Saturday, April 19, 2008

Cruise Mind-Control


I don't know anything about Tom Cruise's sexual orientation, and I couldn't care less. I've met more than one person who claims they saw him at the hustler bar Rounds in his pre-stardom days, but it's never been substantiated, and it could easily have been someone who only resembled Cruise. Who knows?

So along comes Andrew Morton's book Tom Cruise: The Unauthorized Biography. The first few chapters are, frankly, kind of dull. Like I say, I don't know if Cruise is gay or not, but Morton spends too many pages trying to prove he isn't. He quotes one old girlfriend saying she can't understand the rumors because, like, she and Tom screwed in his car years ago so how can he be gay, and that sort of thing. Duh!

Jeez, how many Jim McGreevey scandals will it take before people realize that sexual activity with the opposite sex -- even having a wife and children a la McGreevey -- does not preclude gayness or a bisexual lifestyle. Again, I ain't saying Cruise is gay, just that the fact that he may have screwed a few women and has at least one biological kid doesn't mean much. Last year The Advocate ran a story about a military man who was married for twenty years and had five biological children --and, yes, he was gay. Among my friends and acquaintances I number several gay (at at least homosexual) men who were either married with children in the past or still are.

Whatever his orientation, Cruise is definitely homophobic. Lots of actors have to deal with gay rumors, but most of them don't sue over it at the drop of a hat. They figure it goes with the territory, they may not be gay but being gay isn't so awful, they have gay friends or relatives and support gay rights -- it's no big deal. Cruise doesn't realize that all his law suits, instead of beating out brush fires, only inflame them. People wonder: what's all the fuss about? Talking about one suit when his adopted kids were about one or two years old, he whined to Barbara Walters (about the gay rumors) "I mean, I have children."No, he wasn't saying that that proved he was straight (or was he?), he was saying his children, one or two years old, shouldn't have to hear that being said about their old man. As if they would have given a damn at that age! Whenever Cruise sues over alleged inferences that he's gay, the press releases always include something about how "he doesn't care what lifestyle people lead" and all that shit, but I'm certain that's his lawyers trying to do damage control. Cruise does care about your "lifestyle," especially if you're not a scientologist like he is.

As for scientology, it's all well and good to say that most religions are a bit dopey, weird, and homophobic (I write this as the pope invades Manhattan), but the scientologists are even worse than the fundamentalists. In the scientology "religion," a person must cut off all ties with other family members who don't also embrace the "faith," and scientologists mercilessly hound and harass ex-members who speak out publicly against the group. Many of their activities, according to Morton, are downright criminal. Members of the cult -- and it is a cult, nothing more or less -- believe that founder L. Ron Hubbard will come back to life (and Earth) and help them take over the world. Hubbard believed homosexuality was a disease and that homosexuals should be quietly "disposed" of.

They are total nut cases. And Tom Cruise is a fervent scientologist.

Tom Cruise is a nut job.

Frankly, I hope he's not gay.

Morton's book is a good, eye-opening, even frightening read. It examines the strange relationship between Cruise and scientology head David Miscavige, another certified weirdo.

Everybody should know what scientology is up to. Because they're strange, they're homophobic, they're crazy, and they're out to control the world.

No shit.

Read this book or any other that's been written about the cult. Most journalists don't ask Cruise the tough questions about scientology and their homophobic attitudes because Cruise won't do an interview if such questions come up. It's a wall of silence. If somebody wants Cruise on their TV show or magazine cover they have to put up with these demands.

As for me, I have no great desire to see a Tom Cruise movie, but if I do I'll get it for free from the library.

Cruise and his cultists aren't going to get any moola from this gay guy!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Final Thoughts on "Chuck and Larry"


A fireman begs his best friend to pretend to be a gay couple with him so that they can reap financial benefits, but have to keep up a deception when an official comes around to investigate the veracity of their claim.

Sounds like last summer's movie I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, doesn't it?

Actually it's a 2004 Australian film entitled Strange Bedfellows, starring Paul Hogan (Vince) and Michael Caton (Ralph). Yes, it has the exact same premise as Chuck and Larry. (The last I heard, the producers of Strange Bedfellows were suing the producers of Chuck and Larry.) Strange Bedfellows was written by Dean Murphy (who also directed the film) and Stewart Faichney.

Chuck and Larry was accused of being a mass of stereotypes with a message of tolerance tacked on at the end. Actually, that description is more apt of Bedfellows, which is pretty much the movie everyone was afraid Chuck and Larry would be.

Bedfellows takes place in a small town, while C&L takes place in a big city. Bedfellows begins with Hogan, hit with a huge tax bill, reading a story in the paper about a (mythical) law allowing tax benefits to same-sex couples. As in C&L, one of the two guys seems more live-and-let-live about gays than the other.

In Bedfellows, the two men take photos of the town "faggot" (not referred to as such, although "poofter" is used now and then throughout the film) or hairdresser, a very stereotypical gay male, so that they can mimic his mannerisms for the tax official. There's a twist when it turns out that the effeminate man is actually straight, or at least having sex with half the women in town. While this bit could have made the point that there are girlish straight men and masculine gay guys, it's all ruined by the revelation that the hairdresser's mannerisms are all put on. He acts gay because "it's expected of" him and because he can sneak around having sex with half of the wives and daughters in town. Sure, as if any straight guy would want to be known as the town faggot!

Perhaps the worst scene in the movie has the straight if nelly-acting hairdresser teaching our two heroes how to "swish." At least Chuck and Larry doesn't have an equivalent sequence. The hairdresser also says that gay men refer to themselves as "girls" and "she." Indeed in a gay bar scene later on, there are leather men calling themselves "girls." I don't think so. (There may still be some gay men who do this, but they are a dying breed and they are definitely not leather men or bears.)

The gay bar scene presents most of the customers as freaks of one sort or another -- or at least wants the viewers to see them that way for the alleged comedic value. One perfectly "normal" man has a conversation with Hogan at the bar but he's vastly outnumbered by much more "fabulous" characters, all of whom are at least likable and who seem a bit perturbed when Ralph makes some comment about what's stranger than being a "poof." Still thinking he's gay, they pause and then giggle.

Unlike C&L, in Bedfellows there is no scene when an official suggests how wrong and obscene it would be for straight people, liars, to take advantage of laws supposed to benefit a minority group that has had to struggle for its rights for decades.

At the end of the film, we learn that Ralph's daughter is gay. While her girlfriend thinks her father is cool, the daughter herself, besides being closeted, seems full of internalized homophobia. "I don't want you to be that way," she says, because gay people are laughed at behind their backs. I can understand why a gay child might be uncomfortable with a gay parent -- most children don't even want to think of their parents as being sexual, gay or straight -- but her reaction is decidedly negative and even old-fashioned. You imagine that if a gay gene is ever isolated, this gal would want any kids she might have to be "straightened" out. Of course, she's only onscreen for five minutes so we learn very little about her. She's introduced to set up the ending, and her complaining about "being laughed at" is the springboard for her father's speech. But it makes her seem a very regressive character.

After learning his daughter is gay -- and not before -- Ralph gives the well-intentioned "tolerance" speech at the end of the film. He makes the point that everyone has known him and Vince for many years and what they do in the privacy of their homes shouldn't make any difference. I won't go into details, but it all comes down to the fact that Ralph and Vince really love each other -- aww-- albeit not in the romantic or sexual sense. The tax official, Russell (Pete Postlethwaite), who may or may not be gay, sort of forgives them and let's them off the hook because he hasn't seen "a stronger bond or a greater love between two men in many a year." So let's see, two straight guys can love each other more than two gay men who are in love with each other?

Strange Bedfellows may mean well -- or at least it tries to have some pro-gay sentiments to offset all the stereotypical crap -- but it just doesn't get it. The film is well-acted by all, has some mildly amusing moments, but it's too stupid and even offensive to make a positive impression.

So now we come to I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, which -- believe it or not -- is an improvement. Very few gay people that I know have actually sat through the movie. I think nobody actually wanted to go to a theater, plunk down twelve dollars, and possibly have to sit through the picture with a bunch of homophobic teens making crass remarks all the while.

Curiously, C&L, while it'll never be one of my favorite films, and there were aspects of it that I really disliked, was not nearly as bad as I had feared. DISCLAIMER: Remember that I didn't watch this in a theater with a straight audience, but at home with a gay friend, which probably affected my perception of the film to a certain degree. Had I seen it with a straight -- especially a straight homophobic audience -- laughing at or commenting on the stereotypes, I would have found it a much worse experience than watching my borrowed library copy at home.

First of all, contrary to popular belief GLAAD did not "endorse" Chuck and Larry. You can find my New York Blade story and interview with GLAAD's president here, which explains what really happened and how GLAAD tried to improve the film and may have helped to do so.

Okay, Adam Sandler's not a horrible-looking guy, but it's pretty comical (in the wrong sense) that he would wind up with half a dozen gorgeous twenty-something babes in his bedroom at the same time, as he does early in the movie. The real Adam Sandler, a billionaire movie star, probably has no problem getting babes, but an average-looking firefighter on the cusp of middle-age? But that's just typical Adam Sandler, aging-stud stuff that all geeky movie comics from Bob Hope to Jim Carrey indulge in. And especially in a movie with a sort of gay theme, Sandler probably felt he had to establish the character's heterosexuality in an as over-the-top way as possible. That is also the reason for a really stupid scene in which the lady social worker who helps them (Jessica Biel) let's Chuck (Sandler) touch her naked boobs so she can prove to him that they're real. Sure -- as if a professional woman would allow a male -- or any -- client to do such a thing!

On the positive side, the film makes fun of homophobes, and while there's a silly sequence when Chuck and Larry try to find some "gay garbage" to fool the domestic partnership inspector, they never swish around and act stereotypically gay as the guys do in Strange Bedfellows. Chuck makes a speech about how ugly and hurtful the word "faggot" is, comparing it to someone calling him "kike." I liked the gay mailman, and I especially liked the way the film winds up with a gay wedding instead of a straight one.

On the negative side, I could have done without the way Larry's supposedly gay young son Eric was handled. He hits all the stereotype buttons and literally screams when he looks at a nude female centerfold. Eric and his father get into a fight with another man and his kid, not because of the latter pair's homophobia but because they say Eric is gay (but the film is supposed to be saying that it's okay to be gay). After he comes out of the closet, butch firefighter Duncan (Ving Rhames) turns kind of "queeny" -- he sings "I'm Every Woman" in the shower -- the tiresome old notion that masculine gay men just "butch it up" but are big "fairies" inside. Then there's the whole business about whether it's Chuck or Larry who's "the woman" in the relationship, and the social worker taking Chuck out for a "girls' day," which she would hardly say to a masculine gay guy like Chuck. And I don't believe for one second that the gay community of New York would come to see Chuck and Larry as some kind of gay heroes or icons, especially after they've been exposed as straight. Sandler socks one of the homophobes outside of the gay bar, but I would have liked it better if an actual gay character had thrown the punch. (I have to admit that the fireman's calender that ends the film is kind of funny.)

Of course, some of the good points that are made about gays are kind of blunted or made pointless because Chuck and Larry aren't really gay (if only the film had had the courage to have one of them sincerely come out of the closet at the end of the picture.)

There are people who think Chuck and Larry is a lot tougher on Asians (part Filipino Rob Schneider's minister, who says "loom" for "room") and very obese people (the funny-gross opening with the guys rescuing an enormous home bound man from a burning building) than it is on gays.

Would I have gotten my old Gay Activist Alliance buddies to picket this film the way we did Cruising, A Different Story and Windows? -- Maybe not. While I can understand the negative gay reaction to the film, I can't quite understand why even straight reviewers were so brutal.

Was it because they objected to the stereotyping -- or, privately, to the message of tolerance and gay marriage equality at the end? Considering this was an Adam Sandler film geared toward a young, unsophisticated audience, it could have been much, much worse.

I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry was written by Barry Fanaro, Alexander Payne, and Jim Taylor. The director was Dennis Dugan, who had a role in the execrable "gay" movie Norman ... Is That You? in 1976.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Another Good Reason to Wear Condoms!

Okay, first off, I support full rights for transsexuals and sympathize with the plight of those trans men who, for one reason or another, retain their female sexual organs and find themselves a bit adrift in a world, gay or straight, that worships cock. I'm not trying to make fun of anyone or of their choices, but I can't help but find a certain bizarre aspect to this that I think has its humorous aspects. Let's face it -- sexuality can sure be funny. In fact, if I were religious I'd say that sex was God's little joke on humanity.

Anyway, on a previous post I went into the reaction some gay males have to learning that there are gay (trans) men out there cruising gay bars who have pussies. Now we have a man, Thomas Beatie -- a Trans Man (a female-to-male transsexual) -- who seems to have retained his female sexual organs not because artificial penises don't look good or because they're too expensive, but because he wanted to get pregnant. Which is, of course, his prerogative. (His wife -- apparently he is a hetero Trans Man -- cannot have children.)

Frankly, I have to wonder if all Trans Men are thrilled with this development. Here they are, innately male, trying to be as outwardly masculine as they can be, some Out and Proud as Transgender, some trying to "pass," but still wanting to be recognized by the world as men.

And along comes Thomas Beatie, a Trans Man who's carrying a baby! (And apparently he's not the first. Just the most publicized and the first to get a book deal.) Beatie says that he's all man inside. "I see pregnancy as a process. It doesn't define who I am."

Beatie is quick to make it clear that he was never a lesbian. "When I was a teenager I had an attraction to women, but it wasn't a sexual attraction." But if he was always innately male deep within himself, even a sexual attraction to women wouldn't have made him a lesbian, would it? (It would be ironic -- and a little sad -- if Beatie, who is a man carrying a baby, was embarrassed or ashamed to have anybody think he might be or might have once been a "dyke!" Oy vey!)

The New York Post did a surprisingly respectful strictly-the-facts piece on Beatie (although one wonders how respectful it would have been had Beatie's partner been a man). Still, the piece, by Michael Starr, admirably avoided any snideness or judgmental attitude. But it also avoided any tough questions.

Will most people, even in the gay community, see Beatie as a true man, a grotesque combination of male and female, or just a lesbian who isn't facing the facts about herself? A woman who wants a sense of male power while retaining abilities peculiar to females? I, and many others scoffed at a young bisexual lady on a gay message board who suggested that there was a trend in "butch lesbians" transitioning into men -- even Trans Man porn star Buck Angel remarked that switching sexes is becoming easy and "trendy" -- but while most transsexuals are truly transsexual, sometimes you have to wonder.

One reason many guys will have trouble seeing Beatie as really being a guy is the simple fact that he actually wanted to get pregnant. Guys not only do not want to get pregnant, most don't want to get anybody else pregnant, although many stupidly do because they're drunk, horny, and can't bother with a condom. I speak primarily of straight guys, of course, along with some bi-identified men and even a few gay men who occasionally enjoy a poke with a kinky female friend.

But now there's this new wrinkle. I can picture it. Horny, drunk gay guy gets picked up by a macho, bearded stud in the local leather bar. Once home, they tear each other's clothing off, only the gay guy discovers that the other gay guy is a Trans Man with a vagina. Initially distressed by the phallic-less state of his date, he's drunk enough to fuck him anyway. He figures, what the hell? Pussy or no pussy, at least the guy looks like a hairy macho man.

Then a few months later, a very pregnant bearded guy walks into the Eagle and slaps the gay guy with a court order for child support!


Like I say, get out those condoms, fellas, LOL!

Barbara Walters Special: Elderly Women Will Turn Lesbian

Okay, there was a Barbara Walters special on longevity one night early in April 2008. Most of the show was fairly superficial, going into the expected stuff such as cryogenics [freezing bodies until such a time as a cure for whatever killed you is found, at which point you'll be defrosted. Aside from the simple fact that everyone you know may be dead and your money long since spent by the people you left it to, there is the simple problem that -- even if they've found the cure for cancer or heart disease -- you're still dead. Nobody ever talks about keeping you frozen until a method is found to, like, resuscitate corpses.]

But I digress. Late in the program, Baba Waba introduces us to a man named Stephen J. Dubner, author of a book called "Freakonomics." This man, an ABC news correspondent and expert on economics, apparently fancies himself an expert on (homo)sexuality as well. Talking with Barbara about the effects of people living longer, resulting in there being a larger elderly population in the U.S., Dubner says that it may decrease prejudice against the elderly. But one problem, he says, is that women generally outlive men, including their husbands (although one would imagine all of these life-lengthening treatments might correct that disparity) so there will be a dearth of older men for the widows and other elderly ladies to have relationships with. Therefore, according to "Dubner and Dumber," there will be much "elderly lesbianism" in the future.


I sent Dubner the following email:

Re. your comments on the Barbara Walters special earlier tonight (that since women generally outlive men, there will be a shortage of men in the golden years and therefore there will be a lot of "elderly lesbianism.") What on earth what you were thinking?

Now if you were saying that some elderly women who have been closeted lesbians or bisexuals throughout their lives will come out of the closet in old age, it might have made some sense. But to suggest that old women will simply turn homo because there aren't enough older men around makes no sense whatsoever (what about younger men, for Pete's sake?).Same-sex episodes (or rapes) among straight men I can understand in prisons. But somehow I can't see women who have been legitimately straight all their lives suddenly going gay as if it were something you could turn on and off like a switch. When I think of the long struggle it can be for many people to accept themselves, and how being gay is about so much more than sex, and how it's not a "lifestyle" but a life, it's ridiculous for you to reduce it to "not enough men around -- just go lesbian."

A lot of progress has been made by gay rights over the years, but comments like yours make me realize we've still got a hell of a long way to go when it comes to being understood.

With all due respect stick to economics and leave the comments on (homo) sexuality to others, okay?

To date I've received no reply.