Monday, March 30, 2009

Just Make Sure Tony Scott Doesn't Direct

Penélope Cruz has already been getting into character during press conferences.

The story of the two female police officers in Israel who posed undercover as a lesbian couple to help bust 46 drug dealers needs to be made into a movie, right now. The plot will have to be tweaked a little, in typical Hollywood fashion, so the officers slowly find themselves attracted to each other in real life, but you can't disagree that gay audiences aren't owed as much after the travesty that was "Partners". And I can't be the only one who thinks this would be the perfect project for Penélope Cruz and Salma Hayek -- it would easily draw twice the audience as "Bandidas," which means at least four people would see it...

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Advertisers Want to Help You Find Sperm

Woody Allen finds these ads very troubling; as you might recall, he fathered
a child with a lesbian in "Manhattan" and had a hard time dealing with it.

Have you ever wondered why there are often ads for find-a-sperm-donor services on this, a website that has nothing to do with wanting, having or raising babies? (Not that I have anything against babies. They're cute and some of them have a weird way of looking like tiny little elderly people that I find amusing, but they also baffle me. In a lot of ways, they're like women: I have no idea why they're crying, and they've been known to unexpectedly throw up on me.) It's a question that's been weighing on my mind since earlier this afternoon, when I glanced at my post about "A Secret" to make sure I hadn't made any glaring typographical mistakes and noticed an advertisement beneath it that said "Find a Sperm Donor Today -- Serving Lesbian Couples & Singles."

I ask you, women and queens who read this, how effective can these ads really be? What are the odds that someone who comes here to read about "Daphne" is going to glance down at the screen, see that kind of banner, and think to herself "What a great idea! I hadn't planned on having a baby -- I'd only wanted to know if this movie was worth renting -- but now I know where my tax refund is going!" Really, if the idea is to target ads to a particular demographic, I think they'd be better off hocking "Mommie Dearest" DVDs and curling brooms here (yes, Canadian readers, I see you out there), but that's just a hunch.

A Semi-Secret Lesbian in "A Secret"

Julie Depardieu tends to Quentin Dubuis in "A Secret"

I don't recommend you seek out Claude Miller's Holocaust drama "A Secret" for its lesbian content, which is virtually nil, or for any other reason. The story of François, a young French boy who was born to Jewish parents in the 1940s and spent his childhood convinced he was competing against a "phantom brother," it's a handsomely made film that shows little interest in most of its characters (when Ludivine Sagnier hardly registers as a presence in a film, you know something isn't right) or, ultimately, anything that happened to them. (It also skips between the '40s and '50s and the 1980s somewhat hokily; the black and white scenes with Mathieu Amalric as the adult François are nice to look -- until they take on the appearance of perfume ads, with the emotional depth to match.)

But one of its characters is a lesbian, which I hadn't seen mentioned in any of the reviews I read prior to renting it, so I thought I'd mention it here for those of you who keep tabs on these things. That character, Louise (played winningly by Julie Depardieu), a massage therapist and long-time friend of François' family, is in some ways the emotional heart of the film: It is Louise, not his mother, who François runs to for comfort in times of distress, and it is Louise who eventually answers his questions about the past.

Not much is made of her orientation, which is first hinted at when a 7-year-old François asks why she doesn't have a husband and her response suggests she'd simply have no use for one; in a later scene that serves no purpose other than to illustrate that she does have a personal life, she greets a smiling female acquaintance on the street and leads her into her apartment. (She also, in a minor but noticeable touch, sometimes wears pants while the women around her are in dresses.) Louise's defining moment comes during a heated exchange with Esther, a character who believes the husband of a woman who was taken away by the Germans is cheating on his absent wife:
Esther: Doesn't it make you sick?

Louise: I've seen worse.

Esther: You say that because you also...

Louise: Go on, say it. I also think Tania's desirable? It's true. She's beautiful and desirable.

Esther: So you excuse them?

Louise: No, I just don't judge them.
Louise is able to calm Esther; her gentleness and pragmatism has that effect on everyone. She is an interesting supporting character who would have been even more interesting in a better movie.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Homophobic Parents Ruin Girl-Girl Action for Viewers of Crappy TV Show

Remember earlier this month when I speculated that maybe parents of teens and pre-teens in Australia wouldn't act like fuckheads about the upcoming lesbian kissage on "Home and Away"? I was way, way wrong.

The Australian
is now reporting that "Since the lesbian story-line began two weeks ago, 100,000 viewers have turned off and complaints have been flooding in," prompting producers to edit the kiss, which was reportedly "no more intimate than any kiss shared by a heterosexual couple" on the show, to make it less explicit. You'd think concerned parents in Australia would have bigger things to worry about than a simple TV lip-lock, but maybe that's part of the problem -- they're too busy watching TV and bitching about 'the gays' to make sure their kids aren't depressed or pregnant. (It's almost like they think they're Americans...)

UPDATED (04/01/09) - For some reason it's making headlines that the controversy-stirring kiss in question aired on "Home and Away" in Australia on Tuesday as planned. I'm not quite sure what all the hullabaloo is about, as you'll recall that the original report never said the kiss was being scrapped altogether, just that "some of the more intimate close-up images of policewoman Charlie Buckton and deckhand Joey Collins sharing a passionate kiss" would be cut. That fits with what network honcho Bevan Lee had to say about the episode; from the Telegraph article linked to above: "'Home and Away' bosses had decided to air the first, more gentle kiss, without the 'more lusty' follow up because it fitted better with the storyline."

In other words, this isn't much of a victory: it's exactly what we were told was going to happen back when this first made news, even if Lee maintains the decision to show a tamer kiss was merely "artistic" in nature.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Marlene Dietrich Wouldn't Tolerate This!

Gay rights activists in Morocco (one of Marlene Dietrich's favorite on-screen spots for picking up women -- in real life, I think she'd pick 'em up anywhere) are worried that the already limited rights of the country's gays and lesbians are being threatened anew by the Moroccan government's purported plans to "preserve citizens' ethics and defend our society against all irresponsible actions that mar our identity and culture". Frankly, I read the entire article and still don't know what the hell's going on over there (it took a turn for the convoluted around the halfway point), but it's another thing to get pissed off about, and you can never have enough of those.

I've Been Sucked Into a Vortex of Boredom

Mind you, I'm not bored enough to paint a gigantic penis on the roof of anyone's house, but this has been a very uneventful day so far and we're not even through the morning yet...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Is Homophobia Killing Straight Men in Jamaica?

This, if you ask me, is quite possibly the WTF to end all WTFs:
CHAIRMAN of the Jamaica Cancer Society, Earl Jarrett, has raised concerns that the fear of being labelled homosexuals is causing some Jamaican men to shy away from doing prostate examinations, resulting in the country maintaining the record of having one of the highest prostate cancer rates in the world.
Or, as Jarrett recently explained to Rotary Club members in New Kingston: "In 2009, there is no reason why Jamaican men should still be of the view that to have a digital rectal examination is an indication of some homosexuality. There is no reason why we should allow the homophobia to get to the stage where it impacts on our health."

The last time my mom had a mammogram she came home with a mug that bore the name of the center she visited and some kind of inspirational slogan; maybe in Jamaica they could pass out complimentary shirts that say, "I had a digital rectal examination in a non-homosexual kind of way and all I got was this lousy t-shirt."

Sunday, March 22, 2009

You Stay Classy, British Tabloids

British reality TV star Jade Goody died this morning of cervical cancer, as almost everyone with a working Internet connection must know by now, and what does the ever-respectful Sun newspaper have to say about it? I didn't read the body of the article, but I think you'll agree that the headline speaks for itself: "Jade Goody loses cancer fight - Mum was a lesbian, Dad was a drug addict burglar who hid guns under her cot."

Friday, March 20, 2009

'USA Today' Readers Are Geniuses of Stupidity

Some choice reader comments in response to an innocuous USA Today article about a new Williams Institute study that analyzed poverty rates among "the gays" and found that "children of same-sex parents are twice as likely to live in poverty as those of traditional married couples."

Lee Badgett, a co-author of the study, points out that gay families are at a financial disadvantage because they're denied Social Security survivor benefits and are also, in many cases, denied the same health insurance coverage as their married heterosexual counterparts; Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation -- they're idiots, if you aren't familiar with them -- has already called the study "garbage." Here's what anonymous jackasses on the Internet have to say about it:
"Dumb article, same sex couples could not have kids."

"Really, that's what makes people poor? Because there is no one or government program to pick up the slack for them? It's amazing that single people can make it at all, if that is true."

"Who would have figured that having a father and a mother who honor marital covenants makes any difference with their children. I guess that is why it is called a family."

"And this is news? USATODAY will print anything to take the spot light off Obama and his failed policys."

"Actually it is impossible for same sex parents to have children, at least in the conventional sense. To state something like this without at least qualifying it shows poor understanding at best."

"People can print this story and use it in their bathrooms to wipe with. I usually have respect for USAToday, but this story has no backbone or validity."

"Poverty is the least of the problems these kids have. Growing up in a homosexual environment is the worst possible scenario for a child. Allowing gays to adopt children is a huge error in judgement by the courts and state legislatures."
And of course, there's also a comedian:
"I think they would have more money if they didn't eat out so much.....I couldn't resist saying that."

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

This is the Kind of Stupidity That Gets Me to Post

For several days I've been waiting to read something, anything, that's worth writing about here, but nothing was happening ... until now. ABC is finally, after eight seasons that had to be horrible since even the commercials made for tedious viewing, killing "According to Jim." That will free the show's star, "Curly Sue" actor Jim Belushi, to spend more time being unfunny around his family, who will likely decide not to renew his contract when it ends in 2012.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Argentina Loves Teen Lesbians, In a Non-Pervy Kind of Way

When I first clicked on a story called "In Argentina, a Camera and a Blog Make a Star" at the New York Times website this morning, I had no idea who it was about. But the second I saw a picture of 17-year-old Agustina Vivero, a popular "flogger" (or photo blogger) from Argentina whose Internet success has earned her modeling gigs, TV offers and promotional appearances, I thought to myself, "Do these teenagers know their 'star' is a lesbian?" As it turns out, they do. Writes Alexei Barrionuevo:

Her unlikely popularity is also redefining stereotypes of youth celebrity in Argentina. Ms. Vivero, who is openly gay, describes herself and other floggers as "androgynous" for their unisex clothing. She is comfortable with not being model-thin, eschewing dieting and boasting of her love of junk food and chocolate — a different message in a country where women have high rates of eating disorders.

"We are breaking a lot of barriers," she said.

That's pretty kick-ass, is it not?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Australian Soap Will Scandalize Viewers with PG-Rated Lesbian Dancing

Quick, someone call John Lithgow. This madness must be stopped! A policewoman character on the Australian soap opera "Home and Away" is about to find love with a female deck hand (is it safe, then, to assume they don't have lumberjacks in Australia?) in a story line that will feature kissing and -- I advise you not to read any further if you're easily offended -- dancing. On the count of three, let's all shake our heads like we're convinced the world is going to hell in a handbasket and say it together: Won't anyone think of the children?

A group called Pro-Family Perspectives is doing just that; their director has been quoted as saying, "The plot lines that young kids and teenagers should be presented with should be about really authentic relationships that are not just sexualised." Whether that means they disapprove of homosexuality or they're merely opposed to the idea of a lesbian relationship being used as a possible ratings stunt, I couldn't tell you. In any event, there's been little sign of widespread public outrage yet, maybe because parents have viewed their own teenagers' MySpace pages and are smart enough to realize that their kids won't be seeing anything on "Home and Away" that they haven't already taken countless pictures of their drunken friends doing at parties.

Americans Reject Religion; Religion Seeks Comfort in Tub of Häagen-Dazs

Finally, the rest of America is catching up to the gays in the really-fucking-sick-of-religious-zealots department. From a CNN report:
America is a less Christian nation than it was 20 years ago, and Christianity is not losing out to other religions, but primarily to a rejection of religion altogether, a survey published Monday found.
And why might that be? Mark Silk of Trinity College thinks it could have something to do with evangelical crazies scaring the bejesus out of everyone. Again from the CNN article:
"In the 1990s, it really sunk in on the American public generally that there was a long-lasting 'religious right' connected to a political party, and that turned a lot of people the other way," [Silk] said of the link between the Republican Party and groups such as the Moral Majority and Focus on the Family.

"In an earlier time, people who would have been content to say, 'Well, I'm some kind of a Protestant,' now say 'Hell no, I won't go,'" he told CNN.
I find it hard to believe that Americans have started to tire of waking up early on Sunday mornings to listen to kooky pastors like Rev. Willie Wilson rant and rave, in graphic detail, about the nuts and bolts (or nuts and screws, as he puts it) of Very Important Subjects like gay sex. But there are lots of things I've never understood about Americans -- everything from how we made REO Speedwagon popular to why we allowed Alan Alda to become so self-important -- so there's really nothing new there.

Monday, March 9, 2009

If You Like Photography...

Check out this article about Ruth Jacobi. (I have nothing rude to say about it, which doesn't happen very often.)

So Long, Suckers (and Good Riddance, Betty!)

Pam Grier is prepared to defend herself against another Papi-centric story line.

"The L Word" was put of out of its misery last night after six seasons of unwavering mediocrity, and while I didn't see the finale (a few episodes into the shortened final season, when it became clear that the writers had again failed to come up with any kind of game plan, I bailed), some guy who did says it sucked. He misspelled Pam Grier's name in his review, by the way, so I'm not quite sure that he can be trusted, but ... Oh, who am I kidding? There's no way in hell the finale wasn't every bit as terrible as all the episodes that preceded it. And if you're looking for a second opinion, Entertainment Weekly's Nicholas Fonseca agrees the big denouement left something to be desired, but ends things on a more philosophical note, writing:
But years from now, will it even matter how the show went out in its final hour? It was really the other 69 episodes that made The L Word a TV milestone.
If by that he means a milestone in unbridled -- and unrivaled -- awfulness, then I agree. But Fonseca continues:
As the retrospective that aired beforehand reminded us, its impact expands far beyond its barrier-busting stories: TV's first deaf lesbian, its first regularly occurring transsexual character, bisexuals of both genders, drag kings, the US military's don't-ask-don't-tell policy, biracial identity, gay parenting, sex/drug/alcohol/gambling addiction, sexual abuse, midlife sexual awakenings, breast cancer...this show took on a lot. Judging by the frequent erraticism of its storytelling, it probably took on too much. In the end, I say, thank goodness it had the guts to take them on at all.
My thoughts are slightly different. Maybe, on occasion, when you know you're failing miserably at something, you have to stop trying to do it. I know that's the kind of crazy notion that runs contrary to everything the entertainment industry normally believes in (after all, these are the same brain trusts who thought Freddie Prinze Jr. was a good idea in the '90s), but can you honestly say that "The L Word" was successful in its handling of any of those issues?

It didn't entirely botch the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' story line (which was less effective than it would have been had viewers been given more reasons to care about Tasha, the new character who was the focus of the subplot), and no missteps were made with issues of biracial identity, but the failures of all those other story lines were pretty massive. What "The L Word" did best was frivolity and froth, and even those episodes (which were mostly the work of writer-director Angela Robinson and not Ilene Chaiken, the show's demented creator and resident peddler of overpriced "L-Word"-themed jewelry) were few and far between.

Altogether, this is a series that will be remembered for two things: having a bunch of lesbian characters (which is good) and inspiring eight trillion shitty YouTube fan-edited clips of C-list actresses making out with each other while Sarah McLachlan wails in the background (which is bad). Call it a draw.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Another Example of My Astonishing Stupidity

The kind of photo that causes my confusion.

Why is it that every time I flip through a magazine and kind of half-glance at a picture of someone walking their dogs and think to myself "Now there's a guy I'd have sex with (if I had sex with guys)," it ends up being Jessica Biel?

It happened to me earlier this week for what was probably the third time in two years, and it's starting to piss me off. What is wrong with my head (on second thought, don't answer that) that it can't remember that broad shoulders, muscular arms and macho posture almost always equal Jessica Biel? Perhaps more importantly, what is wrong with me that I don't bother looking at someone for more than a nanosecond before I consider having sex with them? We already knew I was something of a whore when it comes to film noir actresses, but to think that it has now extended to a former star of "7th Heaven" who is best known for dating the "Dick in a Box" guy is kind of depressing.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

What Is On This Lesbian's Head?

And did she kill it before putting it there? I've never seen Jane Velez-Mitchell on CNN (or Headline News) before, but it would add to the excitement of the broadcast if there was always the possibility that her hair -- which appears to be a roadkill-inspired variation on the Carol Brady shag -- might get up and walk away. (That's the kind of suspense that keeps me watching Frank Cusumano's sports segments on KSDK, don't you know.)

The most important parts of yesterday's New York Times profile of Velez-Mitchell were the following:
Jane Velez-Mitchell is a true-crime author, a television talking head, a lesbian, an animal activist, a recovering alcoholic and a vegan.
Ms. Velez-Mitchell's hour of water-cooler talk, delivered with heavy doses of opinion, reached an average of 596,000 viewers in February, up 74 percent from the slot's average for the same month last year, when the conservative commentator Glenn Beck was the host.
That's fantastic, isn't it, when HLN viewers prefer a lesbian vegan/animal activist to the insufferable Glenn Beck? The only thing I don't understand is why the Times had to point out that she's a recovering alcoholic: I'm pretty sure that "true-crime author" is a euphemism for that, so it was a little redundant.

P.S. If I ever get a gig on CNN, I plan on either wearing a clown wig or a Tina Turner circa "Private Dancer" wig on-air. Actually, who needs CNN as an excuse? I'm going to wear a rainbow-colored clown 'fro all day tomorrow just for the hell of it.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Uganda Confronts the Gay Menace

"Shh... We don't want those men who are singing show tunes to know we're here."

Take a look at this press release straight out of Uganda:
Family Life Network and other stakeholders in Uganda have organized a three-day seminar to provide what they termed as reliable and up to date information so that people can know how to protect themselves, their children, families [sic] from homosexuality.
What kind of protective "how to keep your kids away from the evil gay agenda" measures do you think the Family Life Network will advocate at this seminar? I hope parents are encouraged to take a page from Jodie Foster's book and build a panic room. The joke would go right over their heads, of course, but you'd have to assume that happens with some regularity when you're dealing with people who feel compelled to defend themselves against homosexuality. Which reminds me: I saw an obscure Bela Lugosi movie on TCM last October -- they played it in the middle of the night, after yet another screening of "White Zombie" -- that suggested garlic will do the trick.

Clutch Those Pearls, Irish Lady!

Parents can be funny about "the gay." My mom and dad, for example, were fine with my coming out -- their only complaint was that I waited too long to tell them. (My parents, it should be noted, are insane: I came out to them when I was in high school. What was I supposed to do, celebrate my fifth-grade graduation by flinging the closet door open? It's not like I had a clue what was going on back then. When I turned on VH1 hoping to catch George Michael's "Freedom! '90" video, I thought it was because I liked the music.)

But even though they've adopted this "Give me a G, give me an A, give me a Y!" rah-rah attitude, voting for pro-gay politicians and seeing "Brokeback Mountain" in theaters (which was good because it meant my dad had to watch guys make out, but bad because he doesn't seem to realize now that not all gay people are tortured ranch hands from Wyoming), they still use a few phrases that make me cringe. The most popular one is "We just want you to be happy."

Shouldn't that go without saying, that your parents want you to be happy? How often do parents, even really poor excuses for parents, tell their children, "We want you to be unhappy. Seriously, Tim, we've never liked you. We're not even indifferent to your happiness. We hate you so much that every Wednesday and Saturday, right after we pray to win the Powerball jackpot, we ask God and Jesus and your dear departed grandpa up in heaven to make sure your life is full of heartache and misery."

And what about this one: "It's just that it's such a hard life." What the hell are the people who say that talking about? What is so hard about being a gay adult in the United States in the year 2009? Fine, so the world is full of homophobes. The world is also full of racists and sexists and anti-Semites, yet not once has anyone ever sat me down and said, "You know that I love you and accept you, and that I've never had a problem with you being a girl. It's just that I worry about you. It's such a hard life, having to sit when you pee and not being guaranteed the right to vote until 1920."

When my dad hauls out the old "such a hard life" chestnut, I have to take a deep breath to keep from snapping, "Having cancer is hard. Learning to use a prosthetic leg is hard. Living in dire poverty is hard. Being transfixed by Eva Mendes's ass? Not hard. I'm not complaining."

But there's something else I won't complain about from now on: My dad. Because over the weekend I read something in The Irish Independent that put all his hand-wringing in perspective. Behold, the parents who are "devastated because our only son says he's homosexual." The mother's hysterical letter to an advice columnist includes passages like:
I have prayed until I am sick. My husband is on medication for high blood pressure, is severely stressed all the time, and cannot sleep. He says "never a day goes by that I don't cry". What a waste.

I am distressed, crying bitterly, and full of guilty questions like where did we go wrong. What did we do, or fail to do? I cannot close my eyes at night without crying out loud and wondering and worrying about him. How can we relieve this situation?

We have not discussed the issue with friends, although some close relations are aware of it. We feel we have to sell our small business and move away from here. I don't think I can bear this any longer. Yes, we think of the anguish our son must have gone through/must still be going through, his loneliness and isolation. Yet he is happy to visit gay clubs and meet with other men.

What are the odds that all the "anguish" her son is going through has more to do with having nutcase parents than liking gay porn? (She mentions porn in the full letter.) And what does she think selling her business and moving is going to accomplish? She's still going to know her son's a big 'mo regardless of where she lives. And her husband! His blood pressure's through the roof, he can't stop crying... He sounds a little queeny himself, the way he's thriving on all the drama. If I were the hugging type, I'd hug both of my parents today. And once the shock subsided and they asked what it was for, I'd say, "For not being fuckheads." Warms the cockles of your heart, doesn't it?

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