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I can’t believe it: This blog’s 2011 stats in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

Madison Square Garden can seat 20,000 people for a concert. This blog was viewed about 67,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Madison Square Garden, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

My Christmas Night Movie: “Weekend” (UK, 2011) by Andrew Haigh

Tom Cullen and Chris New, in Andrew Haigh's "Weekend"

“Weekend” is about two postmodern guys drifting through life in some unnamed city in England’s East Midlands. Russell (Tom Cullen) is a lifeguard at a swimming pool, but don’t expect to see him perched in Speedos like an iconic California surfer; his job is at a community center and not much fun. He lives in a concrete high-rise, which I took to be public housing, but he’s made it fairly nice within his means. (Recent British movies that don’t feature lords and ladies are nearly always about the bleakness of modern life. One can interpret this several ways.) He’s somewhat openly-Gay, his close Straight friends know and they’re the ones he mostly hangs out with; he’s not big on the Gay movement, which doesn’t fit him. Then he meets a guy named Glen (Chris New) who is filled with Gay fire.

This isn’t a political movie but a human one. Their encounter begins at a Gay bar; sex first, conversation after. The film is about their two-day conversation.

It turns out Glen, an art student, is moving to Portland, Oregon to enroll in studies, just as they begin to fall in love.

The film is available now on Netflix; if you belong, search there. Here is A.O. Scott’s rave review in The New York Times.

What made this a good Christmas night picture for me was the character of Russell; he gradually emerges as fundamentally honest and decent. He and Glen do a lot of drugs and clash repeatedly – Glen is a bit cynical and in-your-face – but they allow themselves to enter into a relationship, however brief it might be. They have a genuine encounter; they open up to each other.

I liked spending Christmas night with this film. I identified with Glen, but I fell in love with Russell.++

What Most Liberates Gay Men?

Evan Wolfson and Cheng He. They had a lovely celebration. (The New York Times)

New York State legalized same-sex marriage in late July, and since then I’ve entertained myself by reading Gay and Lesbian wedding notices in The New York Times. Some are them are touching – “Old Man Marries His Old Man after Shacking Up for 40 Years.” Some are mostly remarkable for the social status of the couple – “Ms. Williams, Goldman Sachs V.P., Weds CBS Treasurer Ms. Padrara.” And some are just filling up newsprint – “Steelworker’s Son Says Vows with Obscure Performance Artist You Never Heard Of and Don’t Want to See.”

I’m a little shocked at how many people become Universal Life ministers to preside at these occasions; online, ten bucks? People who obviously have no discernible faith, but go ahead and buy the piece of paper, which the state doesn’t know from an Episcopal priest. “Minister? Aisle 2. Thank you; next?”

I read these vignettes because they can be warm and fuzzy – “Ms. Vanderwhipple has a degree in Phonics from Shippensburg State” – and because I’ve got somebody in mind for broom-jumping someday. They’re nice fantasies, and if you get behind The Times’ paywall, they’re free. I enjoy them. The ones with bylines are well-written, and who doesn’t enjoy reading about someone else’s happiness?

How totally amazing; we can get married in New York. Kudos to Gov. Cuomo, the state Assembly and Mayor Bloomberg. Politicians did something right for a change.

With sincere congratulations to the couples taking advantage of this new law to get what they deserve and to honor each other, I also think about whether we ought to pin our hopes on legislation. Yes, lawmaking is very important, but will it get us where we need to be? What most liberates Gay men?

(I am in favor of Lesbian rights and everyone else’s, but I don’t write about them, when they write so well themselves.)

What social change would free up Gay men to really understand themselves?

Clearly our lives are better under the law than they used to be; thank you, activists, reporters, judges, pols and voters. Good work; thank you. But I’m not sure how much better off we are, 42 years after the Stonewall Riots. Two generations, but look at us!

Tyler Clementi, a student at Rutgers, jumped off the George Washington Bridge last year because somebody streamed video of him making out with a guy.

If you’re queer in Iran you’ll probably hang.

Republican presidential candidates are running all over Iowa on God, guns and Gays. How many decades has this been going on? Jerry Falwell’s body is oozing fluids by now, but still these Republicans are running on his old platform.

I don’t think politics is our final answer. Politicians are always behind the times, regardless of liberal or conservative. They react to events, they don’t cause them. They delay a Yes vote – all of them – as long as they can.

Instead I think we need to look inside ourselves; take stock, ‘fess up to our shortcomings, and devise a plan to free ourselves from this miserable apartheid.

The place to start is sex. That’s where liberation is located. Tom of Finland has more answers than the governor of New York.


We have terrible attitudes about sex. And we’re as self-destructive now as we ever were in the bad old days.

Alcohol, drugs, smoking, food, materialism, pop culture, celebrity-chasing: they’re all reactions to shame.

That hasn’t changed in 42 years. We still define ourselves in heterosexual terms. If you suck cock – and why wouldn’t you? – you’re a faggot, a pig, a pussy, a cunt.

Because, of course, Straight men who don’t suck cock are automatically more desirable than any fag could possibly be. They’re real men, or so goes the ideology, which hasn’t changed this entire time.

Tyler Clementi, come down from that bridge.

Nobody really cares who you were kissing – or who you were sucking off.

What we really need is a full-blooded embrace of male sexuality.

We like dick; it’s desirable. We need to admit it, and embrace it, while rejecting the old ideology that we aren’t men.

We can never achieve liberation without rejecting heterosexual supremacy. We’re carrying apartheid laws around in our heads.

A man who fucks a man is a real man.

So is the man he fucks, if he opens up and spreads wide and shouts, “Thank you, Daddy, fuck me!”

That’s the world Tom lived in, and he was right.

We need to stop referring to ourselves in heterosexual terms. If you take it up the ass it doesn’t make you a bitch; it makes you a man, because what you’re wanting is that guy’s masculinity.

You’re not a girl. You’re not a pussy; you don’t have one, buddy. You’re not a pig; you’re not a fag.

You’re just a guy who loves men – and why would you not?

Heterosexual terms don’t apply to you; you’re in a different category.

Who wouldn't?

The essential thing is the opening of our minds. That’s why Tom’s art is so good, and lots of others besides him. Tom’s Men are uninhibited; they know what they like and they go for it.

American Gay men, as I perceive us, are still hugely inhibited 42 years later. Dudes, where does that leave Uganda?

We bought the “sissy” trope hook, line and sinker. We think the only real men are Straight – because they defined it that way.

No. The butchest men on earth are Gay.

They combine intellect, sensitivity and a roaring phallus. That’s what you want, so go for it.

Reject porn videos. They’re almost entirely homophobic, all about how you’re a bitch and a pig, just because you like male sex. Who wrote that script, Jerry Falwell?

Love the one you’re with. I’m serious; love that guy and let him love you.

Don’t tolerate abuse.

Admire his masculinity; his courage, his leadership, his ability to thrust. Even if he’s on the bottom now, he can poke it.

Do not disparage Straight men, but notice that their courage and integrity are often lacking. They’re afraid of each other; what if someone decides they’re not macho enough, because they saluted the flag, or kissed a daughter, or failed to vote Republican?

Apartheid is one big conspiracy. Understand it and it falls apart.

Gay liberation is not a product of legislation, but Tom of Finland. If you like getting fucked, then lie back, take it and shout.

You’re still a man; a better one for being honest.++

Just hanging out, hoping for some action and a nice guy to be with.