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04/19/2007


Can You Spot a Straight Man?: VIDEO

 

Straightwatching

Growing up in the closet means most gay men have a finely tuned "gaydar" that allows them to identify other gay men by picking up on the subtle cues and clues in things such as dress and mannerisms that fly right over the heads of straight guys.

Identifying a straight manHowever, the advent of metrosexuality combined with the rising levels of acceptance and adoption of traits normally reserved for the gays - for example, dressing well and being willing to make physical contact with other males outside of a sportsball competition - means that a lot of straight men are jamming that gaydar, particularly in metropolitan areas.

Author Jeffery Self attempts to come to the rescue with a handy manual he wrote titled Straight People: A Spotter’s Guide to the Fascinating World of HeterosexualsWith his book to guide you, you may be able to tell whether or not that cute bear cub in Margaret Cho's audience is Dorothy's friend or her date. Self isn't leaving the lesbians out, either: he also includes chapters on identifying straight women with categories like "single wannabe Carrie Bradshaw" and "adorkable heterosexual girl."

You can watch Self explain his book for himself AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Can You Spot a Straight Man?: VIDEO" »


Gay Men Make The Best Bosses

Best Boss

We all know that being gay is awesome and we're great at most anything we put our minds to, so it should come as no surprise that we make some of the best bosses in the workforce according to a book profiled on Details.com. What gay men appear to do better than straight men in positions of authority is to actually respect subordinates as human beings with lives and problems and complications all their own and treat them with the level of compassion and understanding that they need to remain happy and effective, versus telling them to nut-up and get over it, whatever "it" may be.

The reason for this appears to stem from how most gay men grew up and subsequently came out. The constant navigation of social cues in high school to avoid or confront discrimination taught many how to adapt intuitively and be resilient, while the coming out process cemented the security one has in knowing one's self and thus largely don't feel the need to be the cliche asshole boss to assert dominance over others.

While it would seem like this is just masturbatory self-congratulation, there is research to give it credence. USC business-school professor Kirk Snyder spent five years studying American executives and wrote his findings in The G Quotient: Why Gay Executives Are Excelling as Leaders . . . and What Every Manager Needs to Know. What he found was that gay male bosses produce 35 to 60 percent higher levels of employee engagement, satisfaction, and morale than straight bosses. This is a huge deal given that the Saratoga Institute found that of 20,000 former workers who quit their jobs the behavior of their supervisors was the primary complaint.


Pastor Robert Jeffress: Obama Is Paving The Way For The Antichrist

Robert Jeffress

Dallas megachurch pastor Robert Jeffress has written a new book about spiritually preparing for the end times and the second coming of Jesus entitled Perfect Ending: Why Your Eternal Future Matters Today, which presently has a perfect 5-star rating on Amazon due to the dozen or so laughably obvious plants who have only reviewed Perfect Ending or only books by Jeffress.

And the reason that Jeffress is convinced that the end times are coming, beyond it being the standard fetish for evangelical preachers? Obama, of course. And gay marriage. In his book he writes:

For the first time in history a president of our country has openly proposed altering one of society’s (not to mention God’s) most fundamental laws: that marriage should be between a man and a woman. While I am not suggesting that President Obama is the Antichrist, the fact that he was able to propose such a sweeping change in God’s law and still win reelection by a comfortable margin illustrates how a future world leader will be able to oppose God’s laws without any repercussions.

So because Obama has taken his own steps to allow gay couples to be legally-recognized in the U.S., the path has been cleared for an easy takeover by the antichrist. That's not the least bit insane.


Final 'Tales of the City' Book, 'Days Of Anna Madrigal,' To Be Published Later This Month

MaupintalesIt has been a long road, but Armistead Maupin's classic Tales of the City is coming to an end on January 21st with the publication of the ninth and final book in the series. Titled The Days of Anna Madrigal, the new book ends a literary tradition begun in 1978 as a newspaper serial. Fans of Maupin's work, like blogger Cory Doctorow, are lamenting the conclusion of the beloved Tales, but are also looking forward to reading this final book.

Doctorow, writing for Boing Boing, reports:

I grew up on the Tales books, and when I moved to San Francisco, I was delighted to see so many of the places and scenes from the novels playing out in real life (as I mentioned in my recent review of The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For, Maupin's books chronicle an age of personal and political activism that seems unimaginably far behind us today).

The serial format served Maupin well, making for a story that's so compulsively readable by dint of the need to finish each thousand words with a cliff-hanger -- shades of Dickens -- that it's nearly impossible to stop reading them. Each subplot is firmly grounded in its moment, through topical references and subplots revolving around everything from Jonestown to AIDS, that re-reading them is something like inhaling a stack of Doonesbury treasuries.

It's been too long since Maupin gave us another glimpse at Anna and Michael and the rest of the people in the orbit of 28 Barbary Lane. I can't wait to read it (and I dread being finished with it).

The Days of Anna Madrigal will reportedly follow the title character, a 92-year-old, trans woman, as she travels to Burning Man. 

What are your favorite Tales of the City memories and moments? Share in the comments below!


Morrissey is Writing a Novel

MorrisseyIn a lengthy Q&A on his website, Morrissey says he's writing a novel:

"In 2013 I published my Autobiography and it has been more successful than any record I have ever released, so, yes, I am mid-way through my novel. I have my hopes. The actuality is that radio stations will not play my music, and the majority of people have lost faith in the music industry, and it's generally assumed - quite rightly - that the number one chart positions are "bought" by the major labels, so there really is no passion left in pop or rock music, and I don't think people believe for an instant that the faces we constantly see on television and in magazines are remotely popular. It's all, now, solely a question of marketing. All success stories are safe and dreary, and you will never be taken by surprise by a hit song that sounds out of place. This is not just my view but the view of everyone I know."


Janette Jenkins' 'Firefly': Book Review

BY GARTH GREENWELL

This short, beautiful novel takes place over a brief period in 1971, as the British playwright and composer Noël Coward, in the final years of his life, suffers from a weak heart and a slipping mind. Having fled both the gray skies and the high taxes of London, Coward spends his days at his Jamaican estate, Firefly, sunbathing and painting and sharing the occasional dinner or (more often) drinks with friends. But mostly he reminisces, increasingly disoriented as he slips between his diminished present and his glorious past. 

FireflyI can think of only a few books (Paul Harding’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Tinkers among them) that evoke so movingly a consciousness adrift in old age. It’s a strategy that allows Jenkins access to Coward’s whole biography, while freeing her from any burden of biographical linearity or exhaustiveness. The book shifts with virtuosic fluency between the bright heat of Jamaica and London’s chill damp, bringing childhood memories, artistic triumphs, and sexual conquests to life with exquisitely curated detail.

We see Noël as a boy, speculating about the lives passing in the houses he can see from his bedroom window, and then, imagining himself being watched in turn, giving “a flick of a bow” as he lets the curtain drop. A little later, after his first sexual encounter, “colliding and laughing” with another boy on the wet rocks by a stream, “he can see a frog springing from the bank side; a splash as it leaps into the water.”

Jenkins’ Coward isn’t always a pleasant character, especially in the present-day scenes. He’s always ready with a withering remark, and he lashes out, at times violently, at the Jamaican servants on whom he depends for the most basic tasks. (When, with great difficulty, he manages to do up his own shirt buttons, “he doesn’t know whether to shout, ‘Hurrah!’ or to burst into tears.”) But he still possesses, at least in snatches, the quick and sometimes cutting wit that fills his plays. “Oh, you know everyone,” one unlucky acquaintance says to him over dinner. “‘No,’ says Noël, ‘Everyone knows me.’”

One of the most moving aspects of Jenkins’ portrait is how clearly she shows that the very wit for which he’s famous has become a prison for Coward, an elaborate armor that no longer enables expression, but prevents it. Coward tosses off stylish witticisms and ironic bons mots with ease, but statements of genuine emotion seem beyond him, even as his inner life throbs with feeling. When asked whether he loves his companion of three decades, Graham Payn, the best Jenkins’ Coward can manage is “We’ve certainly had our moments.”  

Janette-jenkinsPayn and other friends make appearances in these pages, but for the most part Coward has left them behind, retreating to a small studio at some distance from the main house. Here, through most of the book, he’s attended only by Patrice, his Jamaican servant. Twenty-two, desperate to escape Jamaica, excited by the prospect of life as a waiter in London (his dream is to work at the Ritz), Patrice’s chatter and enthusiasm are juxtaposed with the jaded cynicism of Coward, who at the end of a brilliantly accomplished life seems nearly finished with the world and its delights.

It’s the relationship between Coward and Patrice—patient and caretaker, patron and supplicant, master and servant—that provides the emotional center of the novel. Jenkins has made a vivid, caustic, funny, deeply sympathetic portrait of an artist who is finally as limited as he is brilliant. “Hearts aren’t meant to be noticed, they’re just meant to work,” her Coward thinks as he struggles to finish the afternoon walk his doctor has prescribed. As the novel comes to its at once delicate and devastating end, it’s a different working of the heart he can’t ignore.

Previous reviews...
Gengoroh Tagame’s ‘The Passion of Gengoroh Tagame’
Jason K. Friedman’s ‘Fire Year’
David Levithan’s ‘Two Boys Kissing’
Thomas Glave’s ‘Among the Bloodpeople: Politics and Flesh’
 
Garth Greenwell is the author of Mitko, which won the 2010 Miami University Press Novella Prize and was a finalist for both the Edmund White Debut Fiction Award and a Lambda Award. He is currently an Arts Fellow at the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop.


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