closeteer

A Memo to American Conservatives: Self-Gratifying Mess

#closeteers | #WhatTheyVotedFor

Corset looks forward to using Brief. (Detail of Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt, ep. 12, "D.C. Confidential")

MEMORANDUM

To: American Conservatives

re: Triggerella and the Perverts

When the right wing makes a nasty, self-gratifying mess of itself― ....

Yeah, you know, that’s just not an encouraging start, is it? Still, though, how conservatives manage to make such a perverse, awful mess out of pizza isn’t exactly a mystery for the ages. It’s easy enough to make the point that people like Comet Ping Pong gunman Edgar Maddison Welch are mere tools; or remind that the “alt”-right, as they are presently known, are least scathingly described as seemingly unwitting agents of international interests except for the fact that they are at least sanguine with their place in that exploitative scheme and, as such, would rather be known as willing grifters openly working against the best interests of their country than easy marks in a pabulum-grade propaganda swindle; but there is another important question we ought to consider, as well, and that is the dangerous, sexually deviant obsessions displayed by conservative scandalmongers.

What makes Comet such a distinct place—a beloved haven for outside-the-mainstream people and art—is what has whet the appetites of alt-right fanatics looking for an outlet for their hate. In a large-scale gestural mural of people and faces by an artist who’s played the Comet stage, conspiracy theorists see a depiction of a child being strangled. In run-of-the-mill bathroom graffiti, they see secret sexual messages. In the lack of labeling for the gender-neutral bathrooms, haters with a political agenda see “secret rooms.” In Heavy Breathing, a band composed of decade-plus veterans of the D.C. music scene that traffics in stylized, abrasive, tongue-in-cheek electro-punk—only the truly humorless would not receive it as such—they see child-abusing satanists. In the venue’s all-ages policy, a time-honored practice of radical inclusion in the D.C. punk scene, they see a cover for pedophilia.

And in Josh Vogelsong—who has been bartending and helping book shows at Comet since 2011 and also performs in drag as Donna Slash—and his fellow drag queens who’ve performed at the venue, the alt-right sees degenerate weirdos who represent an America they’d like to destroy. For weeks, Vogelsong has been harassed and received death threats on Instagram from #pizzagate believers. User @rb.sad called him a “dumb bitch, or whatever the fuck you are” and a “fucking tranny,” he told Slate. User @debbieoconnell_ called him a “PAEDOPHILE CHILD MOLESTING ASS PIECE OF GARBAGE.” Other internet trolls have threatened “Hillary will be dead soon and so will you” and “we’re gonna slit your throat and bathe in your blood.”

“There’s just so much on Instagram—me in drag, photos of drag queens covered in blood, and bands doing weird shit—that it’s easy for people to see it and be like, ‘Oh my God!'” Vogelsong said. D.C. drag queen Summer Camp, who once appeared covered in red fluid in an Instagram photo for a Halloween event at Comet, has also been threatened by members of the alt-right in recent weeks. So has Cis Jenner, another local queen who performed at Comet years ago and now gets Facebook messages calling her a “Satanist homo.” “Hope I get to watch u bleed out n get a hard on from it,” one said.

Many of the #pizzagate blog posts claiming to find circumstantial evidence of a pedophilia ring at Comet have specifically referenced the sexuality and gender identities of the owner, who is gay, and staff. Conspiracy theorists who have gone through Vogelsong’s Instagram, where he advertised his shifts to friends with a photo of two buff men scarfing down a single slice, now claim his posts are code for gay men doing obscene things to children.

(Cauterucci and Fischer; boldface emphasis added)

So, this one is pretty straightforward.

• If you are all lathered up in a moral rage about the Satanist homo, why? Is it the Satanism? Because while the literature has plenty to say about watching people bleed, if dude gets hard watching homo dude do anything at all, then dude is a fuckin’ homo, too. Get thee out of the closet, bitch! Stupid enough to be scared sadistic is no decent way to go through life.

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Image note: Corset looks forward to using Brief. (Detail of Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt, ep. 12, “D.C. Confidential”)

Cauterucci, Christina and Jonathan L. Fischer. “Comet Is D.C.’s Weirdo Pizza Place. Maybe That’s Why It’s a Target.” Slate. 6 December 2016.

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A Reminder None of Us Needed

Detail of frame from Darker Than Black: Gemini of the Meteor, episode 6, "An Aroma Sweet, a Heart Bitter...".

Because this is still going on:

Former Idaho Sen. Larry E. Craig must pay $242,533 to the Treasury Department for using campaign money on legal representation in the aftermath of his 2007 guilty plea after a Minnesota airport bathroom sex sting, a federal appeals court ruled Friday.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit rejected the argument from Craig’s lawyers that the legal costs are no longer personal expenses when an arrest becomes politicized and an opponent uses the arrest for political reasons.

Craig spent about $200,000 in campaign funds on legal fees to try to undo the plea.

(Ruger)

Or, rather, it was.

You know, it’s like: Oh, for phucking phuckity-phuck phuck-all! We’d all like to forget!

I mean, really.

Damn it. I mean, please just tell me it’s all over, now.

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Ruger, Todd. “Ex-Sen. Craig Loses Appeal On Funds Use After Bathroom Incident”. Roll Call. 4 March 2016.

Another Puti-Toots Adventure

In the Kremlin, John’s proposal could be taken literally. The Russian leadership believes in a worldwide gay conspiracy, even a backroom global gay government that is trying to take over the world. Back in December 2013, when the Russian parliament was discussing the protests in Ukraine, the chairman of the foreign relations committee, Alexei Pushkov (who will be accompanying Putin to the UN), warned that if Ukraine moves toward the West, it will become part of 'the sphere of influence of gay culture' — as directly opposed to the Russian sphere of influence. Reporting on John’s speech in Kiev last week, Russia’s highest-circulation daily stated that John 'invited Ukraine to join the gay community.' So the same newspaper could imagine that if Putin had, indeed, picked up the phone to call John, he would have secured a direct line to the gay rulers of the world — and he could communicate to them that he was a reasonable man who shouldn’t be criticized quite so harshly. (Marsha Gessen, Reuters, 17 September 2015)

To the one, no, I did not pay attention to that bit with Elton John, because … er … ah … well, you know? It’s Elton freakin’ John and Vladimir freakin’ Putin, why would I?

This is my comeuppance:

Enter Elton John. The singer attended a political conference in Kiev last week, met with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, and talked LGBT rights with him. He seemed to be positioning himself as a sort of global LGBT ambassador. Vladimir Putin wants his seat back at the world's table. How far will he go to get it? (Masha Gessen, detail of Reuters.com 22 September 2015)Over the weekend, John told the BBC that he would like to meet with the Russian president and discuss the issue with him as well.

In the Kremlin, John’s proposal could be taken literally. The Russian leadership believes in a worldwide gay conspiracy, even a backroom global gay government that is trying to take over the world. Back in December 2013, when the Russian parliament was discussing the protests in Ukraine, the chairman of the foreign relations committee, Alexei Pushkov (who will be accompanying Putin to the UN), warned that if Ukraine moves toward the West, it will become part of “the sphere of influence of gay culture” — as directly opposed to the Russian sphere of influence. Reporting on John’s speech in Kiev last week, Russia’s highest-circulation daily stated that John “invited Ukraine to join the gay community.” So the same newspaper could imagine that if Putin had, indeed, picked up the phone to call John, he would have secured a direct line to the gay rulers of the world — and he could communicate to them that he was a reasonable man who shouldn’t be criticized quite so harshly.

(Gessen)

Well, you know … this is Puti-Toots, after all. And what part of the Puti-Toots Adventure actually makes any sense?

(more…)

A Brief Thought in the Wake of Inevitability

Detail of frame from FLCL episode 5, 'Brittle Bullet'.

This is our thought for the day:

A California judge has ruled against a proposed ballot initiative authorizing the execution of gay and lesbian people, calling the suggested measure “unconstitutional on its face.”

(Reilly)

This is news. Really, that’s the thought for the day. No, the problem is not that it is reported as news. The problem is neither the judge’s decision nor Attorney General Harris’ request.

The outcome itself is pretty obvious; the three-page judgment is two pages paperwork and one page actual court ruling.

It really is unclear why attorney Matt McLaughlin filed the ballot petition; even in the context of simply making a statement all he has managed to do is embarrass himself and denigrate the “traditionalism” homosexuals already recognize as bigotry. One might reasonably wonder if Mr. McLaughlin is a closet provocateur aiming to discredit traditionalists. Even as such, there is nothing of use or even mere dignity about his tantrum. The problem, in the end, is that the news exists at all.

____________________

Reilly, Mollie. “California Judge Throws Out Ballot Initiative Calling For Execution Of Gay People”. The Huffington Post. 23 June 2015.

Cadei, Raymond M. “Default Judgment by Court in Favor of Plaintiff”. Superior Court of the State of California County of Sacramento. 22 June 2015.

Falling Out of Grace and Into Fabulous … We Hope

Rev. Matthew Makela has served as the Associate Pastor at St. John's since July 2010.  He grew up in Green Bay, WI, literally in the shadows of Lambeau Field.  Pastor Makela was blessed to attend Lutheran schools from preschool through seminary.  He attended Pilgrim Lutheran School, Northeastern Wisconsin Lutheran High School, Concordia University Wisconsin, and Concordia Theological Seminary.  He graduated from Concordia University Wisconsin in 2006 with a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Pastoral Ministry and Theological Languages.  Pastor Makela graduated in 2010 with a Master of Divinity degree from Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, IN.  Pastor and his wife Cassie are blessed with three daughters and two sons.  Outside of church duties, Psator enjoys family, music, home improvement, gardening and landscaping, and sports.

Oh, dear God, not again.

Until 2 p.m. on Monday, the ‘Our Church Staff’ section of St. John’s Lutheran Church and School’s website described Reverend Matthew Makela as an associate pastor who enjoys, “family, music, home improvement, gardening and landscaping, and sports.”

Screenshots obtained by Queerty from a source who asked that his name be withheld shed light on some of the Reverend’s other favorite past times — namely nude make out sessions and sex with other men.

In addition to Dan Tracer’s scoop for Queerty, Gabrielle Bluestone follows up for Gawker, and Simon McCormack brings an overview for Huffington Post.

(more…)

A Blithering Mess

Serrano, Piss Christ (detail)“Was I supposed to say that, despite my best efforts, the power of gay porn was too strong for me, and I was asked to step down because of it? Was I supposed to go into detail about the guys I ended up blowing in the bathroom at Splash that summer in New York? Though there may seem like an obvious “yes” answer here, at that point, there was still a part of me that wanted to hide that from her. A part of me that wanted there to still be a chance with her.”

Chris Hernandez

Sometimes the idea of “conversion therapy” seems more like an exercise in self-deception. Then again, those are the good days. From what we hear, most days were a bit like the Spanish Inquisition, minus the Comfy Chair.

Then again, there are those of us who tried self-therapy, and it is possible to find something positive amid the years of lying to ourselves. I got a daughter out of the attempt, and she is a result I will never resent or regret. (more…)

A Sideshow, Squared

Representative Aaron Schock, a Republican from Illinois, pauses while speaking during an interview in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014.  Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee resisted parts of the early versions of Chairman Dave Campo's plan for the biggest tax-code changes since 1986, said Schock.  Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images.

“Of course, we don’t know for sure whether Schock is gay. All we know is that relatively few heterosexuals are forced from office by an interior decorating scandal.”

Matt Baume

Well, you know, there is that.

Then again, there is a bit more to it, as Matt Baume explains:

If Schock is in the closet, it’s a closet that he helped perpetuate during his years in Congress. Thanks to his opposition to open military service, marriage equality, and hate crime protection for LGBT people, he earned a perfect 0-percent rating from the Human Rights Campaign. Too bad HRC doesn’t award bonus points for best swimwear ....

.... When I talk about Schock’s “closet,” I mean the system of keeping LGBTs down by intimidating and disadvantaging them. Schock never met an anti-gay law he didn’t like, even though he was uncomfortable when asked why. Laws like those Schock supported are designed to oppress gays and lesbians, and they send a clear message: Sure, go ahead and be openly gay; just remember that you could lose your job, your home, your safety, or your life.

While it is true that Schock has long been subject to rumors and jokes about his sexualityα, it really doesn’t seem to be relevant here. Well, except for the point about the decorating.

That, at least, seems to be worth a chuckle.

And none of which should take away from Baume’s point; the LGBT community has reason to celebrate this falling from grace. Not that the one has much to do with the other except for a vague discussion about corruption of the soul or psyche, but still, you know, we take what we can get.

Ain’t that always the way?

____________________

α There was the bit about the teal belt. And John Aravosis certainly entertained himself with the notion last year, and enough noise happened that Salon picked up on the murmur, and things have gone on the way they’ve gone on so that, well, now a scandal-plagued congressman infamous for his overdecorated office can’t possibly resign in shame without a queer question controversy.

Image note: Representative Aaron Schock, a Republican from Illinois, pauses while speaking during an interview in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014. Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee resisted parts of the early versions of Chairman Dave Campo’s plan for the biggest tax-code changes since 1986, said Schock. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images.

Baume, Matt. “Aaron Schock and the Closets of Downton Abbey”. The Huffington Post. 19 March 2015.

See Also:

Savage, Dan. “Rep. Aaron Schock’s Belt Is…”. Slog. 15 June 2010.

Aravosis, John. “Anti-gay GOPer Aaron Schock locks down Instagram account as outing rumors swirl”. AmericaBlog. 4 January 2014.

D’Addario, Daniel. “The bizarre quasi-‘outing’ of Aaron Schock”. Salon. 6 January 2014.

Petrow, Steven. “Civilities: Please stop pink-baiting Aaron Schock”. The Washington Post. 20 March 2015.

The Strange Phenomenon Known as Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a news conference following a meeting with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, March 5, 2015.  Italy's prime minister visited Moscow on Thursday in a bid to repair ties that have been hurt by Russia-West tensions over Ukraine.  (AP Photo/Sergei Karpukhin, Pool)

Strangeness and Vladimir Putin might go together like, well, never mind that part. But Puti-Toots is missing, and there goes next season’s Dancing With the Tsars. Damn. Too bad about that; I should have gone with a cliché about not having a thing to wear.

Such as it is, Julia Ioffe explains for the Washington Post:

It’s been more than a week now since anybody’s seen Russian President Vladimir Putin. He had a mundane meeting with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi on March 5, and then … nothing. Since then, Putin hasn’t been seen in public, and the Russian blogosphere can talk about nothing else. Their president skipped a number of events—including one with his FSB bigwigs—and the Kazakhs, with whom Putin was supposed to meet this week, said the Russian president was ill. They quickly walked it back after the Kremlin denied it. The Kremlin began fiddling with Putin’s schedule. State television began broadcasting news of meetings planned for the future as if they had already happened in order to show that Putin was alive enough to attend meetings. Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s mustachioed spokesman, has been stonewalling all week, insisting that his boss is not only breathing, but “breaking hands” with his manly handshake.

Unsurprisingly, this combination—active and seemingly frantic dissimulation, and flat denial that anything is amiss—is perfect for the Internet. #PutinIsDead began trending on Russian Twitter, and the Russian blogosphere began to churn out theories of what happened to Dear Shirtless Leader, each version more ludicrous than the next.

In a way, it would be perhaps genuinely funny if something untoward has, in fact, occurred. Ioffe’s account of the current murmur is about as morbid as we can expect for so entertaining a spectacle as the Russian President puts on, and, well, there is a bit of history with Russian leaders suddenly disappearing. In other words, it is not quite fair to say that it keeps going downhill from there, although we would note that nobody’s suggesting autoerotic asphyxiation, or even merely two weeks off for the world’s most famous closeteer to scratch his itch.

____________________

Image note: Detail―Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a news conference following a meeting with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, March 5, 2015. Italy’s prime minister visited Moscow on Thursday in a bid to repair ties that have been hurt by Russia-West tensions over Ukraine. (AP Photo/Sergei Karpukhin, Pool)

Ioffe, Julia. “This is why it’s impossible for the Kremlin to lie about Putin’s weird disappearance”. The Washington Post. 14 March 2015.

A Phabulous Conundrum

Detail of 'Bug Martini' by Adam Huber, 17 December 2014.There is a usual sort of rant that goes here except today it is beside the point.

Rather, a straightforward question for Adam Huber: Why is Nerdbug gone queerlicious/transvestite/Madonna a yardstick for liberalism?

Maybe it is a local thing, coming from a town that celebrates Midsummer with an unofficial parade of nudists on bicycles, and traditionally includes an official street pageant involving plenty of real-life versions of Nerdbug’s newfound self getting their grooves on with the rest of the neighborhood, who in turn just want an excuse to hoot and holler and enjoy the pasties, foil g-strings, and assorted burlesquerie.

But that also invokes an existential consideration of liberalism best illustrated by a counterpoint. What if instead of a nerd in pointy-boob bikini it was, say, a nerd dressed as an eleven year-old boy preaching bigotry?

Because, you know, who the hell are we to judge … the little boy … taught by his community to judge … and be hateful … and stand up on behalf of injustice?

Or maybe something more grown-up? Like a preacher with a horse, spreading the good news about how people he doesn’t like are mere animals and testifying to his hatred in Jesus’ name, amen?

I mean, really, uncorking one’s inner phabulosity is hardly a test of liberalism; even Dick Cheney can pass.

Then again, I suppose I’m not being fair. When it comes to looking at a hatemonger mongering hate and saying, “Who am I to judge?” one encounters a special sort of conundrum. Finding an effective and useful solution to the challenge of dealing with these people and the fact that they exist would not necessarily make one a liberal, but it would certainly qualify them for nomination as a genius.

____________________

Huber, Adam. “A Liberal Amount of Liberals”. Bug Martini. 17 December 2014.