Okay, you’re probably wondering “why the hell is that guy doing the BEST.GAY.WEEK.EVER?” While I usually toil in the dank dungeon of “the blog”, I managed to carve a makeshift spoon from the jaw bone of a blogger that blog editor Brian Juergens had trapped and consumed. Just the price you pay for missing a deadline.
I used the spoon to tunnel my way to the AfterElton.com mainpage, where I was captured and brought to the throne room of AfterElton.com editor Michael Jensen. He gave me a choice, either entertain him with a BGWE! column, or be covered in A-1 sauce and thrown to Brian.
So there you go.
Actually, I’m glad to be doing this week’s BGWE as it gives us a chance to discuss a topic that isn’t brought up much here … sports. With both the Super Bowl and the Australian Open, this past weekend was one of the biggest sports weekends of the year, and opens the door for us to look at why certain sports seem to appeal to gay men more than others, and why compiling a top ten of athletes’ gay slurs was very easy to put together.
Winning quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (l) is
congratulated by Kurt Warner
The Super Bowl aired Sunday night, and reminded me again why I rarely watch “the straight Oscars”. So much pomp and circumstance for a game that’s basically “keep away” with helmets and steroids. At least the half-time show sometimes provides an entertainingly awkward distraction, and this year that role was filled nicely by Bruce Springsteen’s high-velocity crotch.
This gun’s for hire!
Besides the half-time show, the million-dollar commercials usually provide a breath of fresh air from the synthetic testosterone on the football field, but this year’s crop of ads was especially lame. The bottom-of-the-barrel was officially scraped when race-car driver Danica Patrick (who is so tired of people not taking her seriously) starred in two commercials for something called GoDaddy! that would have been right at home on late-night Spike TV.
“You mean this isn’t how Shirley Muldowney got started?”
There weren’t even any good controversial commercials this year (unless you count needless crystal ball abuse, which I do!). I’m not saying I was hoping for something homophobic, but gee, remember how we all rallied the troops when this awesome debacle reared its ugly head?
Seems like yesterday, doesn’t it? It’s actually been two years since we tackled that ad, and judging from the commercials we saw this year, it may be possible that advertisers learned their lesson about gay panic and gay baiting. It’s too bad ESPN didn’t get the message.
Next page! What gay men were watching instead of the Super Bowl.
SUPER BOWL? IS THAT SOME KIND OF POTTERY?
Of course, for some people, that football game held no interest whatsoever. We call those people “gay men”. Just kidding! I know there are plenty of gay men who love watching football, and were glued to the TV screen watching the Pittsburgh Steelers come from behind to beat the Arizona Cardinals in an admittedly thrilling last two minutes.
But I think it is true that a healthy percentage of gay men would rather do … anything else … then watch the big game. To prove my unscientific theory, I polled ten of my gay male friends to find out what they were doing Superbowl night, and the results may surprise you (but probably not).
The spooky hotness that is Steve Gonsalves
Two of the ten were watching the Ghost
Facers Hunters marathon on the SCI-FI channel. I love the show, which follows two Roto-Rooter guys as they investigate paranormal phenomena in between snaking out drains. My favorite member of their team is Steve, who’s hot as hell and grows more bearish every season. Unfortunately, every time I watch the show, the same conversation seems to occur concerning Steve:
Team Member: Did you feel that? It felt like an otherworldly presence trying to make itself known on our plane!
Steve: Um … actually, that was me.
Team Member: What do you mean?
Steve: … I cut one.
I’m preparing this for my surprise brunch for Snicks!
Another two of the ten were watching some other kind of marathon on Food Network, but truth be told, there are only two shows I watch on that channel. First is The Barefoot Contessa, because I absolutely adore the goddess Ina Garten (pictured below). If just once in my life I could be invited to one of her “get-togethers”, I could die a happy man. I’ve seen quite a few gay guests on her show, and in one of her books, she made it clear how inclusive her heart is:
“We all know that families now aren’t necessarily like Ozzie and Harriet (it turns out Ozzie and Harriet’s family wasn’t all Ozzie and Harriet) … family has a traditional context, but today it’s not as simple as two parents with 2.3 kids … it’s about relationships … it’s about people who are bound together by love and a sense of being responsible for one another… it’s spouses with no children, like Jeffrey and me … it’s a group of women who meet to cook dinner together once a month … it’s a one-parent family with adopted children … it’s two men who’ve made a life together … at the end of the day, all we have is love … getting love, but even more, feeling love”
And she uses an overabundance of ellipses … which makes me feel even closer to her!
Above you can see the greatest culinary accomplishment of Sandra Lee, the Sarah Palin of the Food network, and the other reason why I watch. Quite frankly, she’s a hot mess who should not be allowed anywhere near food, and watching her destroy confection after confection brings me a perverse kind of thrill. In this clip, she’s making a Kwanzaa cake that somehow involves huge table candles, canned pie filling, pumpkin seeds, and “acorns” (which are really just Corn Nuts). It takes a special kind of bat-sh*t insanity to put Corn Nuts on a cake.
Next page! Turned on by Federer’s tears!
Two of the ten were watching Puppy Bowl V on Animal Planet, but I was disappointed with it this year. It was only two hours long instead of the usual three, and the kitty half-time show seemed like it only lasted five minutes. Plus it seemed fairly obvious that a few of the puppies (I’m not naming names) were on the juice.
The remaining four actually did watch the game, so in my estimation, 40 percent of all gay men were watching the Superbowl this year. Were you one of them? Take our poll and let us know!
The Super Bowl wasn’t the only major sports event last weekend, but the other one has left me an empty, broken shell of a man.
Where is the justice?
Above you can see my beloved Roger Federer as he breaks down while accepting the runner-up trophy after Sunday’s Australian Open final. He lost to the obviously bionic Spaniard Rafael Nadal in another of their classic matches. Many people were taken aback by Roger’s show of emotion (he cried on Nadal’s shoulder), but my favorite response came from the tennis forum at Outsports.com:
I found Roger crying to be one of the hottest things I have seen in sports in a while. It was like he had been fighting against it for so long, but now realized his destiny. The whole time Nadal was looking on kind of hard faced. Like Fed finally kind of accepted that Raffa has at last gained dominance — tamed him. I would have liked Nadal to come over with a collar and leash, give him an affectionate deep kiss, brush his tears away and whisper hotly “Good, See my pet? You can stop fighting me. Now you understand, I own you” and lead him off by the leash. It really seemed like a cool SM subtext going on to me.
Now that’s a fan!
Interestingly, most of my gay male friends, even the ones who would rather gouge their eyes out than watch football, are tennis fans. In fact, of all major sports, I’d be willing to bet that tennis is one of, if not the most popular for gay spectators. The question is, why do some sports seem to appeal to gay men more than others?
Next page! Vote now for midget bowling!
It’s easy to see why tennis is so appealing. Two sweaty warriors in battle, using all their masculinity to overpower each other. And that’s just the women! … Just kidding! I love watching the women play, and the fact that it’s co-ed just adds to the drama in the sport. And when your poster boy’s last name could make the perfect gay porn name, it’s clear why tennis is so popular with gay men.
On the other hand, a team sport like football does nothing for some gay men but remind them of the pummeling they endured while forced to play in school. The same goes for hockey (and its evil junior high school spawn, floor hockey), baseball, and basketball. But there’s one team sport that many of us uncoordinated gay kids excelled at, and would actually look forward to.
Kickball kicked ass! First of all, the ball was huge, so it was easy to catch and kick, and it didn’t hurt nearly as much as when you were hit by a baseball (which for some reason I was beaned with countless times). And people actually picked me for their teams … and not last! I wasn’t a star player by any means, but at least for one moment I wasn’t just the obviously gay kid in right back, back, back field praying no one would hit the ball to me.
Of course, I’m generalizing with all of this. I realize that there are plenty of gay men who love watching these team sports. Are you one of them? let us know with our next poll!
Next page! John Rocker and other asshat athletes!
If there’s one thing all sports have in common, it’s that there’s no shortage of stupid, ignorant athletes saying stupid, ignorant things. But when the subject turns to gay issues, a lot of them go completely off the deep end and start wading in the low end of the gene pool (how’s that for a mixed metaphor!).
For these ten athletes, they would have been much better off just keeping their eyes on the ball and keeping their mouths shut. (Thanks to Outsports.com for the details.)
Ask someone to name an athlete who made anti-gay comments, and odds are they’ll mention former Atlanta Braves pitcher (tee-hee) John Rocker, who in 1999 caused a firestorm when he had this to say about playing baseball in NYC:
"Imagine having to take the 7 train to Shea Stadium looking like you’re in Beirut next to some kid with purple hair, next to some queer with AIDS, right next to some dude who got out of jail for the fourth time, right next to some 20-year-old mom with four kids. It’s depressing.’’
Where he is now: After being released from the Braves, he played minor league ball for a while. More recently, he admitted to using steroids (exhibit A: his face in the above picture), and just last week was thrown out of an Atlanta hotel’s grand opening after verbally assaulting a local broadcaster. You know, I like e’m big and stupid … but even I have my limit.
Goran Ivanisevic and "special friend"
Like many tennis fans, I was thrilled when Goran Ivanisevic finally won his first and only major championship, at the 2001 Wimbledon tournament. At least until the press conference, when he let loose with this attack at one of the line judges:
"Then I hit another second serve, huge. And that ball was on the line, was not even close. And that guy, he looks like a faggot little bit, you know. This hair all over him. He call it. I couldn’t believe he did it."
Then it came out that it wasn’t the first time that Goran had let the f-bomb drop:
" Hey, sometimes I watch the TV, and then I see the guys when they throw the racquets. They throw it like a faggot, you know."
"Last year I played well here and played like a faggot at Wimbledon," Ivanisevic said. “Better to play like a faggot here and play well at Wimbledon. "
Where he is now: Retired, but last year, he was a practice partner for Roger Federer at Wimbledon. Roger lost in the final to Rafael Nadal.
In 2002, the Colorado Rockies pitcher Todd Jones looked deep into his heart, and made this statement about openly gay men in baseball:
"I wouldn’t want a gay guy being around me. It’s got nothing to do with me being scared. That’s the problem: All these people say he’s got all these rights. Yeah, he’s got rights or whatever, but he shouldn’t walk around proud. It’s like he’s rubbing it in our face. ’See me, Hear me roar.’ We’re not trying to be close-minded, but then again, why be confrontational when you don’t really have to be?"
Next page! Asshat athletes just keep on coming!
You know, I think I’m going to make it a personal mission to say "see me, hear me roar" at least once a day from now on.
Where he is now: Retired last year, but from his picture, could be in the running if Joe Gage ever decides to make Kansas City Trucking Co. Part Two.
In 2002, NY Giants tight end (snicker) Jeremy Shockey appeared on the Howard Stern show and when asked if he ever had a gay teammate said:
"No, I mean, if I knew there was a gay guy on my college football team, I probably wouldn’t, you know, stand for it. … You know, I think, you know, they’re going to be in the shower with us and stuff, so I don’t think that’s gonna work. That’s not gonna work, you know?"
When called on it later, he gave this heartfelt apology: "Whatever i did to offend people, I apologize". Talk about taking responsibility! What a role model for today’s youth, eh?
Where he is now: Traded to the New Orleans Saints and spent much of last season injured with a hernia.
Thick-necked wrestler Brock Lesnar showed his skull is even thicker when he let loose with this barrage in front of reporters:
"I don’t like gays. Write that down in your little notebook. I don’t like gays."
Well, I’m shocked. Completely shocked. That he can form actual sentences.
Where he is now: The current UFC Heavyweight champion. Still has a thick neck.
Next page! Hardaway really hates the gays!
In 2007, former Miami Heat basketball player Tim Hardaway made headlines around the world when he was asked about the coming out of former pro John Amaechi, and unleashed one of the most simple and direct anti-gay tirades ever recorded:
"I hate gay people, so I let it be known. I don’t like gay people and I don’t like to be around gay people. I am homophobic. I don’t like it. It shouldn’t be in the world or in the United States. So yeah, I don’t like it."
Wow. Just … Wow. He didn’t let it end there, though. After the fireball exploded around the globe, he tried to "explain" himself:
"You know, we were brought up to not even condone or associate yourself with a gay person. If you knew of a gay person, disassociate yourself with them. When I see gay people holding hands or kissing in the streets, I just don’t think that’s right.
And my favorite, when he tried to explain that the word "hate" wasn’t such a big deal where he came from:
"When I was growing up we say we hate broccoli, we say we hate potato chips … it’s just a form of how we talk."
Where he is now: Because of the tirade he lost his coaching job, and the NBA dropped him from representing them in all official functions.
In 2004, former Atlanta Braves pitcher John Smoltz was asked his opinion on gay marriage, to which he replied:
"What’s next? Marrying animals?
Smoltz later said the statement was "misunderstood", and that he wouldn’t have a problem with a gay teammate unless it "compromised the team" … whatever that means. Perhaps he was worried a gay teammate might marry the the team mascot for the Baltimore Orioles?
Where he is now: Playing with the Boston Red Sox, he also campaigned for rightwing nutjob Ralph Reed’s unsuccessful run for Georgia Lt. Governor in 2006.
John Smoltz (rear) cuddles up to Chipper Jones. Awwww!
In 2001, former Chicago Cubs reliever Julian Tavarez said about being booed by baseball fans in San Francisco:
"Why should I care about the fans?” They’re a bunch of a**holes and faggots here."
Where he is now: A free agent, and judging by the pic below, Benjamin Button’s stand-in.
Next page! Matthew Mitcham clears the air.
In 2001, former Sacramento and Miami point guard Jason Williams took out his frustrations on some Asian fans sitting in the front rows with a homophobic and racist rant:
“Are you a fag? Are you gay? Do you remember the Vietnam War? I’ll kill y’all just like that.”
The next day he was forced to apologize, which he did in his own priceless way:
“I apologize to the Asian community or any other community I offended”.
Where he is now: Retired, and hoping to jumpstart a new career with the title role in the new film Gummo 2: The Next Generation.
Jason Williams, stating the obvious
And finally, there’s Ken Hutcherson. The former Seattle Seahawks linebacker has turned his post-football career into one long vendetta against gays and anyone supporting them. Since becoming a minister, the list of his insane anti-gay machinations is so long it has its own Wikipedia page, but here are some greatest hits:
“I kick ’em out,” he said if he discovers a parishioner is gay. “I do it three or four times a year. You bring up their names during the church service, and if they won’t repent, won’t turn away from sin, you have to kick ’em out.”
“Christ talks about marriage between a man and a woman, and Christ would have expelled homosexuals.”
Then there was his dealings with Microsoft, in which he pressured the company to drop its support for a gay-rights measure. Microsoft eventually re-instated their support, but Hutcherson had already used the debacle to ride a wave of publicity.
Ken Hutcherson is a “special envoy” to Latvia. Just ask him!
We need something to get the sour taste of those jock saps out of our mouths, so how about the luminous presence of gold-medal Olympian Matthew Mitcham!
Matt (I call him Matt, or sometimes just “M’) is The Advocate cover boy this month, and he talks about winning the gold in diving, and about the controversy over NBC’s coverage of his upset. Below you can see a clip of Matthew chatting about how much encouragement he’s received from the gay community all over the world, and visit Advocate.com for more vids.
Next page! Shooting arrows at this week’s TV.
IN MY HUMBLE OPINION
There wasn’t much in gay TV last week. Brothers & Sisters, Desperate Housewives, and Ugly Betty were all preempted (luckily, it looks like the dire warnings about the demise of Betty may have been premature ).
As the World Turns – Why am I giving this week’s ATWT an up arrow when it only featured Luke playing matchmaker matchmaker, and didn’t even show Noah at all? One word – Eric William Morris returning as Matt! He and fellow hottie Casey (Billy Magnussen)) have a definite Crocket & Tubbs thing happening.
Eric William Morris and a sheepish Billy Magnussen
The Secret Life Of The American Teenager – I had never watched this ABC Family show until this week. It was made by the creator of 7th Heaven, which never interested me in the least, so I didn’t give it a second thought. I was pleasantly surprised, though, when I tuned in for the gay storyline and saw lots of great Degrassi-esque drama and Canadian acting. And it had a great character in George (Mark Derwin), the father on the show, who says anything that comes to mind, like a male Sophia Petrillo. In this episode, he has dinner with a gay couple (played by Alex Boling and Larry Sullivan) who are hoping to adopt his daughter’s baby. The way the father reacts is surprising, and refreshing.
Alex Boling and Larry Sullivan
Forbidden Love – Why in the world would I give my all-time favorite soap couple a down arrow? Because I had high hopes that when Olli finally came home from his vacation in Ibiza, that he and Christian would be right back in the thick of things. Alas, after a brief reunion, they haven’t been seen since. Rumor has it that they won’t be seen til the end of the month, at which time their arrow will be so flaccid no amount of Extenze could help.
Jo Weil and Thore Schoelermann
Hollyoaks – Kris and Ravi are still canoodling, and word is that the bisexual triangle with them and Nancy will heat up considerably soon. And you have to love a show that just throws in a half-naked oiled cutie for no reason!
Notice how his undies follow you? It’s hypnotic.
Next page! Wilson Cruz gives Drew Barrymore dating tips.
FOR YOUR VIEWING PLEASURE!
A couple of movies are opening this week that have a bit of gay appeal. He’s Just Not That Into You stars (among many others) Drew Barrymore, in what’s supposed to be her finest performance since Doppelganger. Her character is an ad buyer for a gay newspaper, and is surrounded by gay friends played by Wilson Cruz, Leo Nam, and Rod Keller.
Drew and her gaggle of gays
Also opening this week is the telekinetic actioner Push, which looks a little like last year’s dud Jumper. So what does it have to recommend it? Chris Evans!
Push it. Push it good. P-Push it real good. (my apologies to Salt-N-Pepa)
On the little screen there are new episodes of Ugly Betty (enjoy it while it lasts), Desperate Housewives and Brothers & Sisters this week. Best of all, B&S even features the appearance of Saul’s boyfriend played by John Glover.
And word comes from on high (namely, Michael) that starting with this week’s Brothers & Sisters, we’re only going to be recapping the episodes that have enough Kevin and Scotty to warrant a full recap. Otherwise, check back on Sunday night for Steven Frank’s shorter but no less hilarious IMHO recap of all the Walker shenanigans!
I can’t say I blame Steven at all for doing shorter recaps when necessary. Imagine having to sit down to recap only to find out it’s a … Kitty episode. (Shudder).
Out on DVD this week is the 2-disc director’s edition of Yentl (with commentary by the director herself, Barbra Streisand). Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist has some interesting gay supporting characters, and Zach and Mirni Make a Porno has Justin Long as a gay porn star, and Jason Mewes doing the full Jay.
Also out after a very successful theatrical run is Noah’s Arc: Jumping The Broom, the feature version of the groundbreaking Logo show.
And finally, let’s bring it back to the sports theme with these sweet pics of athletes embracing.
(Photo credit: Getty Images)
Well, that’s about it. While the jugglers and knife-throwers were entertaining Michael, he drank some grog and ate a mutton leg, and has drifted off into nappy-land. Now’s my chance to make a run for it!
Wish me luck, and please, have the BEST.GAY.WEEK.EVER!