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The Domestication of HIV      March-April 2017

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Little Big Man Marco Rubio is gone but not totally forgotten as a presidential contender. In the end, the Florida senator’s run may best be remembered for his bizarre exchange with Donald Trump over the relative size of each man’s penis. It was when Trump started calling Rubio “little Marco” that the latter struck back: “He’s like 6-foot-2, which is why I don’t understand why he has hands the size of someone who’s 5-foot-2. Have you seen his hands? And you know what they say about men with small hands.” Trump, of course, couldn’t resist answering in kind and upping the ante, making a fairly explicit reference to his own equipment and assuring his fans, “I guarantee you there’s no problem.” marco-1024x576Two footnotes:

  1. The whole penis-hand contro brought to light some research suggesting that there really is a correlation between the length of fingers and penises, both of which are governed by prenatal testosterone levels. Which also means that gay guys dishing about “big hands” may have been on to something all along.
  2. Trump’s attempt to emasculate Rubio may have been based on some opposition research that he was sitting on. What’s known is that Rubio regaled Jimmy Fallon with a story about how he went to a foam party in the ’90s—but there were no straight foam parties, were there?—and ruined his boots. Also: floating out there is a police report about Rubio’s late-night arrest in the gay cruising area of a Miami park on his 19th birthday. And then there’s this photo of Marco dancing in the “Cobra” contest at South Miami High School (that’s him under the “O”). But hey, who didn’t dance shirtless with other hot dudes in the high school talent show?

Victims of Equality For years the religious Right has searched in vain for reasons why gay marriage is harmful to “traditional” marriage. Ted Cruz got into the act with the novel claim that same-sex marriage will force Christian broadcasters off the air. His reasoning? Following last June’s Obergefell ruling, there’s “a very real possibility that the IRS will come after you, that if your hosts go on air and say, ‘the Bible teaches that marriage is not defined by man’ … you risk the federal government yanking your FCC license.” So, this graduate of Harvard Law School thinks that a Supreme Court ruling affects not just a legal prerogative but the very right to question the ruling itself? This must be why, after Roe v. Wade in 1973, there’s been such a dearth of criticism of this ruling on Christian stations. That FCC (or is it the IRS?) shows no mercy when it comes to shutting down stations for questioning Supreme Court rulings! In reality, of course, Roe has been the biggest boon to Christian broadcasting since the invention of radio. But then, Cruz also opined that pastors who refuse to perform same-sex marriages will be subject to criminal penalties. The search for ways to be victimized by marriage equality marches on.

 

TRUSTED Speaking of Ted Cruz, whose ubiquitous logo at rallies is “trusted,” with the first four letters in a different color from the “TED,” it turns out the acronym “TRUS” has a medical meaning: “A transrectal ultrasound (TRUS) is used to view a man’s prostate and surrounding tissues. The ultrasound transducer (probe) sends sound waves through the wall of the rectum into the prostate gland.” In short, it’s an anal probe—which some might say is an apt description of the Cruz candidacy.

Embarrassment of Riches It could have been a brilliant moment—an Oscar going to a gay man for Best Song—and winner Sam Smith, appearing at the podium with his partner, seemed poised to make an inspirational speech about love and tolerance. Instead, he gushed: “I read an article a few months ago by Sir Ian McKellen, and he said no openly gay man had ever won an Oscar, and if this is the case—and even if it isn’t the case—I want to dedicate this to the LGBT community all around the world.” Soon the blogosphere lit up, full of anger and contempt, as people began to enumerate the many past winners from that community. Sticking to just the Best Song category, these would include Melissa Etheridge (2007), Elton John (1994), and Stephen Sondheim (1990). Winners in other categories include Dustin Lance Black, John Schlesinger, Joel Grey, Bill Condon, Alan Ball, Pedro Almodóvar, Scott Rudin, among many others. Smith got the message and apologized, having learned too late that what Sir Ian actually said was that no openly gay man has ever won for Best Actor. Dustin Lance Black was so incensed that he tweeted: “If you have no idea who I am, it may be time to stop texting my fiancé.” Wait… did he mean this literally? If so, Smith could not have been unaware of Black’s award for Best Original Screenplay in 2009—which seems to add a whole new layer of mystery (mischief?) to his boast.

 

Guilty Pleasure We’ve encountered the Atlah Church before, a church in Harlem whose pastor, James Manning, enjoys posting viciously homophobic statements on the building’s marquee, such this atlah-marqueecharmer. Call it Schadenfreude, but it’s hard not to gloat a little now that the church is in bankruptcy and its building up for sale. Add to that a bit of poetic justice: the probable buyer is the Ali Forney Center (AFC), the largest organization in the U.S. dedicated to helping homeless GLBT youths. And toss in some dramatic irony: most of the kids served by AFC were kicked out of their homes by Christian fundamentalist parents who share many of Rev. Manning’s views. Soon these young people will have a place to go in Harlem for sustenance and compassion.

 

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