The Week in Review Oct 29–Nov 4
MONDAY, OCTOBER 29 As we fall into the home stretch of 2007, even the most cursory glance back reveals a year of impressive freakishness, from the more-or-less predictable (the degrading downfall of Britney-Paris-Lindsay was clearly preordained, but who could've guessed it would be so criminally filthy?) to the totally bizarre (racism will always be one of the United States' greatest exports, but a half-century after the civil rights movement, who could've foreseen the resurgence of the hate-crime novelty noose?). Still, for Last Days, 2007 will primarily be remembered as the year the Republican closet exploded, loosing an avalanche of homosexually-active-but-adamantly-not-gay GOP officials onto the nation's restrooms and news outlets.
Following last year's trailblazers Ted Haggard (the methy megapastor who conferred weekly with the White House) and Mark Foley (the page-hungry Republican representative from Florida), 2007's not-gay all-stars announced themselves with Larry Craig, the Idaho senator whose antigay voting record was belied by his hunger for casual homosexual sex, culminating in his widely reported solicitation of an undercover police officer in a Minneapolis men's room. As all sentient beings will recall, Craig has spent the past several months denying his homosexuality to anyone who'll listen; meanwhile, former tricks continue to crawl out of the woodwork, injecting Craig's dogged denials with a sort of loopy truth. "I'm not gay," bleats Craig, and he's right: Gays consider their relationships the equivalent of opposite-sex relationships. Gays are proud—or at least not ashamed—of what they do. Gays want equality. Larry Craig shares none of these beliefs, masterfully restricting himself to the only type of gay expression his conservative Christian backers can accept: complete denial. (And if he's driven to have sex with dudes every so often for the rest of his life, he's at least decent enough to deny such shameful doings until his last breath.)
Which brings us to today, highlighted by the parroting of Larry Craig's because-I-said-so gay denials by 2007's second not-gay all-star: Richard Curtis, the Washington state representative (and antigay Republican) accused of a complicated homosexual encounter with a gay escort last week in Spokane. Today Curtis will repeatedly tell the media that he is not gay. Tomorrow the media will be flooded with schadenfreude-rich details of Curtis's not-gay lifestyle, including wearing women's underwear, casual homosexual sex, and professional homosexual sex. For more on Curtis's not-gay gay life—it's complicated—see Dan Savage's feature on page 20. For now, condolences to the unfortunate families of unfortunate closet cases, whose species, God willing, will only grow closer to extinction.
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 30 Following yesterday's extended celebration of not-gay gays, Last Days is reluctant to whisper another word on the subject. And so we'll dutifully ignore today's reports of the rest-area sex sting in Bedford, New York, in which 20 men were arrested for loitering, soliciting, and/or forcible touching over the past month. Of the 20 arrested men, 19 reported having wives at home. The sole single man is a Catholic priest. We're not making this up. It's the zeitgeist.
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 31 This week of double-edged news continues with an emotionally thrilling/constitutionally iffy legal victory from Baltimore, where today the Westboro Baptist Church—Fred Phelps's Kansas-based ministry of antigay hatred—was ordered to pay nearly $11 million in damages to the father of a slain U.S. soldier whose funeral the church picketed. As freak buffs are aware, Westboro Baptist first rose to fame on the backs of dead homosexuals, picketing their funerals with signs celebrating their God-given deaths. (One early classic: the protest at a memorial for the fatally gay-bashed Matthew Shepard, with church members bearing signs announcing "FAG MATT BURNS IN HELL.") More recently, Westboro Baptist turned its focus from fags to "fag-enablers," the church's term for straight folks who refuse to spend their days calling for and celebrating the destruction of homosexuals. Naturally, this led to Westboro's picketing of the funerals of U.S. soldiers, whose deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan the church attributed to God, whose heavenly bloodlust remains stoked by the United States' acceptance of homosexuality. "THANK GOD FOR DEAD SOLDIERS," read Westboro's military-funeral picket signs, inspiring at least one citizen to fight back in court. In March 2006, Westboro Baptist brought their bible-raping circus of hate to the funeral of Marine Lance Corporal Matthew Snyder, who was killed in Iraq. Afterward, Matthew Snyder's grieving father—Albert Snyder of York, Pennsylvania—sued the church and three of its leaders for invasion of privacy and intent to inflict emotional distress, forcing the resolution of a question that's haunted Americans for years: Do Westboro Baptist's protests qualify as free speech, or are such First Amendment protections nullified by the rank violence of the message? Today a federal jury picked the latter, finding Westboro Baptist Church liable for the aforementioned invasion of privacy and intent to inflict emotional distress, and ordering the church to pay Albert Snyder the aforementioned $11 million in damages. And while it's validating to see Westboro Baptist taken to the mat, the win is far from secure: Attorneys for the church maintain that Snyder's burial was a public event and that even abhorrent points of view are protected by the First Amendment, and are planning an appeal. "It will take about five minutes to get that thing reversed," said church leader Fred Phelps to the Associated Press, and he's probably right. Still, for today, emotional if not legal justice has been served, and we should enjoy it while we can.
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 1 Speaking of hate speech: Today we turn to the racially inflamed, karmically rich saga of Duane "Dog" Chapman, host of the A&E reality show Dog the Bounty Hunter, and the latest celebrity to be caught delivering an impressively racist rant. The subject: Dog's problems with his son Tucker's African-American girlfriend. "It's not because she's black," said Duane/Dog in a phone conversation taped by Tucker. "It's because we use the word nigger sometimes. We don't mean you fucking scum nigger without a soul, but America would think we mean that. I'm not gonna take a chance ever in life of losing everything I've worked for for 30 years because some fucking nigger heard us say nigger and turned us in to the Enquirer magazine." Dog got his wish and then some: His n-bomb-ridden rant was turned over to the Enquirer not by "some fucking nigger" but by his son, after which A&E immediately suspended production of Dog the Bounty Hunter. Sometimes there's God so quickly.
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 2 Nothing happened today, unless you count the 1734 birth of frontier figurehead Daniel Boone, the 1755 birth of pro-cake lobbyist Marie Antoinette, the 1961 birth of angel-voiced/man-faced crooner k.d. lang, and the 1990 birth of Russkie comedian Yakov Smirnoff's daughter, Natasha.
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 3 Nothing happened today, unless you count the 1926 death of gun-slinging vag-haver Annie Oakley and the 1990 death of perennial Peter Pan impersonator Mary Martin.
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 4 Nothing happened today.
Send Hot Tips to email@example.com.