Alex Blaze

Why do you hate Lance Bass?

Filed By Alex Blaze | December 27, 2007 8:10 AM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Media, The Movement
Tags: Kyle Buchanan, Lance Bass, The Advocate, year in review

lance.jpgWhile most gays are asking totally lame-o downer questions at the end of this year like "How will LGBT activist groups learn to work together again?" and "How can we reduce HIV infection rates?", The Advocate is pressing the community on the biggest question we need to answer as a community: "Why do gays not worship Lance Bass?"

Seriously!

The Advocate's cover story for their "Year in Review" January edition is "Why Wasn't This the Year of Lance Bass? Lance Bass on coming out under fire -- from gays like you."

And the article gets so much better than that. Although the question it should be asking is "Is there any question in any queer's mind as to why The Advocate isn't relevant anymore?"

Serious gay journalist Kyle Buchanan already has a response to my flippant question in his second paragraph (defensive, anyone?):

So why do some of you -- and you know who you are -- see him on the cover of this magazine and scoff? Is it because he’s “just a pop star” -- as though that’s a genre of music that gay people have suddenly rejected? Is it because his coming-out interview in People magazine convinced you that he must be a self-loathing homosexual? Or is he just not your type?

Or is it because he hasn't done anything to merit gay attention besides be famous and come out get outed?

I'm not asking that he deconstruct gender with a slow ballad or stop hate crimes with the power of dance (although that would be totally awesome), but, come on, the boy hasn't done anything besides be both famous and gay at the same time. (Buchanan doesn't fail to point out Lance's HRC Visibility Award, which was given to him for, well, being both famous and gay at the same time.)

But the touchy Mr. Buchanan already has a response to us queers who care about politics, activism, and making the world a better place so they take to the internet lame-ass bloggers:

Just check out the comments section on any gay blog: The very same people who swoon to any comment by Jake Gyllenhaal will bare their fangs for Bass, invariably declaring, “Why is he famous again?”

I suppose we're part of "any gay blog", although I don't know of any contributor here who swoons to "any comment by Jake Gyllenhaal" (the only specific blog mentioned in the article is PerezHilton.com). But something tells me that Buchanan hasn't actually condescended to read a gay blog.

If he did, he's probably notice that Lance Bass wasn't the biggest issue of 2007, and if we don't agree it's not because we're a bunch of bitter old queens, but because there were some important issues this past year, like ENDA, some major hate crimes, and expanding state-level LGBT protections.

And he'd see that when he's writing up the cover story for the most historically important queer mag in the US under the "Year in Review" rubric, he should actually try to find a story that LGBTQ folk found important in 2007 instead of chiding us for not caring about his favorite singer.


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I have to tell you that it's not just gays who don't care for Lance Bass - a lot of straight musicians (like me) never cared for the boy band phenomena so we just dislike him for his taste in music. LOL

Seriously, as someone who believes in the rights of the LGBT community, I think the Advocate is wasting space featuring crap like this on the cover. They need to focus on the issues and leave fluff pieces to People Magazine.

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Michael Crawford Michael Crawford | December 27, 2007 10:09 AM

Alex,

I plead guilty to swoon at every word uttered from Gyllenhaal's beautiful mouth. And I have been meaning to talk to you, Bil and Rebecca about the lack of Gyl related content on Bilerico. Be prepared.

My problem with Lance Bass, not that I think about him much, is that he did nothing but be rich, white and gay and all of a sudden he is herald as some major force in the LGBT movement. So he came out. Big deal. He is rich, white and male. He does not have anything to lose.

Gay kids in places like South Dakota, Texas, Indiana and Kansas have been coming out in the teens without the benefit of a bank account the size of Lance's. Earlier in the year Zach, a 17 year old kid came out in the New York Times. Now that's courage, yet he wasn't given awards for his bravery.

And check out this story again from the NYT about gay kids coming out at younger ages with the support of their parents and attending LGBT youth conferences. As one of the kids says when asked if he was okay with being quoted in the newspapers, "Definitely. I'm tired of people assuming I'm straight."

Finally, a few years ago Lance went on the crusade to raise 20 million dollars so that he could fly on a spaceship. I have yet to see him make an effort to raise anywhere near that amount to benefit the LGBT civil rights movement.

Alex, the sarcasm in this post is beautiful. I heart you!

Michael, in solidarity, I am posting this video of Jake Jake singing Effie's song during his SNL monologue this year. Now THAT'S worth a cover story

Word!

"Why do you hate Lance Bass?"

Because he's a barnicle on the S.S. Music Industry who never deserved any place in the public eye even before anyone bothered to speculate about what his sex life might be like.

Was The Advocate ever been relevant? I only remember it being pretty much the way it is now.

You have to be careful tho'. By presenting them in a somewhat flattering light (i.e. you included an attractive photo here) you're being a little complicit. I mean, essentially you're holding up the magazine and saying: "This is bad. Don't look at it." And , of course, we've all given it a little glance now...

(please note: the previous comment was intended as a constructive observation; simple food for thought--it was the first thing that came to mind while reading the post. It is not intended as criticism).

I agree that all Lance has done (that I know of) for the "gay community" is come out, but as Michael Crawford said in his post I disagree that, "He does not have anything to lose."

All gays still take a risk coming out. A risk of violence towards themselves and a risk of losing loved ones or their livelihood. Granted, the risk to Lance may be less than someone who is living paycheck to paycheck or someone who was raised in an especially "macho" culture, but it is still a risk and I applaud him for taking it.

And he DID take it. So, maybe somebody was threatening to out him. He could have continued to deny the rumors, attack those spreading them and go an even less classy route. I'm sure publicists and others in Hollywood would have been glad to help him. He chose to come out instead of giving in to fear and intimidation and I also applaud him for that.

I also think there is some hypocrisy on the "gay community's" part here or, at least, some of it. I constantly hear people bemoaning the fact that so many gay singers, artists, actors, actresses, and professionals are closeted; that if they would all come out, it would do so much for advancing the acceptance of our "community". Well, one of the members of the most popular bands of the last decade has come out. What is our response? "So what."

I agree that I would like to see Lance do more for "our community". I agree that the boy band thing was way overdone. I even agree that the issue seems less important than others that we are facing currently. I don't agree, however, that Lance bass should somehow get any less respect for having the bravery to announce to the world who he is and be himself publicly.

To me, and this may be my own homophobia, this whole discussion comes across as a bunch of catty queens jealous that somebody is prettier, richer or who has a cuter boyfriend than they do.

Chad~ Yeah, totally, it's jealousy. Vicarious jealousy for all the real LGBT movers and shakers from this past year who were passed up so that the Advocate could pontificate over why Lance isn't the center of the movement.

I guess that makes me a bitch who can't take a joke. Then again, I'd rather not have our movement itself be the punchline.


R~ My goal isn't to shut down the mag, but to criticize it and hope that people know a little more about the world as a result. I'm not about to shun a magazine like them.


Michael~ He had something to lose, but since he was already pretty much outed by the time he came out it's hard to imagine what. It's good that someone famous came out, and I don't care if he does anything for the "community" as a result, personally. I'm more concerned that the Advocate made a cover story out of his non-work where there were so many more important.

And what's the deal with Jake? I just don't see what's so special there! But I'm sure that both he and Lance are lovely boys.

Alex - I don't have a beef with you going after the Advocate at all for making him the focus of an article when there is so much else going on that deserves more attention.

Your side attacks on Lance in the process of doing so were unnecessary.

Chad,
What side attacks on Lance? And why write like "Lance" is a personal friend of yours/ours? Just because a celebrity is gay (yawn, who isn't? It's only news to me when it turns out that someone is straight!), we're supposed to act like he's a personal friend of ours? I think the non-interest in Lance Bass indicates one or both of two things:

a) he's not interesting -- the SNL spoofs of him are more engaging than LB in "real life."
b) any celebrity's coming out is no longer interesting. Notice the lack of flutter over Jodie Foster (who may have been the last person to know)?

As for the magazine itself:
Isnt't the Advocate the same mag that had absolutely nothing to say about September 11, 2001 -- from the left, right, or center, or any combination thereof -- until at least 2/3 weeks later? I remember going through archived issues of that period at the Gerber Hart library for a project (that's my shameless plug for an excellent queer institution, btw), and being stunned at its refusal to engage a topic that was at the dead center of world news at the time.

Alex~ I didn't say you were trying to "shut down the mag."

My point is this (in agreement with Chad above): When a writer (and you do this yourself) says: "This is irrelevant, but let's talk about it." Or even worse: "There are more important things..." (and you've written that too) my response instinctively is this: "You're right. This is irrelevant. There are more important things. So why not write about those things instead of taking the time to write and criticize others for writing about things you think are irrelevant or unimportant. Because by writing this you give it some relevance or importance by the fact that we are talking about it now instead of an issue you do think is important...I'm not really criticizing you. I simply find it an interesting thing. Much more interesting, in fact, than Lance Bas will ever be.

:)

Michael Crawford Michael Crawford | December 27, 2007 3:26 PM

As pointed out in the movie Spiderman, "With great power comes great responsibility." While Lance may not be able to swing from the rooftops via spider webs, he does have the capacity via his celebrity status influence in the cultural realm.

Lots of young people look up to Lance from his days with N'Sync and that gives him a great platform to increase awareness about LGBT people.

You are right that Lance may have had some things to lose by coming out, but he would have add to deal with far less than the average gay. In the same way that her connections to power and privilege protected Mary Cheney, I am sure that Lance's celebrity and money will protect him.

But do you really think "lots of young people look up to Lance?" My 14 year old doesn't even remember him.

While it took great courage to come out and hope to gain back fame and fortune in this homophobic world, Lance did it because he was being outed first and then hoped he could capitalize off of it.

And if Jake had come out, Michael would be the first to tell us about it - I have no doubt.

Chad~ What side attacks on Lance Bass? I think I was making fun of Kyle Buchanan a whole lot more - the worst thing I said about Lance was that he didn't deserve an award from the HRC (again, more a criticism of HRC's award giving process).


R~ I'm not saying "This story's unimportant, let's talk about it", if by "this story" we're referring to the same one the Advocate was, which was "Why don't gays worship Lance Bass?"

I think the story about community media choosing to be ridiculously frivolous is something worth talking about. Maybe I'll put up an open thread some time so people can talk about the former question more fully....


Michael~ Young people look up to Lance? Are you trying to tell us something? ;)

"R~ I'm not saying "This story's unimportant, let's talk about it", if by "this story" we're referring to the same one the Advocate was, which was "Why don't gays worship Lance Bass?"

Really?

You're headline is:"Why Do You Hate Lance Bass?" and your post criticizes the writer and the article. If you want to talk

"about community media choosing to be ridiculously frivolous is something worth talking about."
then this post doesn't seem to do that. This post simply criticizes the writer and article.

Sorry...my I-net connection went down before I made the other point I wanted to make (me being obsessive English teacher...lol)

I count 10 paragraphs in this post. 8 paragraphs criticize the magazine, the article, the writer and Lance Bass as celebrity. 2 paragraphs critcize "community media choosing to be ridiculously frivolous is something worth talking about," yet you claim this is your point. If this is your point then your post is misleading because your focus (if it is your focus) is off.

:)

Alex & Yasmin - These are the quotes of what I consider "side attacks" on Lance Bass:

"Or is it because he hasn't done anything to merit gay attention besides be famous and come out get outed?"

"...the boy hasn't done anything besides be both famous and gay at the same time. (Buchanan doesn't fail to point out Lance's HRC Visibility Award, which was given to him for, well, being both famous and gay at the same time.)"

IMO, if your argument is that the Advocate shouldn't have made this the front page article (or even included it at all in the magazine), then these attacks against Lance are superfluous.

Yasmin - Regarding my referring to Lance as "Lance". What do you want me to refer to him as? Mr. Bass? I'm in an informal setting, writing in an informal way and I used the subject's first name as fits with that style.

All - As to the Advocate, itself, there was a time when not to long ago when I was embarrassed to leave it out on my coffee table because it had reverted to having covers of nearly naked men. If I didn't know what it was, I would have thought it was a porn magazine (nothing wrong with port, I just think it belongs in the bedroom NOT on the coffee table). They had been doing better lately and getting back to what I consider "real" news oriented coverage. Hopefully, this issue was an aberration because I do agree that there are far more important things to right about than whether Lance is being dissed or not.

Alex & Yasmin - These are the quotes of what I consider "side attacks" on Lance Bass:

"Or is it because he hasn't done anything to merit gay attention besides be famous and come out get outed?"

"...the boy hasn't done anything besides be both famous and gay at the same time. (Buchanan doesn't fail to point out Lance's HRC Visibility Award, which was given to him for, well, being both famous and gay at the same time.)"

IMO, if your argument is that the Advocate shouldn't have made this the front page article (or even included it at all in the magazine), then these attacks against Lance are superfluous.

Yasmin - Regarding my referring to Lance as "Lance". What do you want me to refer to him as? Mr. Bass? I'm in an informal setting, writing in an informal way and I used the subject's first name as fits with that style.

All - As to the Advocate, itself, there was a time not too long ago when I was embarrassed to leave it out on my coffee table because it had reverted to having covers of nearly naked men. If I didn't know what it was, I would have thought it was a porn magazine (nothing wrong with porn, I just think it belongs in the bedroom NOT on the coffee table). They had been doing better lately and getting back to what I consider "real" news oriented coverage. Hopefully, this issue was an aberration because I do agree that there are far more important things to write about than whether Lance is being dissed or not.

Bil - How do you know he was trying to capitalize off of it? Where does your insight on his motivations come from?

"Lance did it because he was being outed first and then hoped he could capitalize off of it."

I don't know about "capitalizing" on it but it's fairly common knowledge that he came out in response to (mostly) online rumors about his sexuality and his relationship with his then-boyfriend.

I can't believe I'm actually discussing this 2 days in a row...lol.

I don't hate Lance Bass --- but too much is being made about him. At this point, he is just one of an ever-growing group of uber-celebs who are out. Rosy, Ellen, Elton, George Michael, Harvey F., the late Rock Hudson as well as the late Luther Vandross, even "previous generation" folks such as Johnny Mathis. LB's coming out just isn't the "big splash" world-changing event that some wish to make it out to be.

As for Jake G. ... Jake is more interesting than Lance. In addition to being hot, Jake is a (nominally) straight guy who took a risk at being the bottom in a freezing pup tent --- and it paid off Big Time, his career skyrocketed as a result. By making BBM Jake has done more to help the world understand and normalize same-sex relationships than LB is likely to ever do.

R~

I count 10 paragraphs in this post. 8 paragraphs criticize the magazine, the article, the writer and Lance Bass as celebrity. 2 paragraphs critcize "community media choosing to be ridiculously frivolous is something worth talking about," yet you claim this is your point. If this is your point then your post is misleading because your focus (if it is your focus) is off.

Thanks for counting the paragraphs, I guess.

The magazine, the article, and the writer are part of "community media", so criticizing them is criticizing community media.

And the title's there not to actually be asked as a question. I think readers who are paying attention will notice that.

Chad~

Those still aren't attacks. I actually don't think that everyone who's gay-identified needs to be involved in community activism. It's simply a statement of fact.

IMO, if your argument is that the Advocate shouldn't have made this the front page article (or even included it at all in the magazine), then these attacks against Lance are superfluous.

Actually, they're perfectly necessary, since if he was a big-time gay activist then a story about him in the Advocate would be perfectly appropriate. But he's not, so it's not.

Still don't see how those are attacks. My mother's not a big-time gay activist, but I still love her!

"Why do you hate Lance Bass?"

Because he's a barnicle on the S.S. Music Industry who never deserved any place in the public eye even before anyone bothered to speculate about what his sex life might be like.

Kat | December 27, 2007 1:00 PM

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

yeah.. that's so not true, he worked hard to get into the spotlight. he sang much before N*sync, and the reason he got famous is because he was good at it. he wasnt born in the spot light like other celebrities that dont deserve it. Lance worked at it, so saying he doesnt deserve it is completely incorrect. its not like hes out partying or doing drugs, he didnt take his fame for granted like others. he's on broadway. he's an author. he's an actor and singer. he has charities to help people, Lance Bass is a well-established person.