Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A Tree for the Forest

I never thought of myself as a polarizing figure. I ramble along thinking people have no reason to dislike me. I'm still surprised when they don't. But you can't win em all.

Response to my columns in OUT magazine goes both ways. Take the September issue, for example. I thought it was rather innocuous. I was supporting the Rubi Girls and others who take action in red state Ohio.

Here's a positive response (thank you), from a reader named Tony:

Maybe it’s because I’m predominantly right-brained, but I absolutely loved your column in the September “Out.” For what it’s worth, I thought that was an outstanding piece of writing. And it was fun to read. Only you could pull together Jonathan’s vagina, a drag troupe, blue-haired grannies, bullfighting, xenophobia, George Orwell, the 2004 election, Homeland Security stupidities, the gay scene in Ohio, and political activism.

And the message I got is critical, especially this year: complacent stereotyping is no substitute for getting out there and doing the difficult work for a cause.

Tony got the message. I wanted to talk about those in the heartland who make huge efforts to effect change, while some of us in the big blue cities point smug fingers without lifting them.

But then I get the other side. The hate mail. All the time. They're always the same. They start of demure, so I'll keep reading. The headline is something like, "Your last column..." and it takes a bit before venom starts churning.

But soon, the run-on sentences begin. The misspelled words. By the time the terrifying CAPS have arrived, the sixth whiskey sour has really kicked in and they're calling me a USELESS BITCHY CIRCUIT QUEEN!!!

I don't know what it is about that OUT magazine picture, but people take one look and judge me a useless bitchy circuit queen. The reader below perceives me in only a slightly different way, but it's mostly the same.

In that particular column (September), I mention my impressions of Ohio before I went there. One of them being: "I picture red state Ohio filled with blue-haired grannies running directly from pulpit to the polling station, and let's face it. If you're not going to outlive the next presidential term, you shouldn't be allowed to vote."

Some people can't take a joke.

Some readers will miss entirely the point of the story. They won't argue the larger idea. They will instead pull out one line (lipstick on a pig?). And make that line personal.

Here's a recent hateful gem from a reader in the Castro. It is all (sic):

From: Lawrence OConnor <>
Date: Sat, Sep 13, 2008 at 2:42 PM
Subject: Seeing Red Article


You wrote "Let's face it- if you are not going to outlive the next presidential term, you shouldn't be allowed to vote" Sweetie does that include gay men and women with AIDS? Gay seniors or is it just senior citizens who don't fit into your world view. A world view that is an outdated paradigm.
I bought OUT for the first time at Delanos market on 18th and Castro while waiting for my 88 year old mom to finish playing bingo with her equally ancient cronies. Mom owned what is now the Sausage Factory at 18th and Castro has done right by her gay son and has a lovely enviable urban class lifestyle one that people much younger than her can't manage or afford. Mom is a sharp cookie and also a lady. Now that is one thing I have never been called and being one Mom would not apporve of me callying you a pathetic trashy queen but than you already know that. DISMISSED BITCH spend your time trolling for tricks on rentboy. com.

I'm left to assume Lawrence doesn't feel his mother will outlive the next presidential term.


Michael said...

Unoriginal, I realize, but fuck 'em if they can't take a joke. Especially if they can't even GET the joke. Sheesh.

And I'm from Ohio!

The Blackout Blog said...

I've learned a very important lesson from angry hip-hop music: being hated means you're having an impact.

People have called my blog disjointed, pointed out "errors," and even left facebook status messages saying negative things about it.

But that means they read it :-)

Lucky Pierre said...

I've ceased to be amazed at how clueless so many in our community can be. What happened to their senses of humor?

I read your article (as always) and (as always) thought it was well thought out.

That was kind of a fun sentence to write.

Margot Leadbetter said...

It's not a Gay thing. It's an Internet thing.

Back in the day when folks wrote letters to the Newspaper, they had to give their real name, home address and their home phone number for verification. On the Internet, well I span the Gamut of Internet sites and they all share one thing: Comments that are vile, cruel, anonymous and misspelled.

At least Lawrence O'Connor gave his name. If indeed that is his real name. His 88 year old mother established The Sausage Factory. Is that a Deli or a Gay Bar, or both?

But more importantly, I can't get past this part of the first, favorable, comment:

"......Only you could pull together Jonathan’s vagina......"

Is this a form of Female Circumcision? How does he pee???? Perhaps he should make a purchase at The Sausage Factory.

xx We love you Darling.

Patrick said...

forget that asshole jesse-i guess he's just too stupid for your humor

Joe Moore said...

I agree with one of your commentors, at least these people read it. When you get someone that angry, it means you're forcing them to think, and that scares a lot of people.

I like your columns, I like your antics. Keep it up!

Larry (MChips) said...

Hey Jesse, just thought I'd stop by to see how you're doing... miss you over on myspace...

You should do like Waymon does, don't know if you know who he is, but he also blogs several times per week on a separate site, so he posts the beginning of his blog on myspace, followed by a link to his blog site to read the rest.

Myspace is like my one-stop shop to stay on top of friends, celebs, artists on the rise, etc... I therefore read more of his blogs with myspace as a reminder when he posts a new one...

That said, regarding this blog, it's so true... I don't blog, but I'll respond to blogs, and get the same thing... people will take one line, out of context, and make an issue out of it, missing the larger point I might be trying to make.

Anywho, I still own you on myspace, but it's not as much fun now that you've disappeared... ;)

Wishing the best,
Larry :)

Tony said...

Hey Jesse -

I've got a great idea for a T-shirt that you could wear for a new OUT Magazine picture:

(Useless bitchy circuit queen)

What size (T-shirt) do you wear?

Or, one could say:

(Useless Bitchy Circuit Queen)"

You could sell it on your website, and proceeds could go to the support the UBCQ, the site, or one of his causes.

What do you think?


Jesse Archer said...

Yes, guys, at least he's reading and feeling something. Although I'm not so sure about the thinking part.

Margot, the sausage factory? In the Castro? I think that "deli" was shut down by the health department in the mid 80's.

Tony, doubt OUT would go for your idea, but I have been looking for something to sell on this site! :)

Maybe I could sell it with body bling...for the UBCQ's to sparkle?

Michelle said...

Some people need to lighten the fuck up, don't they, hon? You keep up the good work, Jesse.

Jonathan said...

Dearest Jesse,

We could sell my fauxginas on your site!
I'll start rolling the clay immediately.

Loving you, your column and your ability to stir the pot.

Thinking of you as we're about to get underway with the Downtown Dayton LGBT Film Fest.

Hope to see you soon,