Day: December 23, 2013

Dylan Sprouse Nude Pics; Beyonce Amazon War; Best Artists of 2013

Dylan Sprouse Nude Pic

Dylan Sprouse, a former Disney star, had a few nude photos “leaked” on twitter recently. The photos were removed, and Sprouse didn’t deny they were photos of him. Allegedly, one photo showed him in sheer boxers, the other was nude and he was covering his privates…partially. His statement went something like, “Oops, I guess I messed up.” If that doesn’t make you smile, nothing will.

This was his other comment, verbatim:

 “The reason I’m making light of the situation is because I don’t think what I did was wrong,” he writes on his personal tumblr page. “To be blunt, I was proud of my progress in the gym, thought I looked hot, and wanted to share it. There is an odd taboo with the human form (especially in the USA) and I don’t particularly think its a good thing to teach people that you should ‘hide yourself’ as something incredibly sacred. Blah blah blah, that’s a medieval notion.”

Then why didn’t he do a full frontal photo? Just curious. I recently watched the film, Take This Waltz, which focused on a “happily” married woman who falls in love with a hot young guy who lives across the street. Don’t waste your time with this one, especially if you’ve been “happily” married for any length of time. Seth Rogen was excellent, but you’ll wind up hoping the female main character gets run over by a car and suffers a long, horrible death. But the interesting thing to me in this film was that I noticed several female full frontal nude scenes, some of which took place in the women’s locker room. And yet not one male full frontal. What’s that about? Take off those pants, Seth Rogen.

You can read more here. You can view the pics here. NSFW.

Beyonce Amazon War

I posted last week about my own disappointment when I wanted to offer a free brand new release holiday book on Amazon, The Littlest Christmas Tree, and also distribute that book for free at other retail web sites where e-books are sold. However, Tony informed me that in order to put the put up for free on Amazon I would have to sign a three month exclusive with them (meaning I couldn’t distribute the book anywhere else for three months but Amazon), and I would only be allowed to offer the book for free for a set amount of time. So I opted out of the Amazon lending program this time, didn’t sign the three month exclusive, and released the book for free everywhere else but Amazon. The book is on Amazon for .99, but everywhere else it’s free. I would gladly have put it up on Amazon for free, too, if they’d let me. I don’t do those things very often and with indie books I’ve been sticking to .99. On a much, MUCH larger scale, I recently read about Beyonce’s Amazon issue, and she took her stand to a completely different level.

According to this next article, Amazon and Target refused to sell Beyonce’s new album because she released it on iTunes first, with a one week iTunes exclusive. It’s interesting because the very thing Amazon did to me with the exclusive they require for the lending program is the exact same thing they penalized Beyonce for doing with Apple. Beyonce retaliated by going to a Wal-Mart store this past weekend where she gave 750 shoppers a fifty dollar gift card, an amount that totaled something close to thirty eight thousand dollars.

The article presents an interesting question:

Why would Amazon and Target want to make enemies of Beyoncé, whose antics in Wal-Mart have made them look petty? They probably have their eye on the long game. This is only $10 million or so in lost sales between the two companies, after all—not even a rounding error in either company’s revenues. And most artists are not Beyoncé—they need Amazon and Target more than Target and Amazon need them.

It’s hard to disagree with that reasoning, however, any kind of negative publicity no matter how small it is often takes on a life of its own. After the Target debacle on Black Friday, I’ll personally never look at Target the same way again. That was a huge issue that affected too many people to forget. And in spite of continued growth, Amazon has been irritating people in small ways for such a long time I hate to even go there to write a book review anymore. I’m not the only one who feels this way. This season, for the first time in five years, I did no Christmas shopping on Amazon. And it wasn’t even a totally conscious choice. I just didn’t feel like going there. And I think that has to do with an accumulation of things that have been happening all year.

By refusing to sell Beyonce’s album to spite Apple, the only people Amazon and Target are really hurting are consumers. And if this sort of attitude continues other people will be doing what I’ve done and they’ll be taking their business elsewhere. I’d hate to see that happen, and I’d like to see Amazon more customer oriented. Authors like me need Amazon. Beyonce can be as independent as she wants and it’s not going to hurt her. But too many artists need Amazon to work with them, not against them.

Best Artists 2013: Male Nudes

The next link will lead you to the list of best artists of 2013, one of whom is interesting because he’s Russian and his art directly opposes the highly publicized Russian stand against LGBT equality. In fact, it’s a bold artistic statement.

You can check the images out here. The first one is a men’s locker room where a group of men are showering together.

Bristol Palin/Duck Dynasty; Defending Gay Teacher in Catholic High School

Bristol Palin/Duck Dynasty

Update: spelling correction with the word duck…it really wasn’t intentional. The u and i are side by side and I type fast. So are the f and d. 

Bristol Palin, reality TV personality and daughter of Tea Party radical, Sarah Palin, has a blog on what appears to be a far right web site where she blogs for commercial reasons and hocks her readership with ads that range from those Chicken Soup books to her book. (It’s really a messy blog, as blogs go, and not one that will win any awards.) I don’t know where the book ad link leads because I’d rather not support her. If you click those ads the blogger sometimes gets some kind of compensation, though most people don’t know this, and I didn’t see it disclosed anywhere on the blog. In any event, Bristol Palin wrote a short blog post supporting another reality TV personality, Phil Robertson, from the reality show Duck Dynasty. In Palin’s post she makes claims about free speech and generalities about the LGBT community and I thought I would comment on a few of them briefly.

For those who might not have heard, Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty made a few gay hate comments recently and since then videos of previous anti-gay statements have surfaced. You can read more here. Robertson didn’t just come out against gays, at least not in a logical, civil way. He compared gay sex, among other things, to bestiality. If you are an LGBT person or you’re familiar with LGBT people his comments aren’t just offensive. They don’t make sense.

First, Bristol Palin thinks all LGBT people think that everyone should support gays. This is what I mean by generalities, and making assumptions. She thinks we expect every “flippen” person (yes, flippen) to agree with our lifestyle. She also makes the assumption that ALL LGBT people have no respect for what other people believe. Ultimately, she knows very little about the LGBT community and how diverse it is. I’m with my partner twenty-one years and our lifestyle isn’t much different from any other straight couple we know.  In fact, most would think we’re a little dull. We support equal rights and same sex marriage for obvious reasons, and I blog often and write often about them, but we’re far from being activists of any kind. And we don’t expect everyone to agree with us.

Yes, there are gay activists who are just as radical (and amusing) in the opposite direction as Bristol Palin’s mother, Sarah Palin. And those gay radicals don’t always have respect for the opinions of others. I know a few myself. Tony and I have had friendships suffer because of this. But I respect them, too. We’re just not like them, and that’s the way it works with the entire LGBT community. Although we’re all fighting for equal rights, the same equal rights Bristol Palin is allowed to have without even realizing her privileged circumstances, the diversity within the LGBT community is often polarized and LGBT people don’t always agree on everything…just like straight people don’t always agree. I think that’s called normal.

But I don’t want to digress. In another part of Bristol Palin’s blog post she mentions God and the bible, as if she has a claim to religion and faith LGBT people don’t have. But here’s where Palin shows again how little she knows about the LGBT community at large. Religion, spirituality, Christianity, and all other forms of faith are not exclusive to Bristol Palin, straight people only, and the radical Christian right wing of America. I get private e-mails all the time from gay men who are still in the closet telling me how hard it often is for them to get through a church service these days because of the gay hate they hear in church. These are not radical gay activists. These gay men are quiet, humble people without an agenda and no one even knows they are gay. I also know gay priests and ministers who could go verse for verse and line for line with Bristol Palin on the bible.

But I think this line in Palin’s blog post is the most interesting.

I hate how the LGBT community says it’s all about “love” and “equality.”

She “hates.” That’s an important word. That’s also a direct quote from the post and I’m not making it up. Unlike Palin’s blog, mine is non-profit and I have no viable reason to sensationalize. My only goal here is to disabuse a few myths people may or may not have about the LGBT community. Palin could have said she didn’t understand, especially when making reference to the LGBT community as a group of haters. But she used the word “hate” instead. What’s that about?

Toward the end of Palin’s post, she makes reference to an article written by a “homosexual” at Time Magazine. I’m not a huge fan of Time Magazine because of their politics and I haven’t read that article so I can’t comment. But in the end Palin claims she doesn’t agree with everything this “homosexual” writes but she thinks it’s time to stand for free speech. This free speech issue has been going around the Interwebs ever since Phil Robertson made the offensive gay slurs and once again, Palin doesn’t seem to get the basic concept of free speech. In case I forgot to mention it, Bristol Palin is an avowed “heteronormative.” If she’s going to label people as “homosexual” I think she deserves a label, too.

In a simple search, I found this article that seems to sum up free speech about as well written as I’ve ever seen it done. It’s actually titled, The Idiot’s Guide to Free Speech. And I purposely decided to link to this article because it was written before Phil Robertson made the offensive gay slurs and the Palin family started ranting about free speech. When the article was written there was no hidden agenda.

Free speech, according to the article, means this:

As an American, you have the right to say most anything you want to say without being penalized by the government

It continues in more detail. But it also states free speech does NOT mean you can do or say anything without reactions. You are not exempt from “Criticism, Shame, The Right to Anonymity, Mockery, and, again, Consequences.” In other words, you can say what you want and the government can’t come after you (in most cases, not always), but you may face a firestorm afterward. Duck Dynasty star, Phil Robertson, made some of the most hateful comments I’ve ever read about LGBT people and there were consequences. In his case he was suspended from his TV show and most normal people will now dismiss him completely. No one is exempt from this, especially not Bristol Palin or her mother. I’m not exempt from it either, which is why I always choose my words with care.

But the original point of this post wasn’t about free speech. It’s about Bristol Palin making assumptions and generalities about the LGBT community and not really knowing a thing about the community. There are gay Christians, gay Republicans, gay Democrats, gay Jews, and so on. And it’s that kind of diversity in the LGBT community that is always underestimated the most. Phil Robertson didn’t just offend gay activists and left wing political pundits with his offensive free speech, he offended the invisible gay brother/sister who hasn’t come out yet, he offended the gay minister who is terrified to come out, he offended the gay neighbor, friend, boss, employee, and cousin who lives a simple discreet life and minds his/her own business. He also offended the straight people who are close to gay people. And that’s why this “flippen” issue is far more involved than just making general assumptions with the underlying intention of selling a book or some other product, Ms. Palin.  

You can read Bristol Palin’s entire commentary post here. Just don’t click the links on the sidebar.

Defending Gay Teacher in Catholic High School

In a post that I think is directly related to how uninformed heteronormative Bristol Palin really is about gay people, I posted last week about a Catholic high school teacher in a Philadelphia suburb not far from where I live in New Hope who was fired from his teaching job because he filed for a marriage license in New Jersey. Something similar happened in Washington state and now students are offering their support.

Students at a US high school in the state of Washington staged a sit-in after finding out a gay teacher had been fired for marrying his partner. Vice principal and swim coach Mark Zmuda worked for Eastside Catholic High School for approximately a year and a half.

You can read more here. It’s an interesting article, and one that shows how things are changing in more positive ways than the negativity we’ve seen in the past. The Catholic school has every right to fire the teacher, and the students have every right to react to the decision. I wonder if Bristol Palin would classify these students as haters.  

If you’re a Bristol Palin supporter and you want to leave a comment, please don’t bother. You can exercise your right to free speech on your own web site, not mine. This is my world.