Nov 23, 2017

10 Reasons Why Thanksgiving is the Gayest Holiday

If you're not from the U.S. you might not be familiar with Thanksgiving, a holiday celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November (it's also celebrated on different dates in Canada, Liberia, and Grenada).

It's my favorite holiday.  And the gayest:

1. It's in November, so it's cold outside, and dark at night like it's supposed to be.  No one is forcing you to go out and "enjoy the outdoors."

2. There are no tv commercials depicting heterosexual couples giving each other gifts or watching in rapt joy as their children unwrap gifts.

3. There's no religious significance, so you won't feel guilty if you accidentally say "Happy Thanksgiving!" to someone who is Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Wiccan, or atheist.  Although sometimes vegans will lecture you.

4. Gay men spend many extra hours at the gym in anticipation of over-indulging on Thanksgiving.  As a result, at Thanksgiving they're more buffed than at any other time of the year.

5. Everyone gets to demonstrate their culinary skill.

6. You only get Thursday and maybe Friday off work, so there's no time to take a plane ride 2000 miles to the place you grew up.  Thus, "home" is no longer in the past, it's the place you are today, and "family" is what you make of it.

This Advocate cover shows Howard Cruse's character Wendel being served Thanksgiving dinner in bed.  But why is the kid wearing a mask?  Is he the famous Thanksgiving character, Zorro?

7. If you do go home to visit extended family, Thanksgiving dinner is the traditional time for making Big Announcements, like "Guess what?  I'm gay."

8. Most of the bars, clubs, and bathhouses have special Thanksgiving Day events, so you don't have to waste all Thanksgiving afternoon watching football.

9. The origin story, about 17th century Pilgrims and Indians coming together to share a meal, is an imperialist myth, masking a history of conquest and genocide.  But it does lend itself to some interesting ideas for homoerotic revisions (picture from Crow821 on

10. Gay people have a lot to be thankful for.  They grew up in a culture where they told, over and over, that "discovering the opposite sex" was inevitable and universal, that no gay people existed except for grotesque monsters.  And they survived.

Nov 21, 2017

The Gay World of Dr. Seuss

When I was a kid in the 1960s, I hated fairy tales, but I liked Dr. Seuss.  No heterosexist boy-girl plotlines, no boy-girl romances of any sort, just pleas for tolerance of diversity, ambiguity, nonconformity.  Lots of alternative families.  Lots of gay subtexts.

Horton Hatches the Egg (1940): Gay man takes over for a neglectful mom, and proves to be a wonderful father.

Horton Hears a Who (1954): Nobody will believe that a community exists until they all shout "We are here!"  Sounds like the Gay Rights Movement.

The Cat in the Hat (1957):  An emissary of chaos, accompanied by the gay couple, Thing 1 and Thing 2.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1957): a gay outsider is accepted by the community.

Green Eggs and Ham (1960): People are into all sorts of different things.  Deal with it.

The Sneetches (1961): Insignificant personal characteristics, like whether you are attracted to men, women, or both, can create crazy prejudices.

But Seussical, the 2000 musical, is a disappointment.  It amalgamates a huge number of books, including some that I never heard of, into two confusing plots -- one for adults, one for kids.

Wait -- those books have no continuity.  They take place in different universes, some populated by humans, some by animals, some by other beings.

And there's a hetero-romantic primary plot, between Horton the Elephant and Gertrude McFuzz (a bird in Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories who thinks her tail isn't fancy enough).

The secondary plot is promising: Oddball outsider JoJo (here played by teen idol Aaron Carter) is ridiculed for "thinking thinks" and finally sent to military school.  He helps save the day without getting a girlfriend.

He buddy-bonds with Horton, but there's not much of a gay subtext between the little boy and the adult elephant.

Except in some local productions where the two actors are the same age, and Horton's elephantness is conveyed through pin-on ears, not an elephant costume.

Nov 19, 2017

Academic Nudes: 18th Century Beefcake

It's a myth that the muscular modern physique didn't exist until the 20th century, when scientific weight-training and nutritional supplements bulked us up.  The muscular physique has always been a source of desire and joy.

In the 18th century, painters went to the Academy of Art to learn their trade.  To learn to draw figures, they drew nude male models.

Very buffed models.

This is not just artistic license: They were supposed to be drawing realistic "life" portraits.

Complete with penis (frontal nudity is legal on a G-rated blog if it's art).

There were flourishing academies in France, Spain, the Netherlands, England, and Italy.

Usually there is no background, but sometimes mythological themes are added.

I wonder what these models did in real life.  Were they workmen?  The lovers of the artists?  Both?

Here's a print of the Academy of Arts examining a male model.

And a rather more buffed one.

Some of these guys would not look out of place in a bathhouse today.