time magazine

"Twilight’s" Stephenie Meyer Comments on "Fifty Shades of Grey;" Gay Catholic Released From Church Duties

I may have missed it, but I haven’t seen any public comments where “Twilight” author, Stephenie Meyer, commented on the E.L. James novel, “Fifty Shades of Grey.” The reason why I’m curious about this is because it’s been said that “Fifty Shades of Grey” originated as fanfiction under a different title and was allegedly based upon Meyer’s “Twilight.” A fact that to this day most people don’t seem to know.

And this week in Time Magazine’s “10 Questions” feature, there’s an interview with Stephenie Meyer and one of the questions is directed toward how she feels about “Fifty Shades of Grey.” I still get the print magazine in the mail, but if you’re interested in reading the interview online, you can get it here. The interview is not up yet. I’m not sure how this works, but I think Time keeps the newest interviews for paid subscribers until a certain amount of time has passed…and then they let it go public.

One of the questions gets into how Meyer deals with so much of the criticism she’s received from the literary community at large.

The literary establishment isn’t always kind to you. How do you deal with criticism?

A lot of it I really take to heart, because I know I’m not the best writer. I do try to learn from it. I feel like with each book I’ve written, I’ve gotten a little bit better. You sometimes have to tune it out, because it can be that voice in your head all the time and be really crippling.

And now here’s the question she answered about “Fifty Shades of Grey” and E. L. James. As a side note, this isn’t exactly how I would have phrased the question. This could be why Time Magazine is now about as thick as a vanilla wafer.

I have to ask you about “Fifty Shades of Grey.” E. L. James took something that you created and used it as inspiration for something that’s pretty raunchy. How does that make you feel?

It doesn’t feel that connected to me. I haven’t read it so I don’t know. I’m glad that she’s doing well and succeeding, and that’s cool. The raunchy part, I wish that wasn’t attached to “Twilight,” just because I don’t think of it that way, but, you know, it doesn’t hurt “Twilight.”

At least they didn’t say “Mommy porn.” And it’s a great answer, but I still can’t help wondering what she really thinks.

Gay Catholic Released From Church Duties

I had a much longer post about this article yesterday, but it sounded so much like a rant I decided not to publish it. This isn’t something about which I want to rant anymore, because it is what it is. I just want to post the facts for people who might not know them.

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Coppola said he attended a mass at St. Anthony’s celebrating justice and equality. After the homily, he was summoned into the office of his pastor, Father Nicholas Lombardi, where he was told an anonymous letter complaining about his sexuality had been sent to Bishop William Murphy of the Rockville Centre Diocese, which includes St. Anthony’s Parish. Lombardi said Coppola would be banned from his parish duties, as a result of the letter.

By parish duties they are talking about the fact that Coppola did a lot of volunteer work for the church, a church for which he was a devoted member for a decade. This is part of the anonymous letter:

This letter is to inform you of a serious situation at St. Anthony’s in Oceanside. I have made numerous calls to your office which I believe have fallen on deaf ears.

Nicolas Coppola … is a homosexual. He was recently married to another man. He does not hide this or keep it silent.

With all that The Catholic Church has been dealing with and trying to stop, WHY IS THIS PERMITTED?

As a result, the church released Coppola from his duties. You can read more here.

Joel Stein’s Awesome Column On Public Shaming

For the past six years, I have been receiving a gift subscription to Time Magazine from someone close to me, and for the past six years I have sent them a thank you note and been gracious about receiving the gift. The only problem is I’m not fond of Time Magazine, because I don’t feel as though I’m getting objective news there anymore. In fact, the only reason I don’t throw it away every week is because I’ve come to truly enjoy Joel Stein’s Awesome Column and I don’t want to miss that one page of what sometimes resembles highly underestimated common sense, and other times absolute brilliance when you least expect it.

In the most recent column titled, “The Shame Game,” Stein discusses the Lance Armstrong debacle and the over-publicized interview with Oprah on her OWN network, pardon the horrible pun. I read the print version, but you can read the full piece here at Time online if you are a subscriber.

If you’re not, I’ll post a few excerpts, which I think the infringement police of all that is Internet now and forevermore will allow me to do. I’m not certain how this works, but I think you’ll be able to read it for free next week online, or the week after, because a lot of the content is released to the public after a certain date…at least I think that’s how it works, but don’t quote me on that.

In any event, I just couldn’t figure out why I had such a problem with the Oprah/Armstrong interview and I wound up not watching it at all. I even programmed the DVR and thought about watching later. But I wound up deleting it completely. First, I’m a runner and I’m not a huge follower of that particular sport, so I felt as if I were eavesdropping on something that was none of my business. Second, I remember a few other Oprah/Armstrong interviews where they both kissed and hugged each other so much I nearly gagged to death. Third, I haven’t watched anything on the OWN network since it began and I figured why bother now? I had been hoping we’d see more LGBT programming there.

I didn’t consider the shame aspect, not once, and certainly not in the way Stein writes about it in his column, The Shame Game.

“I too have been publicly shamed, though not by Oprah, whose shameless producers interviewed me and then used out-of-context clips during her public shaming of James Frey. Which I feel ashamed about. But I’ve been publicly shamed for writing offensive columns. Not all of them, because it would take up all of society’s time, but a few…none of which were ones I was worried about.”

I did catch the Frey interview on Oprah after it had been established that he’d embellished some of the content of his non-fiction book, and if that wasn’t public shaming I don’t know what is. I was actually waiting for her to lean over and slap a big red A on his shirt. And he just sat there, slumped over, taking it all in without a hint of defense whatsoever. I couldn’t even begin to imagine what was going through his mind at the time. Making a mistake is one thing. None of us are perfect. But to be put on a stage in front of millions of people and shamed quite that way brings new meaning to the word sensationalism.

And that’s another reason why I didn’t bother to watch the Oprah/Armstrong interview. I’m just not into public shaming in any form. Period. It’s not just Oprah. I like Oprah and I think she’s done far more good for the world than bad. But a lot of people in the mainstream don’t realize how rampant this sort of shame thing is on the Internets, especially with authors and those of the know-it-all blogging crowd that live to create controversy and brand themselves as far more important than they actually are.

I think I like this part of Stein’s post the most:

“We need to stop the public apologies in which we demand our pound of tears. Oprah, Barbara Walters, Katie Couric, Jay Leno and Jesse Jackson have become the tailors of our scarlet A’s. I do not believe that the people who watched the Oprah interview felt wronged for believing that an athlete didn’t dope to win a sport they’ve never watched. I believe that interview made us feel better about all the bad things we’ve done, because at least we didn’t cheat at cycling.”

Again, no one is perfect. No one should be expected to be perfect. I could add a few names to that list of the scarlet letter A group, most of whom have been doing their own brand of shaming online where only a handful of people see them do it. But the entire concept of public shaming leaves me wondering whether or not we crave public scandal, or we’re interested in watching imperfection at its best as it might possibly relate to us, as Stein suggests above.

And now I feel guilty and ashamed, because I still haven’t left a review of Stein’s most recent book release, Man Made: A Stupid Quest for Masculinity, and I’ve been meaning to do that for months now.

Sorry, no photos of Joel Stein this time. He’s a nice looking guy, but who knows what’s considered public domain anymore unless it’s marked and branded that way.

Rant: Time Magazine, Neil Patrick Harris, and Images of Gay Men

Well, they did it again. Time Magazine, for all their liberal efforts to save the world, insulted gay men just like they did it the last time I wrote about them, here. Only this time it was with a subtle comment, in a small piece written about Neil Patrick Harris. I used to think Time did these things to spark controversy. But now I just think they’re stupid.

I’m not going after Neil Patrick Harris in this post. I like his work and I think his public image is wonderful. And he has no control over what is written about him. However, this past week he was mentioned in Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people issue and the comment made about him, though nice for him, insulted the lgbt community once again. In this issue of Time, where they list 100 influential people, the comments are written by people who either know, or have worked with, the influential people listed. It’s a grand lovefest that often leaves me wondering, and it could be the reason why Time Magazine is growing thinner by the week, losing subscriptions by the day, and pissing people off by the minute.

In any event, the comment made about Neil Patrick Harris suggested that he’s such an influential man (simply because he’s gay, not because of the work he’s actually done), he’s partially responsible for changing the image about the way gay men are perceived in the world. This isn’t a direct quote. But that’s the gist of what it says.

And I’d like to know what’s wrong with the image we already have as gay men? Or, better yet, do we even need an image? Because what this comment about Neil Patrick Harris is suggesting is that there’s a negative image, obviously created by other gay men, and it’s somehow not right according to the image “they” want for us.

But more than that, what truly amazes me is that no one ever picks these little discriminatory remarks up on the mainstream. If someone made a public comment like this about any other minority in America, bombs would go off, heads would roll, and someone would be apologizing all over the talk show circuit.

For me, it’s just another reason why I’m not renewing my subscription to Time Magazine. Though I like him, I don’t need Neil Patrick Harris to set an image for me, nor do I need Time Magazine to suggest this is who I should be. Gay men (and the entire lgbt community) are all different. We’re not an image, we’re not a stereo-type, and to suggest that we should be is as insulting as so many comments we used to hear about other minorities in America.

The Pumpkin Ravioli Boy, Time Magazine, and John Cloud

Here’s something I normally don’t do. I’m giving a detailed explanation of the inspiration to a short story, THE PUMPKIN RAVIOLI BOY.

Two years ago, almost to the exact day, I read the dumbest article about gay relationships I’ve ever read in my life. It was written by John Cloud…a gay staff writer for Time Magazine. I was so annoyed, I wrote a short story and titled it THE PUMPKIN RAVIOLI BOY, which was published in a small anthology, and now recently released as a stand alone e-book by loveyoudivine.com.

I won’t bore you all to death with the article. But, basically, it was one of those “studies suggest, data shows, and experts agree,” type of pieces that give no solid facts and leave innocent readers with the wrong impression. And I hate, most of all, for younger gay men to think every gay relationship is like what Mr. Cloud wrote about. It’s not.

“Research on gay relationships is young.” This is what Mr. Cloud said in the article, a direct quote. Well…blah, blah, blah. I don’t get my research from google or “experts” when it comes to gay relationships. (And I write fiction!) I gather my research from the many gay couples I personally know who have been in long term relationships for years. And, I know plenty who have been together for over thirty years. One couple over forty years.

I’m not politically vocal at all. If John Cloud had just kept this related to his own personal experiences (all rather peculiar, in that transparent trying-to-be-too-sophistocated sort of way) I would have been fine. But what bothered me the most about Mr. Cloud’s piece in Time was that so many people who know nothing about gay relationships, especially during a time when we’re fighting so hard for marriage and equal rights, would get the wrong idea. If I’d read this when I was younger, I would have been terrified of gay relationships. Evidently, none of his editors are gay…or they aren’t in touch with their gay readership? Maybe they wanted to spark reader controversy? I don’t know. But I decided to balance Cloud’s version of gay relationships with a short story of my own.

Of course they wouldn’t print my story in Time Magazine, and Mr. Cloud is far too literary elite to read m/m romance (I’d bet money; he’d choke on his pumpkin ravioli). But I’ve been writing about gay male relationships a lot longer than Mr. Cloud has been writing ambiguous articles for Time, and I think that my readers appreciate the fact that I always try to go into details, based on my own experiences, when it comes to m/m relationships.

Excerpt: “Ah, well,” Patrick said. The truth was he’d never known any born-again Christians personally, with such nice blue eyes and soft blond hair.
While Dave snapped the photos, Patrick couldn’t help noticing how tight Dave’s jeans were. The clean, faded denim hugged his round ass as though it had been painted there. He spread his legs wide and stood there as if he were standing in front of a toilet. And he had broad, level shoulders beneath the white dress shirt. His back muscles jumped and jerked when his large arms clicked the photos. At first, his body appeared to be stocky and about twenty pounds overweight, but at a second glance, Patrick was certain that Dave was a serious weight lifter. There were thick, hard muscles perfectly stacked beneath the white cotton shirt. He would have bet his last porn flick there wasn’t an ounce of flab on Dave. The man even moved liked a serious weight lifter, with slow, graceful gestures and an even sense of timing.