News: Illinois Lawsuits, Ann Curry, FCC, NOM Pride

ErikRhodes1NewsIcon The New York Observer offers thoughts on outing celebrities in an increasingly gay-friendly 21st century:  "…Living in the so-called “glass closet,” [celebrities] can forestall the legitimate press inquiring after their home life while also ensuring that their orientation is hardly breaking news. It’s being basically out, without having to answer any questions."

1NewsIcon A Cook County judge today announced that he's combining two ACLU and Lambda Legal lawsuits challenging Illinois' ban on gay marriage.

1NewsIcon National Organization for Marriage president Brian Brown arrived in San Francisco just in time for gay pride.

1NewsIcon The New York Times reports on gay adult film star the recent death of Erik Rhodes (pictured): "Over the last few years, he had also been the author of a harrowing (and frequently clever) Tumblr feed, on which he detailed his escapades escorting, his rampant steroid use and his stories of winding up in psychiatric wards after crystal meth binges… As the novelty of being in pornographic films wore off, Mr. Rhodes turned increasingly to the Internet, using his Tumblr feed and his Facebook page to discuss his sense of anguish. “I feel so left out … so alone,” he wrote in a post just weeks ago."

1NewsIcon A gay man in the Phillipines is recovering after being stabbed 21 times.

1NewsIcon Uganda's anti-gay government is banning 38 non-governmental organizations it accuses of "recruiting" gay people. "The NGOs are channels through which monies are channeled to (homosexuals) to recruit," said government "ethics" minister Simon Lokodo.

ThiefThieves 1NewsIcon You need no other reason to click this link than these words: wet, shirtless Hugh Jackman.

1NewsIcon It's official: Ann Curry is leaving NBC's Today Show after only a year.

1NewsIcon Lindsay Lohan looks more and more like Liz Taylor everyday.

1NewsIcon A look back at Prince William's first 30 years.

1NewsIcon Alec Baldwin dropped trou on David Letterman while discussing his scuffle with a photographer.

1NewsIcon Mitt Romney's campaign told Florida Gov. Rick Scott to "downplay" his state's economic improvement because it "clashes" with the GOP candidate's anti-Obama rhetoric.

1NewsIcon The Supreme Court threw out FCC fines against Fox and ABC for unplanned expletives and nudity on those broadcasters' programs. It did not, however, rule on whether the FCC's decency rules and potential penalties are unconstitutional. "[SCOTUS] decided to punt on the opportunity to issue a broad ruling on the constitutionality of the FCC indecency policy. The issue will be raised again as broadcasters will continue to try to grapple with the FCC's vague and inconsistent enforcement regime," said free speech lawyer Paul Smith.

PuzzledMorrisey1NewsIcon Would you take your chain-smoking multi-millionaire 26-year old lover out with your 6-year old daughter?

1NewsIcon Robert Kirkman is best known as creator of The Walking Dead, but he has plenty of other projects worth checking out, like the comic Thief of Thieves, which will also soon be a television show, as well.

1NewsIcon Morrissey describes rumors of his retirement as "wishful thinking." He'll be touring again this fall.

1NewsIcon Commerce Secretary John Bryson has resigned following two car crashes doctors say were the result of seizures. "I have concluded that the seizure I suffered on June 9th could be a distraction from my performance as secretary and that our country would be better served by a change in leadership at the department," said Bryson.

1NewsIcon Some things never change: "Bias against a Mormon presidential candidate hasn’t budged in 45 years, with 18% of Americans saying they would not vote for a well-qualified candidate who happened to be Mormon, according to a Gallup Poll released Thursday."

Comments

  1. Rick says

    “The gay porn audience often looks to a hulking macho fantasy, and he provided that,” said Michael Musto, the Village Voice gossip columnist who was friendly with Mr. Rhodes.”

    But….but….I thought the ideology of “gender-non-conformity” taught us that masculinity was a construct and a myth, that “macho” is a Neanderthal concept, and that any man who is obsessed with masculinity is insecure and misogynistic and probably has “Daddy issues”.

    Say it isn’t so!

  2. stevenelliot says

    RIP erik rhodes. Sad. Large doses of testosterone will thicken ur blood. Add to that meth which constricts ur blood vessels. Gosh thats a heart attack recipe for success. Meth is the scourge of the age. I feel sorry that this young man died so young.
    and if and fellow readers on here do that gym roid thing, Im not gonna preach, just for gods sake take a baby aspirin everyday.

  3. Nat says

    “But….but….I thought the ideology of “gender-non-conformity” taught us that masculinity was a construct and a myth, that “macho” is a Neanderthal concept, and that any man who is obsessed with masculinity is insecure and misogynistic and probably has “Daddy issues”.”

    I’m not sure how any of what you’re writing here invalidates Musto’s statement. Just because something is a cultural construction doesn’t mean it is devoid of meaning or utility.

    The point is to understand the existence of a construction, because in understanding its artificiality, people will feel freer to make the choices that they truly want, rather than the ones they feel they should make because society expects them to make. Because as it stands, people mistake their voluntary conformity for the fundamental nature of things, and we’re all collectively poorer.

  4. Rick says

    @NAT The point was not to invalidate Musto’s statement, which was, of course, entirely accurate……instead the point was to point up the laughable hypocrisy and disingenousness of gay men who eschew masculine values and criticize masculinity as some sort of “disease” or problem and even question whether masculinity even exists……at the same time that they worship at the throne of masculinity, place a social premium on men who display masculine (“macho”) characteristics, have a nuanced appreciation of every aspect of the masculine, and are deeply turned on by masculine men–as deeply as they are turned OFF by effeminate men.

    Who do any of you think you are foolin’?

  5. Michael says

    Rick, can’t you just accept the fact that not all gay men are going to fit into your vision of male masculinity. We’re all different; we come in all types. Can’t you recognize the beauty in that?

  6. Michael says

    Rick, can’t you just accept the fact that not all gay men are going to fit into your vision of male masculinity. We’re all different; we come in all types. Can’t you recognize the beauty in that?

  7. says

    Sadly, for Erik Rhodes (and men like him), the quest for masculinity was, in fact, a myth and a sort of disease, one that helped kill him. Not exactly a score-one for macho men. And his “masculinity” (artificially created through steroids) ultimately wasn’t worshipped or held at a premium since, apparently, he was miserable. And now he’s dead.

    Natural masculinity is sexy; artificial/drag masculinity is sad because it shows a desperation to be something you’re not meant to be. Those who are happy with themselves and their bodies, wherever those selves and bodies fall on the stereotypical masculinity spectrum, aren’t concerned with butching it up with roids. For many of us, there’s nothing more of a turn off than the “hulking macho fantasy” Michael Musto claims we look for.

  8. Nat says

    “instead the point was to point up the laughable hypocrisy and disingenousness of gay men who eschew masculine values and criticize masculinity as some sort of “disease” or problem and even question whether masculinity even exists……”

    Masculinity unquestionably exists. But the ease with which arbitrary things are designated as ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’ points to its inherent artificiality. It is a construct.

    “at the same time that they worship at the throne of masculinity, place a social premium on men who display masculine (“macho”) characteristics, have a nuanced appreciation of every aspect of the masculine, and are deeply turned on by masculine men–as deeply as they are turned OFF by effeminate men.”

    There are no doubt men who worship masculinity while simultaneously disdaining it. But there might also be men who simply don’t personally adhere to masculine characteristics themselves but find those qualities attractive in other men, just as there are masculine men who are attracted to less masculine men.

    This isn’t about a war on masculinity. It’s about the freedom to search for one’s own sense of identity in peace, and the argument that we all make choices about how we present ourselves to the world. And I’m not sure how someone else searching for their own peace of mind affects you so much.

  9. Nat says

    “instead the point was to point up the laughable hypocrisy and disingenousness of gay men who eschew masculine values and criticize masculinity as some sort of “disease” or problem and even question whether masculinity even exists……”

    Masculinity unquestionably exists. But the ease with which arbitrary things are designated as ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’ points to its inherent artificiality. It is a construct.

    “at the same time that they worship at the throne of masculinity, place a social premium on men who display masculine (“macho”) characteristics, have a nuanced appreciation of every aspect of the masculine, and are deeply turned on by masculine men–as deeply as they are turned OFF by effeminate men.”

    There are no doubt men who worship masculinity while simultaneously disdaining it. But there might also be men who simply don’t personally adhere to masculine characteristics themselves but find those qualities attractive in other men, just as there are masculine men who are attracted to less masculine men.

    This isn’t about a war on masculinity. It’s about the freedom to search for one’s own sense of identity in peace, and the argument that we all make choices about how we present ourselves to the world. And I’m not sure how someone else searching for their own peace of mind affects you so much.

  10. Rick says

    “Rick, can’t you just accept the fact that not all gay men are going to fit into your vision of male masculinity. We’re all different; we come in all types. Can’t you recognize the beauty in that?”

    Michael, I am well aware that there is great diversity among human beings, among men, and among gay men. I value that diversity and embrace it.

    However, there is a difference between being a more “gentle” type of guy (precisely the origin of the word “gentleman”) who is not the macho type…..and being a man who deliberately and purposefully idolizes women in preference to his own gender, who artificially mimics the behavior of women, and who tries to undermine masculine values–even as he worships them in other men.

    The latter is an artificial creation and a result of internalization of the notion that homosexuality and masculinity are incompatible…..in short a result of internalizing the mantra of our oppressors…..and is unnatural and unattractive….and ultimately harmful to the individual engaging in such behavior, as well as to gay men in general through the perpetuation of stereotypes about us.

    That needs to be recognized and the problem fixed.

    @Ernie Erik Rhodes and his personal tragedy is not the real point–and his masculinity clearly had nothing to do with his problems.

    The real point, which you are trying to run from, is the one I stated about the ludicrousness of some gay men trying to undermine masculine values (out of fear that they cannot measure up to standards of masculinity) at the same time that they worship masculine behavior. You can’t have it both ways…..and anyone trying to just makes themselves look absurd in the process, as their dirty little secrets get revealed by such contradictions.

  11. stevenelliot says

    Personally, I like my men to have a little sway in their hips….I prefer males who are more feminine in demeanor. To me, they are sexier. There are plenty of butch guys I think are hot, but if I had to choose between Chris Colfer and Joe Manganiello? case closed, OH Chris? where r you baby?

  12. Rick says

    “Masculinity unquestionably exists. But the ease with which arbitrary things are designated as ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’ points to its inherent artificiality. It is a construct.”

    It depends on what you consider arbitrary and what you don’t consider arbitrary. Just to use one example, men in general are unquestionably more aggressive than women and there are biological factors driving that aggressiveness. It therefore has to be regarded as part of nature and not a cultural “construct.”

    The whole “construct” idea originated with feminists–who want to empower women artificially…..I say artificially because in a socially Darwinian world, men will always dominate (and that is demonstrated by human history)–and who needed an intellectual concept (however disingenuous and unfounded) that would allow them to legitimize such empowerment.

    It is precisely because it is such a disingenuous concept that the contradictions I alluded to arise.

    How many times have you heard a “strong woman” like Hillary Clinton decry attacks on “women and children” in a place like Syria as particularly heinous? Which leads to the question why, if women are as “strong” as men would attacks on them be more heinous than attacks on men? And why would a supposedly “strong” woman be suggesting such?

    See how the game is played? If a double standard benefits you, apply the “nature” card. If it doesn’t benefit you, apply the “equality”/”construct” card.

    Same with effeminate gay men. Pretend that masculinity is a “construct” when not being masculine will deny you respect and status…..but then turn around and “discriminate” against other effeminate gay men when it comes to how you value them socially and sexually, claiming that your attraction to the masculine is just “nature” and you can do nothing about it.

  13. love it says

    Love it, STEVENELLIOT. We certainly need to hear more voices celebrating the sex appeal and desirability of different kinds of men, not just the same old voices repeating the same narrative about ideal archetypal ‘masculine’ man.

  14. says

    Erik Rhodes’s personal tragedy wasn’t the point of my comment, Rick. I had no idea who he was before he died, I have no interest in running from anything. You brought up the Musto quote, saying it was “entirely accurate.” I was merely pointing out how, for many of us, it’s honestly not accurate at all, nor are your other assertions that reflect your own relationship to masculinity and femininity but don’t reflect ours.

    Ultimately, anyone who is comfortable in his own skin is at the place they need to be in terms of masculinity. Unfortunately, there are some men, like Erik, it seems, who artificially pump themselves up with roids and spend half their lives at the gym to attain a hollow parody of masculinity. Personally, I think that this artificial masculinity is more of a problem within the gay male community, particularly among older men who went through the AIDs crisis, than artificial femininity.

    But, really, each person needs to define for himself how to be honest. What’s most dishonest is to project one’s own ideas/insecurities about masculinity onto a whole community and then pretend it’s the problem of our times. It’s your problem of our times, not ours.

  15. says

    I’m fearing that I’m starting to get trollish on my comments here lately when Andy is out and others get to take the reins. But I think I now really get the difference.

    Before, I would say that it’s un-journalistic behavior on a blog that I count on for news, rather than commentary. But truth be told, Andy comments with a point of view and I think it’s fine. This news roundup got me though.

    it’s judgment. (The Mary-Kate reference is what made that clear to me. Yes, I get the link, but the judgment in the text of the link is unnecessary.) I hear a lot of shade indiscriminately thrown by both Andrew and Brandon.

    I’m not trying to bash either person, but I don’t know that this is the tone of this blog. Well, at least it’s not why I read it daily. And I’m not trying to get anyone fired, but if this is going to so similar to Dlisted, rather than just linking to interesting articles on Dlisted without slant, I can find better things to read.

    Sorry for the vent, but oy. I can only take so much bitchery.

  16. jaragon says

    Eric Rhodes is another tragic example of a gay man trying to live up to some sort of impossible ideal (hey I’m not saying that the macho muscle god fantasy is not appealing in some level) Real masculinity is more about self confidence than some sort of chemical induced body.

  17. says

    One can respect and value other gay men without being attracted to them sexually. And one can be physically attracted to people you don’t respect at all. (I have a perverse attraction to Paul Ryan, for instance, though his politics make my flesh crawl.) Many men are attracted to what they are not and are completely honest about it. And many men’s tastes change over time. The key is being comfortable with your own masculinity so that there is no need to project insecurities onto others, and for some gay men this may be a process and a struggle.

  18. Kenneth says

    It’s always about a war on masculinity with rick. If he would spend more time in the real world and less salivating in a bathroom cubicle, he might realize that a) masculinity is a social construct which changes and has changed with the times b) some people, straight and gay alike, are naturally born with less masculine traits – according to current perceptions and c) one’s inherent masculinity and/or femininity have absolutely no bearing on one’s objects of attraction.

  19. UFFDA says

    RICK – I was watching some old films of Maria Callas singing last night and could see why many gay men respond to strong and obvious female emotion in the performing arts. Her powerful feelings were written all over her with a tremulous immediacy one rarely sees in any life, and least of all in men in either life or performance. It is that authenticy, the kind we see in women especially that we respond to. Callas is a personally ideal case and works for me with deep sighs as I watch her performances. She breaks my heart. And this is also how I felt about the performances of Heath and Jake in Brokeback Mountain. So men can evoke the deepest feelings as well. I admire them all.

    Perhaps the fandom given to the Diva (and Callas really was one) is due to the hunger for and satisfaction in females who can truly deliver that level, or that plateau, of living and feeling that so many gay men feel within but cannot see much expression of in most other men, even as performers.

    But then I think not only of Heath and Jake, but of Montgomery Clift – yes, a gay man – and others I cannot immediately include here who likewise raise the bar of emotional depth giving us all plenty to admire. It just seems that women do it more often, more naturally and easily.

    Just some thoughts.

  20. says

    Masculine gays, or atleast gays who pride themselves in their masculinity are some of the most F-ed up people I’ve ever met. Self loathing, insecurity, daddy issues and a whole host of other problems. It’s really actually something worth doing a study on.

  21. Jacob T. says

    Give me a fem gay any day over a butch guy. Something I too fid both charming, cute an irresitable about a fem guy who is himself. I say that as a masc gay man who knows that many of my equally masculine gay friends love the company of a fem guy.

  22. IonMusic says

    Feminine gays are an will always be a fabric of gay community and culture and bles them for being at a point where they CAN be unapologetically themselves. Not everyone lives their short life trying to please others.

  23. Diotrs says

    The notion of maculinity being superior and brain washing all gays to be masculine comes from homophobia. You see, the homophobe does not want to know gays exist. If they can blend in and not be fey, then for the homophobe, they are as good as closeted. I have moments where I queen out an I relish them. They certainly are part of my gayness, but I’m gay and not uncomfortable nor insecure with that being known.

  24. Steve-ATL says

    I feel sorry for the “straight acting” crowd who has to live their repressed life censoring themselve and constantly hypet aware of how straight they come across and how gay they don’t want to come across. Why even continue living at that point? You’re a sell out who is playing a fake part. Straight ACTING. Emphasis on act!

  25. UFFDA says

    A number of you are talking about forced or posturing masculinity, which is a bogus kind. Take dancer/singer Jay Christianson who sang “Minneapolis” earlier this week, or performers Tom Goss or Matt Alber, or Burtka and NPH – all are good sound examples of normal, effortless sweet male behaviour, no affectations, just good people of the male gender. They are far more appealing, and common, than either the hyper-masculine guys or the forced clowns seen in drag shows. Fem guys are fine if they are authentic, masc ones too if they’re just being regular guys.

  26. Rick says

    A couple of points in response to the comments.

    One, I quite agree that one should distinguish between a phony sort of hyper-masculinity that drives the behavior of some gay men (and some straight men, for that matter) and natural masculinity, which is what characterizes pretty much all men in their natural state, although there is a continuum. I also agree that some of the aspirations to hyper-masculinity are driven by insecurity.

    I, myself, have never been attracted to the steroided-up body-builder types, in part because of their artificiality. Chris Atkins parading around in his Speedo on Dallas circa 1982 is more my speed.

    But those of you claiming to find effeminate men appealing–or that masculinity in a man is a neutral factor in terms of his attractiveness to you–are just being dishonest, I am afraid. While I will concede that some individuals in any group will differ from the norm and that there may be a few gay men who honestly find effeminate men appealing, we all know that, generally speaking, the preference for the masculine is well-established…..and there are even academic studies that demonstrate it. Just scroll through the ads on Craig’s list and look at all the “No fems” and “Masc only” references….by contrast, you will virtually never see a “Fems only please” or a “No masc” ad.

    And this is true of tops, even. After all, if you really find the feminine appealing, why would you not simply take up with a woman rather than a man. For most tops, one of the appeals of gay sex is the challenge that “taking” another man offers, in contrast to the “no contest” that exists with a woman–and an effeminate gay man offers no more of a challenge in that regard than a woman does.

    UFFDA, as to your point about Maria Callas, I would point out that all great artists of that sort have fans of different persuasions–male and female, gay and straight–but what happens with many gay men when it comes to the “diva” phenomenon goes way beyond being a fan, I am afraid–instead, it becomes an identification…..and the fact that the same kind of identification virtually never happens with a male performer underlines that. So seen in that light, it is just a manifestation of the artificial “living vicariously through women” phenomenon that I referred to earlier.

    Where I want to take all of us is to a truly natural state of masculinity that will look like neither the homophobia-inspired traditional “straight” male culture, nor the gay male culture of effeminacy, which is just as artificial and just as damaging to men as the former.

    Why anyone would object to that, other than out of their own fear of change, is beyond me.

  27. UFFDA says

    RICK – ” Where I want to take all of us is to a truly natural state of masculinity that will look like neither the homophobia-inspired traditional “straight” male culture, nor the gay male culture of effeminacy, which is just as artificial and just as damaging to men as the former.”

    Nothing the matter with that, though a lot of dudes will be kicking and screaming. Say on, however resisted it will have its effect.

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