racism

Ghetto Is Racist; Goodreads Drama; Lazybeagleentertainment.com

Ghetto Is Racist

At times I’ve been accused of being too politically correct, and at times even I agree with that. But I recently saw an author post something where the word “Ghetto” was used, and it was not only tasteless, but highly insulting to anyone who is sensitive to racism.

To take this a step further, I think authors should be held to a higher standard in cases like this because they above all others should know the significance of ALL words. In other words, had I seen this posted by someone who is not an author I would have had more forgiveness. I’m not sure it was intended to be racist in a cruel way. But either way, the author who made the comment came off looking racist or dumb…or both.

The saddest part about all this is that not one single person called the author out on it. And there were many comments that joked around and no one even seemed to notice it. I personally think this is why we do have race issues in America today. If over fifty people could not see that what the author posted was racist, that means over fifty people with good intentions don’t actually know that the word “Ghetto” is considered a racist word.

Why didn’t I say something? I’ve posted before that I’ve learned the only online argument that’s worth getting into is one where you are ready to stand up and die for the cause. And in this particular case, I wasn’t willing to do that. But, in the same respect, I didn’t make a funny comment to encourage this kind of racism. And, I am posting about it today in a way that I hope helps others see that the word “Ghetto” can be almost as offensive to others as the N word.

To show that I’m not making all this up, here are a few links. This particular piece gives a few good examples of what I’m trying to express right now.

From The Black Commentator:

“Ghetto,” when used colloquially as an adjective, is the most racist, derogatory word in the common lexicon, given its so subtle insinuations and layers. Employed to mean “uncouth,” “unruly,” or “parvenu,” “ghetto” is the most popular, new code word to stigmatize blacks.
 
The article gets into more detail, and I highly suggest reading it in full. This is especially important to me because I’ve also heard the word used with gays, too…as in “Gay Ghetto.”
 
 
It’s a term that stereotypes and lampoons a culture and is wrought with racial implications. Now instead of acting “black,” or “poor,” because those terms aren’t politically correct, people substitute the word “ghetto” and it’s suddenly acceptable.
 
As I stated above, I think a lot of people still use the word without knowing any better. However, I also think that if you claim to be an author you should know better.
 
Goodreads Drama
 
I have always had a love/hate relationship with Goodreads.com. I love the way it brings readers together, and at the same time I wish there were a different set of rules enforced to keep it more honest. I do have an account there, but when I go there I always make sure I go as a *reader*, not as an author. And I only have one account with my name, not multiple accounts with fake names and IDs. I’m not trying to be holier than thou. I just like to sleep at night.
 
In any event, there’s been another shitstorm over at GR I read about in Salon. I haven’t done anything more than a simple search because I haven’t had time.
 
You don’t necessarily think the world of bookworms would be full of bullies. Readers, after all, are assumed to be a more evolved species, capable of articulating higher sentiments than “You suck.” Well, not always. Just a short time ago, Lauren Howard was gearing up for the release of her self-published debut novel, “Learning to Love,” a tale in which “love at first sight isn’t always as simple as a fairy tale.” But then the Goodreads crowd reportedly decided to assert its dominance over the fledgling author, and that’s when things changed.
 
In this article it alleges the self-pubbed author was threatened with rape.
 
They say that novelists ought to develop a thick skin if they want to survive the inevitable assault of literary critics and the occasional displeased reader. Then again, most novelists don’t get rape threats from strangers online before their first book even hits the shelves.
 
There’s an interesting quote in that particular article where a GR member says, “Get over it princess.”
This is the GR member speaking to the self-pubbed author (a young woman). This comment was made by a man named “Derrick.” Is it just me being too PC correct again, or does that sound like he’s talking down to a woman? And if this GR member…reader…is allowed to comment in a public forum should he be kept to the same PC standards as the rest of us?
 
So far, no one has mentioned how poorly this author was treated as a woman. I’m not talking about the book or the reviews or the ratings now. I’m talking about the fact that the author is a woman. I won’t even get into the rape culture aspect of this thing right now because that would be another post. Maybe I’m too sensitive to these things because as a gay man I know that subtle brand of degradation all too well. It even comes from some gay men sometimes, unfortunately.
 
But I digress. The point of me posting about this is mainly because I think it’s interesting these things are now becoming more mainstream, and that they are being written about in larger publications. Five years ago if something of this nature had happened you would only have seen it on a small blog like mine.
 
Lazybeagleentertainment.com  
 
On a far more positive note, there are web sites out there that are bringing authors, publishers, and readers of all genres together. The one I’m talking about now is lazybeagleentertainment.com, which I’ve mentioned before a few times. It’s owned and authored by two great guys, Patrick and Rondal, and I don’t think I have seen two people work so hard on anything since Tony and I opened a business ten years ago in less than three weeks. So I know how hard they are working.
 
If you have not seen Lazybeagle yet, take the time to check it out. If you are a reader I think you’ll love what you see. The most interesting thing about this site is that it includes all genres. I like that partly because I think it’s going to be important for LGBT authors to start incorporating hetero characters with LGBT characters in the future.
 
The reason I’m posting about this now is because Patrick has had a minor health issue and he’s going to be slowing down for a while. And I think we should all offer these guys our support and our best wishes for a fast recovery.

And, if the Internet is supposed to be all about information, lazybeagle has cornered the proverbial market this time with book info.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  

Men Hate Jane Austen; Paula Deen Wins in Court; Australia Gay Marriage

Men Hate Jane Austen

In Time Magazine this week writer Joel Stein wrote a humorous column titled, Stein and Sensibility. It deals with how men react to anything Jane Austen related, including the new movie, Austenland, with more than a few amusing quotes. The online link is here, but you won’t get the entire piece until later this month because Time charges for fresh online content. I get a subscription, so these are quotes from the print magazine.

Listening to rich women plot out which milquetoast guy to not have sex with before marriage sounds worse than those Real Housewives shows.

I felt a little weird being one of the only men there, so I walked up to one of the actors, Ricky Whittle, who, unlike his character, owns a shirt. He was not an Austen fan either. “At first I was like, ‘Will she be at the premiere?’ And people were like, ‘She’s been dead for years, Ricky.’ But I’m a fan now,” he said. When I asked which novel he liked best, Whittle said, “I’ve still not gotten through the books. But I’ve made more of an effort on the films.”

It’s a funny article meant to be taken with a proverbial grain of salt…you know, a sense of humor, bloggers. But what I do find interesting is that there is a clear difference between how women relate to Austen and how men relate to her. And I don’t think that has anything to do with emotion. The other night while watching a reality show on TV where something emotional happened, the women were out for blood because they wanted to win the money and the men were emotional wrecks. I often see this in the m/m romance genre, where gay men and women react differently to m/m romance novels, especially when it comes to sex.

Paula Deen Wins in Court

A federal judge on Monday ruled that a white former employee had no standing to bring claims of racial discrimination in a lawsuit against Paula Deen, the celebrity chef who was the target of criticism this summer after she acknowledged using a racial epithet.

This case with Deen has seemed to rule the news all summer, and I think it’s partly because racial tensions run so high in the US now. Unfortunately, what we don’t have are leaders on either side that are working to bring people together. I think what Deen said was awful and I honestly don’t ever use that word, but I don’t think deep down Deen is a racist at heart. She may be a product of her generation, and her background, but that doesn’t mean she’s the worst human on the planet. If anything, I think Deen has a platform to help racial tension in the US by bringing it out in the open, in ways no one else seems to be brave enough to do. Whether or not she will do this remains to be seen, though.

Australia Gay Marriage

You have to understand that when you’re a gay person, articles like this just hit you in the face and they are very hard to understand. I know it’s a positive thing, but in the same respect, it makes you feel so isolated and peculiar.

This part is fine:

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said Monday it was time to end the “acrimonious” debate on gay marriage, after he vowed to introduce a bill legalising same-sex unions if returned to office.

But this part is what I don’t get:

“Frankly, in 2013, I think the time has come to put this acrimonious debate behind us,” the leader, who has previously been against gay marriage, told reporters on Monday.

Rudd, who is trailing conservative opposition leader Tony Abbott in opinion polls, said it was a reform millions of Australians had waited a long time to see become law.

“I’ve been thinking about the meaning of marriage for a long time – and I won’t hide the fact that this has been a journey for me,” he said.

“It is a difficult discussion, and I won’t force this on anyone. It will be a free vote for members of the Labor party.

For something that has always seemed so natural and normal to me, I find it hard to process comments like that, especially the part where it’s been such a long journey for him. Frankly, I don’t get a lot of things about the straight community, but I don’t think those things should be illegal, and I don’t think anyone in the straight community should be discriminated against because of them. And why this even has to be a difficult decision passes me by.

In any event, at least it’s another step forward for gay people in Australia…unlike gays here in Pennsylvania where gay marriage is still illegal just about 70 miles from NY where it is legal.


Big Brother 15 Racism Free Pass

Big Brother 15 Racism Free Pass

For the past thirteen years, every summer Tony and I have followed the saga of the Big Brother house guests on CBS. In the earlier days, pre-DVR, we would even bring blank video tapes on vacation with us to Provincetown so we could go back to our hotel room and watch what happened later at night. And BB is actually the only reality show of this nature we have continued to watch over the years. We grew tired of Survivor and American Idol a while ago. And after Donald Trump came out so viciously against gays we gave up on The Apprentice, too.

One of the main reasons I’ve always watched BB is because I find the interactions between the house guests fascinating. The basic premise of the show is to put a group of people together from all walks of life and make them compete in physical and mental competitions for a grand prize of five hundred thousand dollars. Each week, a house guest is voted off the show by his or her peers. It’s amazing to see what people will do for money, and how low they will stoop sometimes, but it’s also amazing to see how they form relationships with each other and how they often support each other. The house guests are not allowed to have any contact with the outside world the entire time they are sequestered in the BB house. In 2001, because the show was aired during the summer, none of the remaining house guests that season even knew about the terrorism attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. It was very emotional.

There are always a few things you can expect at the beginning of any BB season opener. And this summer was no different. The host of the show, Julie Chen, always looks amazing, and as the house guests are introduced we see a cross-section of new contestants who represent various segments of the US population. As a side note, it would be nice to see a little diversification sometimes so that all segments of the LGBT community are represented, including house guests that are either transgender or bi-sexual.

In any event, this particular season has turned into a firestorm of racism that’s even shocked me. It includes everything from misogyny to slurs against Asian Americans. And BB is no stranger to hate, as you can see from this former post I wrote in 2011 when a past contestant, Jeff Schroeder, made hate comments against gays.

He made a comment this season about kids books and gay characters in kids books that was probably the dumbest thing I’ve heard on television in years. In this case, he was talking about a character in Harry Potter, Dumbledore.

As far as I know, unless I missed it, Schroeder has yet to apologize for anything he said on the show that was anti-gay. In fact, he’s still faking it and smiling and doing interviews with the new BB 15 cast. He is a straight white male. This is a link to Jeff Schroeder’s anti-gay comments on youtube from 2011. If you do a simple search with his name and “anti-gay” you’ll find many other examples I’m not going to link to here. What’s up with that, CBS?

This particular season of BB, number 15, isn’t even completely underway and so far there have been racist and anti-gay comments that have erupted into one of the biggest online firestorms I’ve seen in a long time.  Aaryn Gries has been fired from her modeling job for racist comments about Asian Americans, Gina Marie Zimmerman has also been fired from her job for making similar comments, and Spencer Clawson’s job is now on the line because of his anti-gay comments and his fondness of the way Hitler made public speeches. You can read about all of them here, with more links. None of the house guests even know about this right now because they have no contact with the outside world in the BB house.

Spencer was one of a handful of contestants who were caught on the “Big Brother” 24-hour live feed making a series of comments. Spencer used gay slurs, and praised Hitler’s speaking abilities, according to Reality Blurred.

A simple search will lead you to all kinds of articles and posts about BB 15 racism, and there are examples. What I find interesting is how CBS has decided to handle this. Every Thursday evening there is a live show and one of the house guests is voted off. After the recent racism comments, I was particularly curious to see how Julie Chen would handle last night’s live show. She basically handled the issue as a professional and didn’t approach the topic head on. But she did get in a few comments the offending house guests clearly didn’t pick up on, especially Aaryn Gries.

CBS didn’t air all the hate comments yet, and from what I’ve read they weren’t sure they would air any of them at first.  But it seems they’ve changed their minds.

“CBS and ‘Big Brother’ showed it because it is now driving a story. It is now affecting how the other players want to see her gone,” she said of Aaryn. “You can’t just put it in there and say, ‘Judge her, everybody!’ It has to have to do with the game and the rules of the game … She will have to face consequences.”

So it’s okay to put Paula Deen out there and judge her, but it’s not okay to put Aaryn Gries out and judge her in the same way. As far as I know, Paula Deen’s comments were made in confidence, and Deen claims they were not malicious and she’s apologized in public. Aaryn Gries may have thought she was making her comments in confidence, but she also knows she’s on a live feed twenty-four hours a day and everything she says and does is being recorded. And last night on BB when one of the house guests went to Aaryn Gries and gave her a chance to redeem herself on national TV for making her racist comments, she basically made a face, brushed it off, and said she didn’t care. Aaryn Gries is a straight white female. I saw this myself, and so did millions of other people. I cringed for everyone she insulted, I cringed for the house guest who tried to bring the topic up, and I cringed for Aaryn Gries. It’s not often you get to see that brand of hate (and dismissal of hate) so openly on live television.

In an open letter to BB’s production team, former house guest, Ragan Fox, is calling for BB to disclose all the hate speech that’s been happening this season on BB, and to bring it all out in the open.

I just read Andrea Reiher’s Zap2It article in which she documents racism, misogyny, and homophobia that’s already emerged in the Big Brother 15 house. Feed watchers have watched Spencer call women “c#nts” and spit the word “fag” in Andy’s face. Similarly, Aaryn Gries (pictured above) complained that Andy would most likely get next week’s MVP because “people love the queers.” Aaryn’s also demanded Candice, an African American woman, say “asked, not axed” and suggested Helen, the season’s sole Asian American houseguest, should “go make some rice.” GinaMarie also wondered if they could make Helen’s eyes straight. And this is only WEEK 1! Imagine what will happen when they forget about the cameras.

Keep in mind that I have been watching the show all season, and I didn’t even know half of the things mentioned in Fox’s paragraph above. So far, as a viewer, I’ve only seen Aaryn Gries’s Asian American slurs. And that’s because this is all CBS has decided to air in public so far.

In this one sentence, Fox sums up exactly how I feel. And I think millions of other Americans feel. Let’s stop giving them a free pass.

Big Brother, I LOVE you, but, if you really want to provide a groundbreaking twist, SHOW CBS VIEWERS HOW SOME STRAIGHT, WHITE PEOPLE talk about gays, Asian Americans, and African Americans.

You can read the entire letter in full, here.

I love you, too, Big Brother, and I understand how important it is to remain objective when it comes to dealing with content of any kind. As a writer I often find myself strugging with the same issues with certain characters and situations. But this is too important to ignore. The fact remains that we have race issues in this country and maybe it’s time to get it all out in the open once and for all, especially since it’s become such a highly charged issue with the Paula Deen controversy and the George Zimmerman trial. With all this going on right now, you have the chance to help change the world.

Buck Naked and Afraid; Kian Brown Letter to Paula Deen; Manhandled



Buck Naked and Afraid

There’s a new reality TV show out called, Naked and Afraid, on the Discovery Channel and it’s been making quiet headlines for the past few weeks. It’s pop culture at its best, and there have been all kinds of comments from the mainstream media. I set the DVR and watched several episodes and I have to admit that even though I started watching with my tongue pressed to my cheek, I wound up liking it more than I thought I would.

First, get past the naked part. It’s only a cheap thrill for the first five minutes. I’ve been to my share of nude beaches and there is one thing that never fails to happen: the first few moments you remove your clothes you feel awkward, but eventually you don’t even realize you’re nude. There’s nothing sexual about it, and you don’t even notice the other nude people around you. Of course there are exceptions to the rule, and once in a while you’ll see something unusual, but for the most part you get over being naked.

And it’s the same way with Naked and Afraid. But the best part of this show is that no one is doing it for the money or to win some kind of spectacular grand prize. These people are seriously interested in testing their bodies and learning about what it’s like to survive, naked, in the middle of nowhere without food or water. That’s literally what happens. A naked man and woman are left on a tropical island, or in a jungle, and they are forced to see how much they can take and how well they can deal with their limited circumstances. It’s both physical and mental. As a runner I appreciate this for several reasons. I’ve been running every morning of my life for the past twenty years and it’s not always easy. Most of the time, especially in extreme heat or cold, it’s a test to see how much I can take. It’s the old bring on the pain mind set. And from what I’ve seen so far on Naked and Afraid, that is exactly what it motivating these people.

The gender politics is interesting, too, because it’s a naked straight man and woman left in the middle of nowhere. So far, even though both sexes have had their doubts about how to deal with the gender power, each case has worked out very well in spite of a few serious fears they keep hidden from each other. And what I’d like to see in the future is a balance of gender power, so to speak. It would be interesting to see how a naked straight man and a naked gay man would deal with a survival situation, or two naked gay men, or even a naked straight woman and a naked gay woman. I hope the producers of the show realize the possibilities of this are not just limited to naked and afraid straight men and women. They would be underestimating the power of what they have going for them, and the show could get boring if they don’t expand a little.

You can read more here.

Kian Brown Letter to Paula Deen

Kian Brown is a multi-talented man who is an artist, host, and branding expert. I’ve read his pieces on Huff Po and enjoyed them, and the most recent one really made me stop and think. It’s an open letter to Paula Deen. I know he’s a branding expert, and the letter might sound as if he’s giving unsolicited advice to Deen, but I also think these wise words come from his heart as well.

This is part of what he says to Paula Deen:

The backlash you are experiencing is due in part to fear. A precedent is being made about how we handle racism amongst the privileged. I disagree that you should be engaged in such an offensive against your character. You actually admitted wrongdoing and apologized. We’ve all seen folks in leadership whether political, religious, business or cultural, lie, cheat and steal, get exposed, then work to pick up the pieces of their shattered image, some unsuccessfully.

I don’t think you are a racist, not even by osmosis. I will venture to assume however, given your age and upbringing, there may be some tendencies unbeknownst to even you.

He talks more about his own upbringing and how he doesn’t believe the content of questionable words and phrases always contain malicious intent. I’ve talked about intent before. I happen to agree with Kian Brown on this, and I often come across these things while writing fiction. It happened with a book I wrote as part of the Manhandled series with the pen name Dale Bishop. (Cover Photo above) In this case, it wasn’t racial. I wrote a character who was sexist in an innocent way. In other words, the character didn’t mean to be sexist and he didn’t hate women. In fact, he had a great deal of respect for women and good intentions, without a hint of malice. But he wasn’t familiar with words like misogynist or rape culture. And an editor asked me to revise a few of this character’s comments in the dialogue because she thought some readers would take it the wrong way. We actually had a huge discussion about this at the time, because I felt as if I were being censored.

But frankly, I saw her point and I made the revisions. We live in a highly charged politically correct world now and everyone has to watch everything he or she says. The last thing I wanted was to have some lunatic author who hangs out on the fringes of twitter and absolute write accusing me of being sexist because of one misunderstood character. But I shouldn’t have had to do those revisions. The character wasn’t a misogynist and he had good intentions. But for the sake of avoiding a shitstorm with these certain reviewers, I toned him down and changed the dialogue.

I’ve actually been planning a blog post about how authors sometimes need to explain themselves in fiction to avoid issues with some of these reviewers who take everything so literally and don’t take intention into consideration. I recently had another case where I was accused of writing BDSM without explaining it, and nothing could have been farther from the truth. There was no BDSM in the book, and the reviewer clearly didn’t understand the BDSM lifestyle. And it wasn’t a bad review either; it was a wrong review. No links in this case to protect the innocent. I actually don’t think the reviewer had any malicious intent, which is an interesting turn of events in itself for me to admit.

In any case, I think it’s an interesting letter to Paula Deen and I think that Kian Brown is a very elegant man, and I’ve also stated before on this blog that one of the greatest parts of American culture is that we have the ability to forgive and let people start over. And I think time will tell with Paula Deen.  
 

Gay Content; More Paula Deen; Equal Rights Blog Hop

I posted yesterday about something that happened to me during final edits for an upcoming book about tea dance in gay culture, and I just wanted to elaborate on why I’ll probably vet gay content…or gay cultural content…even more now.

But I’m not going to go overboard either, and I also wanted to get into why it’s important not to add too much information in fiction. Tea dance for me and thousands of other gay men of all ages…it’s not an age thing or a generational thing; I know gay men that range from age 21 to 91 who go to tea dance in Sunday afternoons…is something we don’t even think about twice. I e-mailed good friends yesterday to back me up and they agreed with me. But I do understand how many people who are not gay, or familiar with all the details of gay culture, would not know anything about tea dance. So I added a few lines to the book in an appropriate place to explain tea dance.

But only a few lines. I didn’t go into a long dissertation with multiple paragraphs on tea dance or the history of tea dance. I didn’t want to stop the story to do that, I didn’t want to lose the reader, and I think the explanation doesn’t disrupt anything in the book. If I had gone into a long explanation of tea dance I would have run the risk of boring the people who do know what tea dance is, and even boring those who don’t know what it is. In other words, the book is about a Palm Beach rake (bad boy), it’s not about tea dance in gay culture. And it’s important to stay focused on the story and not the elements surrounding the story.

As for all gay content in general, I’m going to be thinking differently now whenever I write something into a book where I mention something dealing with gay culture that I take for granted. With all the blogs and information I see out there at a glance, I honestly did think someone, somewhere, had posted about tea dance and I thought it would be redundant to explain it in the book. But I’m not going to assume anything anymore. There are blogs I see sometimes that post up to five five or six times a day about gay history and gay couples, but now I’m starting to wonder how deeply those posts go. In other words, I’m starting to think all these articles flashed on blogs and social media are nothing more than excerpts and quotes from other practical academic sources with very little original content that’s based on any personal…or solid…experience about gay culture.

One of the things I find most difficult, as a gay writer, is finding good solid information about anything online dealing with gay culture when I need a resource. For example, in this article/post that deals with gender power in m/m romance, everything is based on academic information you can find in a text book in any community college. It’s a good article; it can’t be disputed. I completely agree with it. However, I find it lacking like most other gay content I find online. And that’s just a very small example. The majority of information I read online always seems to skim over gay content, with haphazard pieces about gay couples in history, or famous people who may (or may not in some cases) have been gay, always leave me wondering why no one ever digs deeper. It’s one thing to post about Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas on the surface and say they were gay, but it’s another to really get into a least a small part of the dynamics behind their relationship.

When I wrote the Titanic historical gay romance over a year ago (which will be released soon with Ryan Field Press as a .99 e-book) I found basically nothing about gay men in the Edwardian era when I was researching. And that’s because the word gay with regard to sexuality didn’t even exist back then. If they weren’t referred to as homosexuals, they were queers and fags and a variety of other pejoratives I would rather not repeat here. And no one talked about it openly, so no one recorded anything. And the best we can do now is guess about what it was really like.

But things have changed, and gay content isn’t that difficult to find anymore. The big problem I see right now are the sources where the gay information is offered is often lacking in substance, and lacking in content because it’s not coming from people who know how to dig deeper…or want to take the time to dig deeper. As a result, nice people take for granted that’s all there is and they don’t question anything because they don’t realize they aren’t getting all the information. And that’s where it’s important to vet gay content these days. In other words, don’t just take what you see on a blog that posts tons of gay articles daily and think it’s valuable information. It’s information, and it’s most likely correct, but it’s not going to tell you about things like gay tea dance. I’m going to try to work harder on this in the future.

More Paula Deen Issues

It was announced yesterday that now Wal-Mart and Caesars Entertainment will be backing away from Paula Deen. And there might be more to come.

Walmart and Caesars Entertainment joined Smithfield, a food company specializing in pork products, which dropped Deen on Monday. The Food Network also decided not to renew Deen’s contract after her remarks.

QVC told TMZ.com it was “closely monitoring these events and we are reviewing our business relationship with Ms. Deen. In the meantime, we have no immediate plans to have her appear on QVC.”

Equal Rights Blog Hop

A blogging buddy of mine sent me information about a blog hop for his new web site that’s focused on equal rights.

From my inbox:

The Equal Rights Blog Hop
As most of you know, equal rights are something that the GLBT community (or whatever acronym you prefer) has been fighting for across the world for some time now. The right to marry whomever we love. The right to be protected against discrimination in the workplace. The right to be protected from acts of violence that stem from who and what we are. We are making gains in some areas–many more countries are recognizing same-sex marriages as a legal right. We are losing ground in others, such as the increase in state-sanctioned violence against homosexuals in Russia and transgendered people in Greece.

July the 4th marks the celebration of Independence Day in the United States. We invite you to take place in a blog hop to celebrate our own march toward independence!

Queer Town Abbey is hosting a blog hop July 4th through 7th and we want YOU to participate! We’re calling on writers across the GLBT genre to join us: our theme is “What does being a member of the GLBT community mean to you?”

Please write a blog post on this topic and post it on your site on the 4th July. Feel free to also promote your books, too. Consider offering a prize to readers who comment on your post, as this will help ensure that people circulate the entire blog list.

This is a serious subject but we want you to have fun too! Share with us what being a member of this fabulous community means to you while taking the opportunity to introduce yourself to new readers and potential fans.

For more info: http://queertownabbey.com/join-the-equal-rights-blog-hop-july-4th-through-7th/

 

Anne Rice Over Paula Deen

Anne Rice Over Paula Deen

Update Below *

In a new twist surrounding the Paula Deen deal, author Anne Rice has weighed in on the topic with a new brand of criticism that gets into “lynch mob culture.”

This is what Rice posted on facebook:

“What’s happening with Paula Dean [sic]? Is it fair? I never heard of her until today, and wow, this looks like a crucifixion,” Rice wrote, adding: “I may be wrong but aren’t we becoming something of a lynch mob culture? Is this a good example of that?”

I guess it’s plausible that you can live in the US and not know much about food culture, cookery, or personalities like Paula Deen. But not everyone agrees with me:

Meanwhile, Jeri Milburn quipped: “More shocking than these allegations against Paula is the fact that Anne has never heard of her until today!”

You can read more here. And you can check out Anne Rice’s facebook page yourself to see how people are responding. It’s a very interesting thread to read.

Suggesting this might be “lynch mob culture” is an interesting choice of words for Rice to use, given the historical significance of lynching in the south many years ago, and given the fact that she is an author and she’s aware of how important it is to choose words with care.

I grew up in a household where the N-word was never used. We weren’t saints. I often use the word fuck throughout a given day. I even write fuck here sometimes on this blog. I’ve called a few people chicken-fuckers. I’ve said worse than that on a bad day. I’ve written explicit sex scenes in books that would probably shock most people, including one that had a burping dick. I do think we can be too politically correct in the country sometimes. I’m afraid to use the word black, so I use African American or people of African descent so I won’t offend anyone. But I don’t use the N-word, and I never hear it used in my circles. And on those rare occasions when I hear someone use the N-word it always makes me cringe and I will usually ask him or her not to use it in my presence…or I’ll just leave, right after I tell them to go fuck themselves.

As a side note, I grew up in a small southern NJ town in place that’s referred to as Sleepy Salem County, at the foot of the Delaware Memorial Bridge. There’s a strong southern influence there, and many of the streets are named after southern towns and states. I lived one blog away from Virginia Avenue. The Maryland border is about a half hour away. The Delaware Memorial Bridge is considered the gateway to the south. I’m in my forties, and from what I recall people often used words like “colored,” and “negro,” and as bad as that sounds now they meant no harm by it. But only the worst of the worst used the actual N-word. I have a true story to tell about this, which I’ll post at a later date. It still makes me cringe to think about it.

Update * This is from Rice’s facebook page, from the comment thread where she’s been replying all afternoon:

Thanks for so many wonderful and thoughtful comments on both sides of the issue. Wish I could read every single one but they’re moving too fast for me to cover all. I remain of the same opinion still. This is a public lynching. We live in dangerous times on many levels. Today no one can afford to say the slightest thing that is “politically incorrect.” I mean nothing. We all have to be extremely careful. I feel sorry for this woman. —- I have read the law suit, and if the statements made there by the person suing are accurate or truthful, obviously Paul Dean is a plain spoken woman, somewhat course, somewhat vulgar, and perhaps even what we call ignorant. But I’m not sure a person’s career should be destroyed because one is course, or vulgar or ignorant. America has been built by many such people who were hard working and fair minded while being vulgar and course at the same time. I will be thinking about this one for a long time. And I will NOT be watching the Food Network. Don’t anyway and won’t start. They’re a little too “politically correct” for me.

And I hope this is my last update about Rice. I’ve had just about enough, too.

Sam Taylor-Johnson Fifty Shades Movie; N-Word Paula Deen; Ex-Gay Group Apology

According to this article, they’ve chosen a director for the Fifty Shades Movie, Sam Taylor-Johnson. So the movie adaptation is moving forward, but still no announcement about who is going to star in the film.

Sam Taylor-Johnson (formerly Taylor-Wood), a famed photographer and visual artist turned filmmaker, made her directorial debut with 2009’s “Nowhere Boy,” a chronicle of the early years of John Lennon, played by future “Kick-Ass” star Aaron Johnson. The director and her star were later married, despite her being 23 years his senior.

Does this mean Aaron Taylor-Johnson — the couple hyphenated their surnames after getting married — is now the top contender to play Christian Grey? Probably, even if only unofficially.
 
I have never seen any of her work, but I’m actually kind of glad they chose someone who has done films like “Nowhere Boy.” That’s a biopic that’s focused on the YA years of John Lennon. And now I’m going to make a point of watching it.
 
I’m not certain about Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Sam’s husband, playing Christian. I’m still plugging for Matt Bomer, and this time I’m doing that because he IS gay. That’s right; just because he’s gay. For years gay men in the film industry have played straight characters and no one ever knew it because those gay men were not able to come out of the closet. And now that gay men are able to come out of the closet in an industry that claims to be so openly liberal about everything I want to see these gay actors get the chance to play straight roles…just like Michael Douglas and Matt Damon played the gay roles in the Liberace film.
 
Let’s see how THAT works out!!
 
Just think about it for a minute. An openly gay man like Matt Bomer playing a straight character, instead of a closeted gay man like Rock Husdon playing a straight character. It’s an interesting concept with just the right twist of irony that might catch on someday.
 
Paula Deen and the N-Word
 
Speaking of politically incorrect train wrecks, this entire shitstorm with Paula Deen using the N-word has left my jaw hanging for the past two days. As far as I can see, this issue isn’t new. This all started over a year ago when a former employee sued Deen and her brother for racism, sexual harassment, and assault…but the transcripts were just released. And some of the things Paula Deen says in those transcripts makes me wonder how much butter is between her ears.
 
…she’s just given a deposition in which she admits that “Yes, of course” she throws around racial slurs at work and thinks an elegant idea for a wedding might be to staff it with black men pretending to be slaves. Who doesn’t? We’re all Americans here, right?
 
You can read more here, and this is a link to the actual deposition. If you do a simple search, this is trending everywhere from twitter to facebook.
 
This, I think, is a good example of what happens when dumb people get too much exposure and power. You can only hide that kind of stupidity for so long behind that good ole down home image, but sooner or later it’s going to be exposed, Y’awl.
 
Ex-Gay Group Apology
 
I’m a little sorry I didn’t write a completely separate post about this because it’s so interesting. But I was afraid I would ramble on too much, and I’ve learned through experience the less said the better sometimes. Long blog posts lose readers.  
 
The ex-gay group, Exodus International, is closing down and offering apologies to the LGBT community for things they’ve said and done in the past.
 
 I am sorry for the pain and hurt that many of you have experienced. I am sorry some of you spent years working through the shame and guilt when your attractions didn’t change. I am sorry we promoted sexual orientation change efforts and reparative theories about sexual orientation that stigmatized parents.
 
This is what the logo on their banner reads: “Proclaiming Freedom from Homosexuality Since 1976.”
 
I think we’ll look back someday at reparative therapy as one of the most ridiculous concepts of our time.