, as it turns out) park bombing. Every logistical error was magnified, while the 99.9% that functioned as well or better than expected was ignored.

    China, of course, richly deserves much of the black eye it's getting in coverage, for its disregard for even basic human rights and its state control over everything down the smallest detail -- literally. Even the tiny girl (pictured above, right) who wowed an international viewing audience during the opening ceremonies was a fake -- lip syncing the voice of another little girl (pictured above, left).

    But the real jaw-dropper was the back story:

    "The reason was for the national interest," said Chen Qigang, the ceremony's musical director, in a state radio interview. "The child on camera should be flawless in image, internal feeling and expression. ... Lin Miaoke is excellent in those aspects."

    The decision was made at the highest levels, Chen said.

    "We had to do it," he said. "We'd been through several inspections. They're all very strict. When we rehearsed at the spot, there were several spectators from various divisions, especially leaders from the Politburo, who gave the opinion it must change."

    As with much of state-control, this high-level decision ended up a complete mess, accomplishing the exact opposite of what was intended. If only China's dictators would catch a hint…

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    Filed in: Music , Sports

    January 11, 2008

    Sapp quits after 'too much gay porn'?

    Posted by: Chris

    Warrensapp There's a story brewing on the internet that Oakland Raiders defensive tackle Warren Sapp, who has just retired after 13 seasons in the NFL, described a fight with officials in his next to last game as "too much gay porn" -- a metaphor for something you don't want to watch or discuss.

    The colorful story spread through the straight and gay blogosphere, supposedly pegged to a Sports Illustrated interview. I searched the S.I. site to no avail, but it turns out that's because the exact same quote -- down to the word -- was something Sapp said an entire year earlier.

    In December 2006, he was asked during a locker room interview why he had been so upset on the Raiders sideline, jumping up and down and screaming while the offense was on the field. At first Sapp wouldn't say, but then explained the action on the field that day this way:

    It was something that was really, really on the edge of like gay porn," he said. "That's what we call it. When it's real bad football, that's what we call it: gay porn. Something you don't want to watch. Something you just don't want to see on the TV. Something you don't even want to talk about. That's gay porn."

    Pretty clever for a straight guy.

    Gnw_lighthouse_logo_3 For related stories and breaking news, click or bookmark:

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    November 01, 2007

    AP pulls a reverse-Onion

    Posted by: Chris

    Trailblazing_3 The AP has put out a story on that study about former high school football players who dabble in man-on-man action. Funny how the wire service manages to report the results while leaving out a huge salient fact:

    A new study, which will be published in the Journal of Sex Roles, suggests that one third of former American high school football players have had sexual relations with other men.

    Sociologist Dr. Eric Anderson, who is credited with being the first openly gay high school coach during his tenure at Huntington Breach High in the early nineties, conducted research questionnaires with a small sample of ex-high school football players who said that they have had some sexual contact with other men.

    As I noted in a blog post this week, that "small sample," which is never described in greater detail by AP, was a rather select one: 

    The 47 men, aged 18-23, were all American Football players who previously played at the high school (secondary school) level but had failed to be picked for their university’s team and were now cheerleaders instead.

    No mention of "the male cheerleader factor" in the AP story. I guess that would read more like "dog bites man" than "man bites dog."

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    Filed in: Media , Science , Sex , Sports

    October 30, 2007

    Talk about your biased sample…

    Posted by: Chris

    Gay_football1 The headline from Science Daily was a real eye-grabber: "Over One-third Of Former American Football Players Had Sexual Relations With Men, Study Claims."  The magazine reports:

    In his study of homosexuality among sportsmen in the US, sociologist Dr Eric Anderson found that 19 in a sample of 47 had taken part in acts intended to sexually arouse other men, ranging from kissing to mutual masturbation and oral sex.

    But then, the fine print reads straight out of The Onion:

    The 47 men, aged 18-23, were all American Football players who previously played at the high school (secondary school) level but had failed to be picked for their university’s team and were now cheerleaders instead.

    George_bush_as_cheerleader Either the good Dr. Anderson, who hails from the University of Bath, is completely unaware of male cheerleader culture in the U.S. — George W. Bush excepted — or he was aiming to bias things from the get-go.  Nonetheless, the study's conclusions are intriguing:

    “The evidence supports my assertion that homophobia is on the rapid decline among male teamsport athletes in North America at all levels of play,” he writes in his study, entitled ‘Being masculine is not about whom you sleep with…Heterosexual athletes contesting masculinity and the one-time rule of homosexuality’ …

    “I find informants actually engage in sexual activity with other men. But this does not mean that they are gay. My informants do not feel that their same-sex sex jeopardizes their socially perceived heterosexual identities, at least within the cheerleading culture. In other words, having gay sex does not automatically make them gay in masculine peer culture.”

    Dr. Anderson may be right about declining homophobia in American sports, mirroring general cultural trends. But it's hardly justified to conclude these guys who have had sex with other men aren't gay because they are comfortably heterosexual "within the cheerleading culture."  Talk about a workplace that embraces gender non-conformity, at least among men…

    More likely, these cheerleaders in their 20s are figuring out who they are and whether they can accept being gay.  Having acted on it before graduating college, they're already ahead of me at that age.

    Next up for Dr. Anderson? I'd suggest an in-depth study on the extent of homosex among college fraternity presidents, or student body presidents, or those recent-grad fraternity employees for that matter. Three more completely unbiased peer groups. Right up there with drama majors.

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    February 06, 2007

    No snickers for Snickers

    Posted by: Chris

    Snickerskiss Gay rights groups are up in arms about an ad for Snickers that aired during the Super Bowl on Sunday, and even more so about three alternative endings for the spot made available on the Mars web site. 

    All four versions of the ad feature two middle-aged mechanics working closely under the hood of a car.  One unwraps a Snickers bar and begins eating it while the other gazes longingly — at the Snickers. 
    The second mechanic begins eating the other end of the candy bar, leading to the inevitable, "Lady & The Tramp" kiss in the middle.  The two men jump back, shocked that they've just kissed, then come the four different endings:

    1. Chest Hair: In this ending, which actually aired in the Super Bowl, one of the mechanics says, "Uh, I think we just kissed."  The other says, "Quick, do something manly," to which the other response by ripping open his shirt and ripping out (with a shriek) a big wad of chest hair.  The first responds in kind amid screams.
    2. Monkey Wrench:  In response to "Quick, do something manly," the first mechanic grabs a monkey wrench and clobbers the other over the head.  The second mechanic throws the first one under the hood and slams it down.  The violence is clearly intended to be comic.  In the trailing seconds, the mechanic now slammed under the hood says, "OK, that's good."
    3. Motoroil Motor Oil: In response to "Quick, do something manly," one mechanic grabs some motor oil and begins gulping it; the other does the same with windshield washer fluid.  Both men scream (in manly fashion) as they do it.
    4. Love Boat: In this version, both men jump back from the kiss but before either can say anything, a third, long-haired and older mechanic walks up, tosses his hair and says, "Is there room for three in this love boat?"

    Mushinmuhammad2 In addition to encouraging visitors to the web site to vote on the four different endings, Mars posted video reactions from players from the two Super Bowl teams as they watched the commercials.  The response from the two Indianpolis Colts — linebacker Cato June and wide receiver Marvin Harrison — were low key and non-descript. 

    But the three Chicago Bears showed a good deal more enthusiasm. Mushin Muhammad, a wide receiver for Chicago, had an exaggerated facial reaction to the kiss, while tight end Desmond Clark laughed in a "no they didn't" style.  Quarterback Rex Grossman covered his face with his hands.  Clark, in particular, seemed shocked the two male actors actually had to kiss to make the commercial.  When told it took 15 takes, he laughed, "I hope they got paid a lot of money!"

    The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation "strongly condemned" the ads in a press release issued yesterday, calling on Mars to pull the "Wrench" ad and what the gay groups calls the "offensive" player reactions from its web site. 

    Judy Shepard goes so far as to claim in the GLAAD statement that the Snickers campaign "encourages the same type of hate that lead [sic] to the death of my son Matthew. It essentially gives 'permission' to our society to verbally and physically harass individuals who are gay, lesbian or bisexual." Shepard reserves particular "dismay" for the players, who she said are "perpetuating such discrimination and prejudice."

    Chesthair The Human Rights Campaign also condemned the ads, calling on Mars to pull the "Chest Hair" version that aired during the big game.  HRC's Joe Solmonese says in the release that Mars "should know better.  If they have any questions about why the ad isn't funny, we can help put them in touch with any number of GLBT Americans who have suffered hate crimes."

    Well I, for one, am a gay American — how, exactly, can one person be G, L, B and T anyway? — who has suffered a hate crime, and I am more disturbed by the gross overreaction of these overly earnest gay rights groups. 

    The version of the Snickers ad that aired during the game was funny, if not exactly guffaw-inducing.  Funny, as in funny ha-ha.  Remember that, activists?  This isn't Isaiah Washington cursing a gay colleage or Michael Richards unleashing a torrent of angry "N-words."

    This was a silly ad for a candy bar in which two unattractive, middle-aged mechanics accidentally kiss and then have a comic overreaction.  Do we really believe impressionable youngsters will learn life lessons from these two? They are the butt of the joke, after all, not gay people.

    Let's not forget, too, that this same-sex kiss didn't just run in prime time, but on Sunday afternoon in the most-watched television event of the year.  Long after the short ad spot is forgotten, a taboo has been broken, the "shock value" of a gay kiss has been lessened, and that's ultimately of more cultural influence than the mechanics' macho morality.

    Monkeywrench The only version of the ad that troubled me was "Monkey Wrench," since it did show the two men whacking each other in the head to prove they were still "manly."  But the "violence" was of the slapstick, comic-book variety, about as real as that inflicted on Wile E. Coyote in his pursuit of the Roadrunner. And let's not forget, each clobbering was invited by its recipient, as we're reminded at the end, when one mutters humorously, "OK, that's good."

    Viewers are about as likely to respond the same in real-life situations as they are to use a real rock to bash in their opponent's head the next time they play "rock-paper-scisscors," as portrayed in a hilarious Bud Light ad.

    Desmondclark An even bigger head-scratcher was the GLAAD/HRC condemnation of the NFL players' reactions.  These poor sobs were videotaped as they saw the commercial for the first time and, truth be told, I had the same facial reaction as Mushin Muhammad when I saw these two unattractive guys lock lips. Does that make me a look-ist?  Should I sign up for counseling along with Isaiah Washington? 

    GLAAD accuses two of the players of "overt expressions of prejudice"  — Clark presumably for believing the two actors ought to be paid handsomely, and June for explaining how the two guys reacted to kissing, "Nah this ain't right."  (Hello, he was explaining what was in the minds of the two men; not his own personal morality.)

    Loveboat C'mon, GLAAD.  Are we this hard up for "overt expressions of prejudice"?  I understood, in the Isaiah Washington incident, how his celebrity contributed to pushing "the F-word" off the cultural lexicon.  But all this type of hypersensitive overreaction does is push gay lives back into taboo territory, too controversial to touch.

    Like it or not, one price of coming out of the closet is that we are fair game for cultural jibes as much as anyone else.  We gain nothing by proving we are too sensitive to take a joke.

    Snickersvote_1 Unfortunately, lost in the dust of outraged press releases is the "Love Boat" version of the Snickers ad that, by any interpretation, was funny and not homophobic. The Mars web site promised that the version that got the most votes would air during the Daytona 500, and the "Love Boat" version was running second, behind "Motor Oil," after I voted.

    But in response to the gay groups' press releases, Mars has how pulled all four versions and the players' reactions from its web site.  No doubt the controversy has scared the company away from using any version, including "Love Boat," during the Daytona 500 or anywhere else.  Is that really a victory?

    Decide for yourself.  You can view all four versions of the ad and the player reactions by following the jump:

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    November 01, 2006

    'Kinda gay' remark was 'kinda sexual'

    Posted by: Chris

    Kinchen ESPN has "kinda fired" former NFL receiver Brian Kinchen from doing college football commentary after he called one of his own comments "kinda gay" during the broadcast of last Saturday's Northern Illinois-Iowa game. Actually, he's suspended for this weekend's action, and his future with ESPN is under review, AP reported:

    Kinchen was explaining the need for receivers to make catches with their hands because they are "tender" and can "caress" the ball. He then paused and said, "That's kind of gay, but hey... "

    "The comments were inappropriate, and we apologize for them," said Josh Krulewitz, ESPN's vice president of public relations.

    Kinchen, a former player at LSU and for three NFL franchises, was similarly contrite:

    "[My remarks] were completely inappropriate and not at all a reflection of who I am or the way I perform my work," Kinchen said in a statement issued by ESPN. "I have learned from my mistake and look forward to continuing my broadcasting career."

    The suspension has struck almost everyone as an overreaction. No gay voices, including the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), had spoken out against Kinchen, much less called for his removal.  Some gay sports enthusiasts, including Cyd Zeigler over at Outsports, have nonetheless suggested that gay groups have contributed to a politically correct climate that pressured gay-friendly ESPN to act.

    I, for one, think ESPN's reaction isn't an example of pro-gay "political correctness" as much as it is the dysfunctional way we treat sex and sport, where the action on the telly can bear no relation whatsoever to the typical reaction of those watching. Kinchen wasn't suspended for being "anti-gay"; he was punished for making a sexual remark. He suggested it was "kinda gay" for a receiver to be "tender" with his hands and "caress" the ball.

    His remarks aren't like the anti-gay slurs uttered (usually with impunity) by pro athletes and coaches, but more along the lines of Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" during the Super Bowl halftime a few years back. Those of us watching in real-time noticed something unusual happen, but it took a lot of prudish conservatives freeze-framing their VCRs to see her naughty bits, and then came the predictably apoplectic reaction.

    ESPN's response, like the FCC's historic fine in response to Janet's boob, wasn't leftist politically correct. If anything, it was rightist politically correct, which demands censorship "in the name of the children" of any and all discussion of the human body that could be considered sexual. But as any episode of "The Simpsons" demonstrates, the subtlety is for adult consumption and goes right over their children's heads.

    KinchenhugIf the adults didn't keep replaying Janet Jackson's "boob tube" moment with her nipple blurred, or keep rehashing Kinchen's comments for further interpretation, both would have passed without notice by 99.99 percent of the impressionable minors watching. Instead, our supposed adult reaction is the equivalent to Beavis telling Butthead, "Heh heh — he said 'balls.'"

    But, hey, if we're going to exaggerate the sexual in everything Kinchen says and does, let's not stop with his testicular commentary. How about this photo of the former New England Patriot tight end, hugging teammate Tom Ashworth during the Super Bowl. Where were the ESPN/FCC censors for that one?

    Follow the jump for more 'kinda gay' info on Kinchen:

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    Filed in: Sports
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