Michael Crawford

The next hot ass that comes along

Filed By Michael Crawford | February 16, 2008 8:22 AM | comments

Filed in: Media, The Movement
Tags: Big Brother, gay men, gay rights, hate crimes against LGBT people, media

In his fantastic post Where's the Outrage??, Waymon Hudson assails the traditional media for failing to more widely cover the murder of 15 year old Lawrence King who was shot in the head by another student likely for being gay.

I can’t help but notice, however, that no media outlets really seem to be covering this. The LGBT blogs are buzzing and angry, but the 24 hour news stations are still focusing on anything but the violent loss of this young man.

It seems the media and public are more concerned with where Britney Spears is or who made American Idol’s top 24. Meanwhile, young kids are getting shot in school for simply being themselves.

Waymon, I agree with you 100%.

But, what does it say about the LGBT community that in less than two days Bil's post featuring pictures of Big Brother 9's Neil Garcia's ass is now the highest viewed post since the relaunch of Bilerico last July?

That means that more people were interested in seeing Neil's ass than were interested in reading what Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama would do as president to advance our civil rights or were interested in reading Barney Frank's rationale for removing gender identity from ENDA and Lambda Legal's sharp rebuttal.

If we want the non-LGBT world to pay more attention to senseless murders like this one, we have to pay more attention to them and not be so distracted by the next hot ass that comes along.


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Michael, I agree completely. How can we expect traditional media to care more about important issues, like King's murder, when we as a community can't get past the next hot guy or out of the bar.

Like I said, where is our community's outrage? Why doesn't this affect us?

Can't it be both?

I totally agree that hit counters show a frustrating lack of interest in important issues. But do I have to make a choice between mourning and hot ass?

Between news announcements and my personal circle of friends and family, I've experienced at least one death each day this week. Today I have two services to go to and I can't go to both because they are scheduled for the same time. While feeling like I'm surrounded by death, a little sex and sexuality can be a very healing thing.

Michael Bedwell | February 16, 2008 4:12 PM

About this we can agree. There are two things that amaze me in 2008: that we've come so far legally as a people with so far yet to go, and that we've hardly moved an inch [no pun intended] on moving beyond adolescent-levels of fixation on sex and its centuries-old twin "looksism."

Of course, as a man I only have the right and perspective to speak of other gay men [not all, of course].

I love sex, men's bodies, penises, asses, chests, faces, eyes, legs, thighs, armpits, earlobes, the back of necks. But gay media—more accurately not only not "LGBT" media but "gay male" media—from our "general" community print newspapers, to magazines, to "news" sites to blogs are framed and permeated by images of young, mostly white, stereotypically "hot", and most of all MALE images.

That is certainly the worst of it, but we can't leave out our failure to find a healthy medium between hemp clothes, sandals, and berm homes and the care and feeding of conspicuous consumption that makes so many gay men the perfect example of knowing the "price of everything and the value of nothing." Particularly, when the interaction between so many gay men is a kind of shallow consumerism in itself.

A close friend of mine who happens to be doing amazing activist-related things was recently approached by one of our major gay male "general" magazines to write about....wait for it.....dressing for success.

I once questioned the editor of a similar magazine—whose pages are typically filled with grooming tips and travel guides and men in underwear and other clothes that no sane person would ever buy even if he could afford it—about why they didn't write more about gay activism. His reply was that they'd just get criticized for writing about Person A rather than Person B. Which was, of course, just an excuse not to write about serious topics at all. Twist his fake tanned arm a little bit and he'd probably admit that "Serious doesn't sell" which translates to "I don't give a flying fuck about it so I'm not even going to try." On neither magazine's covers will you ever see a photo of someone like Lawrence King—unless he was very much alive and in a spectacularly bulging Speedo.

In 1975 [yes, I'm that old and anyone can attempt to dismiss what I've said as being motivated by the possibility of the parade having passed me by], I attended a meeting between my friend Leonard Matlovich who'd just been on the cover of "Time" magazine because of his lawsuit against the military's then antigay policies and a New York City book agent. The agent was out gay, about 35, and even that long ago stunned me when he said, "I don't know any gays who have problems." I was stunned not just because he was somehow blind in his incestuous literati world to gay lives generally but sitting before him was a Purple Heart winner who'd just been kicked out of the Air Force solely for being gay.

Fast forward to a couple of years ago, and Oprah had some rare gay guest and she said, "Do gays still have problems? I thought after Ellen and Will & Grace and...." One can ding Ms. O who posits herself as the embodiment of the Goddess of Knowledge & Empathy, but, ultimately, "the fault dear Brutus is not in our [TV] stars but in ourselves that we are underlings."

Michael Crawford Michael Crawford | February 16, 2008 5:54 PM

Tobi,

I agree that it doesn't have to be either/or. I love a little hot ass with my politics and a little politics with my hot ass. Maybe it is too much to ask that media targeting gay men aim at what's between my ears as well as what's between my legs.

I am not being critical of Bil's posting of the pics. I post more than a few beefcake shots on my blog. I do wish that we could get as excited politics as we get about sex.

How funny that you bring this up, Michael. I've had a few e-mails over my post about how I brought down the quality of the site by posting a shot of a reality show contestant's butt. But, seriously, it's the #1 post and, well, traffic drives the site. Most of them won't stick around though once they realize we usually talk about serious topics.

That said, we don't always do serious here. If we did, this would be the most boring blog online. I'm known for Dick Cheney's penis jokes, political cartoons and sarcasm (and bad jokes!). As a gay man, I like the occasional eye candy. I like humor. I like gay rights stories, human interest stories, technology articles, cartoons and television. I think most of us are multi-dimensional and I also firmly believe that we should celebrate the diversity that is within ourselves as well as our community.

Besides, if we draw them in with eye candy, maybe some of them will stay for the more serious posts that they should have been reading to start with. After all, since the BB9 post, our RSS readers shot up by 100 and hasn't dropped. Our traffic almost doubled for two days and doesn't look like it's dropping that fast. Some, if not most, of those readers are sticking around to see/read more.

That's a good thing.

While I understand the need to bemoan that Hillary or Barack didn't do as well as Big Brother's butt, we just need to leverage the ass shots and turn that into knowledge. It's like slipping in veggies into a kid's meal sometimes. But it's worked for us so far. :)

(And, just for the record, what does it say that even I can beat Hillary Clinton?) *snickers*

Michael Crawford Michael Crawford | February 16, 2008 6:29 PM

LOL. You just said "leverage the ass shots." I may just start calling you the gay Larry Flynt.

Just so no one thinks I have a problem with Neil's butt, if it (and him) lived in my house, I would not be commenting on blog posts right now.

They are having a vigil in San Francisco on Tuesday evening for Lawrence King. I have other unbreakable commitments this week and I live in Colorado Otherwise I would be there for that. There should be 50,000 or so people there. That would make news.

Michael Bedwell | February 17, 2008 2:19 PM

While saluting your interest, Shakay, your commitments preventing you from traveling so far are probably working in your favor. While I hope you're right, I live in San Francisco and will be surprised if 5000 show up, let alone 50,000. Nothing close to even the former number happened when Matthew Shepard was killed which, as we know, remains the one gay-related murder that stunned touched people around the world. There weren't even that many for Gwen Arajao and she died within driving distance of San Francisco.

Thousands did spontaneously gather the night Harvey Milk and George Moscone was killed but.....

In any case, I hope you're right and I will look into attending myself.

Wow. Good point Michael. Thanks for sharing those stats.

Wow. Good point Michael. Thanks for sharing those stats.