AgendaWatch™: Details (“for men”) is on hiatus, but I still maintain my stock of gay magazines for straight men. Or, as Andrew O’Hagen describes them:

GQ, like the others, always has a glossy girl on the cover, but the magazine is actually quite gay, at least in the sense that the late Ian Hamilton used the term. Hamilton thought it was gay to look left and right when you crossed the road, and he thought it was gay for men to blow-dry their hair. This went on for a while until one day he made the point to Martin Amis that it was actually quite gay to sleep with a woman.

GQ is gay in that way: it appears to envy women more than lust for them, and its pages are full of tips on how men should depilate, breast-enlarge, slicken, tart up, and generally make themselves a bit more attractive to members of the non-opposite sex.

The June–July 2004 issue of Details duplicates its April 2003 cover story on Italonegric goombah Vin Diesel. More interestingly, the issue is replete with letters of protest by Asianist-Americanist groups concerning Details’s “Gay or Asian?” featurette.

Now, I’d like to know why the other ethnic groups pilloried by this column (particularly the British) did not get up in arms. I guess because they made the mistake of failing to set up lobby, advocacy, pressure, and watchdog groups in advance.

Maybe those registering their ire really do have a point. (But, you know, don’t most Asian guys truly have sashimi-smooth chests? How is that not a plus for a lot of guys?) What I want to know is why the organizations writing in sounded like rejects from queer-theory brainwashing courses. Some phrases taken out of context from their letters:

  • The feature thinly veils racism, homophobia, and classism as humour
  • exoticizing Asian male bodies… (“sashimi-smooth chests”)
  • dehumanizes people of colour
  • hypersexualizes gay men
  • Asian Pacific American (APA)
  • This message perpetuates the invisibility of LGBT APAs who live at the intersections of race, sexuality, class, and nationality
  • challenge the invisibility, isolation, discrimination, and stereotyping of our community
  • explore the complexities of being a LGBT person of colour
  • APA males face systemic challenges… which emasculate them from the well-balanced personalities and images they evince
  • the Asian and LGBT community is diverse and multifaceted
  • bias-motivated incidents

Listen, kids, word to your mother. Your pressure tactics are a disgrace because they’re so goddamned boring and earnest. Y’all wouldn’t know a kiss-in if it smooched you in the face. You haven’t had NYPD cops face off against your friends at barricades wearing latex gloves, and the response ACT UP immediately came back with – “Your gloves don’t match your shoes!” – is a thousand times funnier than any of this malarkey.

The queers didn’t invent high-risk direct action; ADAPT did, by blockading cablecars and demanding that everybody, including high quads in ventilators, get arrested. But we made it fun. We had a good time doing it, and we disarmed with humour and cleverness. Since “Gay or Asian?” intended to be both those things yet failed, the stage was set for an easy trouncing. But you blew it.

And anyway, we know this kind of protest doesn’t work: Right there on page 44 of the June Details is the current instalment in the series, “Gay or Country Singer?”

There’s no bore like a bore with a clutchpurse full of acronyms.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2004.06.13 18:37. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

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None. I quit.

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