Mixtapes for Hookers

Out 100 Makes 2009 Sound Like A Really Bad Year
November 16, 2009, 5:21 pm
Filed under: lists, magazines | Tags: , , , , , ,

“The gay world,” Out Magazine states in the introduction to its annual list of favorite people, “is just like high school.”  And that, gentle readers, is why I have no patience for the gay world, or at least Out’s clique-ish vision of what it means to be gay.

The Out 100 was released today, and as usual it’s a mixed and overly large bag.   The cover, continuing the high school analogy, talks about the Class of 2009 and places Cyndi Lauper front and center as a member of that class.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Cyndi Lauper.  But isn’t it odd for a magazine with 100 allegedly notable names to center a high school-themed issue on a fifty-six year old woman who most Americans think disappeared some time around 1986?  Yeah, she’s done a lot of fundraising and whatever, and She’s So Unusual is still an awesome album, but does it really make sense for her to be on the cover of an issue about “The People Who Made Our Year?” 

(Also, copyeditors, if you’re going to insist on cheesy school themes, please at least adhere to them.  Freshman, class clown, troublemaker and drama king could all possibly be stereotypes of people on the honor roll.  Guidance counselor is not.)

To be fair to the list, I actually do like what little I know about Wanda Sykes.  Pedro Almodóvar is always awesome, and Barney Frank seems pretty cool for a politician.  I like Mirah’s last album a lot and the people who designed the High Line in New York deserve all the awards they can get.  Also, poet Mark Doty is very likable (and dreamy) and Sarah Waters writes great books.  So, I don’t hate the list as a whole.

On the other hand, Adam Lambert? Kelly McGillis? Wendy and Lisa? One of Rachel Zoe’s assistants?  And I assume Will Young’s spot on the list was paid for by his label (since he has a greatest hit collection out soon) and not because any American has ever actually chosen to listen to him.

And I try not to disparage other people’s blogs, but are Pam and Arjan really the two best or most interesting gay bloggers out there? No, they are not.  I mean, Pam’s House Blend is fine enough, though it’s not really my bag and I’ve always been irrationally turned off by the name.  But ArjanWrites?  No.  No no no.  No.

Out’s writing is pretty bad, too.  (Also, copyeditors:  If you’re going to put Erin McKeown on the list, could you at least spell-check her name before you publish?  Thanks.)  I don’t know why we’re supposed to even care about some of these people.  Like why is Edmund White on this list, for instance?  Isn’t he just an old fart?  Well, yes, but he did have a memoir come out this year; the blurb about him doesn’t mention that, though.  And what are we to make of Assi Azar, the host of Israel’s version of Big Brother?

Azar is the host of Israel’s Big Brother, and six years after he came out the Ryan Seacrest of the Holy Land says he has yet to experience prejudice. So when a gunman stormed a gay youth center in Tel Aviv earlier this year, killing two people, it was a blast of cold harsh reality that made Israel feel as claustrophobic as the Big Brother house.

Can someone please parse those two sentences for me?  He is notable because no one has ever done anything bad to him?  Because he lives in the same country as two people that got killed?  Because apparently dealing with homophobia is like being on a reality show about slutty nitwits?  This makes no sense!

I’m sure Out means well and if their mission is to expose gay readers to new faces then I’m sure they’re accomplishing that, to some degree.  It’s just sad that they need Cyndi Lauper and Adam Lambert to make that happen.

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