It’s June and time for breezy summer reading on the beach. So that’s just what I’m going to give you: Journalism Lite, to go with your beer.
We’ll begin with Moby whom I interviewed for the April 14 issue of Montreal’s alt-weekly Hour magazine to preview Moby’s sold-out Montreal concert. Every straight person who went to that show must have thought they were in a gay bar because there were so many fabulous fags around. And that’s just the way Moby likes it.“We don’t know what Christ thought about homosexuality,” Moby told me before the show. “Christ never mentioned it. But religious people in the U.S. should focus more on what Christ did, on his compassion and humility. They should embrace gay people.”
Moby continues, “I live in NYC, and it’s one of the gayest cities in the world. I love that gay couples walk in my [Lower east Side] neighbourhood hand in hand. I’m proud to live in a city where people are surprised to learn that you’re straight.”
Moby pretty well told the same thing to PlanetOut in an April 22 interview.
“I’ve grown up in New York and spent most of my life hanging out in gay nightclubs, so I don't understand how anyone can be offended by gay culture or homosexuality in general,” Moby said. “As a matter of fact, I was talking to my friend Laura… and we're both getting to the point where we want to start families. We’re convinced that if we have children, we’re going to do everything in our power to make them gay. Like maybe drinking a lot of extra soy milk while she’s pregnant, or anything that would work to make that happen. I’d just rather have a really sharp, interesting, smart gay son than some big dumb hetero meathead.”
Moby adds, “But to answer your question about [my being] gay-bashed, because I have grown up in New York and have spent so much time in the gay community, in a weird way – and this may sound presumptuous – it made me feel a renewed sense of solidarity with the gay community. One of the things I love about living in New York is that it’s one of the few places in the world where gay couples can walk down the street holding hands and kissing, and no one bats an eye. Sometimes I forget that the rest of the world isn’t like that. I cannot imagine how awful and how sad it must be to not be able to express love in an honest way in public.”
If his answer echos what he told me in Hour, that’s because Moby is a savvy media veteran. It doesn’t mean what Moby says isn’t sincere – it’s just that, like a seasoned politician, he stays on-message.
The tabloids, meanwhile, can’t get enough of dykes. Witness the feeding frenzy after rumours claimed Desperate Housewives star Marcia Cross is really a fabulous lesbian and that she was going to come out in an Advocate cover story. It wasn’t true, of course. But, in a weird case of life imitating art, the rumours precipitated a March 15 Advocate cover story in which Cross came out as a straight woman.
“In case you were confused by the cover of this magazine, let’s be completely clear: Neither Marcia Cross nor anyone who works with her has ever been in contact with The Advocate about coming out in these pages,” reporter Adam Vary lead off. “Reports to the contrary are completely false. And yet in the course of one frantic week in February that rumor spread like wildfire, from the spark of one anonymous Internet posting on a gay gossip site to a worldwide deluge of mainstream media reports—the force of which led, inevitably, to Cross’s public denial on The View.”
Vary continues, “Speculations about who’s secretly gay are not new. Gossip about Hollywood and political players regularly screams out from the supermarket tabloids, and entire Web sites are devoted to outing allegedly closeted celebrities and elected officials. The Advocate has weathered countless invented tales of celebrities coming out on its cover, from Debbie Reynolds to Jonathan Taylor Thomas. But until now such innuendos have always been under the radar, blips considered major only by hard-core media junkies. What’s remarkable about this particular rumor is that it crossed over into the mainstream media with lightning speed but without an ounce of verification.”
Mainstream media outlets are loathe to out people – or at least they make a show of saying they don’t – but when a story like this gathers momentum, buttressed by the fact that no less than The Advocate was going to out Marci Cross on its cover well then the gloves came off.
As Vary recounts, “By the time Desperate Housewives star Cross, who plays buttoned-up Bree Van De Kamp with such captivating aplomb, found herself explaining that she wasn’t a lesbian on The View on February 8 (the show aired the next day), she was at the center of a perfect storm of rumor-turned-“fact.” In its own way, the path of this hurricane is a fascinating microcosm of our celebrity-crazed culture, our rabid passion for sex-drenched secrets, and the tension between the forbidden and the fascinating that’s fanned by a White House obsessed with ‘the gays.’”
Meanwhile k.d. lang – who alongside Melissa Etheridge and Ellen DeGeneres – was at the centre of the first wave of lesbian chic back in the mid-90s, resurfaced after she replaced a sick Neil Young at Canada’s Juno Awards. National Post gossip columnist Shinan Govani, who calls lang “Canada’s most famous lesbian,” quoted the hallowed music insider as saying, “She’s always been shy. But she seems even shyer now, now that she’s fat.”
Shinan also noted, “It’s been a long time since k.d. lang was k.d. lean, but many people seemed stunned by exactly how big the star has gotten.”
The New York Post can’t resist a fat lesbian and the Post’s all-gossip Page 6, under the headline ‘Heavy Burden for k.d. lang,’ breathlessly wrote, “The corpulent crooner stole the show but stayed away from the red carpet and the parties.”
The Post also pointed out that lang “acknowledged in a recent interview in Britain's The Independent that she had given up trying to be glamorous. ‘I guess I didn’t have the drive or the interest to stay in the game,’ she reflects. ‘It takes a lot of money and work to stay fabulous. I loved it when I was in it until I started to realize that it was disposable and fraudulent . . . it’s dealing with the hair, the makeup, the high heels. It removes you from the essence of who you are and what you have to offer.’”
Page 6 also reported on April 12 that former lesbian Anne Heche sparked a lesbian brawl at a South Beach nightclub when a female fan shoved another woman aside to get a closer glimpse of Heche and her husband Coley Lafoon chatting up Prive club owner Eric Milon. “I have to see her! She was my first crush!” the woman shouted.
A catfight ensued when the woman shoved to the floor attacked the Heche fan. The women began “pulling each other’s hair and scratching each other,” said a Page 6 spywitness. “Neither of them was hurt, but one of them lost a shoe.”
If you think the Page 6 stories are a hoot, then check out my headline of the month, courtesy the BBC News. Their April 25 story about Mary Li and Rebecca Kennedy, the first lesbian couple to get married in Oregon, in March 2004, and that couple’s fight to have their wedding legally recognized, was headlined, ‘My lesbian marriage was snatched away.’
You just can’t invent stuff like this.
Happy summer reading!
Richard Burnett’s national queer-issues column Three Dollar Bill can be read locally in Montreal’s Hour magazine as well as on the web at www.hour.ca.